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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              Vogezen - 1914-1915 -
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              reconstructie van de
              krijgsverrichtingen
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              Régiment d'Infanterie" 
               
               
               
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              LINKS TO THE SPECIAL

              PHOTO IMPRESSIONS

              NEW!

              Pierre's Illustrated

              WFA-NL Lecture 

              'UNCLE HANSI" - (Dutch)

              Pierre's Illustrated

              Lecture "Verdun 1916" - (Dutch)

              Pierre's illustrated

              WFA-NL lectures:

              The Tactical Significance 

               of General Gaede - (Bilingual)

              The Difficult Start

              of the L.I.R. 123 - (Eng)

              De Moeizame Start van

              het L.I.R. 123 - (Dutch)

              De Rode Duivels

              op de Hartmannswillerkopf (Dutch)

              De Blauwe Duivels

              in de Vogezen (Dutch)

              Botchkareva en haar

              Vrouwenbataljon (Dutch)

              Mata Hari -

              Het Spionagedossier (Dutch)

              More Special

              Photo Impressions

              of the Western Front (English) 

              Armistice Clearing Compiègne

              Kaiser's Exile Huis Doorn

              Cambrai

              Fort de Mutzig - Feste Kaiser Wilhelm II

              Colmar and Hansi, the Illustrator 

              The Red Baron's Crash Site

              Canadian National Vimy Memorial

              SOMME 1918 The Australians

              Fricourt Archeological Excavations

              Traces of Bairnsfather  - Xmas Truce

              Yorkshire Trench and Dugout

              Bayernwald Trenches Inside 

              LINKS TO ALL
              BATTLEFIELD
              PHOTO IMPRESSIONS
              in the CORRECT SEQUENCE

              AISNE 

              Chemin des Dames part 1 

              Chemin des Dames part 2 - Dragon's Cave

              Chemin des Dames part 3     

              ALSACE LORRAINE

              The Gap of Charmes - La Trouée de C.

