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 

               

               












              la Chipotte - la Chapelotte
              Alsace - NorthernVosges:
               
               
              Col de la Chipotte
               
              Pierre Percée
               
              Badonviller
               
              Col de la Chapelotte
               
              Allarmont
               
              Col du Donon
               
              Wisches

               
              years of visit:
              2008 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012
               
               


              On rainy days in June 2008 and 2010 we went from Senones to the west and later more to the north, to visit the passes of three important summits in the Northern Vosges.  These formed the battlefields of the Battle of the Haute Meurthe - Mortange of August and September 1914.  A photo report of a visit to the Col de la Chipotte, some 25 km. to the north, to Pierre- Percée and via Badonviller to the Col de la Chapelotte and its "Cave of the Poilus",  to cross next the front line near Allarmont, to continue in 2011 to the north-east,  to the Col du Donon, and to finish some 8 km. eastward at the Nécropole Nationale de Wisches.
               
              Col de la Chipotte (458 m.).
               
              Northeast of Saint Dié des Vosges and southwest of Raon l' Etape along the D 424, lies the Pass of la Chipotte.
               
               
              The Alsace Vosges North photo pages start at the Tête du Violu - Bernhardstein !
               
              At the northern side of the road stands
              this memorial to commemorate...
               
               
              ... "THE GLORIOUS COMBATTANTS OF
              THE 2nd COLONIAL BRIGADE
              (5th. & 6th. REGIMENTS) - August September 1914"
               
               
              Colonel
              Jean-Baptiste Marchand
              (1863-1934)
               
              Marchand was a famous French military explorer, involved in the African Fashoda-Incident of 1898 in what is now Sudan, being a Major in command of 150 French Colonial riflemen. Later on, during his career in the Great War, Marchand even became a General on 20 February 1915.  
               
              In September 1914 Jean-Baptiste Marchand commanded the 2me Brigade Coloniale, still being a Colonel. Colonel Marchand was wounded on the slopes of la Chipotte on 1 October 1914 by the impact of a shell.
               
              On the rear side of the memorial, another plaque:
              "TO THE COMRADES WHO DIED FOR THE FATHERLAND
              THE 2nd COLONIAL ARMY CORPS".
               
               
               
              The Battle of the Haute Meurthe - Mortagne.
              (25 August - 11 September 1914).
               
              1. The front around Nancy: Castelnau versus Rupprecht von Bayern.
               
              After the first successes of the French 1st and 2nd Army in Alsace Lorraine, the Germans decided to counterattack the two French Armies. On 20 August 1914 Crown Prince Rupprecht von Bayern's 6th Army attacked General Castelnau's 2nd Army. From Morhange and Dieuze the Bavarian Army attacked Nancy, Dombasles, and Lunéville. Between 21 and 23 August the Second Army of General Castelnau was forced to retreat to the Grand Couronné near Nancy and to the valleys of the Mortagne and the Meurthe.
              On 24 August the Bavarian 6th Army was also advancing to a gap in the French front, a front line without fortresses around Charmes, called the "Trouée des Charmes". This was also the sector where the French 2nd Army linked up with the General Dubail's 1st Army. During the Battle for the Trouée des Charmes from 24 until 26 August 1914, it took the French 2nd Army much effort to withstand these German attacks.
               
              "(War 1914-1915)  At the Col de la Chipotte
              The Trench of Death,
              where French and German Soldiers lie mixed together."
               
              2. Three cols in the Northern Vosges:
                   The Battle of the Haute Meurthe - Mortagne.
               
              Also on 24 August General von Heeringen's 7th Army launched, south of the Trouée des Charmes, the Battle of the Haute Meurthe - Mortange, at three mountain passes in the Northern Vosges, on the left flank of General Dubail's 1st Army. These passes were important roads to the west for the advancing Germans. Von Heeringen's plan was to conquer Saint Dié des Vosges.
               
