Section from German pre-fabricated observation post from Assevillers, near Peronne

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Peronne
Accession Number RELAWM04477.002
Collection type Technology
Object type Technology
Physical description Concrete, Steel
Maker Unknown
Place made Germany
Date made c 1917-18
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

One of six component parts of a pre-fabricated bullet-proof steel observation post. The post is made from 5 interlocking rings of steel and a domed cap. This component is the fourth section down from the top. There are steel handles secured to either side of each section, and each section consists of an inner and outer skin, bolted together.

History / Summary

This prefabricated steel observation post was found near Assevillers, a few miles from Peronne in the area captured on the 29th August, 1918, when the Australians drove the Germans across the Somme.

The bullet proof chamber is constructed in several sections from thick steel, and its sections may be easily handled and transported to any desired position. It was the general rule to dig these chambers into the side of a trench and conceal the portion which protruded above the parapet with either sandbags or spoil. Each section consists of an inner and outer skin, the space between being filled with concrete during the process of erecting the chamber, thus increasing substantially its resistance to enemy fire.

This example was recovered Lieutenant Henry Raphael, Australian Corps Cyclist Battalion. On 31 August, Raphael was detached for "War Trophy Salvage" (the Cyclist Battalion war diary notes). A veteran of the 8th Light Horse Regiment, Raphael (a solicitor from South Africa) was detached to the Cyclist Corps in March 1916.

The Official History notes that Assevillers, part of a new German outpost line to the south of the River Somme, running between Herbecourt and Belloy about 12 kilometres to the west of Peronne, was being held by the German 2nd Guard Division when the areas was captured by the 32nd and 29th Battalions on 29 August, 1918. From here they steadily advanced towards Peronne and Mont St Quentin over the next 2 days. The post was collected by the Australian War Records Section on 14 October, presumably not having moved very far from its original location.