The Ypres Salient - CWGC

A machine gun company's anti-aircraft outpost in a shallow hole in desolate ground at Nonne BosschenFour-and-a-half miles due east of Ypres, Polygon Wood, on the uplands of the Gheluvelt Plateau, was but a shattered parody of its pre-war self. It had been a large wood in 1914 composed of pine, with undergrowth of beech, oak and chestnut. Within its now shell-thrashed confines was a blasted and cratered 'oval' (once grassy) called the 'racecourse' which was actually the driving track of a former Belgian Army artillery school; the 'racecourse' featured prominently on contemporary military maps. The wood also enclosed, roughly at its centre, a feature called the 'Butte', the remains of a 19th century firing range (the 'Butte de Polygone'). By 1917 the 'Butte' had been converted by the Germans into a heavily fortified (and deeply tunnelled) mound, and with its good views of the plateau east and north east to Becelaere and Broodseinde, was used as an important observation point.


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