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 

              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 

               

               












              Fort de Souville
              Verdun:
               
              Fleury
               
              Pamart Bunkers
               
              Fort de Souville
               
              Batterie de l'Hôpital
               
              years of visit: 1994 - 2005 - 2009
               
              From Côte de Froideterre we continue our trip to the destroyed village of Fleury, the Mémorial de Verdun, some interesting memorials, Fort de Souville, and the Batterie de l'Hôpital.
               
              Fleury devant Douaumont.
               
              From Côte de Froideterre we follow the D 913 southward
              to the wood, scattered with shell holes.
               
               
               
              Under this wood lie the ruins of the destroyed village
              of Fleury devant Douaumont.
               
               
               
              Fleury devant Douaumont.
               
               
              Before the First World War, Fleury devant Douaumont was a village with 422 inhabitants in 1913. After 1870 a railway was constructed between Verdun and Douaumont, which runned along Fleury.
              Due to the presence of a number of defence constructions like the fortresses of Douaumont, Froideterre, Vaux, and Souville many soldiers and workers passed the village.
              In August 1914 the regiments of Verdun pass Fleury to get to the plain of Woëvre. With the battle of the Marne in September 1914 the front was fixed a few kilometres north-east of the village. During 1915, it is part of the fortress of Verdun and it forms the quarters of many soldiers.
               
               
              On 21 February 1916 the village was awakened by the huge artillery preparation for the German infantry assault. The order is given to evacuate the village.
              After the conquest of Fort de Douaumont, and after the surrender of Fort de Vaux on 7 June 1916, the front line from Froideterre passes through Fleury to the front of Fort de Souville. Fleury becomes a key position that can allow the Germans to break through to Verdun. From June to August, the German command launched several offensives in this part of the front.
               
               
              On 23 June the Germans launched a bombardment of several thousands of shells on the village, many gas shells. The bombardment is followed by an attack of the best Bavarian light infantry troops, Garde-Jäger. The 121me Bataillon Chasseurs à Pied had to hold the position. The French were also trying to maintain their counterattacks involving airplanes gunning the troops on the ground. The 260th Brigade took over from the 121me and for several days a bitter fighting broke out on a few acres. The Germans conquered the village on 23 June, but the following day the French returned, and again two days later the Germans took the village in ruins again.
              In two months, the village was taken and retaken 16 times by the French and the Germans.
               
              From 13 July to 5 August intense fighting took place around the village in ruins. On the night of 17 to 18 August, the RICM (Colonial Infantry Regiment of Morocco) launched a final assault and reconquered the village. With the Zouaves and the skirmishers of the 38th Infantry Division, they fought for the territory of the village for 10 days.
               
               
              In 1918, the village was declared "Died for France". This is one of nine villages destroyed during the Battle of Verdun. The relief of the communal ground still reflects the huge amount of shells that it had received.
               
               
              Many craters have a small marker,
              indicating for instance the former location of the bakery.
               
               
               
              This is the after war built Memorial Chapel,
              "Notre-Dame de l'Europe",
              which stands on the former location of the village church.
              The chapel forms also a mark of honour,
              dedicated to the 1.796 soldiers of the 39me R.I.,
              who died here.
               
               
              Anywhere you look, you will see shell holes.
               
               
              The location of the Café- Grocery.
               
               
              A memorial for the former inhabitants of Fleury.
               
               
              "1914-1918
              FLEURY DEVANT DOUAUMONT
              TO IT'S CHILDREN
              DEAD FOR FRANCE
               
              HEROIC COMMUNITY OF WHICH THE NAME MUST BE SAVED IN THE MEMORY OF THE GENERATIONS TO COME. VANISHED UNTIL THE LAST STONE IN A HORRIBLE TORMENT, FORMING ALSO FOR THE DEFENDERS OF THE SOIL THE THREATENED CENTREPOINT OF THE BATTLEFIELD.
              BY THE REVENGEFUL MAGIC OF IT'S RUINS, IT HAS ADDED TEN TIMES MORE TO THE ENERGY AND THE BRAVERY OF THE SOLDIER OF VERDUN DURING THE FIERCE COMBATS, OF WHICH IT HAS BEEN THE WITNESS AND WITH DEDICATION IT HAS ACQUIRED OF THE FATHERLAND TITLES OF ETERNAL RECONNAISANCE."
               
              The memorial is located
              next to the former location of the community hall.
               
               
              With some period photo's of the battlefield around Fleury, 
              we continue a few hundred metres southward.
               
               
              Mémorial de Verdun.
               
              The Mémorial de Verdun has been constructed on the location ...
               
               
              ... of the former railway station of Fleury.
               
               
              A teleview from the Douaumont Cemetery at the Museum.
               
               
              In front of the 1967 Museum there is an exhibition of
              artillery guns and shells, ...
               
               
              ... examples of the bombs, which ravaged this region.
               
               
              Two French 75 mm guns transported from a fortress.
               
               
              French Grenades.
               
               
              A German 420 mm shell.
               
               
              A German 17cm trench mortar.
               
               
               
              We continue southward,
              to the former location of the Chapelle Sainte Fine.
               
               
              This memorial, on the junction of the D 913 and the D 112,
              stands on the most advanced point of penetration
              of the Germans. It was also the jump off line for
              their attacks at Fort de Souville of 23 June 1916.
               
               
              "HERE, BEFORE 1914, EXISTED YET THE RUINS OF AN ANCIENT LITTLE CHAPEL, CALLED "CHAPELLE STE. FINE".
              THIS IS THE POINT FROM WHERE THE LAST GERMAN ATTACK WAVES CAME TO ANNIHILATE ON 23 JUNE 1916. IN A MASSIVE AND SURPREME EFFORT THE GERMANS HAD DEPLOYED 50.000 MEN ALONG 6 KILOMETRES OF THE FRONT AFTER AN ENORMOUS INTRODUCING ARTILLERY BOMBARDMENT.
              IN THE MEANTIME, YET RISKING A DESPERATE ATTEMPT ON 12 JULY, THEY LAUNCHED AN OFFENSIVE, DIRECTED AT THE FORT DE SOUVILLE.
              THERE THEY WERE DEFINITELY OVERPOWERED.
              ON THE NEXT 24 OCTOBER A GREAT FRENCH COUNTER OFFENSIVE ALLOWED TO RETAKE IN ONE DAY THE LOST AREA INCLUDING THE FORT DE DOUAUMONT, WHICH WAS CONQUERED BY THE GERMANS ON 25 FEBRUARY."
               
               
              At the other side of the road, at north of Fort de Souville
              rests the wounded Lion.
              We will return here later on our route.
               
               
              Before we visit the fortress we go left, to the D 112,
              southward for some interesting memorials.
               
               
              At the east side of the road,
              the memorial for the French 30th Army Corps.
               
               
              "IN THIS AREA was the COMMAND POST of the 30th CORPS, General Chrétien,
              - 72e, 51e, 14e, Infantry Divisions -
              that endured, from the Meuse to the Woëvre, from 21 until 25 February 1916, the first shock of the German storm attack, having lost two thirds of their manpower.
              ---
              Reinforcements, 37th, 153rd Infantry Division - Detached, 32nd Infantry Division."
               
              Next the memorial to commemorate the events around
              the Fort de Souville on 12 July 1916, 
              and the heroic actions of Lieutenant Kléber Dupuy of the 7me R.I.
               
               
              "ON 12 JULY 1916 THE FORT DE SOUVILLE LAST OBSTACLE TO THE ROUTE TO VERDUN RESISTED VICTORIOUSLY DURING TEN HOURS TO FURIOUS AND REPETITIVE ASSAULTS OF THE ENEMY.
              GLORY TO LIEUTENANT KLEBER DUPUY AND
              HIS SOLDIERS OF THE 3RD COMPANY OF THE 7TH INFANTRY REGIMENT.
              ---
              (THE FORT DE SOUVILLE, NOWADAYS IN RUINS, AND OF WHICH THE DANGEROUS ACCESS IS FORBIDDEN, IS LOCATED APPROXIMATELY 200 METERS BEHIND THE MAGINOT MEMORIAL)."
               
              Second Lieutenant Dupuy and Captain Décap took important decisions, like deploying machine guns and artillery fire on the attacking Germans, which prevented the German conquest of the fortress. (Source: JMO, 7me R.I. -12 Juillet 1916)
               
              Next is the impressive memorial, designed by Gaston Broquet,
              for war heroe, Sergeant André Maginot.
               
               
               
              André Maginot
               

              André Maginot (17 February 1877 –
              7 January 1932) was a French civil servant, soldier, and Member of Parliament.
              In 1897 he received a Doctorate of Law degree. After taking the civil service exam in the same year Maginot began his career in the French bureaucracy, where he would serve for the rest of his life. He worked as the assistant of the Governor-General in Algeria until 1910, when he resigned and began his political career. He was elected to the Chamber of Deputies that year and served for six months as Under-Secretary of State of the Ministry of War just prior to the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
               
               
               
              The inscriptions on the memorial tell us:
               
              "UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE OF THE MINISTRY OF WAR, DETACHED BY HIS MOBILISATION CALL, AS A SIMPLE SOLDIER OF THE 44me REGIMENT D'INFANTERIE TERRITORIALE. -HAS ORGANISED AROUND VERDUN A SECTION OF VOLUNTEER SCOUTS, OF WHICH HE TOOK THE DIRECTION, AND OF WHICH HE HAS BEEN THE SOUL. - DURING MORE THAN FIFTY PATROLS ON TERRAIN, OCCUPIED BY THE ENEMY, HE HAS GIVEN AN ADMIRABLE EXAMPLE OF COURAGE AND HAS BEEN DECORATED ON 6 NOVEMEBER 1914. - HEAVILY INJURED ON 9 NOVEMBER, HE HAS HOLD HIS POSITION ALL DAY LONG, WITH A HANDFULL OF MEN AND IN SPITE OF HIS INJURIES, AGAINST AN ENEMY, WHO WAS VERY SUPERIOR IN NUMBERS. TO WHOM HE HAS INFLICTED GREAT LOSSES. - FOUR CITATIONS- MEDAILLE MILITAIRE FOR FACTS OF WAR = TWO INJURIES
              CITATION AWARDED TO SERGEANT MAGINOT WITH THE CROSS OF KNIGHT IN THE LEGION OF HONOUR. PETAIN."
              "ONE DAY THEY FOSTER THE CONCEPT THAT THEY FORCE A FUTURE WAR. IT IS A NECESSITY WHO STAYS IMPERIOUS. IT IS TO PREVENT AN INVASION OF THE TERRITORY. WE KNOW WHICH DISASTERS THEY CAN ACCUMULATE. DISASTERS BIGGER THAN VICTORY ITSELF. DON'T BE SATISFIED WITH COMPENSATING FOR THE IRREPAIRABLE DAMAGES. WE WOULD PREFER THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ORGANISATIONS OF THE DEFENSIVE POSITIONS OF THE FRONTIERS. THEY HAVE NO OTHER GOAL THAN TO BLOCK THE ROAD TO THE ALWAYS POSSIBLE INVASION.
              THE CONCRETE WILL BE BETTER AND WITH REGARD TO THIS IT COSTS LESS EXPENSIVE THAN THE WALL OF PARAPETS... - ANDRE MAGINOT, MINISTER OF WAR, DEMANDING FROM THE PARLIAMENT THE CREATION OF THE LINE OF FORTIFICATIONS, TO WHICH HIS NAME STAYS CONNECTED. -"
              (The Maginot Line or Ligne de Maginot.)
               

              When the war began, Maginot answered his mobilisation call to serve in the army. At first he was posted along the Lorraine front. In the autumn of 1914 Maginot was active gathering intelligence in the area around Verdun. In September 1914, he was promoted to Sergeant for his "coolness and courage." In November 1914, as Verdun was being invested, General Serrail showed Maginot a written authorization to evacuate Verdun. He asked Maginot, the Under-Secretary of War, not the Sergeant, what he would do. Maginot tore the authorization to pieces. On 9 November 1914, his knee was shattered in the battle. He was invalided out. Maginot would walk with a limp for the rest of his life.
               
              In 1922 he was appointed War Minister under Raymond Poincaré. Maginot worked out a defensive plan, a combination of field positions and permanent concrete forts:
              the later called Maginot Line.
               
              (Source: Paul F. Wilson: "Find a Grave".)
               
              "FRANCOIS-JOSEPH JOLAS, THE SOLDIER WHO SAVED MAGINOT"
               
               
              Broquet's sculpture catches the moment, 
              when soldier Jolas helped the wounded Maginot
              to a dressing station.
               
               
              We return to the wounded Lion of Souville,
              at the northern tip of the defensive works
              around Fort de Souville. 
              It is facing the Wood of Vaux Chapitre.
               
