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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              of the First World War?
               
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              "De Rode Duivels in de
              Vogezen - 1914-1915 -
              Een geïllustreerde
              reconstructie van de
              krijgsverrichtingen
              van het 152e
              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 

               

               












              Bertrimoutier - Frapelle
              Alsace - Northern Vosges:
               
              Bertrimoutier
               
              Franco-German War Cemetery
               
              Frapelle
               
              U.S. 5th Division Memorial
               
              year of visit: 2011.
              From the Tête de Violu, or the Haute de Faîte, or from the Col de Ste. Marie, we continue via the D 459 north-eastward. We drive “behind the French lines”, via Wisembach and Bonipaire, to stop south of Bertrimoutier to visit the Franco-German War Cemetery. 
              After this visit to the cemetery we will cross the former Front Line to continue to Frapelle, where we will visit the Memorial of the U.S. 5th Division at Frapelle.
               
              Along a narrow country road between Bonipaire and Bertrimoutier, ...
               
               
              ... at the southern outskirts of the village of Bertrimoutier,
              lies the Bertrimoutier Franco-German War Cemetery.
               
               
              We enter both cemeteries, French and German,
              via the entrance to the French cemetery.
               
              The Bertrimoutier Franco-German War Cemetery was created in March 1921 by the French military authorities as a collective cemetery.
              The Bertrimoutier Nécropole Nationale contains 966 graves.
              953 Graves contain French officers and soldiers, including 4 Indo-Chinese soldiers.
              There is a communal grave containing 12 Russian soldiers and and there is one grave containing a Romanian soldier.
              There is no mass grave.
              The officers and soldiers, buried here, were killed during all periods of the war, at the slopes of the Chaume de Lusse, east from here, of the Tête de Violu, (south-west), of the Dansant de la Fète (north), at Frapelle, and in the region of the Spitzemberg and Ban de Sapt (north-west).
               
              The French cemetery oversees the German cemetery below it.
               
               
              As always I show you only some of the many graves here.
              A soldier of the 75me R.I., fallen on 25 August 1914.
               
               
              There are many more graves of the period of the period of late
              August 1914 ...
               
               
              ... and of September 1914. The grave of a Chasseur à Pied.
               
              "JOHANNES BONNEFOI
              CORPORAL 30ME B.C.P.
              DIED FOR FRANCE
              6-9-1914"
               
               
              A view north-westward over the cemetery to the Ormont.
               
               
              Before we continue we enjoy a north-west view from the edge
              of the cemetery to the Ormont (left), the Tête de Raves (right), 
              and the Spitzemberg (utter right).
              The tower on the right is of the village church of Bertrimoutier.
               
               
              In September 1914 the famous Red Devil Regiment
              of the 152e R.I. was fighting to capture
              the summit of the Spitzemberg in the north.
               
              Pierre Deboisse was a victim of the German counterattacks,
              which followed after the capture of the mountain.
               
              "PIERRE DEBOISSE
              152e R.I.
              DIED FOR FRANCE
              ON 23-09-1914"
               
              The 152e Régiment d'Infanterie at Bertrimoutiers and the Spitzemberg.
               
               
              The End of August 1914. German attacks on St. Dié des Vosges.
               
              On 24 August General Von Heeringen's 7th Army launched the Battle of the Haute Meurthe - Mortange, sometimes also called the Battle of the Vosges, 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 the nearby city of 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. In the east the Germans attacked from Saales and the Chipotte southward the Col de Mandray, the Col des Journaux, and the Col de Ste. Marie
               
              From this period, 26 -29 August 1914, you will find many graves, German and French, in this Bertrimoutier cemetery!
               
              28 August 1914. The creation of the "Groupement des Vosges".
               
              Though the Alsace Army was at first rather successful in the Alsace Sundgau, the fighting in Alsace Lorraine and the Northern Vosges did not develop at all according to the French plans for the 1st Army and 2nd Army.
               