              Avricourt - Leintrey - Reillon - Montreux - Parux 

              Montreux German Front Walk

              The Battle of Morhange - 1914

              French Bunkers - Mnt. Grand Couronné 

              South of Metz - German Bunkers -

              Feste Wagner 

              ALSACE VOSGES NORTH

              Tête du Violu - Bernhardstein

              Chaume de Lusse - Haute de Faîte

              Bertrimoutier - Frapelle  

              Ban de Sapt - La Fontenelle

              Senones - la Roche Mère Henry

              Col de la Chipotte - de la Chapelotte

              The Donon - Bunkers - Dug-outs

              ALSACE VOSGES  

              Col du Bonhomme Col de Mandray

              Tête de Faux - Buchenkopf 

              Col du Wettstein - Schratzmännele

              Lingekopf - le Linge  

              Kleinkopf - Barrenkopf 

              Hohrodberg-Giragoutte-Trois Epis  

              Reichackerkopf  

              Munster Valley Petit Ballon  

              Le Tanet - Bichtstein - Villa Sidi-Brahim

              Route des Crêtes - Hohneck -

              Gr. Ballon - Sudelkopf 

              Hartmannswillerkopf - Vieil Armand  

              Guebwiller - Rimbach - Hirzstein  

              Moosch Nécropole Nationale  

              ALSACE SUNDGAU  

              Zillisheim Illfurth Largitzen Pfetterhouse 

              Burnhaupt-le-Bas Bunker Path     

              ARGONNE

              Mort Homme Côte 304

              Montfaucon- Romagne s/s Montfaucon

              Butte de Vauquois

              Haute Chevauchée

              The Bunker of the German Crownprince

              ARTOIS

              Illies - Wicres    

              Neuve Chapelle - Richebourg

              Aubers - 1915 

              Fromelles - 1916  

              Neuville-St. Vaast - Souchez

              Notre Dame de Lorette 

              Loos

              Arras Wellington Quarry

              Vimy Ridge

              Lichfield Crater

              CHAMPAGNE

              St. Hilaire le Grand Russian Cmty  Mont Navarin

              Sommepy Mont de Blanc Mont

              La Main des Massiges

              MARNE 

              Verberie Néry Villers Cotterêts  

              First Battle of the Marne   

              Belleau Wood - Château Thierry  

              Second Battle of the Marne

              SAINT MIHIEL

              Les Eparges Ridge

              Calonne Trenches Tranchée

              Fort de Troyon

              Apremont Forest Trenches

              Butte de Montsec

              Rémenauville Destroyed Village

              le Bois le Prêtre / das Priesterwald 

              SOMME British Sector

              SOMME INTRODUCTION

              Auchonvillers Trench

              Mine Craters Lochnagar Hawthorn

              Thiepval Memorial Mouquet Farm  

              Thiepval Wood - Ulster Tower

              Ovillers La Boiselle

              Hawthorn Ridge Beaumont Hamel

              Redan Ridge 

              Newfoundland Memorial Park  

              Serre Hébuterne 

              Sheffield Memorial Park Serre

              Gommecourt 

              Fricourt Deutsche Kriegsgräberstatte 

              Contalmaison 

              Mametz Wood 

              Trones Wood Montauban Guillemont

              Caterpillar Valley Longueval 

              High Wood Longueval

              Delville Wood Longueval

              Pozières  

              Martinpuich

              le Sars Butte de Warlencourt

              Flers Gueudecourt

              Adanac Canadian Cmty. Mireaumont

              SOMME French Sector 

              Bouchavesnes

              Rancourt Cimetière National

              Rancourt Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof

              Dompierre - Becquincourt Fay Soyécourt

              Flaucourt Biaches

              VERDUN

              VERDUN Citadel 

              Thiaumont - PC 118 & 119 - A 320

              Road To Fort Douaumont       

              Fort de Douaumont

              Douaumont Nécropole Nationale  

              Côte Froideterre - Les 4 Chéminées 

              Fort de Souville 

              Fort de Vaux 

              Tunnel de Tavannes Fort

              La Voie Sacrée

              Bois des Caures - Col. Driant's C.P. 

              Flabas German Reprisals Camp

              The German Camp Marguerre 

              Duzey German 380mm Artillery Base

              Destroyed Villages Bezonvaux - Ornes

              Azannes - Damvillers - La Grande Montagne 

              YPRES

              Menin Road Railway Wood

              Maple Copse - Hill 62 - Hooge

              Clapham Junction Zandvoorde Bunker

              Polygon Wood Zonnebeke

              Hill 60 - Hollebeke -

              St. Elooi - Lankhof Farm

              Messines Ridge

              Pilkem Ridge

              Boezinge Essex Farm Ziegler Bunker

              Langemark Poelkapelle St. Juliaan

              Passchendaele Ridge

              Mount Kemmel Lettenberg Bunkers

              Ploegsteert Wood

              YZER

              Nieuport Ramskapelle

              Pervijze  Stuijvekenskerke

              Diksmuide Trench of Death 

              Leke Vladslo Houthulst

              OTHER GREAT WAR LINKS

              Pierre's Nederlandstalige
              artikelen en columns
              over de Grote Oorlog
               
              (Copy & Paste de titel in de
              zoekmachine!) 
               
              Bochkareva en haar Vrouwenbataljon
              Bretonse Bécassine tijdens de Oorlog
              De Vanceboro Bridge Bomaanslag
              Beneath Hill 60
              Tijdreizen Op Internet
              Leutnant Von Forstner Koopt Chocolade
              Duitslands Oudste Oorlogsvrijwilliger
              Marcel's Bajonet
              Souvenir de Bezonvaux
              Namibië-Etnische Zuivering-1904-1908
              Het Beleg van Fort de Vaux
              Explosiecatastrofe In Fort Douaumont 
              Franse Aas der Azen: René Fonck
              Chasseurs Alpins, Franse Alpenjagers
              Prowse Point Cemetery
              Hoe Sgt. Kunze Fort Douaumont
                 veroverde op 25-02-1916.
              Frank Hurley: Fotoshoppen In 1917
              De Kaiserschlacht,
                 een beknopte samenvatting.
              Herdenking Op Douaumont 2008
              Wapenstilstand 1918 -90 Jaar Geleden
              Vijfde Lustrum WFA Nederland,
                 11-10-2008.
              Geur van Drukinkt
              De Vallei van Munster
              Der Rote Baron Versus Flyboys 
              De Fantomen van Landowski
              Louise de Bettignies -
                 Queen of English Spies
              Monument Op Vimy Ridge
              De Erewacht van
                 Notre Dame de Lorette
              Tank Tegen Tank 90 Jaar Terug
              Von Richthofen's Laatste Noodlanding
              Generaal Von Lettow Vorbeck
              Grafschennis Notre Dame de Lorette
              Google Earth 
              De Kaiserschlacht 90 Jaar Geleden 
              De Wolfsberg - le Hamel
              Overleden Veteranen
              Franse Sector Aan De Somme
              Kerstbestand 1914
              Raadselachtig Graf
              Caporetto; Kiem Van Fascisme
              Lenin's Treinreis
              Tsjechen Aan Het Westelijk Front
              Mata Hari
              325 Miljoen Voor 12 Zeppelins
              Slagvelden Van de Somme
              Schroot
              Op de Lingekopf
              Weinig Duitse Monumenten
                  Somme
              Soldaten Standbeelden
              Mosterdgas 1917
              Schwaben Redoubt
              Oogst Van Roest
              Mortier
              De Tekenaar Hansi
              Gifgas Bij Vancouver Corner
              Nationaliteit Kwijt?
              Beloond Geduld
              Prins Harry Naar Irak
              Thiepval
              De Arm Van De Kaiser
              Artilleriebunkers Nabij Duzey
              Kamp Flabas
              Eerherstel voor "Deserteurs"
              Vredig plekje?
              Moslimmonument in Verdun 
              Bayernwald
              De Slag aan de Somme
              De Tunnel van Tavannes
              Kapitein Joost van Vollenhoven
              Huis Doorn
              Update
                 “Raadselachtig Ansichtkaartje II
              Raadselachtig Ansichtkaartje I 

