Foret d' Apremont, Apremont Forest, south side of the Salient, a sideroad of the D 171c, site of large networks of trenches, sometimes of 8 lines deep.
We start with the Trench of Thirst.
We start in d'Ailly Wood in the forest of Apremont with
the "Tranchée de la Soif", the Trench of Thirst.
Near the Trench of Thirst, the first French line.
From September 1914 until July 1915 heavy fighting
took place here in ...
... the Forest of Apremont near Hill 362 between
the French 172th R.I. and Bavarian troops.
Later also Württemberger troops
would be deployed in this sector.
On 20 May 1915 Commander d 'André with
his 5th and 7th company tried to recapture the lost trenches
in the Bois d 'Ailly (Ailly Wood).
d 'André's 7th company soon reached the 5th German line,
before they were trapped in the trench.
The 5th company had been going in hiding for shellfire
and machine gun fire, and could not keep up the pace of the 7th.
The Bavarians soon counterattacked,
and almost surrounded the 7th company!
The 80 men of the 7th company withdrawed to
the German 4th line, were they were isolated with
some wounded men also.
d 'André refused to surrender.
The Germans launched a another heavy attack with mortars
on the next day, 21 May.
It was a warm day.
Everywhere dust, no water, and hardly ammunition available.
On the 22nd the Germans attacked again
and made the 73 survivors prisoners.
d 'André, last man to leave the trench,
spoke to his men this words:
"N'oubliez jamais la Tranchée de la Soif!"
"Do never forget the Trench of the Thirst".
The memorial dedicated to the French 172th and 372th R.I.:
"TO OUR GLORIOUS DEAD 1914-1918"
Le Bois Brulée:
Trenches of Roffignac, Trenches of the Bavarians.
Foret d' Apremont, north east side of the forest, le Bois Brulée,
the Burnt Wood, the Trenches of Roffignac, and the Trenches of the Bavarians, south in the Salient of St. Mihiel.
Another part of the Forest of Apremont, "le Bois Brulée",
the Burnt Wood.
In the forest are the traces of a large network of
3 French lines and 8 German trench lines.
"Les Tranchées de Roffignac", the Trenches of Roffignac.
I am standing now in No Man's Land;
both first opponent lines were only 2,5 m away from each other.
"Les Tranchées des Bavarois",
the Trenches of the Bavarians...
... were fortified with concrete dug outs and saps
by the Bavarian regiments, contructed mainly in 1916.
Of all the sites we have visited along the front,
I prefer this kind of preservation of the battlefield.
Nature took over,
and its vegetation covered and conserved the relics.
This place looks like it has hardly been touched in 90 years.
As if you would be "the first one to discover this place".
Entrance of a Bavarian Command Post Bunker...
"IN TREUE FEST", "Firm in Loyalty",
the slogan of the Bavarian regiments.
A firestep ...
A snailhouse-formed trench with several rifle-holes.
Relics of barbed wire,
which always surrounded the trenches in thick layers.
My advise is to do not leave the little paths in the forest;
the earth is stilled filled with explosives and corpses.
Relics of a German hospital in the Bois Brulée.
The entrance to the bunker.
The interior of the dressing post and hospital bunker.
There is much more to see in the Forest of Apremont,
like the quarries, the shelters for German soldiers....
Just outside the village of Apremont, on the southeast side,
after a bend of the left of the D 907,
I had to climb this steep, wooded hillside, ...
... to discover the hardly noticible relics of the quarry.
The Germans used this quarry as an extended shelter system, ...
... not far away from the trenches at the Bois Brulée
("Burnt Wood") at the edge of Apremont Forest.
Inside the quarry the Germans created almost a little village
with furnished rooms, even carpets, an Officer's mess,
and a "Bierkeller".
The concrete relics of a wall, to protect the path to
the trenches further into the Bois Brulée.
This huge shelter system was one of the first targets
for the supporting French troops during the American offensive
in 1918 to reconquer the St. Mihiel Salient.
From here we go to the left and immedialtely to the right
to follow the D 12 northeast to the Butte de Montsec.
Continue to the next chapter: