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
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              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)

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              in de Vogezen (Dutch)

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              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

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              Senones - la Roche Mère Henry

              Col de la Chipotte - de la Chapelotte

              The Donon - Bunkers - Dug-outs

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              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
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              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 

               

               












              The Germans On The Somme
              Introduction.
              In 2005 and more recently in 2010, two interesting books were published about the point of view of the German soldiers and officers, stationed on the Somme front. This week I read the book, that appeared in 2010, Ralph J. Whitehead’s “The Other Side Of The Wire” (1), which made me to re-read again Jack Sheldon’s “The German Army On The Somme - 1914-1916” of 2005.(2)
              Well informed friends (3) advised me to buy and to read these two books, and for good reason. Jack Sheldon was one of the first to break the Anglo-Saxon silence about the details of the German side of the Somme forces, setting a welcome trend, which was shared by other historians, like Peter Barton. With his rather recently published, first book Ralph Whitehead completed Sheldon’s image of the viewpoint of the German XIV Reserve Corps.
              Though both books of Sheldon and Whitehead are of high quality, and though both books  share the same theme, the Germans on the Somme until 1916, the approach of the authors of this subject is totally different. In both books you might expect a lot of overlapping, which is, with exception of some of the informative appendixes, not the case. The different approaches of this topic make these two books totally complementary to each other! Besides, it is perhaps remarkable to know that Ralph Whitehead mentions in his acknowledgments gratefully Jack Sheldon for locating the German sources for his book. Because Sheldon was the first to launch his book, I will first concisely review his book, to be followed next by a review about Whitehead’s book. 
              Jack Sheldon’s “The German Army On The Somme – 1914-1916”.
               
              Sheldon’s approach of telling the German point of view is rather refreshing. Every chapter of his book opens with a sketch of the Somme topography with numbered locations, which are related to the texts later on in the chapter. Sheldon’s own introducing texts are very concise but clear. These texts are only meant to explain the backgrounds of the described events. Sheldon prefers to set his words aside to make more room for large quotes from personal sources like soldiers letters, personal diaries, or from official sources like regimental journals. The author has translated these quotes with nuance, and organized them to date and location. Together these quotes form chronologically a series of a lot of first-person accounts of members of the XIV Reserve Corps on the Somme between September 1914 until the end of 1916. Sheldon spends the largest part of his book to the period June - December 1916, just before and during the Battle of the Somme.
              In contrary to the traditional image in most Anglo-Saxon literature about the French readiness and eagerness to fight, reading in between the lines of the extensive quotes of these first-person accounts, it did strike me that the Germans really feared their French opponents. The French were still giving the Germans a very hard time on the battlefield, not only during the period of September and October 1914, the period of the German offensive and the following consolidation of the Somme front, but also from December 1914 until July 1915, when the French troops were relieved in the sector by British troops.
              Ralph J. Whitehead’s “The Other Side Of The Wire”.
               