               

               












              ALSACE NORTH Tête du Violu - Bernhardstein
              Alsace - Northern Vosges:
               
              Sainte Marie aux Mines
               
              Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof
               
              Col de Sainte Marie
               
              Tête du Violu / Bernhardstein
               
              Bunkers
               
              years of visit: 2008-2010.
              Attention:
              The pages about the Central and Southern Vosges start with the Col du Bonhomme!
               
              We concentrate on the German side of the front around "Markirch", Sainte Marie-aux-Mines, the so-called "Leber" sector . We first pay a visit to the Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines - Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof, and next to the southern side of the Col de Ste. Marie for the many interesting bunkers of the German positions at the Bernhardstein, at the north-eastern slopes of the Tête du Violu.  On the next photo page about the Haut de Faîte we will continue with a visit to the northern side of the pass and the "Leber" sector.
                
              This time we depart from the Col de Bonhomme, to the left,
              northward along the D 48, the former D 148.
                 
               
              We pass the Col des Bagenelles, ...
               
               
              ... which offers this panorama view northward over the valley
              of the Lièpvrette-river, into the direction of Ste. Marie-aux-Mines.
               
               
              Passing the No Man's Land of the Col we enter
              the German "Leber" Sector.
               
               
              View from south-west to north-east over the Val d'Argent,
              the "Silver Valley". The valley got it's name after it's 
              18th century silver and mineral mines. Right: Echery.
              In the valley at the horizon; Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines.
               
               
              During the period of 1871-1918 Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines
              was a German border town, called Markirch.
              Markirch was only 4 kilometres away from
              the Col de Ste. Marie border crossing in the west.
               
               
              To get in the right mood for the day, 
              and to get an impression of the German units,
              defending the front sector around Sainte Marie-aux-Mines, 
              we start with a visit to
              the Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof.
               
               
              The cemetery is situated at
              the eastern outskirts of Ste. Marie-aux-Mines.
               
               
              "ON THIS CEMETERY REST 1175 GERMAN SOLDIERS"
               
               
              Along the eastern wall some memorials.
              The Memorial for the Brigade Ersatz-Battalion 84.
               
              "To the Fallen Comrades
               
              The Brigade Ersatz Bataillon Nr. 84
               
              1914-1915-1916"
               
              Some 15 meters beyond,
              the memorial for the 61. LANDWEHR BRIGADE.
               
               
              "TO THE HEROES,
               
              WHO SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES
              IN THE BATTLES ALONG THE MARKIRCH VOSGES FRONT
              TO PROTECT THE GERMAN PEOPLE AND THE FATHERLAND,
               
              IN LOYALTY AND GRATITUDE ERECTED.
               
              61. LANDWEHR BRIGADE"
               
               
               
              The German "Leber" Sector.
               
              The German front sector, the "Leber" Sector, west of Markirch, had a length of 15 km. The sector stretched from the summit of the Chaume de Lusse (838m.) in the north, via the eastern slopes of the Bernhardstein (856m.), southward to the summit of the Grand Brezouard (1229m.), north of Le Bonhomme.
               
