Excavations I.A.P. - High Command Redoubt
Practical info
NE of the Moortelweg, near Hindenburg Farm
Boezinge, Ieper
Introduction: The second area that was examined by means of test grooves, is a plot north east of Moortelweg, near Hindenburg Farm, along Mauser Ridge (German frontline). This area was described by Edmund Blunden in his “Undertones of War” as an important German observation post. There were dozens of oblong pill-boxes, of which only one was preserved near the farm. The owner, Mr Filip Debaillie, gave us the permission to evaluate this location by means of two test grooves (ditches) at right angles with the planned motorway course. Traces and structures: The western part of both grooves only produced the traces of several small and large shell impacts, from allied artillery. Toward Hindenburg Farm several wooden structures were examined. In groove 4 four rectangular and square wooden platforms were found together. They had been constructed with heavy pinewood boards, fastened to sleepers. Similar structures can be interpreted as emplacements for machine guns or mortars. One of the platforms was connected to a trench in which wooden boards had been laid on a sort of A-frames. Under the boards was a large iron tube (diameter 40 cm – 16 in), consisting of what looked like telescopic rolled metal plates. Its function is not clear. A few test probes between the two grooves made clear what course the tube followed. This showed that it ran towards a depression further in the field. (A deep dug-out ?) In the trench a dump of abandoned stick grenades was found. A second trench section was examined. Wooden boards were found on the bottom, and the sides appeared to be revetted with branches and twigs between vertical posts. At the end of the groove there was a high concentration of fragments of concrete and rubble, pointing to the pill-boxes. The most important structure in groove 5 is a large woode structure consisting of heavy wooden boards placed on a construction of rough timbers. This could possibly be a transport road or a gun emplacement. Aerial photos and archives will hopefully clarify what these remarkable structures are. At the end other remnants of the concrete shelters came to light. Finds : Apart from a well-preserved German Mauser bayonet no other finds were made, which can be considered remarkable. (Information provided by Pedro Pype - Translation by Aurel Sercu)
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