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              ALSACE LORRAINE

              The Gap of Charmes - La Trouée de C.

              Avricourt - Leintrey - Reillon - Montreux - Parux 

              Montreux German Front Walk

              The Battle of Morhange - 1914

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              Munster Valley Petit Ballon  

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              Guebwiller - Rimbach - Hirzstein  

              Moosch Nécropole Nationale  

              ALSACE SUNDGAU  

              Zillisheim Illfurth Largitzen Pfetterhouse 

              Burnhaupt-le-Bas Bunker Path     


              Mort Homme Côte 304

              Montfaucon- Romagne s/s Montfaucon

              Butte de Vauquois

              Haute Chevauchée

              The Bunker of the German Crownprince


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              Aubers - 1915 

              Fromelles - 1916  

              Neuville-St. Vaast - Souchez

              Notre Dame de Lorette 


              Arras Wellington Quarry

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              St. Hilaire le Grand Russian Cmty  Mont Navarin

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              Verberie Néry Villers Cotterêts  

              First Battle of the Marne   

              Belleau Wood - Château Thierry  

              Second Battle of the Marne

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              Les Eparges Ridge

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              Butte de Montsec

              Rémenauville Destroyed Village

              le Bois le Prêtre / das Priesterwald 

              SOMME British Sector


              Auchonvillers Trench

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              Thiepval Wood - Ulster Tower

              Ovillers La Boiselle

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              Redan Ridge 

              Newfoundland Memorial Park  

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              Fricourt Deutsche Kriegsgräberstatte 


              Mametz Wood 

              Trones Wood Montauban Guillemont

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              High Wood Longueval

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              le Sars Butte de Warlencourt

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              Adanac Canadian Cmty. Mireaumont

              SOMME French Sector 


              Rancourt Cimetière National

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              Flaucourt Biaches


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              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 


              Menin Road Railway Wood

              Maple Copse - Hill 62 - Hooge

              Clapham Junction Zandvoorde Bunker

              Polygon Wood Zonnebeke

              Hill 60 - Hollebeke -

              St. Elooi - Lankhof Farm

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              Boezinge Essex Farm Ziegler Bunker

              Langemark Poelkapelle St. Juliaan

              Passchendaele Ridge

              Mount Kemmel Lettenberg Bunkers

              Ploegsteert Wood


              Nieuport Ramskapelle

              Pervijze  Stuijvekenskerke

              Diksmuide Trench of Death 

              Leke Vladslo Houthulst


              Pierre's Nederlandstalige
              artikelen en columns
              over de Grote Oorlog
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              Bochkareva en haar Vrouwenbataljon
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              Tijdreizen Op Internet
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              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,
              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
              Op de Lingekopf
              Weinig Duitse Monumenten
              Soldaten Standbeelden
              Mosterdgas 1917
              Schwaben Redoubt
              Oogst Van Roest
              De Tekenaar Hansi
              Gifgas Bij Vancouver Corner
              Nationaliteit Kwijt?
              Beloond Geduld
              Prins Harry Naar Irak
              De Arm Van De Kaiser
              Artilleriebunkers Nabij Duzey
              Kamp Flabas
              Eerherstel voor "Deserteurs"
              Vredig plekje?
              Moslimmonument in Verdun 
              De Slag aan de Somme
              De Tunnel van Tavannes
              Kapitein Joost van Vollenhoven
              Huis Doorn
                 “Raadselachtig Ansichtkaartje II
              Raadselachtig Ansichtkaartje I 