              I came to this same conclusion about this German fear for the fierce French resistance after reading “The Other Side Of The Wire”. As I wrote before, Whitehead’s approach of telling the German story is totally different than Sheldon’s. Where the emphasis of Sheldon’s book lies on the personal accounts, Whitehead sometimes uses quotes of personal accounts as a kind of illustration in his comprehensive, well written texts.
              From the departure of the XIV Reserve Corps from the region around Mulhouse, the Sundgau, Whitehead made the choice to describe in detail the arrival of the detachments and their deployment at the Somme sector around Albert from 25 September 1914 until June 1916. From day to day, sometimes from hour to hour, and from village to village, Whitehead offers us in chronological order a detailed description of the fighting actions.
              Under pressure of the developing Race to the Sea in October 1914 the German Army was forced to reorganize it’s Army Corpses, and ad-hoc fighting units. These reorganizations of units makes it always difficult for a reader like me to follow the composition of the fighting units of the moment; the company, battalion, and regiment numbers can sometimes be dazzling. But Whitehead knows a certain flair in writing, which facilitates the reader in easier understanding these complex changes of the composition of the Army Divisions and Army Corpses.
              Whitehead also tells in detail the interesting story about the British take-over from the French of a large part of the Somme sector in July 1915; the Germans in their well constructed trenches and fortifications became slowly aware in August that the “Engländer” arrived at their other side of the wire.
              Not only his apparent ease of writing makes Whitehead’s story easy to read, it is also his use of his abundant personal collection of 350 German period photographs and period situation sketches of units of the XIV Army Corps which makes his book a delight to read it. My only critical comment is that though these pictures possess a reasonable size, for me these images could have been printed some 25% larger on the pages. I had to use more than often a magnifying glass to study these highly interesting and exceptional photographs. On the other hand I must also emphasize here, there is hardly a page to be found without an image, and for that reason the author still deserves all my praise!
              Conclusion.
              If you are expecting my judgement about which is the best of these two books, I am afraid that I have to disappoint you; I will not judge between these outstanding works. As I wrote in my introduction; these two books know a different approach of the subject and on the same time these books are totally complementary to each other!
              Though both books offer situation maps and sketches, if you are not familiar with the topography of the Somme region, I would in both cases advise you to accompany your reading with a map like the French IGN maps on internet. (4) 
              If you are not that familiar with the events at the Somme between 1914 and the Battle of 1 July 1916, I would like to advise you to read first Whitehead’s book and afterwards Sheldon’s book. Whitehead’s book gives you a better detailed overview of the events, where Sheldon does more an appeal to your general knowledge of the events. While Whitehead emphasizes in detail the strategic and tactical implements of the history, Sheldon lets the German soldiers tell their own story about the impact of warfare and the personal horrors, they experienced. So, your choice might depend on your preference: personal accounts or a wider helicopter view of the events.
              As you have understood, I am still not able to decide between these two admirable works. As both books deserve to my opinion the same five star rating, I decided to place these books on the same bookshelf next to each other, where these two belong together. Which book you will ever choose to buy, be it Sheldon’s, Whitehead’s, or both, I bet that you will not be disappointed!
              Pierre
              Tip: For some interesting info about the Württembergische 26 Reserve Division, a component of the XIV Reserve Corps, visit my photo impressions about Thiepval and the Ulster Tower - Schwaben Redoubt !
              Notes:
              (1)  Ralph J. Whitehead: “The Other Side Of The Wire – Volume 1 – With the German XIV Reserve Corps on the Somme, September 1914 – June 1916”. Hard cover. ISBN 1906033293. Attention, until now the Whitehead book only knows a limited edition of 750 individual numbered and autographed copies.
              (2)  Jack Sheldon: “The German Army On The Somme - 1914-1916”. ISBN: 1-84415-513-7. Both authors promised to publish a follow-up volume in 2011, covering the period of 1916-1918.
              (3)  I bought Sheldon’s book in 2008 after an advise of my old friend, the Guardian of the Ulster Tower near Thiepval, Mr. Teddy Colligan, at the Visitor Centre of the Tower. In connection to these books it is a rather peculiar location, being it the former location of the notorious German Schwaben Redoubt and centre point of the Battle of the Somme. It was my Dutch friend, and fellow front traveller, René Kappert, who showed me his book of Whitehead, after which I decided to order the book via the internet. I thank both gentlemen for the inspiration to my reading adventures.
              (4)  Click HERE to go to ign.fr, the website of the Institut Géographique National, fill in the box, “Albert -Somme”, and choose in the option box above left the “exploration” option.

              Reacties

              Wouter op 08-01-2011 08:51
              Hey Pierre, nice bookreviews! Really looking forward to reading them. Had heard about the book of Jack Sheldon, but never took the time to look for it.. Thanks to you I will :-) regards, Wouter
              Pierre op 08-01-2011 13:40
              @ Wouter. You are welcome, Wouter, and thank you for your encouraging reaction!
              Pierre
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