              General von Heeringen's 7th Army attacked on 24 August successfully the pass of the Col du Donon. On the 26th the Germans attacked the Col de la Chapelotte. The French were forced to withdraw. Between 24 August and 5 September the Germans tried to conquer the Col de la Chipotte. The French forced them back to the eastern slopes of the Col de la Chapelotte about 9 September, assisted by the retreat of von Heeringen to the new front line, west of Saales. This front line, symbolised on the coloured map below with a closed red line, would stay in a "stalemate"-situation from 1915 until 1918.
               
              3. German retreat around Nancy.
               
              In the meantime the Battle for the Grand Couronné, which started at 31 August, was not successful at all for the German 6th Army. At 11 September the Germans decided to withdraw the 6th Army. Under pressure of General's Foch's 20th Army Corps the Germans retreated from Nancy to behind the German border of 1871-1918.
               
              (Read for more details of this Lorraine battle my Photo Impression; "The Gap of Charmes").
               
              Some military historians comment that the results of the Battles of the Grand Couronné and of the Battle of the Haute Meurthe - Mortange were of great importance, and that these battles had a decisive influence on the results of the Battle of the Marne of
              5 - 10 September 1914.
               
              At the southern side of the junction at the Col de la Chipotte,
              stands this memorial, a Poilu in front of a jetty,
              symbolising the stubborn resistance of the
              86th Light Infantry Brigade or 86me Brigade Chasseurs à Pied.
               
               
              "TO THE LIGHT INFANTRY TROOPS OF THE 86th BRIGADE
              FALLEN FOR THE FATHERLAND - AUGUST - SEPTEMBER 1914"
               
               
              Notice the Chasseur à Pied in a 1914 style battledress.
               
               
               
              At the right hand of the Chasseur à Pied lies the French ...
               
               
              ... Nécropole Nationale de La Chipotte.
               
               
              The La Chipotte National Cemetery contains
              the graves of 1.899 soldiers.
              893 Of these soldiers are buried in 2 ossuairies.
               
               
              The cemetery contains the graves of Chasseurs à Pied,
              soldiers of Colonial Infantry Regiments, Engineers,
              and soldiers of (Territorial) Infantry Regiments,
              who died in this front sector of la Chipotte.
               
               
              "HOMAGE TO THE DEAD OF THE BATTLE OF THE VOSGES
              AND THE COL DE LA CHIPOTTE
               
              25 AUGUST -  5 SEPTEMBER 1914
               
              70th. ANNIVERSARY"
               
              At the end of the cemetery are two ossuaries.
               
               
              The ossuary on the right contains the relics of
              349 unknown soldiers, and 3 known soldiers.
               
               
              The ossuary on the left contains the relics
              of 542 unknown soldiers, and 11 known soldiers.
               
               
              The French soldiers called la Chipotte "Le Trou de l 'Enfer",
              the Hell Hole.
               
               
              At the end of the cemetery, in the left corner,
              stands a memorial in the shape of a broken column, ...
               
               
              ... in honour of the light infantry battalions,
              the "Bataillons Chasseurs", and the infantry regiments,
              which fought here on the slopes of la Chipotte.
               
               
               
              With a last view over the cemetery
              we depart for the Col de la Chapelotte.
               
               
               
              We continue our route northward to Pierre Percée, ...
               
               
              ... where we find this Poilu statue of a Chasseur Alpin.
               
               
              Some 500 m. more westward we arrive at
              the 363me R.I. Memorial.
               
               
               
              The sculptor, Antoine Sartorio (1885-1988), ...
               
               
              ... who fought as a soldier of the 363me R.I. in the Vosges, ...
               
               
              ... designed this 1916 memorial, inaugurated by Lt. Col. Dauphin.
               
               
              I turn my back to the memorial ....
               
              The 363me R.I. Memorial offers this panoramic view south-eastward to the former front lines on the mountain ridge. The summits in this sector, the Tête du Gros Colas, the Tête de Cocquin, the Pain de Sucre, and the Pierre Piquée, were all occupied by the Germans. The French were positioned on the lower west slopes. I show you this panorama in two steps.
               
              From left...
               
