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Bavarian Close Combat Battery NKB 218


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The 218th Bavarian Close Combat Battery ( Nahkampfbatterie NKB218) engaging French Char Schneider tanks near Juvincourt.

Last year I bought a Photo album that belonged to Wilhelm Hurst*, a Baden Lieutenant of the 170th IR.

(Chris Boonzaier has his EKII document).

The album is a treasure filled with over 120 original photographs taken at the Western front. One page in particular caught my eye ? three photographs of burnt out French Schneider tanks. Since then, I acquired a couple more pictures featuring the tanks knocked out on April 16, 1917. The album also contained a picture of a gun and crew of NKB 218.

I learned that the attack at Barry-au-Bac and Juvincourt was the first large tank assault by the French using their new Schneider and Saint-Chamond tanks.

Monday April 16, 1917 - 0600 hours

In the sector Berry-au-Bac eighty-two Schneider tanks under the command of Cdt. Louis Bossut crossed no-man's land at a top speed of 8 km/h. After penetrating the first and second German lines the attack came to a halt at the defense line Juvincourt - Guignicourt.

Out of the 82 tanks 39 were smoldering in front of the German trenches. Among the dead was Cdt. Bossut and his crew.

In a German account of the events it is said that the gunners of NKB 218 opened direct fire with their cannons at a distance of 400 meters. The French tanks, due to the uneven terrain, where not able to fire back a single aimed round.

The 7.5 cm cannons of NKB 218 destroyed 18 Schneider tanks on that day.

Before I present the photos from the album - here are some French pictures of the Schneider tank.

http://www.wereldoorlog1418.nl/tanks-frankrijk/index.html

fig016-Schneider20april20191720Maiz.jpg

The 16 ton Schneider tanks arrive at the front by train in April 1917

eu15.jpg

Edited by Naxos
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From: Die Schlacht im Kreidekalk by Otto Lais.

No-man's land infront of the German trench at Juvincourt, the Jahnw?ldchen

Jahnwldchen.jpg

Original photograph postcard from a soldier of the German 52nd Division: the same trench after the tank assault on April 16 1917

charschnApril17.jpg

Edited by Naxos
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False Claim

on ebay I found this original postcard it features the same tank as above except the claim has been changed to knocked out by 4/54. One can still see parts of the wiped of former claim inscription.

b294_3_cr.jpg

b_3_cr.jpg

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*Leutnant der Reserve Wilhelm Hurst, 2nd Company, I.R. 170, born 12 February 1893 in Diedelheim, Baden - died from wounds on September 14, 1918 at the Bavarian Military Hospital Abteilung 6 in Mons.

WilhelmHursta2.jpg

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The Groupement Bossut (80 Schneiders) wasn't stopped by a trench, that happened to Groupement Chaub?s (48 Schneiders) attacking in direction Corbeny. Bossut's tanks advanced in direction Prouvais and achieved some penetration into the German lines before being "neutralised" by German artillery. Chaub?s' tanks were stopped at the first German trench, which they couldn't negotiate, and decimated by the German guns with only eight vehicles returning to their starting point.

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The Groupement Bossut (80 Schneiders) wasn't stopped by a trench, that happened to Groupement Chaub?s (48 Schneiders) attacking in direction Corbeny. Bossut's tanks advanced in direction Prouvais and achieved some penetration into the German lines before being "neutralised" by German artillery. Chaub?s' tanks were stopped at the first German trench, which they couldn't negotiate, and decimated by the German guns with only eight vehicles returning to their starting point.

Thanks for the correction - the pictures according to the writing on the backs were taken at the Juvincourt - Guignicourt defense line. The Group Bossut advanced and was stopped there. You are right the Group Bossut crossed German lines to get there.

I believe Group Chaubes had Saint-Chamond tanks

here is a map that shows the advance of both groups.

http://www.wereldoorlog1418.nl/tanks-frankrijk/index.html

fig0620kaartje202.jpg

Edited by Naxos
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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Another view of one of the tanks knocked out by the Bavarian NKB 218. (the picture was taken some time after April 16 1917 - the chalk writing on the hull is almost entirely washed of)

Scn.jpg

Scn_cr.jpg

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  • 3 months later...

Another picture from Leutnant Hurst's photo album.

The "clubs" tank from posts 15 and 17 with Lt. Wilhelm Hurst commander of 2 company IR170 on the left.

kreuzchars.jpg

the writing on the back: "French tank in our position at Juvincourt"

KreuzCharsback.jpg

Hardy

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...

A change of claim:

1.) Picture taken shortly after the destruction on April 16, 1917 - claim: "destroyed by the Bavarian Close-Combat-Battery 218 - April 16, 1917"

CharSchn21.jpg

2.) The same tank a while later (note: most of the chalk writing is washed of by rain)

Scn.jpg

3.) Again the same tank now with new chalk writing (note the remains of the former writing) - new claim: " In close combat destroyed by 4/154 on April 16, 1917"

CharSchn1917.jpg

Edited by Naxos
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