Posted: 16 November 2008 15:37
Having been laid up with a cold the past few days, today's visit onto the Downs was short, but I did find a new slit trench and yet more shrapnel.
I had been to this particular group of trenches several times since I discovered them a few weeks ago, and was now beginning to record them in more detail.
One important aspect of recording these trenches is to examine the ground and potential fields of fire from them. If you look at how the ground undulates, you begin to realise that trenches on higher ground are situated so that they can shoot over, but not into, those in front of them.
I had a feeling that there should be another trench covering a section of road that passed close by the position, but there were none to be seen in what I considered the optimum position. A lot of rabbit activity had churned up large areas of the ground, so I decided to start looking into a few holes to see if any ironwork was visible.
Poking my steel-tipped walking pole into a series of holes, I was eventually rewarded with a satisfying 'clonk' of metal on metal.
Lowering my camera into the hole, I took the photo below, showing a piece of corrugated iron revetment. Its orientation fitted the most suitable alignment of the trench to the road, covering a bend.
It looks as though the trench had been backfilled, but the rabbits had obviously found a path of low resistance through it when digging their warren.
I wandered into another position that was densely overgrown the last time I had been up here. I found that a platoon of cows had been through the area and eaten back the vegetation, doing me a great favour.
I found no more trenches but did find a silent picket half buried a few yards from a trench I already knew about.
A barbed wire post made of iron with a corkscrew end for easy and silent insertion into the ground. Made in two lengths, the long type was to support coils of barbed wire while a short version with a single loop was used as an anchor point for large entanglements. Silent pickets can still ocasionally be found in situ in East Sussex.
Small, narrow trench designed to provide protection against shrapnel and other battlefield hazards. Technically distinct from a weapon pit (which was intended soley as a defensive position) slit trenches were also used as defence works.
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