               
               
               
              On 27 August, the Germans even reached from the north the Col du Bonhomme and more to the west, on the 29th the Col des Journaux and the Col de Mandray, being the northern outskirts of the villages of Anould and Fraize, south of Bertrimoutier.
               
              These events forced Joffre to dissolve his First Army and to reorganise it thoroughly,  together with the Alsace Army ("l'Armée d'Alsace"). Joffre renamed the new army group on 28 August 1914 at 14.00 hrs the "Groupement des Vosges", the Vosges (Army) Group.
               
               
              30 August 1914. Start Of French Counterattacks.
               
               
              From 29 and 30 August the Groupement des Vosges launched several counterattacks. These forced von Heeringen's Army back to the eastern slopes of the Col de la Chapelotte around 9 September. Von Heeringen retreated to the new frontline, west of Saales. This frontline would stay in a stalemate situation from December 1914 until 1918.
               
              In this region, directly south of Bertrimoutier and Frapelle, the units of the 41e D.I. started to attack the Col de Mandray at 12.00 hrs. and reached at 19.00 hrs. a line south of Bonipaire and Bertrimoutier.
               
               
              15 September. The 152e R.I. occupies Bertrimoutier.
               
               
              From their garrison in the "Caserne Kléber" in Gérardmer the "Red Devils" fought already in August 1914 at Wintzenheim, west of Colmar, at Soultzeren, near the Col de la Schlucht, and at the Grand Honack.
               
               
              On 14 September 1914 the 152e R.I. received orders to occupy the villages of Neuviller and Bertrimoutier. They achieved this the next day.
               
              From around 17 September Bertimoutier was defended by units of the 66e D.I. Frapelle, Neuvillers and the Spitzemberg were defended by units of the 41e D.I., especially the 152e R.I. and the 46e Bataillon Chasseurs Alpins.
                
              17-20 September 1914. The Battle of the Spitzemberg.
               
               
              (View from the former German lines near the Col d' Hermanpaire to the Spitzemberg (641m. See also the next photo impression.)
               
              On 17 September 1914, the 152e R.I., supported by the 46e B.C.A., started an attack from their trenches near the hamlets of Charémont and Petit-Charémont, west of Frapelle, to conquer the summit of the nearby Spitzemberg, north-west of Frapelle. The Germans defended stubbornly. The hard battle for the Spitzemberg lasted four days.
               
               
              After four days of intensive combat and with heavy losses of 8 officers and 600 soldiers the 152e R.I. gained the summit on 20 September 1914. The troops started immediately to consolidate and to fortify their still disputed positions.
               
               
              The 152e R.I. and the 46e B.C.A. would be stationed at the Spitzemberg until December 1914, and during this time these units resisted several heavy German counterattacks. The Spitzemberg itself would stay in French possession until the end of the war. The villages of Neuviller (41e D.I.) and Bertrimoutier (66e. D.I.) would also stay in French hands. Frapelle would stay in German possession until 18 August 1918.
               
               
              "Les Quinze-Deux", the "Fifteen-Two's", as the soldiers of the 152e R.I. are also nicknamed, have been honoured with a memorial on the summit of the Spitzemberg, which we still have to visit ourselves, alas.
               
               
              There are also other 152e R.I. memorials to be found in the Vosges; at the Grand Honack, at the Hartmannswillerkopf, and a modern one on the roundabout in front of the current barracks of the 152e R.I. in Colmar.
               
               
              We will now return for some moments to our own modern times and we continue our visit of the cemetery.
               
               
              Of course there are also many graves of later periods of the war.
               
              "Léopolde SABATIER
              Sergéant 343e R.I.
              DIED FOR FRANCE ON 13-05-1915"
               
               
              As in every war cemetery,
              you will also find here graves of unknown soldiers.
               
               
               
               
              The four graves of Indo-Chinese soldiers.   
              “LE CANH
              SOLDIER 21E INDO-CHINESE BAT.
              DIED FOR FRANCE - 5-?-1917”
              "TRAN NGUO DUONG
              CORPORAL 21E INDO-CHINESE BT.
              DIED FOR FRANCE - ?-?-1918”
               
               
              The presence of these four graves of these Indo-Chinese soldiers emphasizes for me, yet again, the worldwide character of the Great War.
               