               
              ("Shellhole near Markirch")
               
              With intervals this front sector has been defended by the 61st. Landwehr Brigade, a Prussian reserve unit, consisting also of Hessian and Bavarian units, under command of General Freling, from 1914 until 1917.
              Other important German units, which were also active in this sector, were: Infanterie Regiment 126 and 132; Jäger Bataillon 8; 1. Bayerisches Ersatz Brigade, including Landwehr Infanterie Regiment 80 und 81; Brigades-Ersatz Bataillons 81,58, and 84; Bayerische Pioniere Bataillon 15, Minenwerfer-Kompanie 409; 2. Bayerische Ersatz-Regiment; Feld Artillerie Regiment 66 and 80;Württemberger Infanterie Regiment 180; and Landsturm-Infanterie Battalions from several German towns, like Weilheim, Friedberg, Kempten, Bonn, Passau, Landshut, Düren, and Augsburg.
               
              At the south-east corner stands this Maltezer Cross-tower.
               
               
              View from the Maltezer Cross-tower over the cemetery.
               
               
              A brook is meandering through the cemetery.
               
               
              "IN A COMMUNAL GRAVE
              REST HERE
              365 GERMAN SOLDIERS
              225 REST UNKNOWN"
               
               
              The mass grave has a triangular shape.
               
               
              Six bronze plates with lists of names of Landwehrmänner, ...
               
               
              ... Infanteristen, Landsturmmänner, Reservisten,
              soldiers, NCO's, and officers.
               
               
              From left to right:
              An infanterist, a NCO, a horseman, and a corporal.
               
               
              At the centre of the cemetery lies the grave of
              Baron Maurice Fitz-James de Berwick.
              The land on which the "Soldatenfriedhof" was founded in 1916,
              belonged to the father in law of Baron Maurice,
              who died on 20 April 1835 in the house of his father in law.
               
              "HERE REST BARON MAURICE FITZ-JAMES DE BERWICK
              COLONEL OF THE IMPERIAL GUARD OF RUSSIA
              20 FEBR. 1783 - 20 APRIL 1835
              PRAY FOR HIM"
               
              View from west to east over the cemetery.
               
               
              Left: the grave of a Landsturmman.
               
               
               
              View from the western edge of the cemetery
              to the Tête du Violu and the Pain du Sucre (centre).
               
               
              With a last view over the cemetery, ...
               
               
              .... we depart for the Col de Ste. Marie, some 4 km. to the west.
               
               
              The Col de Ste. Marie lies west of the town, 
              at a height of 776 meter.
               
               
              At the southern side of the pass we park our car, ...
               
               
              ... and we find under the trees, left of this hotel,
              this 1871-1918 German border demarcation stone.
               
               
              It served also as a road information sign.
               
               
              "Schlettstat" is nowadays Sélèstat, France.
               
              From here you have the option of walking three routes southward.
              In 2008 we based ourselves on the east side of the Green Route, but we allowed ourselves a shortcut southward; see our Yellow Route below.
              In 2010 we concentrated ourselves on the west side of the Green Route, but again, we choose to deviate south-eastward, marked as the Turquoise Route below. 
              Though this wooded terrain with steep slopes might sometimes be confusing to orientate yourself, but the ultimate distance in bird's flight between these two routes is not more than 300 m.
               
              We prefer both times staying along the German lines of
              the Bernhardstein.
               
                
               
               
              We pass the border demarcation stone to follow a path, 
              southward, along the eastern slopes
              of the Bernhardstein (870 m.).
               
               
              This path bears the name "Landwehrstrasse",
              or "Chemin des Abris".
               
               
              Along the path we find huge bunkers with entrances
              to filled in, mined caves, "Stollen".
               
               
               
              In this sector of L.I.R. 80 the Germans constructed a téleferique cable car connection for transport of supplies and ammunition from the valley of Hergauchamp. There was also a mini railway connecting the east and west side of the Bernhardstein. Along the Landwehrstrasse the Germans built cable car stations, bunkers for electrical generators, a water pumping station, a forgery, dressing station bunkers, dugouts in mined caves, canteens, kitchens, ammunition bunkers, and bunker pits for "Minenwerfer" and "Ladungswerfer". Of course this sector of the Landwehrstrasse, behind and close by the summit of the Bernhardstein attracted series of French artillery bombardments.
               
               
              Also on the steep slopes below the path,
              we see some masonry buildings,
              sometimes fortified with concrete.
               
