Fasanerie Geschutz

The Fasanerie Geschutz (The ‘Wood Gun’ to the Allies) was one of five concreted gun emplacements dotted around the Palingbeek.

While other batteries of the resident German artillery regiment operated as mobile groups from open ground behind the ridge, one battery was split up into individual artillery positions, closer to the front line. These were the ‘Dam’, ‘Knie’, ‘Campe’, ‘Pappelen’ and ‘Fascanerie’ guns.

No trace of the Fasanerie (Vierlingen, Battle Wood) gun remains, but its location is clear. It was next to the only significant building in Battle Wood, the ‘hunting lodge’ of the textile magnate Mahieu of Armentieres. The White Chateau was his summer residence. The building was quite near to the road, and is not in the same place as any of the buildings now inside the woods.

Photographs so far found throw up a difficulty. While both are authoritatively captioned by German witnesses who should know, they do not appear to be of the same building.

The above photo appears in the regimental history of Feldartillerie Regiment 49 alongside a description of this position. They resided here from January to July 1916.

This photograph from the collection of the irreplaceable Philip Woets is on first inspection, the stables building of the White Chateau. However the description on the back is very specific: “Die zerschossene Fasanerie 1917 liegt ca. 1800 m. nördlich vom Schloss Hollebeke.” “The shot-to-pieces Fasanerie lies 1800m north of Schloss Hollebeke.” This is a precise description of the location of the Fasanerie hunting lodge. Would this lodge be built in the same style as the White Chateau stables? Quite likely. This investigation is suspended pending further photo evidence.