HOLDING THE RIDGE

In our occasional Conflict Archaeology series, Robin Schäfer explains the background to the final battle for Hill 80 and the excavation of the German First World War strongpoint in Wijtschate, Flanders, revealing touching and tangible reminders of the bitterest of struggles.which is

The Hill 80 dig site, looking north towards the ‘Bayernwald’ - The Bavarian Forest
French Lebel rifle cartridges and a M1886 bayonet, known to French soldiers as the ‘Rosalie’.
A German Zeiss Signaling Light used to communicate with troops in the furthermost lines north of Wijtschaete.

Wijtschate, or Whitesheet (as it was known to British troops), is a town situated on a chain of hills extending south-west and north-east around the city of Ypres in Flanders. Due to its elevated position on Messines Ridge, and its vicinity to the town of Ypres, Wijtschate and its so-called Wytschaete-Salient (German: Wytschaete-Bogen) became a strategic fortress and the scene of heavy fighting throughout the First World War.

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