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12 - Using an existing natural element

by Alain Gauthier

All the versions of this article: [Deutsch] [English] [français]

Translated by Nathalie GAUTHIER

Thanks to the presence of the fiefdom limit of the Counts of Blois at the edge of the forest, we have a bank preceded by a deep ditch.

Trainers were able to show future gunners how to transform a natural barrier into a trench in order to receive a current of matching parts "artillery".

  • The presence of this deep ditch right at the wayside and at the edge of the forest was suitable for its development as a center for Machine guns. A dozen slots were built in two separate series.
  • It must be remembered that a training center for gunners was installed in the store of the 113th barracks Maurice de Saxe in Blois. Without any military documentation, we only know of its existence through the daily writings of an trainer called Henri Mouldy Bourgueil . The transcript of his writings, in part deposited in AD41, was made by his nephew René Cocuau. The training courses took place in the 113th, 313th, 131st and 331st barracks (as per information coming from Henri Mouldy)
  • We could find several illustrations of this center. They are attached to this article.
  • Regarding the field, it is easy to see these places, located down to the way, that allowed the installation of the machine gun with its gunner at the rear, on the top of the curve as well as the placement of two servants slightly coated on each side, who helped to feed the ammunition and to eject the cases used (about 600 rounds per minute).
  • The guns used were the one called Maxim’s in 1916, but at the beginning of the war there were also the St Etienne 1907, the Puteau 1905 as well as the Hotchkiss 1900.

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