               
              "Sanitätsunterstand Hessen", the Hessen Dug-out,
              served as a dressing station.
               
               
              The interior of the "Sanitätsunterstand Hessen".
               
               
              The front of the bunker,
              photographed by Christine from the south.
               
               
              We continue our walk along the Chemin des Abris,
              the "Bunker Path", southward.
               
               
              I can not resist to offer you some views
              of the landscape during our walk;
              eastward over the valley of Hergauchamp...
               
               
              And a view backwards, northward,
              to the wood of the "Hessen Bunker".
               
               
              Passing a farm, we see some corrugated steel boards,
              and a pigtail shaped barbed wire pole.
               
               
              View eastward over the Val d'Argent and Echery.
               
               
              This farmer uses this German bunker as his shed.
               
               
              We continue to walk southward over the eastern slope.
              View eastward over the valley of la Lièpvrette-river,
              the "Leber" river.
               
               
              A source, important along the front,
              covered with corrugated steel, and a steel plate,
              which looks 90 years old.
               
               
              At a curve in the path, I find this stone with a German inscription.
              "Feste Heimat"
               
               
              It is near this entrance to a mined cave of a "Stollen"-system.
               
               
              The verges of the path are densely vegetated again.
              I detected 3 bunkers along the west side of the path.
               
               
              "ZUM LUSTIGEN SPIELMANN" , "IN THE GAY MUSIC MAKER".
               
               
              The interior of the "Lustigen Spielmann",
              view to left and view to right.
               
               
              Another view of the "Lustigen Spielmann",
              which may have served as a canteen bunker.
               
               
              In front of the bunker and around it,
              I did find some fragments of shells, like this one.
               
               
              On the densely vegetated slope above the "Lustigen Spielmann"
              lies another bunker, which I unfortunately could not reach.
               
               
              Some 50 meters southward, along the path; another bunker.
               
               
              View from the south of the 3 bunkers.
              The "upper" bunker is hard to be seen.
               
               
              We continue southward to a point,
              which is called Reinhard's Eck, Reinhard's Corner.
              Here we find a relic of a wartime cemetery, a lonely stone, 
              and a silent witness of the presence of the
              Bavarian Ersatz Bataillon 58 in 1914.
               
              "TO OUR DEAR COMRADES
              BAVARIAN ERSATZ BATAILLON 58 - 1914"
               
              Reinhard's Eck looks like a small street, three bunkers on a row.
               
               
               
               
              The interior of the Reinhard's Eck-bunker.
               
               
               
              The next two bunkers with the cupola shaped roof are of 1917.
               
               
              This is a type of pillbox shaped bunker,
              which you will find more often along the Vosges front.
               
               
              Another view from the west at Reinhard's Eck.
               
               
               
               
              Route of 2010, along the first and second lines.
               
              In 2010 we returned to the Col de Ste. Marie to explore
              the Turqoise Route under various wheather conditions.
               
               
              We climb the track upward to 875 m.,
              following the former 1871-1918 borderline.
               
               
              In the wood we detect traces of trenches.
               
               
               
              A concrete breastwork, facing west...
               
               
              ... with  a dug-out entrance.
               
               
              We are now in the first German front line.
               
               
              We continue upward along a difficult track,
              seeing more traces of trenches.
               
               
               
              A rusty Pioniere spade confirms us ... 
               
               
              ... that we are on the right track in this rocky wood.
               
               
              Another pigtail shaped pole of a barbed wire entanglement.
               
               
              At the west side of the track we arrive at
              two bunkers next to each other; ...
               
               
              ... a bunker in a badly ruined condition, ...
               
               
              .. and a bunker in a rather good condition.
               
               
              Though the bunker might not look very spectacular,
              before our trip my Dutch friend, René, tipped me rightly
              to visit this peculiar bunker.
               
               
              The stairway downward in the right corner makes
              this bunker so interesting.
               
               
              The stairs run to a tunnel, which connects to 2 concrete pits
              of a "Ladungswerfer", a heavy trench mortar.
               
               
               
              Later on this page I will explain more about this Ladungswerfer.
               
               
              The visible Ladungswerfer pit, some 15 m. away from the bunker,
              covered with an ugly grill for your safety.
               
               
              We return to the east side of the track for another bunker.
               
               
              The top construction has collapsed by an explosion.
               
               
              The relic of the concrete entrance trench.
               
               
              As local fellow passionates told us later;
              in many cases the Germans exploded themselves
              these bunkers at the end of the war.
               
