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The French official news of October 5 stated that the German trenches at Soissons had been carried after one of the fiercest trench – encounters in the whole history of war. It was reported that this success was largely due to the efforts of the British troops, and particularly of two famous Highland regiments. It will be recalled that it was at Soissons that the British crossed the Aisne, on September 13, after overcoming a stubborn defence by the Germans, who at first held both sides of the river there, and had artillery posted on heights above the town. The upper panorama here given represents the position on the Aisne near Soissons on September 15. In the Press Bureau’s report of the fighting in that district issued on the 17th it was stated: Working from west to east our Third Army Corps gained some high ground south of the Aisne overlooking the Aisne valley east of Soissons.
Here a long-range artillery duel between our guns and those of the French on our left and the enemy’s artillery on the hills continued during the greater part of the day (the 12th, and did not cease until nearly midnight. The enemy had a very large number of heavy howitzers in well-concealed positions. The movement of this Army Corps was effected in co-operation with that of the French Sixth Army on our left.” The town of Soissons itself suffered severely from the German bombardment. It will be noticed that on the left of the upper panorama a church there is shown with one tower destroyed. This was the Abbaye of St. Jean des Vignes, of the damage to which a photograph appears on another page of this issue.
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