Relics from the forgotten war: Researcher Yannis Karageorgiou explores a WW1 battlefield in northern Greece

Interviews, WW1

By Pierre Kosmidis

Photos by Yannis Karageorgiou, used by permission

Battlefield Archaeology: The forgotten WW1 struggle at Ravine, May 1, 1917

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Battlefield Archaeology: The forgotten Battle of Skra di Legen, May 29–30, 1918

Researcher Yannis Karageorgiou from Greece, visited a largely forgotten WW1 battlefield, where the British, the French and the Greeks fought against Bulgarians and their German military advisers on the borders of Greece with FYROM.

Hundreds if not thousands of men, from both sides, fought and died on the now peaceful hills, which back in the day were hotly contested.

Βουλγαρικό χαρακωμα προκαλυψη του υψώματος Μπορντμαντιέ. Η συγκεκριμένη περιοχή βομβαρδίστηκε ανηλεώς από το Γαλλικό πυροβολικό τις χρονιες 1916-1917 και η περιοχή αλλοιώθηκε όπως ακριβώς το ύψωμα 731 στην Αλβανια(όπου πολέμησε ο παππούς μου). Η καταγραφή της τοποθεσίας έγινε το Φλεβάρη του 2018.
A Bulgarian trench is still visible, despite the heavy shelling in 1916-17 by the French heavy artillery.

The names in the area remind us of the ferocity of the battles, such as”chemin de fer”, which translates to “railroad”, but essentially means that the area was covered in steel, by the thousands of steel shells which fell upon the trenches and fortifications in the area.

Mr. Yannis Karageorgiou with the British Rifle Grenade he found in the area
Mr. Yannis Karageorgiou with the British Rifle Grenade he found in the area

Yannis Karageorgiou shared with www.ww2wrecks.com his recent findings in the area, a M1870 Gasser revolver used by the Austro-Hungarian Cavalry and by its allies, such as the Bulgarians, a British Rifle grenade N°3 and a clip of Mauser rounds, all laying on the surface of the forgotten battlefield.

The clip of Mauser rounds from a Bulgarian soldier was just under some leaves
The clip of Mauser rounds from a Bulgarian soldier was just under some leaves

“I found the revolver on Ravine Hill, possibly used by a Bulgarian officer who died there and his gun remained forgotten for a 100 years. It is only due to my trained eye that I managed to see its barrel sticking out of the mud”, Mr. Karageorgiou says.

The area where the Gasser M1870 revolver was found
The area where the M1870 Gasser revolver was found

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Mr. Karageorgiou noticed the M1870 revolver sticking out of the mud and slowly removed it from where it lay hidden for a 100 years.

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This is "The Rock" as I call it, it is the top of  Bordmantier Hill, as the French called it during WW1. The Bulgarians defended this position with a triple line of trenches and attempts by the French and British to overrun it in 1916 were unsuccessful. In 1917 a Greek Army attack succeeded in defeating the Bulgarians, at a heavy cost, in a hand to hand battle fought with bayonets, axes and shovels, under a constant artillery barrage that decimated the soldiers from both sides.
“This is “The Rock” as I call it, it is the top of  Bordmantier Hill, as the French called it during WW1. The Bulgarians defended this position with a triple line of trenches and attempts by the French and British to overrun it in 1916 were unsuccessful. In 1917 a Greek Army attack succeeded in defeating the Bulgarians, at a heavy cost, in a hand to hand battle fought with bayonets, axes and shovels, under a constant artillery barrage that decimated the soldiers from both sides”, Mr. Karageorgiou says.

 

 

A monument
A monument in the memory of Greek, British and French soldiers at the top of Ravine Hill reminds us of the sacrifices made to overthrow the Bulgarians in 1916-17.