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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              "De Rode Duivels in de
              Vogezen - 1914-1915 -
              Een geïllustreerde
              reconstructie van de
              krijgsverrichtingen
              van het 152e
              Régiment d'Infanterie" 
               
               
               
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              ------------------------------
              -------------------------------------------
              LINKS TO THE SPECIAL

              PHOTO IMPRESSIONS

              NEW!

              Pierre's Illustrated

              WFA-NL Lecture 

              'UNCLE HANSI" - (Dutch)

              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 

              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

              Maple Copse - Hill 62 - Hooge

              Clapham Junction Zandvoorde Bunker

              Polygon Wood Zonnebeke

              Hill 60 - Hollebeke -

              St. Elooi - 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 

               

               












              Belleau Wood
               
              Marne 1918:
               
              Château Thierry
               
               
              Belleau Wood
               
              year of visit: 2008. 
               
               
               
              A visit to important Marne locations of the advance of the American 2nd and 3rd Divisions, and in particular the 4th U.S. Marine Brigade during the period from 31 May until 26 June 1918:
              Château Thierry, Lucy le Bocage, Bouresches, and Belleau Wood.
               
              Château Thierry, Côte 204, Hill 204:
              the rear of the American Aisne - Marne Monument.
               
               
               
               
               
              From 21 March 1918 Generalfeldmarschall von Ludendorff launched a series of spring offensives, which later will be called the "Kaiser's Battle", or the "Kaiserschlacht".
               
              After 3 years of a stalemate situation along the Western Front, open mobile war broke out.
               
              This map shows the changes in the front during and after the German offensives until 18 July 1918.
               
              On 26 May 1918 Generalfeldmarschall von Ludendorff launched the Blücher - Yorck Offensive. The Germans penetrated 65 km. into the former battlefield of the Marne of 1914. They threatened the important road from Paris to Reims.
              On 31 May 1918 the German IV Reserve Corps of General Conta, part of General Von Böhn's 7th Army, threatened the east of Hill 204 near Château Thierry, which is only 90 km. away from Paris.
              On the height of this crisis General Foch requested General Pershing to assist the troops of General Degoutte's 6th Army. Pershing ordered Major-General Dickman at his headquarters at Marigny; his 3rd Division had to attack the Germans at Hill 204 on 1 June 1918. His 2nd Divison had to attack some days later Bouresches and Belleau Wood.
               
              The front of the Memorial.
               
               
              "TIME WILL NOT DIM THE GLORY OF THEIR DEEDS".
               
               
              The Memorial shows a map of the American advances after
              18 July 1918, the Second Battle of the Marne. (See next page).
               
               
              A wall plaque commemorates the American Divisions,
              involved at the Battle for Belleau Wood (5 June-26 June 1918),
              and the Divisions, which participated in
              the Second Battle of the Marne (18 July-4 August 1918).
               
               
              The Aisne Marne Memorial overlooks the Marne valley.
               
               
              Panorama from the Memorial northward over Château Thierry.
              From left to right ...
               
               
              The American 3rd Division halted the Germans on Hill 204 on 7 June 1918.
               
               
              But the 26th and 3rd Divisions would take the hill definitely
              on 21 July 1918, during the Second Battle of the Marne.
               
               
              The French 43rd Division of XXI Army Corps defended
              the important Paris-Château Thierry-Reims road
              near Lucy le Bocage and south of Bouresches.
               
               
              On 1 June 1918 the 2nd Division relieved
              the French troops in Lucy le Bocage.
               
              Lucy le Bocage village:
               
               
              Demarcation boulder in the centre of the village,
              symbolising the advance of the American 2nd Division.
               
               
              For the next three days and nights the Division consolidated
              it's positions in the village under heavy
              German artillery fire from Belleau Wood and Bouresches.
               
               
              On 5 June 1918 Brigadier-General James Harbord,
              commander of the 4th Marines Brigade, ordered to attack
              Bouresches from Lucy le Bocage.
               
               
              The road to Bouresches.
               
               
              On the left flank of the 2nd Division
              fought the French 167th Division,
              on the right flank fought the American 3rd Division.
              Bouresches was defended by more
              than 1.000 German soldiers of the 461st Infantry Regiment.
               
               
              At the loss of 1.087 casualties
              the 2nd and 3rd Division conquered Bouresches on 6 June 1918.
               
              Demarcation boulder on the outskirts of Bouresches.
               
               
              On 6 June 1918 the U.S. Marines attacked Belleau Wood
              on Hill 145, from the south and east,
              from Lucy le Bocage and Bouresches.
               