               
              ... to right.
               
               
              From Pierre Percée we continue to Badonviller.
               
               
              At the northern outskirts of Badonviller we find ...
               
               
              ... this after-war demarcation stone, presenting the most
              forward advance of the Germans, north of Badonviller.
               
               
              Col de la Chapelotte (447 m.).
               
              From the eastern edge of the village of Badonviller
              we approach the Col de la Chapelotte, along the D 992,
              to find this memorial, on the northern side of the road.
               
               
              "TO OUR BROTHERS IN ARMS -
              MEMORIAL ELEVATED IN MEMORY OF OUR DEAR COMRADES OF THE
              358th INFANTRY REGIMENT
              FALLEN FOR FRANCE DURING THE GREAT WAR -
              BROTHERLY HOMAGE IN RESPECTFUL REMEMBRANCE
              FROM THE VETERANS OF THE 358th I.R. AND THEIR FRIENDS
              14 JULY 1924"
               
               
              On the col, along the south side of the road, 
              we find this demarcation stone, symbolising the most
              forward advance of the Germans in this front sector.
               
               
              On the north side of the col is another memorial:
               
              "LA CHAPELOTTE 1914-1918 -
              IN THIS AREA THE WAR HAD CHANGED THIS MAGNIFICENT FOREST INTO A LAND OF CHAOS.
              THE NATURE IN PEACE HAS TAKEN BACK ITS RIGHTS
              AND IT IS SCARRED BY ITS WOUNDS -
              BUT (the nature) STAYS IN REMEMBRANCE OF SOME 2.000 FRENCH COMBATANTS FALLEN HERE FOR OUR INDEPENDENCE"
               
              The memorial is located in front of
              this former gateway to the Chapel grounds.
               
               
              "This Chapel has been built by
              Mr. Charles Cartier-Bresson in the year 1895.
               
              It has been partially destroyed by the war of 1914-1918
              and it has been repaired in 1924."
               
              (Mr. Cartier-Bresson (Paris, 1852 - Nancy, 1921) was an industrialist and Mayor of nearby Celles-sur-Plaine, who received during the war the Croix de Guerre and the Légion d'Honneur for his attitude (i.e., closing down his cotton factories in occupied Celles-sur-Plaine from August 1914 until 1918. He was the father of Henri Cartier-Bresson, the founding father of modern photojournalism.).
               
              A view of the interior of the Chapel.
               
               
              We cross the road again, to the southern side, 
              to find some relics of a trench behind the demarcation stone.
               
               
               
              Some 50 m. away from the D 992 we find this water fountain.
               
               
              The fountain has been built during the war
              by the 338th Infantry Regiment "Pionniers", engineers.
               
               
              From here leads a path, the GR 533, the "Sentier des Roches",
              or the Path of the Rocks southward to ... 
               
              La Grotte des Poilus.
               
               
              The distance to the rock and the cave is about 1.2 km.
               
              "THE CAVE OF THE POILUS 
               
              BEING A NATURAL COMPOUND CAVE, THIS SITE WAS EXPLOITED AS A DRESSING STATION DURING THE BATTLES OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR BY THE 43th TERRITORIAL INFANTRY REGIMENT (from Epinal), WHICH SERVED IN THIS AREA OF LA CHAPELOTTE DURING THE FOUR YEARS OF THIS CONFLICT. 
              1914 FORMED THE YEAR OF TAKING POSITIONS IN THE LINES.
              IN 1915 IT FORMED THE AREA OF THE FIRST OFFENSIVES WITH USE OF FLAMETHROWERS.
              NEXT THE MINE WARFARE STARTED, WHERE SAPPERS AND TUNNELERS OF 2 SIDES DUG CORRIDORS DAY AND NIGHT, SOMETIMES VERY DEEP, UNDER THE LINES TO FILL THESE TUNNELS WITH EXPLOSIVES.
              PASSER-BY, RESPECT THIS AREA, WHICH WITNESSED CRUEL FIGHTS. "
               
              This rock near the entrance of the cave served as a shelter.
              The 43me R.I.T. has even constructed a support for the rock.
               