               
              We continue upward along a beautiful open spot.
               
               
              If you look more carefully on the ground,
              you will see relics of barbed wire entanglements.
               
               
              This “Friesian Horse” reminds me of a quote of a 1918 service note of the 33e Corps d'Armée I read. It is about the high voltage wire network, which the Germans had constructed along the front line:
              The network is constituted by an electrified fence of conductive wire and barbed wire, carefully protected from the ground and strung on poles or frames, coated with insulating material (pitch and tar). (...)
              The current sent into the network is about 1.500 volts: the human body can not withstand the physiological effects of such tension.(...)
              “The usual characteristics of the electrified network, which the enemy established between the Aspach Bridge and the region of the Violu are:  (...) 
                b. The electrified network itself looks like a normal network of two or three rows of stakes, it consists of smooth wire or barbed wire. The stakes are treated in part or in whole with tar. Sometimes it's replaced by barbed wire obstacles of the usual type of the "Friesian Horse", but with tarred bases."
              Source: a service note of General Leconte of the 33e Corps d’Armée d.d. 23 May 1918.
              Sometimes the wood opens for a short marvellous view.
               
              Near the summit of the Bernhardstein (870 m.)
              we change to a more comfortable forest road.
               
               
              This bunker guards the forest road facing north and west.
               
               
              The bunker belongs to the stronghold of the "Betonturm",
              the Concrete Tower.
               
               
              Steel armour plates fortifying the concrete entrance.
               
               
              Loop holes facing west.
               
               
              The bunker served also as an entrance to a "Stollen"-system, ...
               
               
              ... and a tunnel, running to another "Ladungswerfer" pit.
               
               
              This concrete mortar pit of 8 m. deep is protected by
              a wooden railing, but it is not covered with a safety grill.
               
               
              As promised earlier; in the frame below I offer you some more
              detailed information about the "Ladungswerfer 24,5 cm. Erhardt".
               
               
              Remark the step shaped wall.
               
               
               
              I climb up to the concrete block at the top left of the photo.
               
               
              This served as a concrete armoured observation post.
               
               
              Only the periscope binoculars of the observer would emerge.
               
               
              I continue over the track some 40 m. southward.
               
               
              I follow the slope eastward along the northern wall ...
               
               
              ... of a huge bunker.
               
               
              The wall belongs to the "Betonturm", the Concrete Tower.
               
               
              For the French troops this "Betonturm",
              "le Grand Blockhaus", formed their main target
              for their attacks and artillery bombardments.
               
               
              View from the east side at the entrance. We save a visit to
              the roof of this 3-floors bunker for some moments later.
               
               
              We prefer to enter it first and go to the right.
               
               
              A window facing west.
               
               
              Curved corridors and stairs downward to tunnels and "Stollen".
               
               
              Next we climb up the staircase to the top construction.
               
               
              In the in wartimes almost barren wood the roof
              of the Betonturm must have served as an excellent
              observation post, ...
               
               
              ... but foremost it served as a fire gallery westward, ...
               
               
              ... for several riflemen, able to fire in three directions.
               
               
               
              We leave the impressive "Betonturm", back to the forest road.
               
               
               
               
              Some 50 m. to the south on the left verge of the road
              stands this machine-gun bunker.
               
               
              The fire windows of the "Rentnerturm" guard the forest road, ...
               
               
              ... facing west and south.
               
               
              From the Betonturm stronghold we deviate from the forest road, ...
               
               
              ... along a track south-eastward to the second and third lines.
               
               
              On an eastern slope we detect this remarkably
              well preserved dug-out entrance of the “Zähringer Löwe”.
               
               
              Following a recently cleared trench we find another entrance.
               
               
              This industrious Monsieur invites us warmly in...
               
               
              ... into the tunnel and the "Stollen".
               
               
              In this dug-out we meet the admirable team of locals, amateur
              and professional historians, who spend all their free time with digging,
              clearing, cleaning, and respectfully restoring these bunkers of the "Leber" sector.
              Chapeau, Messieurs, et merci pour votre travail admirable!
               
              The Monsieur on the right side of the photo tells us, that there are in this sector about 400 bunkers, dug-outs, and tunnelsystems, hidden and to be found here. In this particular "Unterstand" the team did even found bed spirals, untouched by rust!
              Remark the lack of rust on the corrugated shelter ceiling above these industrious gentlemen. Being closed off for almost 100 years of open air, the metal is hardly touched by rust.
               
