PIERRE's PHOTO IMPRESSIONS of the WESTERN FRONT
1914-1918
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              Pierre Grande Guerre
              shows his
              photo impressions
              of his trips along
              the Western Front
              with his selfmade photo's,
              historic pictures,
              and maps.
              Few words,
              many pictures,
              and many links.
               
              Pierre
               
               
              Warning: Sometimes on the battlefield
              you will still find relics of explosives.
              All these shells, hand grenades, and
              mortar rounds can even nowadays still
              be very dangerous.
              Some of the artillery bombs may contain
              poison gas, which can cause severe
              blistering or worse injuries.
              In France it is by law forbidden to
              remove relics from the battlefield.
              So, it is for your own safety:
              take a picture of the steel harvest,
              but leave these relics untouched!
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              Pierre is a Dutch member
              of the Canadian
              Central Ontario Branch
              of the Western Front
              Association,
              In 2015 awarded with
              a lifetime membership!
               
              And a member of:
               
               
              The Western Front
              Association Nederland
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              LINKS TO THE SPECIAL

              PHOTO IMPRESSIONS

              NEW! Pierre's Illustrated

              Lecture "Verdun 1916" - (Dutch)

              Pierre's illustrated

              WFA-NL lectures:

              The Tactical Significance 

               of General Gaede - (Bilingual)

              The Difficult Start

              of the L.I.R. 123 - (Eng)

              De Moeizame Start van

              het L.I.R. 123 - (Dutch)

              De Rode Duivels

              op de Hartmannswillerkopf (Dutch)

              De Blauwe Duivels

              in de Vogezen (Dutch)

              Botchkareva en haar

              Vrouwenbataljon (Dutch)

              Mata Hari -

              Het Spionagedossier (Dutch)

              More Special

              Photo Impressions

              of the Western Front (English) 

              Armistice Clearing Compiègne

              Kaiser's Exile Huis Doorn

              Cambrai

              Fort de Mutzig - Feste Kaiser Wilhelm II

              Colmar and Hansi, the Illustrator 

              The Red Baron's Crash Site

              Canadian National Vimy Memorial

              SOMME 1918 The Australians

              Fricourt Archeological Excavations

              Traces of Bairnsfather  - Xmas Truce

              Yorkshire Trench and Dugout

              Bayernwald Trenches Inside

              Maple Copse Cemetery 

              LINKS TO ALL
              BATTLEFIELD
              PHOTO IMPRESSIONS
              in the CORRECT SEQUENCE

              AISNE 

              Chemin des Dames part 1 

              Chemin des Dames part 2 - Dragon's Cave

              Chemin des Dames part 3     

              ALSACE LORRAINE

              The Gap of Charmes - La Trouée de C.