               
              The entrance to the cave, seen from below the rock.
               
               
              I walk around the huge rock to find another shelter under it.
               
               
               
              In front of the rock another man-made may be seen.
               
               
              It looks to have been a carved out water fountain.
               
               
              We leave the rock and the cave.
               
               
              From the Grotte des Poilus we return to the Col de Chapelotte.
               

              In 2012 we returned to the Col. This time we enter the wood on the northern side of the Col behind this memorial.

              Following a path upward and northward ….

              …. we enter the front line finding traces of trenches and bunkers.

              Just when we are able to detect more bunkers, ….

              … a unexpected thunderstorm suprises us.

              For security reasons we are forced to abort this mission.

              In haste we return to the Col de la Chapelotte and from there we continue the route of our trips of 2010 and 2011 to Allarmont, ... 

               
              ... on the German side of the frontline.
               
               
              Along the D 392, just before the village, stands a concrete witness of the German presence.
               
               
              The relics of a concrete anti-tank wall,
              constructed by the Germans, guard the village.
               
               
              Behind the village church of Allarmont, ...
               
               
              ... we find another silent witness of
              the German presence in the village.
               
               
              The headstone for two soldiers, fallen in the spring of 1915;
              A soldier of the Ersatz-Bataillon 99, and a medic.
               
               
              From Allarmont we depart to the Col du Donon.
               
              We are now in the 1915-1918 front sector of the
              Bavarian "Donon Brigade".
               
              The Bavarian "Donon Brigade".
               
              The 84 Landwehr Brigade was deployed in Alsace. The brigade was originally the 'acting' 84 Infantrie Brigade, renamed Brigade Neuber September 1914, and again renamed 84 Landwehr Infantrie Brigade on January 1915 in the Donon(Vosges) sector. Again re-designated Donon Brigade until April 1915, and re-designated Sector Plaine 1915-18. It was last re-designated Sector Mailly from April 1918.
               
              Interesting observations on this period photo of my friend, George Wylie .
               
              The men in the period photo are Bavarian Landsturm members of the 4th Komp. Landsturm Inf. Batl. Kempten, 84. Landwehr Brigade, photographed on 13 Mai 1915. The event appears to be a commemoration of awards received.
               
              The officer third from left wearing the M1910 schirmmutze appears to have been awarded the Bavarian Militärverdienstkreuz 1. klasse mit schwertern. Military Merit Cross 1st Class with swords.

              The enlisted man at far left is decorated with the Bavarian Militärverdienstkreuz 3. klasse mit schwertern. Military Merit Cross 3rd Class with swords. Awards with swords were authorized to distinguish wartime awards in 1891.

              The Lance Corporal third from right is decorated with the Bavarian Militärverdienstkreuz 3. klasse mit schwertern and crown. The crown could be used for a second award to an NCO or soldier who had been previously been awarded the medal and whose rank precluded award of a higher class, or to recognize greater merit.

              The Bavarian Militärverdienstkreuz became Bavaria's main decoration for bravery and merit by enlisted soldiers in World War I, roughly equivalent to Prussia's Iron Cross, which became the general gallantry award of the Geman Empire.
               
              Info; courtesy of my old friend, George Wylie, Commission Rifle, U.S.A. Thanks, George, for your assistance!
              Period photos in this frame: Courtesy of George Wylie, U.S.A. and Sam Wouters, Belgium.
               
               
              The Col du Donon (718 m.).
               
              We continue along the D 992, and turn left on the D 392
              to approach the Col du Donon from the west.
               
               
              From the west of the Col the first view of the
              Donon mountain (1,008 m.).
               
               
              An even better view of the Donon.
               
               
              Teleview of the summit of the Donon.
              The view of the original Roman Temple (!) on the left
              has been wasted by this ugly modern communications tower.
               
               
               
              At the southern side of the pass lies
              the Nécropole Nationale du Donon,
              which we visited in 2008.
               