              Grateful for the work of these local volunteers, 
              we say this team of industrious workers goodbye,
              and we leave the “Zähringer Löwe”.
               
               
              A ground plate of a trench mortar in front of an interesting
              wartime memorial.
               
               
              The plaque is a silent period witness, which confirms ...
               
              "Here the Brigade Ersatz Bataillon Nr. 84. guarded the Vosges.
              5 November 1914 - 28 August 1916"
               
              ...  the presence here of the Brigade Ersatz Bataillon Nr. 84.
               
              A reminder of the
              Ste. Marie-aux-Mines Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof:
               
              "To the Fallen Comrades
               
              The Brigade Ersatz Bataillon Nr. 84
               
              1914-1915-1916"
               
              After this intermezzo we continue to other nearby bunkers.
               
               
              Being in contact with open air this corrugated ceiling shelter is rusted.
               
               
              Stairs downwards a tunnel inside the mountain.
               
               
              I prefer to leave these bats undisturbed;
              another reason to always wear a hat or a cap visiting bunkers.
               
               
              Again outside.
              The yellow dots mark other hardly visible buildings in the vicinity.
               
               
              View from a concrete armoured well upward.
               
               
              Another interesting bunker,
              where the local restoration team has been busy.
               
               
              Bobby only looks curiously inside.
               
               
              The inside of the mountain, underground, ...
               
               
              ... must have been like the structure of a Swiss cheese.
               
               
               
               
               
              Some meters lower we arrive on another forest road,
              which used to be a kind of a street with workshops.
               
               
              The machine house of a cableway arrival station.
               
               
              This collapsed bunker housed the forge.
               
               
              Next to the forge stands an ammunition depot bunker.
               
               
               
               
              Next to it we visit this Guild Shelter, "Zunfthaus I", ...
               
               
              ... a large shelter bunker,
              offering enough room for all kinds of workshops.
               
               
              These workshops were housing teams for repairing weapons, ...
               
               
              ... and other usefull disciplines, ...
               
               
              ... concerned with the maintenance ...
               
               
              ... of this underground bunker village and it's fortifications.
               
               
              Though I did present you only a fraction of
              what you could possibly see on the Bernhardstein, ...
               
               
              ...we have to close off our day here with
              this last shelter bunker, "Zunfthaus II", ...
               
               
              ... at the end of this factory street
              on the slope of the Bernhardstein.
               
               
              From a slope of the Haut de Faîte a last view
              of the "German side" of the Tête du Violu.
               
               
              Our exploration of the northern side of the "Leber" sector
              continues on the next photo page about the Haut de Faîte
              and a southern slope of the Chaume de Lusse,
              north of the Col de Ste. Marie.
               
               Continue to the next chapter about the Leber-sector:
               

              Reacties

              Ben vd Heiden op 12-11-2008 17:04
              Ja wat moet ik hier nog van zeggen, perfect- grandioos.
              zijn daar veel minder toeristen dan bv Somme - Verdun?
              Ziet er allemaal rustig uit en best wel goed bewaard.
               
              Bedankt Pierre en C. voor deze (wederom) mooie bijdrage
               
              Ben 
              PeterS op 12-11-2008 22:46
              Wonderful writing again Pierre. By the way, I have the answer to your question of Maurice of the Russian Imperial Guard.
               
              The land on which the "Friedhof" was founded in 1916, belonged to the father in law of Maurice, who died on April 20th 1835 in the house of his father in law.
               
              Inmitten des Friedhofsgeländes liegt in einer privaten Parzelle das Grab von Oberst Maurice Fitz James von Berwick, gestorben am 12. April 1835. Er gehörte der "Garde Imperiale de Russie" an. Er starb am Wohnsitz seines Schwiegervaters M. de Roguier, Stadtrat am königlichen Hof in Nancy, auf dessen Besitz das Grab seiner Zeit und 1916 der Soldatenfriedhof angelegt wurde.  (source)
              op 12-11-2008 23:40
              @ Ben. In het voorseizoen is het inderdaad daar veel rustiger, Ben, dan in de Somme en rond Verdun. Overigens zijn er in de Vogezen nogal wat verenigingen van vrijwilligers, meestal genaamd "les Amis du ...", die erg hun best doen om een ander nog te bewaren en van bescheiden bordjes te voorzien. Chapeau voor hen!
               
              Bedankt, voor jouw reactie, Ben.
               