              Avricourt - Leintrey - Reillon - Montreux - Parux 

              Montreux German Front Walk

              The Battle of Morhange - 1914

              French Bunkers - Mnt. Grand Couronné 

              South of Metz - German Bunkers -

              Feste Wagner 

              ALSACE VOSGES NORTH

              Tête du Violu - Bernhardstein

              Chaume de Lusse - Haute de Faîte

              Bertrimoutier - Frapelle  

              Ban de Sapt - La Fontenelle

              Senones - la Roche Mère Henry

              Col de la Chipotte - de la Chapelotte

              The Donon - Bunkers - Dug-outs

              ALSACE VOSGES  

              Col du Bonhomme Col de Mandray

              Tête de Faux - Buchenkopf 

              Col du Wettstein - Schratzmännele

              Lingekopf - le Linge  

              Kleinkopf - Barrenkopf 

              Hohrodberg-Giragoutte-Trois Epis  

              Reichackerkopf  

              Munster Valley Petit Ballon  

              Le Tanet - Bichtstein - Villa Sidi-Brahim

              Route des Crêtes - Hohneck -

              Gr. Ballon - Sudelkopf 

              Hartmannswillerkopf - Vieil Armand  

              Guebwiller - Rimbach - Hirzstein  

              Moosch Nécropole Nationale  

              ALSACE SUNDGAU  

              Zillisheim Illfurth Largitzen Pfetterhouse 

              Burnhaupt-le-Bas Bunker Path     

              ARGONNE

              Mort Homme Côte 304

              Montfaucon- Romagne s/s Montfaucon

              Butte de Vauquois

              Haute Chevauchée

              The Bunker of the German Crownprince

              ARTOIS

              Illies - Wicres    

              Neuve Chapelle - Richebourg

              Aubers - 1915 

              Fromelles - 1916  

              Neuville-St. Vaast - Souchez

              Notre Dame de Lorette 

              Loos

              Arras Wellington Quarry

              Vimy Ridge

              Lichfield Crater

              CHAMPAGNE

              St. Hilaire le Grand Russian Cmty  Mont Navarin

              Sommepy Mont de Blanc Mont

              La Main des Massiges

              MARNE 

              Verberie Néry Villers Cotterêts  

              First Battle of the Marne   

              Belleau Wood - Château Thierry  

              Second Battle of the Marne

              SAINT MIHIEL

              Les Eparges Ridge

              Calonne Trenches Tranchée

              Fort de Troyon

              Apremont Forest Trenches

              Butte de Montsec

              Rémenauville Destroyed Village

              le Bois le Prêtre / das Priesterwald 

              SOMME British Sector

              SOMME INTRODUCTION

              Auchonvillers Trench

              Mine Craters Lochnagar Hawthorn

              Thiepval Memorial Mouquet Farm  

              Thiepval Wood - Ulster Tower

              Ovillers La Boiselle

              Hawthorn Ridge Beaumont Hamel

              Redan Ridge 

              Newfoundland Memorial Park  

              Serre Hébuterne 

              Sheffield Memorial Park Serre

              Gommecourt 

              Fricourt Deutsche Kriegsgräberstatte 

              Contalmaison 

              Mametz Wood 

              Trones Wood Montauban Guillemont

              Caterpillar Valley Longueval 

              High Wood Longueval

              Delville Wood Longueval

              Pozières  

              Martinpuich

              le Sars Butte de Warlencourt

              Flers Gueudecourt

              Adanac Canadian Cmty. Mireaumont

              SOMME French Sector 

              Bouchavesnes

              Rancourt Cimetière National

              Rancourt Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof

              Dompierre - Becquincourt Fay Soyécourt

              Flaucourt Biaches

              VERDUN

              VERDUN Citadel 

              Thiaumont - PC 118 & 119 - A 320

              Road To Fort Douaumont       

              Fort de Douaumont

              Douaumont Nécropole Nationale  

              Côte Froideterre - Les 4 Chéminées 

              Fort de Souville 

              Fort de Vaux 

              Tunnel de Tavannes Fort

              La Voie Sacrée

              Bois des Caures - Col. Driant's C.P. 

              Flabas German Reprisals Camp

              The German Camp Marguerre 

              Duzey German 380mm Artillery Base

              Destroyed Villages Bezonvaux - Ornes

              Azannes - Damvillers - La Grande Montagne 

              YPRES

              Menin Road Railway Wood

              Hill 62 Sanctuary Wood

              Hooge

              Clapham Junction Zandvoorde Bunker

              Polygon Wood Zonnebeke

              Hill 60 Hollebeke Lankhof Farm

              Messines Ridge

              Pilkem Ridge

              Boezinge Essex Farm Ziegler Bunker

              Langemark Poelkapelle St. Juliaan

              Passchendaele Ridge

              Mount Kemmel Lettenberg Bunkers

              Ploegsteert Wood

              YZER

              Nieuport Ramskapelle

              Pervijze  Stuijvekenskerke

              Diksmuide Trench of Death 

              Leke Vladslo Houthulst

              OTHER GREAT WAR LINKS

              Pierre's Nederlandstalige
              artikelen en columns
              over de Grote Oorlog
               
              (Copy & Paste de titel in de
              zoekmachine!) 
               