              These soldiers came to the Western Front from the French protectorate of Indo-China, which comprised the modern Asian states of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
               
               
              The grave of Biu Van Tao tells us that
              the 21me Bataillon Indo-Chinois was also called
              the 21me Bataillon Anamites (After Annam, Anam or Annan, for Vietnam).
               
              The grave of the unknown Romanian soldier.
               
               
              The communal grave of 12 unknown Russian soldiers.
               
               
              For an explanation about the presence of Russian troops on the Western Front, visit my Champagne Photo Impression about St. Hilaire-le-Grand and its Russian War Cemetery.
               
               
              A view north-eastward.
               
               
              We step over from the French part to the German Cemetery.
               
               
               
              The Bavarian 39th Reserve Division - Landwehr Infanterie Regiment 81.
               
               
              The Bavarian 39th Reserve Division controlled the area northward from Frapelles / Beulay to the valley of the Hure river and the valley of the Fave river, with trenches and bunkers.
               
               
               
              The nearby Col d' Hermanpaire and the eastern half of the Spitzemberg was the territory of the Bavarian 39th Reserve Division and in particular this unit:
              Landwehr Infanterie Regiment 81.
               
              Their French opponents were various units of the 41e Division d'Infanterie.
               
              Together with the Bavarian 30th Reserve Division, in the north around Ban de Sapt, the 39th formed the army corps of General Magnus von Eberhardt, "Armee Korps Eberhardt".
               
               
               
              For more background information about historical events in this front sector read my information below on Frapelle. Afterwards continue, please, to the next photo impression about Beulay, the Col d'Hermanpaire, and Ban de Sapt - La Fontenelle.
               
               
              (Period photos in this frame: Courtesy of Brett Butterworth of “Drake Goodman’s Photostream”.)
               
              We enter the Bertrimoutier Deutsche Gräberfeld,
              passing a sober memorial.
               
               
              "HERE REST GERMAN SOLDIERS"
               
               
              The German War Cemetery or the Betrimoutier Gräberfeld contains the graves of 6.749 officers and soldiers.
              Only about a third of those soldiers, buried here, are known by name.
              1.243 officers and soldiers rest in individual graves. 53 soldiers are unknown.
              5.506 Men are buried in the two large communal graves. The names of 4.080 officers and soldiers remain unknown.
              Most of these soldiers were at first buried elsewhere; their graves were scattered in a radius of up to 40 kilometres in 26 different municipal areas. The majority lost their lives during the period August - December 1914. The others were killed during the trench warfare period of 1915-1918.  The soldiers belonged to units mainly from Bavaria, but also from  Baden, Württemberg, Hesse, Saxony, Brandenburg and the Rhineland.
               
              Again the satellite view as reminder of the local situation.
               
               
              View south-westward over the left plot of the German cemetery.
               
               
              View north-westward over the right plot.
               
                                                      
              The southern communal grave.
              The northern communal grave.
               
               
              5.506 Officers and soldiers are buried in these two large
              communal graves. The names of 4.080 men remain unknown.
               
               
              Inscriptions of names on every column.
               
               
              Bronze plates with almost endless lists of names ...  
               
               
              ... of fallen officers and soldiers: name, rank, and date of death.
               
               
              A modest sign, presumably put here recently by relatives:
              "Gottfried Dippert - Comrades Grave""
               
               
              From the communal graves we go slowly downward to
              the edge of the cemetery.
               
               
              View from the south-west edge upward the cemetery.
              Even the design of this location, with
              the French graves and flag on top, the German graves below
              seems to emphasize, who did win this Great War.
               
               
              Along the hedge we find a row of some early war period head stones.
               
               
              We have a closer look at these headstones.
               