              Burnhaupt-le-Bas - Bunker Path
              Alsace Sundgau - Haut Rhin:
              Sentier des Bunkers - Bunker Path
              year of visit: 2011
              On a hot day in June 2011 (30°C.) we walked the Bunker Path of Burnhaupt-le-Bas along the German 3rd line artillery positions of 1914-1918. Besides enjoying the landscape and nature we will visit 27 German bunkers.
              We park our car at the foot of the village church of Burnhaupt-le-Bas and we start our walk of 8.6 km., following the signs, which lead us northward, out of the village.
              This farm stands on the location of a former water mill,
              the "Pflattermühle", destroyed during the war.
              Before and during the war the mill was also
              a rather important landmark,
              which we will later recognize on this page on some period maps.
              Via a tunnel we cross the A 36.
              View northward at the sister village, Burnhaupt-le-Haut,
              centre point of the Battle of Burnhaupt-le-Haut.
              At the horizon the southern ridges of the Vosges.
              In the copse on the right we will visit our first bunker plot.
              The first bunker, which we visit, is an artillery observation bunker, constructed of masonry of concrete blocks.
              A staircase leads to the top construction for better observations.
              The two entrances are guarded by a loopholes.
              The interior of the bunker,
              left a sentry room guarding the entrances.
              The three loopholes of the sentry room.
              The second entrance.
              Next to the bunker stands a "Blinkstelle", a light signal station.
              The interior.
              Concrete breastworks surround these bunkers. 
              The third bunker of this plot is severely damaged.
              It served as a shelter bunker.
              Before we continue our walk north-eastward into the "Hardtwald"
              wood, I offer you in the frame below some historical information.
              Burnhaupt-le-Bas - 1914-1916.  
              Let us first have a closer look via this 1917 sketch of L.I.R. 123 at the location of Burnhaupt-le-Bas in relation to its geographic position along the Sundgau front line.
              Zoomed in:
              The 3rd Battalion of Landwehr Infanterie Regiment 40.
              During the period of 1914-1916 the 3rd Battalion of the Badische Landwehr Infanterie Regiment 40, a component of the 82. Landwehr Brigade of the 12. Landwehr Division, was stationed at Burnhaupt-le-Bas or “Nieder Burnhaupt”. Major Melchers (not on this picture) commanded the 3rd Battalion from Burnhaupt-le-Bas.
              (Period photo:  Courtesy of Brett Butterworth of “Drake Goodman’s Photostream”. Afterwards the period photographer added the regimental number on the "Felduberzug".)
              The commander of L.I.R. 40, Oberst (Colonel) D. Koch had his regimental headquarters at Heimbrunn, a village directly east of Burnhaupt-le-Bas.
              In the south the 3rd Battalion was flanked by units of L.I.R. 123, and in the north, at Burnhaupt-le-Haut (“Ober Burnhaupt”), by several companies of its own L.I.R. 40 and later on with units of L.I.R. 110. The L.I.R. 119 was at the right flank of the Burnhaupt villages at the Kahlberg and at Aspach-le-Bas.
              The French units.
              In July 1915 these German units were opposed by French units of the 114e Brigade d’Infanterie, part of the 57e Divison d’Infanterie de Réserve, a component of the Groupement des Vosges, the Vosges Army Group. The 56e Régiment d'Infanterie Territoriale, consisting mostly of older soldiers, guarded the lines opposite Burnhaupt at Guewenheim and Soppe-le-Bas.
              Attacks in the region of Burnhaupt.
              Though Burnhaupt-le-Bas was never itself the main target of French attacks, the village and it surroundings were literally sideways involved by attacks on the village, south of it, Ammerzwiller.
              These battles were respectively fought on 1 and 2 December 1914, ...
              ... from 2 April until 4 May 1915, ...
              ... and on 11 and 12 July 1915.
              Burnhaupt-le-Bas and Burnhaupt-le-Haut, January 1915.
              During the second week of January 1915 the fate of Burnhaupt-le Bas was directly connected to the fate of its northern sister village, Burnhaupt-le-Haut.