              Bochkareva en haar Vrouwenbataljon
              Bretonse Bécassine tijdens de Oorlog
              De Vanceboro Bridge Bomaanslag
              Beneath Hill 60
              Tijdreizen Op Internet
              Leutnant Von Forstner Koopt Chocolade
              Duitslands Oudste Oorlogsvrijwilliger
              Marcel's Bajonet
              Souvenir de Bezonvaux
              Namibië-Etnische Zuivering-1904-1908
              Het Beleg van Fort de Vaux
              Explosiecatastrofe In Fort Douaumont 
              Franse Aas der Azen: René Fonck
              Chasseurs Alpins, Franse Alpenjagers
              Prowse Point Cemetery
              Hoe Sgt. Kunze Fort Douaumont
                 veroverde op 25-02-1916.
              Frank Hurley: Fotoshoppen In 1917
              De Kaiserschlacht,
                 een beknopte samenvatting.
              Herdenking Op Douaumont 2008
              Wapenstilstand 1918 -90 Jaar Geleden
              Vijfde Lustrum WFA Nederland,
                 11-10-2008.
              Geur van Drukinkt
              De Vallei van Munster
              Der Rote Baron Versus Flyboys 
              De Fantomen van Landowski
              Louise de Bettignies -
                 Queen of English Spies
              Monument Op Vimy Ridge
              De Erewacht van
                 Notre Dame de Lorette
              Tank Tegen Tank 90 Jaar Terug
              Von Richthofen's Laatste Noodlanding
              Generaal Von Lettow Vorbeck
              Grafschennis Notre Dame de Lorette
              Google Earth 
              De Kaiserschlacht 90 Jaar Geleden 
              De Wolfsberg - le Hamel
              Overleden Veteranen
              Franse Sector Aan De Somme
              Kerstbestand 1914
              Raadselachtig Graf
              Caporetto; Kiem Van Fascisme
              Lenin's Treinreis
              Tsjechen Aan Het Westelijk Front
              Mata Hari
              325 Miljoen Voor 12 Zeppelins
              Slagvelden Van de Somme
              Schroot
              Op de Lingekopf
              Weinig Duitse Monumenten
                  Somme
              Soldaten Standbeelden
              Mosterdgas 1917
              Schwaben Redoubt
              Oogst Van Roest
              Mortier
              De Tekenaar Hansi
              Gifgas Bij Vancouver Corner
              Nationaliteit Kwijt?
              Beloond Geduld
              Prins Harry Naar Irak
              Thiepval
              De Arm Van De Kaiser
              Artilleriebunkers Nabij Duzey
              Kamp Flabas
              Eerherstel voor "Deserteurs"
              Vredig plekje?
              Moslimmonument in Verdun 
              Bayernwald
              De Slag aan de Somme
              De Tunnel van Tavannes
              Kapitein Joost van Vollenhoven
              Huis Doorn
              Update
                 “Raadselachtig Ansichtkaartje II
              Raadselachtig Ansichtkaartje I 

               

               












              SOMME 1918 The Australians

              Somme 1918:

              Villers Bretonneux

              1st Tank vs. Tank Battle

              Australian National Memorial

              and

              Le Hamel
               
              Year of visit: 2007

              First a short visit to the spot of the 1st Tank vs. Tank Battle,
              to follow next the traces of the Australian Corps from 4 July 1918,
              from Villers Bretonneux, via le Hamel, Proyart,
              to the Mont St. Quentin near Péronne.

              Before we follow the traces of the Australian soldiers,
              we start at the location of the 1st Tank to Tank Battle ever in history,
              along the D 168 southwest of Villers Bretonneux,
              and north of Cachy.
               
               
              On 24 April 1918 one German A7V-tank,
              out of a group of  4 tanks, approached from a slope,
              just outside the village of Villers Bretonneux,
              to the British lines and the position of
              3 British Mark IV-Tanks; 2 " Females", and 1 "Male".
               
               
              The "Male" tank fired once,
              and one of the " Female" Mark IV tanks fired once at the A7V.
              The A7V replied and made 2 succesful hits at the 2 "Females".
               