              “HERE RESTS
              WILHELM LACHMANN
              L.(and)
              S.(turm)
              R.(egiment) 81
              5th COY.
              BORN: (illegible)
              FALLEN:
              17-11-1915”
               
              “ALEX MEYERMANN
              RESERVE JÄGERBATAILLON 8
              24-8-1914”
              “ALFRED MARREN
              Born at Mulhouse on 29-11-1884
              War Victim at Mesnil on 7-11-1914
              Former soldier of the 2nd Foreign Regiment in 1912.”
               
              The grave of a Staff Sergeant;
               
              "Here rests a German hero,
              Vize-Feldwebel
              .........."
               
              The majority of these headstones commemorate
              men of L.I.R. 81 .
              Some head stones bear interesting inscriptions.
               
               
              “The death of a hero died 2nd. Lt. Heinz Mertens
              Knight of the Iron Cross -
              2 Coy. L.(andwehr) I.(fanterie) R.(egiment) 81
              on 19-2-1915”
               
              Another grave of a 2nd. Lieutenant of L.I.R. 81 tells us:
               
               
              “On the Field of Honour
               
              fell on
               
              18 February 1915
               
              2nd. Lt. Rob. Schererben
               
              7 Coy. L.I.R. 81
               
              He died being a hero.
               
              Honour to his memory.”
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
              (Period photo: Courtesy of Brett Butterworth of “Drake Goodman’s Photostream”.)
               
              The grave of a Landwehrmann, an infantryman.
               
              “On the Field of Honour
               
              fell on
               
              19-2-1915
               
              Wehrmann
              Aug. Hamm
               
              7 Coy. L.I.R. 81
               
              R.I.P."
               
               
              "LIEUTENANT
               
              JOHANN SCHEURER
               
              15 BAVARIAN LANDWEHR
              INFANTERIE
              REGIMENT
               
              6-8-1879 - 27-12-1916"
               
               
              (Period photos B.L.I.R. 15: Courtesy of Ret. Col. Joe Robinson of “Joe Rookery’s Photostream” and of “Col. Joe’s Pickelhauben Collection”.)
               
              "BARTH
              LUDWIG FRIEDRICH
               
              LIGHT INFANTRYMAN
               
              JAEGER RESERVE
              BATAILLON 8
               
              17-9-1914"
               
               
              "Sally
              Nordschild
               
              Lance Corporal
               
              1. Bavarian Brigade
              Ersatz Bataillon 9
               
              +
              30-9-1915"
               
               
               
              "BERNHARD LEUSSER
               
              LIEUTENANT
               
              ON
              29-VIII-1914
               
              2 BATTERY
               
              ??
              FIELD ARTILLERY REGIMENT"
               
              “The death of a hero died Ersatz Reservist Jakob Klingler -
              11 Coy. L.I.R. 81 - (fallen) on 13-2-15 - R.I.P."
               
               
              Of course we also made a tour along the steel crosses...
               
               
              ... and some Jewish headstones.
               
               
              Steel crosses with names of all ranks. A War Volunteer.
               
               
              A Lance Corporal.
               
               
              A Staff Sergeant. Graves of the period 26-29 August 1914.
               
               
              A Lieutenant.
               
               
              A Captain.
               
               
               
              We ascend the hill ...
               
               
              ... to leave the cemetery, ...
               
               
              ...
               
               
              ... to continue some 3,5 km. northward to Frapelle,
              crossing the former front line at a location called,
              Croix de Vraipaire.
               
               
              In the nowadays ordinary, sleepy village of Frapelle ...
               
               
              ... we visit the Mairie, the Community Hall, for its memorials.
               
               
              In a nutshell these memorials tell the history of the village.
               