               
              The southern entrance to Bois Belleau, Belleau Wood.
               
               
              After the war "Bois Belleau" has been renamed
              "Wood of the Marine Brigade".
               
               
              At a clearance in Belleau Wood is a Memorial,
              dedicated to the U.S. 4th Marine Brigade,
              composed from the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments.
               
               
              It represents "Iron Mike", an attacking Marine.
               
               
              Iron Mike symbolizes also the ferocity of the Marines,
              during frequent bayonet and hand-to-hand combats in the wood.
               
              The ferocity of the Marines is perhaps best expressed by a typical quote of Sergeant Major Daly (MOH twice!):
              "Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?"
               
               
              The bronze plaque below the bas reliëf records,
              that on 30 June 1918 General Degoutte of the French 6th Army
              renamed the wood officially in "Bois de la Brigade de Marine",  ....
               
               
              ... in recognition for the heroic acts of the 4th Marine Brigade
              of the 2nd Division.
              The French government also awarded the 4th Brigade
              the Croix de Guerre.
               
               
              At the clearance around "Iron Mike"...
               
               
              ... is a modest exposition of the spoils of war,
              like this mortar, ...
               
               
              ... and several types of German artillery guns,
              mainly 77 mm field artillery guns ...
               
               
              ...captured on the Germans.
               
               
              The Marines faced German units of 5 Divisions.
               
               
              The wood was defended by units of
              the 237th, 10th, 197th, 87th and 28th Divisions.
               
               
              The wood formed the deepest point of penetration
              by the Germans.
               
               
              We leave the clearance to stroll in the wood
              for traces of the fights.
               
               
              Some apparent ditches in the wood are traces of trenches.
               
               
              The history of the Marines during
              the Battle at Belleau Wood is told ...
               
               
              ... on six bronze bilingual floor plaques.
               
               
              I zoomed in on the next English passages for you. 6 June 1918:
               
               
              On the surface of the wood there are many traces of shell holes.
               
               
              The second bronze plaque continues the story of
              the Marines in the afternoon of 6 June 1918:
               
               
               
              Another trace of a trench.
               
               
              The third bronze plaque continues about the events on 8 June:
               
               
               
              Trench relic near the spot of the bronze plaques.
               
               
              The fourth bronze plaques tells
              about the events on 11 June 1918.
               
               
               
               
              On the top of Hill 145, the ruine of a prewar chapel.
               
               
              The fifth plaque tells about the period of 23-26 June 1918.
               
               
               
              On 26 June 1918 the momentum
              of the German attack at the Marne had been halted.
               
              Somewhere in the wood, a gun with a split barrel!
              Perhaps an explosion of a premature round?
               
               
              The 6th bronze plaque records 4 officers, ...
               
               
              ... awarded with a Medal of Honour for conspicious gallantry.
               
               
              The Marine Corps lost more men on June 6,
              than it had in all the rest of its history.
              The 4th Brigade suffered 31 officer casualties and 1.056 enlisted men of those numbers.
              Six officers and 222 enlisted men were killed, 
              or died later of their wounds.
               
               
              After the battles in and around Belleau Wood all involved U.S. forces suffered a total of 9.777 casualties, 1.118 of them killed.
               
              We continue to the northern edge, and leave Belleau Wood.
               
               
              We pass this third 2nd Division Demarcation boulder at
              the northwest edge of Belleau Wood.
               
               
              From a further distance,
              a view at the northern edge of Belleau Wood.
               
               
              Entrance to the American Aisne Marne Cemetery.
              The cemetery lies at the northern foot of Hill 145.
               
               
              It has been created in a T-shape with 2 half curves.
               
               
              The Memorial Chapel.
               
               
              The interior of the Memorial Chapel is dedicated ...
               
               
              ... to the 1.060 American soldiers, killed in this area, ...
               
               
              ... but who have no known grave.
               
               
              The names of the missing soldiers are inscripted on the walls.
               
               
               
              The Memorial Chapel is also dedicated to all American soldiers,
              who fell during the Great War.
               
               
              We leave the Memorial Chapel.
              The wreaths has been laid a few days before,
              during the yearly memorial ceremony on 25 May.
               
               
              The cemetery contains the graves of 2.289 American soldiers,
              killed at Belleau Wood,
              or some weeks later during the Second Battle of the Marne.
               
               
              251 Amongst them are unidentified.
               
               
              We leave the cemetery for the village of Belleau, ...
               
               
              ... on the other side of the road, D9.
               