              Then, for still unclear reasons, the A7V retreated uphill again.
              The " Male" Mark IV followed the A7V for about 1500 yards,
              fired some shots, and knew to destroy it.
               
               
              Panorama of the slope,
              from which the German A7V-Tank approached the British tanks.
               
               
              The Kaiser's Battle
               
               
              On 21 March 1918 The Germans launched a series of offensives, known as "The Kaiserschlacht". During the German Operation Michael General Von Der Marwitz' 2nd Army reconquered the former Somme battlefield on General Gough's 5th Army. The 5th Army was forced to withdraw at Amiens. The "new"  front line was only some kilometres east of Villers Bretonneux.
              Mainly a bad economical situation at home, long supply lines, bad quality supplies, and a low moral with the German lower rank soldier caused the Germans to stop fighting and to start looting the rich supplies,  the British left behind during their hasty retreat. The momentum of the at first succesful German offensive was killed. The battle in the Somme area petered out around the end of April .
              The last operation, "Marneschutz", of the Kaiser's Battle petered out at Chalons sur Marne on 15 July 1918.
               

              Allied Offensives.

              Awaiting the soon arrival of the American Troops, the British and French resupplied and reorganised their Armies under the highest secrecy. On 18 July Foch' 6th Army launched the 2nd Battle of the Marne with good results.

              On 8 August, at 4.20 AM, the Allied forces, the French 1st Army , the British III Corps of the 4th Army with the Australian Corps, Canadian Corps , and the Cavalry Corps, launched the Battle of Amiens. The troops were fortified with 2000 artillery guns, 534 tanks, and 800 aircrafts.

              This was the first of  a series of succesful offensives,  also later reinforced with the mass of American Divisions.
               
               
              The Battle of Amiens.
               
               
               
              Before 8 August, on 4 July 1918, under the command of Lieutenant General Monash, the Australian 2nd Division, with the addition of machine gun battalions of the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Divisions,  and the American 33rd Division, prepared an opening action for the later attacks in the Somme area. On 4 July, they wiped out the German 1st line Salient near le Hamel, northeast of Villers Bretonneux. (See later on this page).

              Later, on 8 August, during the launch of the Battle of Amiens, the British III Corps attacked in the Somme area on the northern bank, in  the zone around Albert. On the banks of the river and south of the Somme the Australian Corps attacked from the lines at le Hamel. The Canadian Corps attacked the area south of the straight Roman Road, the nowadays D1029 or N29. By 31 July 1918  the Australians would continue from the banks of the Somme to reach the Mont St. Quentin and Péronne. The French 1st Army , under British command, attacked at the right flank of the Canadian Corps.


               

               
              North of the town of Villers Bretonneux, along the D 23,
              we visited the Australian National Memorial and Military Cemetery
              of Villers Bretonneux.
               
               
              The Cemetery in front of the Memorial contains the graves of ....
               
               
              ... 1.085 UK , 770 Australian, 263 Canadian, 4 South African,
              and 2 New Zealand officers, NCO's, and soldiers.
               
               
              All these men were killed in the period from March 1918 and later.
               
               
              The walls of the Memorial are engraved with
              the 10.979 names of Australian soldiers, ...
               
               
              ... killed in Gallipoli and along the Western Front,
              who have no known grave.
               
               
              With some effort we climbed the 100 feet high Memorial tower
              for some views over the landscape.
               
               
              View from the tower southward in the direction of Villers Bretonneux.
               
               
              View eastward over the Cemetery.
              On a clear day one can see Amiens left at the horizon.
               
               
              We cross the Somme at Corbie to the northern bank.
              We pass along the D1 the Crash Site of the German flying Ace,
              the Red Baron, Manfred Von Richthofen.
              (Somewhere else on this site there is more to read about this event;
               click HERE).
               
               
              After some 2500 meter,
              still before the junction to le Sec Sailly and Méricourt,
              we discovered on the left side of the road this obelisque,
              the Memorial to commemorate the 3rd Australian Division, 
              but also the other Australian Divisions, the 2nd, 4th, and 5th,
              who advanced past this location,
              along the banks and south of the Somme.
               