               

              “- FRAPELLE –
              INVADED ON 26 AUGUST 1914

              RECAPTURED ON 18 AUGUST 1918

              RECONSTRUCTED
              FROM 1920 UNTIL 1923
               
              INAUGURATED BY
              MONSIEUR REIBEL
              MINISTER OF THE LIBERATED REGIONS
              ON 1 JULY 1923”
               
               
              “DECREE – 30 AUGUST 1920
              FRAPELLE – : LOCATED IN THE FIRST LINE
              AND FROM THIS FACT TRANSFORMED
              INTO THE CENTRE OF RESISTANCE BY THE ENNEMY.
              HAS BEEN ALMOST COMPLETELY DESTROYED
              BY THE BOMBARDMENTS
              DURING ALMOST FOUR YEARS OF OCCUPATION.: HAS HAD  ITS POPULATION EXPOSED  TO ALL KINDS OF
              SUFFERING OF WAR”
               
              In front of the Mairie stands this modest demarcation
              obelisk, marked with a red diamond.
               
               
              This U.S. 5th Division Memorial tells us:
               
               
              In the frame below I will explain some background
              to this memorial text.
               
              The U.S. 5th Division at Frapelle.
               
               
              The 5th Division, commanded by Major General John E. McMahon, arrived in France in May 1918. Its principal units were:  the 9th Brigade commanded by Brig. Gen. Castner with the 60th and 61st Infantry Regiments, the 10th Brigade commanded by Brig. Gen. Gordon with the 6th and 11th I.R.’s, the 5th Field Artillery Brigade commanded by  Brig. Gen. Flagler with the 19th, 20th and 21 F.A.R’s, next the 13th, 14th and 15th Machine-gun Battalions, the 7th Engineers and the 5th Sanitary Train.
               
              During their training period at Bar-sur-Aube the 5th  Division “received an unusually thorough and continuous gas training.”
               
              15 June 1918. The Anould Sector.
               
               
              On 1 June 1918, the 5th Division was assigned to the French General le Conte’s XXXIII Army Corps of the 7th Army.
               
               
              Between 15 June and 23 June units of the 5th Division together with the French 21e D.I. relieved the 70e D.I. in the Anould sector.
               
               
              The Anould sector spanned 30 kilometres, from Bertrimoutier in the north until the Honeck mountain in the south.
               
              The troops received here further trench warfare training by experienced French Territorials.
               
              The Germans had transformed the village of Frapelle into a triangular shaped salient.
               
              17 June 1918. First Gas Attack Experience.
               
               
              On 17 June the troops of the 5th Division got their first gas attack experience near Bertrimoutiers and Frapelle, which was not directed at the new troops, but the “customary preparation for one of the enemy raids made periodically on this front”.

              A few days before, on the 13th, the Bavarian Ersatz Regiment 5 of the 39. Reserve Division was reinforced by the Pioniere Bataillon 38. The Pioneers installed 1,183 Minenwerf gas projectors on the heights of the Chaume de Lusse and the Dansant de la Fète (German: Tanzwald), mainly loaded with “green cross” phosgene shells. At 2.50 hrs. they discharged 923 gas projectors and 106 high explosives Minenwerfer to support the following six raiding parties, the first led by two companies.
               
               
               
              In the two weeks that followed until 27 June, the Germans continued their gas attacks, firing 9.869 small, medium and large calibre shells. The U.S. troops counted 13 men killed, 17 wounded and 27 men gassed, mainly by "delayed adjustment of gas masks". After 27 June the sector temporarily became quiet again.
               
              15 July 1918. The Saint Dié Sector.
               
               
              On 15 July the 9th and 10th Brigade moved to the north, to the adjacent St. Dié sector, which 
              stretched from  the Chapelotte in the north, overlapping the Frapelle sector, until the Col de Ste. Marie in the south.

              4-16 August 1918.
               
              During the period of 4-16 August both sides exchanged artillery fire almost continuously.
               
              The Germans fired approximately 3,000 high explosives rounds, the Americans fired 2,341 rounds.
               
              17 August 1918. The U.S. 5th Division attacks Frapelle.
               
               
              On 17 August, at 03.45 hrs. 34 artillery batteries launched a six minutes preliminary bombardment on the German positions at Frapelle and Hill 451, north of Frapelle. At 04.00 hrs. the artillery fire lifted and the 13th Machine-gun Battalion laid a barrage on the exits and the streets of Frapelle.
               