              Pierre
              Pierre op 12-11-2008 23:45
              @ PeterS. Thank you, Peter. As always, you seem to solve all my riddles.
              I suppose, you will not have any problem, that I copy and paste your answer to my question in my text above, Peter.
              Funny though, is that I know the by you mentioned website quite well. I probably was too focused on the Germans, thatI have overread your valuable information.
               
              Pierre
              op 15-11-2008 00:16
              Prachtig Pierre, het illustreert mooi hoe in zulke prachtige omgeving zoveel leed is kunnen gebeuren. Verbazend.
               
              Je fan,
               
              Leo
              akim op 15-11-2008 11:14
              Christine en Pierre bedankt,
              Ik verbaas ne iedere keer weer hoe mooi het daar kan zijn en hoe wreed het is geweest.
              En door jullie inzet kunnen anderen dit alles bekijken en hopelijk van leren.
               
              groet, Akim
              Pierre op 15-11-2008 11:56
              @ Leo en @ Akim. De omgeving is daar inderdaad prachtig. Ook voor mij is het soms bijna onvoorstelbaar dat er zoveel gruwelijks is gebeurd. Toen ik voor het eerst in de Elzas kwam 1978, had ik nog nauwelijx idee vande 1e wereldoorlog. Ik had waarschijnlijk in die tijd in die prachtige natuur al die overblijfselen niet opgemerkt, zoals menig wandelaar nog zal overkomen.
              Groeten van Christine, en bedankt voor jullie reacties, heren!
               
              Pierre
              Greg Underwood op 27-07-2010 23:57
              This is an excellent website. My father fought through St Marie area...Liepvre, Hurst, St Croix Aux mines to Selestat in WWII. Keep up the good work!
              Pierre op 28-07-2010 11:18
              @ Greg U. Thank you, Greg, for your compliments! In the near future I will release an extension or update of this page with a report of our visit to the Tête du Violu of 2010. During the coming months other Vosges pages will be updated too and I will release some completely new pages. If you are interested in my update-newsletters, Greg, just send me a short e-mail to pierre_grandeguerre@live.nl . Thanks again, and hopefully until next time here.

              Pierre
              Poilu op 20-12-2013 19:51

              Hallo Pierre,

              Ben de laatste dagen weer met jouw aanwijzingen aan het reizen op jullie site.

              Armchair adventure werd het vroeger genoemd.

              Keek daar in mijn jongere jaren wat op neer, maar nu ik ben ik wijzer.

              Jullie avonturen zijn de basis voor nieuwe ideeen, bedankt.

              Deze kant van het front is voor mij en ik denk voor veel anderen onbekend.

              Ik had al respect voor je maar om met Mart Smeet te spreken : Chapeau, jullie hebben hier

              onwijs veel tijd en research in gestoken.

              Grtz,

              Hogst

              Ik zag dat jullie verschillende plannen hadden voor 2013.

              Dat is er natuurlijk niet van gekomen.

              Ik hoop van harte dat het goed met je vrouw gaat en dat jullie je onvoltooiden, kunnen voltooien.

              Nu weer verder vanuit mijn "armchair" met kaart en al erbij.

              Jean-Claude Porchier op 17-04-2014 10:39

              Is Brooks speaking about La Tête du Violu when he writes :

              "In 1916 the French and Germans did extensive mining near the north end of the Vosges Mountains, not far from St. Die, in quartzite, highly indurated sandstone, and conglomerates. Both sides used air drills supplied from power stations located near the front line. This was possible because the topographic conditions were exceptionally favorable.The deep-cut valleys and heavy timber gave almost complete shelter from observation, and hence there was but little artillery fire on either side. The noise of the operation swas so great, however, that both armies had fairly definite information about the operations of their opponents. In general, the plan was ill conceived and led to no decisive results." ?

              BROOKS A. H. (1920) - The use of geology on the western front: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 128-D, p. 85–124.

              Pierre Grande Guerre op 17-04-2014 11:12

              @ Jean-Claude Porchier. Thank you. Near St. Dié is the front sector of the Spitzemberg and Ban-de-Sapt. Mining warfare was also going on in that front sector. See for example: http://pierreswesternfront.punt.nl/content/2012/02/bertrimoutier--frapelle and http://pierreswesternfront.punt.nl/content/2012/02/ban-de-sapt--la-fontenelle .

              But along the whole Vosges front line there has been mining warfare. From the Chapelotte southward to the Hartmannswillerkopf.

              Pierre

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