The move has been described as “revolting” as many remains of the fallen still lie in the ground. The Battle of Cambrai became famous as the first battle in the Great War to feature a major tank offensive. Now businesses are trying to exploit the land to make money from a giant wind farm, with early work already under way.
Military historian Philippe Gorczynski said: “We are seeing more than 100 years simply pushed aside with no respect whatsoever for the blood spilt on the battlefield.”
Mr Gorczynski is angry over the decision to dig foundations to erect six turbines on the land which, until now, has been protected.
He explained: “Since the region has long been preserved from wind development it is a real gold mine for promoters on land that deserves much better.
“We must preserve the memory of the battlefield and what lies beneath it.”
He added: “It’s really revolting to see how these lands have been ploughed, without the slightest scruples, by people who have only the financial interest in mind.
“The authorities who gave the go-ahead for this are simply guilty of erasing the history and the men who gave their lives to our country.”
During the initial phase, Mr Gorczynski said the company was not required to conduct archaeological excavations.
It has now been reported that they are now pressing ahead with phase two.
A total of 476 tanks were used as part of the strategy of General Julian Byng.
General Byng was the commander of the British Third Army.
His strategy was to use the tanks to cut off the German Hindenburg line.
Despite a severe German counter-offensive, the Battle of Cambrai was a victory for the Allied troops, but there were 44,000 dead and wounded British soldiers, and 45,000 on the German side.
Among them was Lieutenant Gavin Bowes-Lyons, 20, cousin of the Queen Mother and Captain Richard Wain, also 20.
Captain Wain was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry for single-handedly charging and taking an enemy stronghold.
After a big British success on the first day of the battle because of the introduction of tanks, mechanical unreliability, German artillery and infantry defences exposed the frailties of the Mark IV tank.
The Battle of Cambrai is commemorated annually by the Royal Tank Regiment on Cambrai day, a major event in the regiment’s calendar.
Published at Sat, 07 Mar 2020 15:45:00 +0000