              The L and M companies of the 3rd Batt. of the 6th I.R. climbed out of their trenches near Charémont and attacked the village. Behind them followed A and C companies as support, and I and K filled the vacated trenches.
               
              Only five minutes later the Germans began a counter barrage on the 2nd and 3rd wave of the attack and the captured trenches. Ahead of this counter barrage company L took Frapelle and company M, overcoming machine-gun fire from its slope, occupied Hill 451.

              The operation seemed over by 04.45 hrs. But the occupation of the village was to prove more costly!
               
              While the soldiers were consolidating their new positions, at 10 O’clock, the Germans launched from Beulay an artillery bombardment. At 14.00 hrs gas shells were falling down on Frapelle. At 16.00 hrs. more high explosives and gas shells came down and the bombardment continued to the evening.
              18 August 1918.
               
              In the early morning of 18 August, between 01.10 hrs. and 07.15 hrs. the Germans resumed and intensified their gas attacks with mustard gas shells. The rest of the morning and the afternoon the bombardment on Frapelles continued with high explosives shells.

              At 21.00 hrs, the Germans launched their last infantry counterattack at Frapelle, which lasted until 22.30 hrs. and which was after all unsuccessful.
               
              Just before midnight Fapelle was definitely in American possession.  
               
              The Americans advanced from Charémont  about 1.5 kilometres, just to the northern outskirts of Frapelle. They did not reach the Bois Carré, south of Beulay nor the village of Beulay. 
               
              But the salient of Frapelle did not exist by now, and the Americans had shortened the front line.

               
              The U.S. casualties at Frapelle during the period of 17-21 August 1918.
               
               
              The casualty numbers of the days during the two days of the capture of Frapelle, but in particular the relatively high casualty numbers of the days immediately after the capture of Frapelle show us that the Germans did not accept at all the conquest of their former salient and that they continued shelling Frapelle from Beulay and Lusse with gas and high explosives.
              In spite of the emphasis on gas warfare during "an unusually thorough and continuous gas training" at Bar-sur-Aube sixty-two percent of the American casualties were gassed!

              (Source: U.S. Army Chemical Corps - Historical Studies – Gas Warfare In World War 1 – Rexmond C. Cochrane (1958): “The 5th Division Captures Frapelle”.)

               
               
              The New York Times of 19 August 1918.
               
              After my dry survey of the events I offer you a more vivid account of the Battle of Frapelle via a newspaper article of the period, of the New York Times of 19 August 1918. For reasons of censorship and propaganda the tone of this article is not critical but of course merely victorious. Although the article mentions the gas attacks, it remains silent about the high gas related casualty numbers. But as a first account of the battle, the report is interesting.
               
              Read the columns of the clips from left to right, then scroll down.
               
               
              With a last view at the U.S. 5th Division Memorial, ...
               
               
              .. and a view of the front of the Mairie of Frapelle, ...
               
               
              ... we will follow next the front line northward via Beulay,
              via the foot of the Spitzemberg at the Col d' Hermanpaire, 
              to Ban de Sapt - La Fontenelle.
               
              Go the next chapter: "Ban de Sapt - la Fontenelle".














              Reacties

              Brett op 04-11-2011 11:44
              I simply loved this article Pierre. The fact that you paid homage to the few Indo-Chinese soldiers buried in this enormous cemetery was touching. I doubt manyother websiteshave do the same.
               
              Thank-you.
               
              Brett
              Pierre op 05-11-2011 11:56
              @ Brett. Thank you, Brett. Concerning the Vietnamese soldiers; as you know already, Brett, I make no distinction between the origins of soldiers. Considering the political situation, the social mores and the social pressure of those times, and, in case of many colonial soldiers, the sometimes forced recruiting methods, these soldiers did not have any other choice than to fight for their (colonising) “fatherland” or being killed by the firing squad, composed of their own comrades in arms. Thanks again Brett! Have a nice weekend! Pierre
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