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Virtual Earth map of Hawthorn Ridge Redoubt

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Hawthorn Ridge Redoubt was a German front-line fortification west of the village of Beaumont Hamel on the Somme. It was the scene of a number of costly attacks by British infantry during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. It was also the site of one of the most famous pieces of film footage of World War I when the Hawthorn Ridge mine was detonated beneath the redoubt at 7:20 am on 1 July 1916, the first day on the Somme.

The Hawthorn Ridge mine is detonated at 7:20 am, 1 July 1916.The Hawthorn Ridge mine was the northern-most of the ten mines detonated on 1 July and one of the three large mines, the other two being the Lochnagar mine and the Y Sap mine at La Boisselle. The mine contained about 40,000 lb (18 long tons) of explosives. The plan was to detonate all other mines at 7:28 am, two minutes before Zero hour when the infantry advance would begin, but Lieutenant-General Aylmer Hunter-Weston, whose VIII Corps was holding the Hawthorn Ridge sector, favoured blowing the mine hours before the main attack, believing this would give his 29th Division time to capture and consolidate the crater. However, the Fourth Army commander, Lieutenant-General Henry Rawlinson rejected this proposal on the grounds that the Germans would probably take possession of the crater. In this stance he was supported by General Sir Douglas Haig, commander of the British Expeditionary Force. As a compromise, Hunter-Weston was allowed to blow the mine ten minutes before Zero, rather than two minutes.


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