In 2008, on a foggy day in June, we climbed the Schratzmännele, looking for relics of the German positions along the summit.
After 90 years nature took over with a dense vegetation of ferns and mosses.
Almost always the Schratzmännele shared it's battles of 1914 and 1915 with the nearby ridge of the Lingekopf.
I will later explain in more details, what happened at the Schratzmännele and the Lingekopf in the next chapter about the Linge and it's Collet du Linge. For now I try to show you around on the "German" side of the mountain, and give you sometimes some details about particular fights on this ridge.
A French period panorama view.
On one of the lower, but still steep slopes of the Schratz...
... I found this remarkably well preserved
Bavarian Command Post Bunker.
The bunker has been built in 1916 by 7th Company of
the Bavarian Landwehr Infantry Regiment 1.
I went inside the twin bunker.
From both entrances: the left and the right room.
Mark the electric wires, and telephone cables
on Christine's photo.
The slope is too steep to photograph the whole front at once.
Even this china electricity cap is still in tact.
We leave the Command Post to climb the ridge further.
Along the road to the pass:
an elephant shelter and entrance to a filled in dug out.
From the road of the Collet du Linge,
we follow a small trace behind the stèle.
The path through the wood leads
upward to the summit of the Schratzmännele.
Along the path and beyond there are a lot of deep holes.
These holes could have been sniper's foxholes, mortar pits,
or entrances to underground corridors to "Stollen"-caves.
Near the summit,
traces of steel bars stick out of the ground surface.
Christine's picture shows the top of the Schratzmännele (1045m.),
overgrown with trees and a dense vegetation.
Again: meters deep holes, fortified with steel bars, or masonry.
Just over the top we did find
"La grande Carrière du Schratz", the large quarry of the Schratz.
The 2nd. Bavarian Landwehr Regiment accommodated itself
in this quarry during the Battle for the Lingekopf
(20 July until 15 October 1915).
The quarry was defended by two, well camouflaged,
machine gun nests, fortified with concrete.
View from the position of the machine gun bunkers.
One can still see the traces of a trench leading into one of the
nowadays filled in entrances to the quarry.
Besides giving shelter against French artillery fire,
the quarry served also as an important supply station,
and storage for materials.
We walk more downward on the southeast slope: ...
... Traces of trenches.
We walk further on along the path.
On the high ridge of the "Petite Carrière du Schratz",
the small quarry of the Schratz:
two bunkers, some 50 m. away from each other.
The first one: a double machine gun bunker.
Left, parapet with rifle holes.
The rear side of the machine gun bunker,
with a filled in entrance.
Taking the risk of falling down,
I managed to photograph the front of the machine gun bunker.
In the distance it is hard to detect the second bunker;
an Observation Post.
The entrance to the bunker.
This time I could go inside the bunker.
The bunker has one small, side room, ...
... but the main room has 3 observation windows,
overlooking the quarry below.
Remember this bunker for later on.
Before the massive introduction of concrete in 1916,
the Germans in the Vosges also built there fortifications
with natural materials, like tree trunks, masoned stones,
and of course steel bars.
A masonry entrance of a "Stollen"-cave.
We descend along a steep path into
"La petite Carrière du Schratz", the small quarry of the Schratz.
From the "bottom" of the quarry
it is difficult to detect the Observation Post Bunker.
During the period of 27-29 July 1915,
the 15th Bataillon Chasseurs à Pied tried several times to conquer the quarry.
At dawn of the 29th, "after an impact of a 75mm shell", ...
... the 15th Bataillon Chasseurs à Pied climbed
their way up under fire, and captured the quarry and it's ridge.
But later again there would be many fights for the Schratzmännele and the Lingekopf until 13 October 1915.
After the 13th October the Germans kept their control over the summits.
(The mark points out the masonry dug out entrance.)