              "VAUX DEADS
              HERE HAVE FOUGHT
              THE 130e, 131e, 120e, 37e, 33e, 15e, 38e, 32e, 68e, 167e, 133e INFANTRY DIVISIONS.
              THE GARRISON OF FORT DE SOUVILLE"
               
               
              We follow the D 913 southward.
              In the battle sector of Fort de Souville, 
              some 300 meters to the east of fortress, lies ...
               
               
              ... one of the three double machine gun bunkers,
              named after it's designer, Colonel Le Pamart.
              (Sometimes also known as Le Pamard)
               
               
              The sunken double machine gun bunker possesses
              a wide angle of 160 degrees.
               
               
              This bunker is located on an eastern slope in front of
              Fort de Souville.
               
               
              In 2005, to my regret, the bunker lost it's typical air shaft.
              Compare this with my older photo of the bunker of 1994.
               
               
              Behind the bunker we follow the path southward
              to the second Le Pamart bunker.
               
               
              The Le Pamart bunkers were connected to the fortress
              by 220 m. long tunnels of sometimes 20 m. deep.
              Halfway the tunnels was an emergency shaft. 
               
               
              This time I detected something of interest inside.
               
               
              The rusty remains of a machine gun!
               
               
               
              We continue southward passing relics of trenches.
               
               
              These trenches are near the war entrance of the fortress.
               
               
              South of the Le Pamart bunkers and the trenches ,
              we arrive at the entrance of Fort Souville during the war years,
              officially called "Abri-Caverne de Souville" (Shelter-Cavern).
               
               
               
              Fort de Souville, July 1916.
               
               
              Fort de Souville has been an important point of communication between the fortresses more forward on the front, like Douaumont, Tavannes, and Vaux, and also the Citadel of Verdun and the general headquarters at Souilly, south of Verdun.
               
               
              Although General von Falkenhayn did not have the ambition to conquer the city at all ("Let the French bleed themselves to death at Verdun"), a well kept secret for the rest of the German Army, the loss of Fort de Souville would offer the Germans the final breach to attack the city itself. For the French, who had also the impression that the city itself was at stake, the fall of Fort de Souville meant the inevitable capture of Verdun.
               
               
              Before 23 June 1916 German bombardments with 380 mm and 420 mm shells devastated the gun turrets of the fortress. In the early morning of 23 June the 103rd Division crossed the junction of the wounded Lion and attacked the top construction of the fortress. 150 men of them reached the roof but were chased away by Chasseurs Alpins.
               
              French "Crapouilloteurs" with their mortars near the fortress (11-07-1916).
               
               
              On 10 July 1916, the German artillery launched 63.000 gas grenades at Fort Souville, in a territory of only 600 meters wide.
              In this period of the war the French troops were rather prepared to gas attacks. With much effort the French resisted the follow-up of the infantry attack. 
              The second German and last attack at Fort de Souville was on 12 July 1916. The attack waves went on for 10 hours. The French deployed intense machine gunfire and artillery support to throw back German infantry attack. This time the French army resisted succesfully this German attack.
               
              A picture of the entrance, made at 28 July 1916.
               
               
              Right at the entrance of the fortress: a sentry post,
              a latrine, and a wash stand.
               
               
              The interior.
               
               
              A 2005 picture of the entrance of Abri-Caverne de Souville. 

               
               
              The right corner.
               
               
               
              The wall on the right side.
               
               
              For safety reasons it is forbidden to enter the fortress.
               
               
              Inside the fortress there is a dark, underground labyrinth
              of 990 rooms, narrow corridors, and low tunnels.
               
               
              One could easily get lost in this labyrinth of several floors.
               
               
              Some walls and ceilings look unstable.
               
               
              In the floors there are "unexpected", square manholes, ...
               
               
               
              ... shafts to underground tunnels, sometimes more than 20 m. deep!
               
               
              There 50 of these  deep shafts!
               
              Warning: Only recently, on 12 July 2009, a 25 year old Swiss tourist was not cautious enough, and fell down one of these shafts of Fort de Souville near a Pamart bunker for about 20 m.! It took a special rescue team almost 3 hours to rescue this tourist! (Source: L'Est Républicain, 12-07-2009.)
               
              So, it is quite dangerous to enter the fortress!
               
