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The German occupied village of Pozières (south-east of Thiepval) lay astride the Albert-Bapaume road, on the forward slopes of the Thiepval-Ginchy ridge. It had been heavily fortified and additionally protected by well-prepared outlying trench systems. With excellent observation of the British lines, Pozières formed a formidable defensive outwork for the German second line positions situated circa 400 yards higher up the ridge, the crest of which was marked by a ruined windmill.

The village roughly marked the junction of the Reserve and Fourth British armies; between 13 and 16 July four British attacks had failed, at great cost in lives, against its formidable defences. The determined German resistance and repeated ferocious counter-attacks, which were a feature of the fighting for the village and the ridge, clearly reflected the importance of the location.

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