German 'Baumbeobachter' artillery observation post camouflaged as a tree : Oosttaverne Wood, Belgium

Collection ID RELAWM04476
Collection type Technology
Title German 'Baumbeobachter' artillery observation post camouflaged as a tree : Oosttaverne Wood, Belgium
Object type Technology
Maker Unknown

The base section of this imitation tree consists a square section of steel placed horizontally on the ground, with turned up edges and a voided circle in the centre. Around the circle is a tube section with an entrance at one side and four steel 'buttresses' to help support the tree. The top part of the base, is bolted to the bottom part by two L shaped bands. Each of these has the name 'CONSETT', a British iron and steel manufacturer, embossed in the band, although the text on the upper band is upside down and is difficult to read due to rust and wear. On the proper right of the top band are the letters 'CGP' formed by a series of punch marks. The base has rust damage as about half of it was originally placed underground and linked to a trench. Upside down, on the interior of the base is scratched '7028 HJM'.

The inner armoured steel section attached to the base consists of eight oval and one round sections made of steel to form a long tube. Each section is connected by steel brackets which are bolted around the top and bottom of the sections. A two part seat is bolted to the side of second highest armoured section by one 'L' and two 'V' shaped brackets. The first part of the seat is bolted to the tube. The main section of the seat is a composite of a wooden 'cushion' on a steel base that is connected to the bolted section by a hinge. The seat is made to push up,and fall down into its horizontal position. It also has a block of soft metal (possibly lead) to stop the seat from falling down vertically. The base of the lead has two inscriptions; the first is the initials 'CS' , made by a series of centre punch marks; and the second is the date '27/1/18' with the initials 'WMC' scratched into the lead. A thin ladder is attached to the bottom of the viewing section of the armoured tube. The uppermost section of the armoured tube is round, and slightly large than the rest of the tube. It has three viewing holes that can be closed when not in use.

The armoured steel core is 5.722 metres tall, including the base. The outer shell is made to resemble tree bark. It consists of a steel frame, which sits against the armoured section when assembled, including sections of the frame that go across the top of the armoured section. Attached to the frame are pieces of wood that have been shaped to give the outline of a tree. Attached to the outside edge of the wood are sections of sheet steel, which have been shaped and coloured brown to resemble bark and wood. The outer shell is in two pieces, front and back, which join at the sides. On the front section of bark are three observation holes covered in wire gauze which are situated near the top of the bark.These holes correspond with the three viewing holes in the uppermost section of the inner armoured tube. There are signatures and initials written or scratched into the top of the front section of the tree. Most are illegible. Pieces of wood have been wired to the tree in sections, and near the top is a piece of steel tube that may have held, or been attached to resemble a branch. There are also 'lumps' on the outer shell, made of chicken wire and grass like materials to resemble either burls or lumps of moss or lichen. On the back section of the outer shell is the text 'c. X10 / OP' painted in a similar colour to the 'bark'. The 'bark' has a coating that appears to include crushed sea shells to give it a rough texture.

Sections that resemble wood, where the 'bark' has been torn away, are also made of sheet steel, but are smoother and of a lighter shade of brown. When attached to the armoured tube, the front section of the shell sits above the bottom part of the base. The rear section sits above the top of the entrance. When fully assembled, the 'bark' extends beyond the top of the tube 1.585 metres, which gives an overall height from bottom of the base to top of the bark of 7.307 metres. Both the shell and the armoured tubing have shrapnel and bullet damage.