               
              Before I got lost myself, I decide to return to an exit.
               
               
              We leave Fort de Souville, and continue eastward to
              the artillery position of ...
               
               
              ... the Batterie de l'Hôpital.
               
               
              We pass some relics of trenches, and ...
               
               
              ... masonry bunkers.
               
               
              In this area used to be a wartime cemetery.
              The corpses, exhumated here in the late twenties,
               
               
              Five large artillery bunkers, in a line next to each other,
              are hidden under the vegetation.
               
               
              South of this bunker complex, Batterie de l'Hôpital,
              lays the front sector of Fort de Tavannes.
               
               
              In the arched masonry bunkers lie piles of debris.
               
               
              Sometimes with a hole in the roof, caused by a shell impact, ...
               
               
              ... leaving a pile of rubble.
               
               
              Though the position came frequently under artillery fire,
              it was never captured.
              With a last view we leave the Batterie de l'Hôpital ...
               
               
              ...  to continue with a jump backward in time, to the first week of June 1916, and the siege of Major Raynal's Fort de Vaux.
               
               Continue to the next chapter:














              Reacties

              Ben v.d. Heiden op 14-03-2008 14:31
              Bedankt Pierre voor de mooie foto's
               
              Ben 
              Pierre op 26-07-2009 18:40
              Robert S., my friend from the Netherlands commented:
              "Wel ouwe bunkermol, ik waardeer je nostalgische-, roestuitstralende, ruïne- en struweeloverwoekerfoto’s hogelijk. Ook de (facsimile) verslagen zijn bijzonder informatief.
              Doeg,
              Rob"
              Translation:
              "(…) “Well old bunker mole, I appreciate highly your nostalgic, rust spread, thick and densely vegetated ruins on your photos. The (facsimile) reports are very informative.
              Bye,
              Rob”
              Well, Rob, old front mate, I do appreciate highly your kind words!
               
              The old bunker mole, Pierre.
              Martin Aracon op 03-03-2012 20:11
              It`s a long way to visit these marvellous battlefields of the glorious great fort souville, were so many brave and courage soldiers left their live, for the idea of peace, freedom and philantropy! Also the brave german heroes who did the same for their fatherland!
              Pierre op 04-03-2012 01:11
              Martin Aracon, Thank you very much for your reaction commemorising the soldiers of both parties, who did not have much of a choice, but who were nevertheless brave enough to fight for their values.
              Pierre
              CABOT op 09-07-2012 19:53
              Bonjour Monsieur, j'espère que vous comprenez le français. Mais je suis très intéressée par vos photos sur SOUVILLE, notamment celle où l'on voit les soldats français le 11 juillet 1916. Mon grand-oncle était aux côtés du lieutenant Kléber Dupuy, au 7ème RI du 23 juin au 12 juillet 1916.
              Avez-vous d'autres photos de cet endroit ? Pouvez-vous me dire d'où elles viennent ? Je vous remercie d'avance. Je comprends un peu l'anglais.
              Cordialement
              Marie Hélène Ca bot


              Pierre op 10-07-2012 14:01
              @ Marie Hélène Cabot. Cher Marie Hélène, Merci pour votre message ici. Je peut comprendre, lire, et parler Français. Je vous demande de contacter moi par e-mail. Apres votre e-mail peut-être je peut vous aider en détail. Quand vous me racontez le nom de votre grand oncle et si il a survécu la Grande Guerre ou non, je peut vous informer aussi sur des documents, que vous pouvez trouver à l’internet. Mon adresse d’ e-mail est : pierre_grandeguerre@live.nl .

              Cordialement,
              Pierre
              Gérard op 24-02-2013 09:43

              Bonjour, Joli reportage réalisé avec beaucoup de patience, les empruntes de la grande guerre sont toujours visibles dans le région de Verdun. Le soldat Valentin: grand père de mon épouse y était en 1916.

              Cordialement

              Gérard

              op 24-02-2013 12:13

              Beste Pierre.

              Vele malen was ik daar (Verdun). Vanuit de camping op zoek naar alles wat maar iets eraan herinnerde. Vele foto,s gemaakt, maar deze kunnen er ook bij. Prima foto,s met veel herrineringen. Met excursie van de WFA vanuit de lucht bekeken was een hoogtepunt.

              Bedankt, Paul-Jan.

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