               
              We cross the meandering Somme again
              to the southern bank, 
              to continue to the former trenches near le Hamel.
               
              Somme 1918
               

              The Australians

              Le Hamel

              Proyart

              Mont. St. Quentin

              year of visit: 2007. 

               
               

              A trip to the trenches near le Hamel,

              Proyart, and the Digger Memorial at Mont St. Quentin.

               
              Nowadays on top of the former German trenches stands
              the Australian National Memorial (top photo),
              which was that day alas covered with a net for maintenance.
               
              Southeast of the village of le Hamel, 
              the 1st  German line passed a hill,
              which the Germans called the Wolfsberg.
              Around the Wolfsberg the Germans formed a small Salient.

              The Germans fortified the hill with an Observation Post,
              overseeiing the valleys around, and an artillery base.
               
               
              On 4 July 1918, under the command of Lieutenant General Monash, the 4th Australian  Division, launched a succesfull offensive at the 1st line German Salient of the Wolfsberg, southeast of the village of le Hamel.
              Besides the Australian 2nd Division also other auxiliary troops attacked; machine gun battalions of the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Australian Divisions, 60 Mark V tanks, 600 artillery guns, and a great number of aircraft. Though after much discussion with the American Commander in Chief, General Pershing, the General consented on the last moment in the deployment of 1000 men of the American 33rd Division during the attack at le Hamel. It would be also one of the first times (besides battles around Château Thierry on 1 June), that American troops were fighting along the Western Front.
               
               
              Monash used some new tactics: no huge preliminary bombardment anymore, but a creeping artillery barrage, followed by tanks as a part of infantry units in the front, followed by machine gunners taking positions for counter attacks, and infantry. It was also for the first time in history, that an army used parachutes for droppings of ammunition supplies above their troops. The Royal Air Force dropped 100.000 rounds with a precision of 100 meter above Australian machine gun posts, marked with a large V on the ground!
               
               
              The attack started at 3.10 AM. Although the attack and the conquest of the hill was over after only 93 minutes, the Australians still had a fierce fight. The Australians won that day 2 Victoria Crosses; Private Thomas Exford and Private Henry Dalziel.
              The Australians made 41 German officers captive and 1.431 other ranks. Two German field guns were taken, 171 machine guns, and 26 trench mortars.
              The Australians had  775 casualties and the Americans 134 casualties.The casualties on the German side are unknown, at least to me.
              The action at Hamel became an important model for future set piece combined operations during the next Allied offensives in 1918!
               
              Around the Wolfsberg were 3 lines of  defensive trenches,
              with machine gun posts and trench mortars.
               
               
               
              Through the rather odd reconstructed trenches, 
              we arrive at the location of the Observation Post.
              A view southeastward,
              which give an impression of the powerful overview the Germans had.

               

              The first line of this sytem, the "Pear Trench",
              as the Australians called it, lied in the valley.
              A view southward from the tip of the O.P. in the direction of the Pear Trench,
              and the slopes of the parachute ammunition droppings.
               
               
              View northwestward to Vaire Wood.
                
               
               
              After the conquest of the hill
              the Australians installed themselves in the trenches
              and in the Observation Post.

               

              On a remembrance stone a poem by C.E.W. Bean:

               

               
               
               
              On 8 August, at the start of the Battle of Amiens, these lines formed the Australian jump off lines for their new offensive in the direction of Proyart. The 2nd and 3rd Divisions reached the first out of three rather badly organised German defensive lines around 07:00 AM. The Australian 4th and 5th Divisions took over the assault and conquered the 2nd defensive line around 14:00 Hrs. A group of tanks surprised the soldiers, eating in the houses of the village of Proyart, along the third defensive line. Later in the afternoon of 8 August 1918, the Australian 4th and 5th Divisions reached Chuignolles and Proyart. Although the fighting would go on until 12 August, there was no  important gain anymore, at least for the time being....
               