              The National Cemetery of the Donon contains the human remains of 324 soldiers. 182 Of these soldiers are buried in 2 ossuaires.
               
              The memorial possesses some interesting bas-reliefs.
               
               
              "BATTLES OF THE DONON"
               
               
              "21-22 AUGUST 1914"
               
               
              As often, also this cemetery possesses two Ossuaries.
               
               
              The ossuary on the left side of the memorial contains the relics
              of 110 unknown soldiers of the 17th, 20th,
              and 21st Bataillons Chasseurs à Pied.
               
               
              The ossuary on the right contains the relics of
              71 unknown soldiers of the 17th, 21st,
              110th Infantry Regiments, and the 11th Regiment Engineers.
               
               
              About 2 o'clock it started to rain cats and dogs.
               
               
              Thick, grey clouds would soon cover
              the mountain landscape and the Col du Donon in a thick fog.
              Alas we were forced to abandon our explorations
              for this day in 2008.
               
               
              But whenever we are in the Vosges,
              we visit again the Donon.
              In 2011 the Donon formed our point of departure
              for our visit to the Nécropole Nationale de Wisches.
               
              Following the D 392 we drive via Schirmeck eastward to Hersbach.
              Before we reach Wisches, we go left in the village of Hersbach,
              following a steep and winding forest road upward,
              the "Route du Cimetière Militaire".
              Almost hidden in the Schirmeck forest,
              west of Hersbach and Wisches lies this extraordinary
              Nécropole Nationale de Wisches.
               
              The Nécropole Nationale de Wisches contains the human remains of 504 soldiers. 444 Of these soldiers are buried in 2 ossuaires. The other men are buried in 60 individual graves. Most men buried here are victims of the combats at the Donon of 19-24 August 1914.
               
               
              This military cemetery is extraordinary for its remarkable
              headstones, ...
               
               
              ... which I only have seen once elsewhere
              along the front, to honour civilian war victims.
               
              (See my photo impression about Gerbéviller, the Gap of Charmes, Lorraine.)
               
               
              The headstones are in the shape of a sword in blue horizon,
              decorated with a lion's head and a laurel branch of honour
              at the foot.
               
              The image once apparent in the Cross of Merit (right photo)
              of the symbol of France, “Marianne”, has been lost
              by weathering over time, alas.
               
               
              "Le Souvenir Français", "The French Remembrance", is an official French, and
              also a private, association, which since 1887 has been responsible for
              creating and maintaining the majority of the war memorials in France.
               
               
              The cemetery possesses also two Ossuaries.
               
              The southern ossuary contains the human remains of
              "105 UNKNOWN
              FRENCH SOLDIERS OF THE
              17e -21e - 23e - 109e - 170e R.I.
              and 17e - 20e - 26e - 57e B.C.P."
              The northern ossuary contains the human remains of
              "168 UNKNOWN
              FRENCH SOLDIERS OF THE
              17e -21e - 23e - 109e - 170e R.I.
              and 17e - 20e - 26e - 57e B.C.P."
               
               
              Most men buried here are victims of the combats
              at the Donon of 19-24 August 1914.
               
               
              In the orange light of the late afternoon sun ...
               
               
              ... the blue horizon paint changes almost into a greenish colour.
               
               
              There is a hardly a “sword” to be found in this cemetery, ...
               
               
              ... which is still standing correctly upright.
               
               
              When sunset starts, we take our last view, ...
               
               
              ... and we leave the military cemetery of Wisches.
               
               
              On the next page we will return to the Donon and
              we will continue with a visit to the many German bunkers
              at the foot of the Donon.
               
               
               Continue to the next chapter:




              Reacties

              Leo Spitfire op 06-02-2012 20:58
              zoals altijd weer goed gedocumenteerd, Pierre en met duidelijke foto's. Weeral een zoveelste proficiat van mijnentwege.
              Groetjes,
              Leo
              Pierre op 07-02-2012 14:32
              @ Leo Spitfire. Dank je wel, Leo!!!
               
              Pierre
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