Kasino Point

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Kasino Point was the name given to a German machine gun post on the Somme battlefield in 1916. The machine gun post was destroyed by an underground mine on the first day of the Somme offensive.

The Kasino Point machine gun post was located between the villages of Mametz, Carnoy and Montauban. It was marked out for special attention by British planners as it was a heavily defended position. Kasino Point mine was one of seven large mines that were due to be detonated at 7:28 a.m. on 1 July.

During the tunnelling operation to place the 5,000 lb (2,300 kg) mine the British accidentally broke through one of the German dugouts. The British were able to cover up where they broke through. During this operation the mine was not placed properly.

At 7:28 a.m. All but two of the mines exploded, one of the two was the Hawthorn Ridge mine which was detonated at 7:20 a.m., the other was the Kasino Point mine. Just before the Royal Engineers were about to detonate the Kasino Point mine the British troops left their trenches and began walking across No Man's Land. The officer in charge was in a dilemma and didn't detonate the mine immediately.

As the British crossed No Man's Land they started taking fire from the machine gun post at Kasino Point, inflicting many casualties. At this stage the R.E. officer decided to detonate the mine, blowing several machine gun posts sky-high. Unfortunately because the mine had not been placed properly, the debris did not fall back into the crater as it should have. Instead the debris was blasted over a wide area causing many casualties among at least four British battalions.

L/Cpl E. J. Fisher of the 10th Essex was crossing No Man's Land at the time;

'I looked left to see if my men were keeping a straight line. I saw a sight I shall never forget. A giant fountain, rising from our line of men, about 100 yards from me. Still on the move I stared at this, not realizing what it was. It rose, a great column nearly as high as Nelson's Column, then slowly toppled over. Before I could think, I saw huge slabs of earth and chalk thudding down, some with flames attached, onto the troops as they advanced'[1]

The late detonation took all the German units by surprise allowing the British to sweep over the German trenches, making it the most successful mine detonation of 1 July offensive.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Martin Middlebrook's The First Day On The Somme