               
              Opposite the cemetery at the entrance to Belleau village
              stands a demarcation stone:
              "FROM HERE THE INVADER WAS PUSHED BACK (18 July) 1918".
               
              The stone lies on the location,
              where the 2n. Division dug itself in in trenches,
              after the capture of Belleau Wood on 25 June.
               
              But Belleau village was not yet taken that day!
               
               
              It was the 26th Infantry Division, the "Yankee Division",
              which conquered the village on 18 July 1918.
               
              Next to the demarcation stone;
              the 26th Infantry Division Memorial Church.
                
               
              Inside on the walls: inscripted names of
              the 2.700 soldiers of the 26th Infantry Division,
              fallen during the Great War in France.
               
               
              "THIS CHURCH, DESTROYED DURING THE WORLD WAR, HAS BEEN RECONSTRUCTED BY THE VETERANS OF THE XXVIth DIVISION OF THE AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES IN MEMORY OF THEIR COMRADES, WHO HAVE FALLEN ON THE SOIL OF FRANCE FIGHTING FOR A COMMUNAL CASE."
               
              In the small village a memorial drinking fountain, ...
               
               
              ... commemorating the fallen Pennsylvanian soldiers.
               
               
              The Château de Belleau de Beaucaron.
               
               
              At the (private) courtyard of the Château is another
              memorial drinking fountain.
               
               
              Belleau Wood is also the battlefield,
              where the Marines got their German nickname "Teufel Hunden",
              "Devil Dogs", for the ferocity with which they attacked
              the German lines.
               
              The memorial Devil Dog / Bulldog Fountain.
               
               
              At the north edge of the village we visit the local cemetery.
               
               
              We visit the grave of Ernest Stricker,
              who claimed to have fought in Belleau Wood.
               
              On 28 April 1928 Stricker shot himself at the war cemetery, 
              leaving a note with his wish to be buried with his comrades of arms.
              Instead Stricker was buried here in the local cemetery.
               
               
              With a view at a French Memorial for 10 fallen "Sons of Belleau",
              we leave the village to continue to the southwest of the village.
               
               
              Along the D9: 
              The "Deutsche Kriegsgräberstätte Belleau",
              the Belleau German War Cemetery.
               
               
               
              "IN THIS CEMETERY REST
              8.625 GERMANS FALLEN DURING THE WAR 1914-1918."
               
               
              These burials are from this area, 
              mainly of the period of June 1918, 
              and of the Second Battle of the Marne of 18 July and later.
              70 of the graves belong to soldiers killed in 1914.
               
               
              At Belleau Wood the Marines made
              some 1.600 Germans prisoner.
               
               
              The exact numbers of wounded, missing,
              or dead Germans are still not clear.
               
               
              But the numbers,
              mentioned on the inscriptions in the cemetery, ... 
               
               
               ... offer us an impression, how high the death toll
              for the Germans must have been in this rather small area.
               
              A mass grave at the rear of the cemetery.
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
              "IN A COMMUNAL
              GRAVE REST HERE 4.321 GERMAN FALLEN MEN
              OF THE WAR 1914-1918.
              3.847 REST UNKNOWN".
               
              As always on German Mass graves:
              bronze plaques with endless lists of names.
               
               
              A view over the mass grave to Belleau Wood.
               
               
              Notice the close by, towering American Memorial Chapel.
               
               
              We leave Belleau.
              In the next photo impression we will visit
              some interesting locations of
              the Second Battle of the Marne (18 July-4 August 1918).
               
               
               

              Reacties

              op 02-08-2008 02:50
              Once again a very well-done and moving narrative.
              John Gaylord op 30-10-2008 00:12
              Fantastic pictures thanks so much. Been reading about this fight and these pictures really helped me understand the positioning of forces.
              Pierre op 30-10-2008 12:45
              @ John Gaylord and anonymous.
              Thank you, John, for your positive comments!
               
              Pierre
              Sharon op 18-03-2011 15:48
              Wonderful site.  I enjoyed your photos.  Thank you for sharing.

              Wife of a US Marine
              Pierre op 19-03-2011 11:19
              You are welcome, Sharon. Thank you for your reaction!
              Pierre
              Chris op 28-02-2012 16:20
              Very nice Pierre, thanks.  I stumbled onto your site while looking up some of my ancestry that is from this area of France.  And as a former Marine, there is a lot of natural interest since Belleau Wood is a mainstay of the USMC.  Thanks for the images and history.
              Pierre op 29-02-2012 11:36
              @ Chris. You are welcome, Chris, and thank you! This message from a former Marine is a particular fine compliment!
              Pierre
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