               
              Inscription on the wall of the Memorial,
              a quote of Ludendorff about the events of 8 August 1918:

              Proyart
               
               
              Nowadays, there is no trace of the Australians to be found in the village of Proyart.
              But we had to visit 2 locations,
              on the northern side of the village.
              We detected this beautiful modest "Arc de Triomphe", 
              and it's statue of a Poilu.
               

              On it's pedestal bronze bas reliefs with heroic presentations, ..

              ...  in an art style so typical for the 1920's in France, ...

              ... but also witnessing of the heroic actions of the French Armies..

              Just outside the village:
              the "Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof" of Proyart.
               

              "HERE REST 4645 GERMAN SOLDIERS."


              Most of the buried soldiers here
              were killed during the period of March-September 1918.
                
               

              Mont St. Quentin, Péronne.

              From 9 August the Allies and the Australian Corps
              continued their advance on a lower pace.
              On 31 August 600 men of the Australian 2nd Division
              reached the hill of Mont. St. Quentin, overlooking the Somme.

              The Germans had fortified the Mont with a network of trenches and machine gun posts.
              It took the Australians 8 hours to conquer the hill,
              and 2 days to definitely gain control over the area around it on 2 September 1918.

              To end this photo impression;
              along the D 1017, north of Péronne,
              on the summit of the Mont St. Quentin: ...
               
               
               ... the Memorial for the 2nd Australian Division.
               
               
               
                TIP. Visit the next Special Impression:
               
              Dutch Visitors, read also Pierre's "De Wolfsberg .

              Reacties

              john pearcy op 28-11-2009 12:22
              Hello Pierre,
              I hope you do not mind me sharing this newspaper report of the time about one of the brave chaps from my small village in England who was serving with the Australian forces. Members of his family are still living here today.
               
              Article Date: 29 November 1918

              HELLIFIELD - LIEUTENANT JAMES SHORROCK, D.S.O.

              The D.S.O. was recently awarded to Second-Lieutenant James Shorrock, 28th Batt. A.I.F. .for the following:- "During the attack East of Villers Bretonneux, near Amiens, on the morning of the 8th August, 1918, this officer led his platoon with great dash. On one occasion, well in advance of his men, he jumped into an enemy trench, and single-handed captured 20 of the garrison and two machine guns. On the objective being reached, he quickly re-organised his men and consolidated his position. During the attack East of Framerville, near Amiens, on the morning of the 10th August, 1918, the advance was held up by an enemy strong point.

              Lieut. Shorrock working round to a flank single handed reached the post, and captured 10 of the garrison and two machine guns. This gallant act saved the situation, and allowed the advance to continue."

              Lieut. Shorrock is the eldest son or Mr. and Mrs. Shorrock, Lancashire and Yorkshire Terrace, Hellifield, and was reported in these columns on November 1st as having awarded the D.S.O. He has since been promoted to full lieutenant.

               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
              With kind regards,
              John.
              Pierre op 28-11-2009 12:48
              @ John Pearcy.
              John, I really do appreciate “your” report about Lieutenant James Shorrock D.S.O.. The reasons for awarding the Lieutenant the D.S.O. give us some insight in the implications of the intense fighting in this area on 8 August 1918.
              Thank you, John, for your interesting contribution!
               
              Pierre
              Gail Gunn op 18-12-2012 23:42

              thank you for this Australian content. Would it be possible to add a photo of the original statue at Peronne Mont St Quentin? It was of an Australian soldier bayoneting the German eagle and has the distinction of being the only memorial the Germans destroyed during WW2.

              Pierre Grande Guerre op 26-12-2012 13:09

              @ Gail Gunn. Thank you for your reaction. I don’t possess a picture of this memorial. With all my thousands of modern and period photos here, I am afraid that I can not show it.  Pierre

              ad op 21-03-2014 17:16

              Bedankt Pierre,

              nu weet iik wie de 13. Inf Div en dus ook het 15.IR verniertigd hebben. Mocht je belangstelling hebben, kan ik je de pagina's uit het IR 15 boek wel opsturen.

              Gr

              Ad

              Pierre Grande Guerre op 27-03-2014 14:13

              Graag gedaan, Ad!

              Pierre

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