              The first front line ran west of the villages and the second line was along the edge of the two villages. East of the villages, and south-east of Burnhaupt-le-Bas were 3rd line artillery positions like for instance in the wood of the Ober Hartwald, nowadays called "Hardtwald".
              The Battle of Burnhaupt-le-Haut, 7- 10 January 1915.
              During the days of 7-10 January 1915 the village of Burnhaupt-le Bas was involved in the French attacks, which concentrated on Burnhaupt-le-Haut. The 57e D.I.R. opened the attack with preliminary artillery bombardments during the day of 7 January and in the morning of 8 January until 12.30 hrs.
              During the afternoon of 8 January the units of the 371e R.I., the 3rd Battalion of the 172e R.I., 2nd Battalion of the 53e R.I., and the 2nd Battalion of the 56e R.I.T., deployed from Guewenheim and Soppe-le-Bas their first infantry attacks at Burnhaupt-le-Haut.
              The Fußartillerie-Batterie 362 “von Beck”, a component of the Lothringisches Fußartillerie-Regiment Nr. 16 stationed at the Ober Hartwald, bombarded 400 French soldiers, gathered at the train station west of Burnhaupt-le-Haut, which made them start to retreat hastily for the time being. Later in the afternoon the units conquered the train station and entered the village. They were fighting in close combat in the streets.
              The German 3rd Battalion had to send hastily troops from Burnhaupt-le-Bas to its sister village to assist the other companies of L.I.R. 40 defending the village. 
              On request of Major Melchers Oberst Koch did send from Heimbrunn also extra other units of  L.I.R. 40 to reinforce the fighting units at Burnhaupt-le-Haut. 
              (Period photo:  Courtesy of Ret. Col. Joe Robinson of “Joe Rookery’s Photostream” and of “Col. Joe’s Pickelhauben Collection”.)
              In the night of the 8 to 9 January even units of the L.I.R. 110 arrived from Schweighouse and Heimbrunn to resist the French attacks and to drive the French back, out of the village. On the 9th the French troops in the village suffered from surrounding fires of burning houses, caused by the nearby German artillery, which made them to start to retreat from the village to its western outskirts.
              After two days of battle and under pressure of the German reinforcements the French troops were finally forced to retreat on 10 January to their original positions at Guewenheim and Soppe-le-Bas.
              The Aftermath; German Casualties.
              At 10 January the Germans know to reoccupy their own former positions in and around the Burnhaupt villages. Immediately they started to reconstruct their trenches and fortifications.
              During these days L.I.R. 40 counted 13 men killed, 15 wounded and 24 soldiers were missing in action. 
              L.I.R. 110 counted 4 officers killed and 18 killed soldiers, 1 officer wounded, 53 men wounded, and 22 soldiers were missing in action.
              Compared to the French, the Germans had a relatively lower number of casualties - 150.
              "Deutsche Kriegszeitung":  French P.O.W.'s.
              According to the weekly magazine of the period, the “Deutsche Kriegszeitung” of 17 January 1915, the Germans conquered during the fights at Burnhaupt of 8 and 9 January a French "machine-gun" and they took “2 officers and 420 men prisoner”.
              The victorious tone of this quote of the “Deutsche Kriegszeitung” does not mention the wounded and killed French soldiers and the men missing in action.



              French casualties.
              According to the French regimental war journals the situation was worse and these French attacks were rather disastrous. The 3rd Battalion of the 172 R.I., temporarily detached to the 371e R.I.,  lost during the “Battle of Burnhaupt-le-Haut” 2 officers and 336 men; approx. 19% of their unit.
              The 371e R.I. counted at the first day of the battle: two officers killed, 7 officers wounded, and 2 officers missing in action. Casualties of NCO’s and soldiers: 18 killed, 147 wounded, 467 M.I.A. (or P.O.W.), approx. 23 % of their unit . There is no casualty list to be found on the page of the 9th. After the battle, on 25 January, these high casualty numbers even forced this regiment to reorganise thoroughly.
              The JMO of the 56e R.I.T. only mentions on the 8th: "2 soldiers killed and 3 wounded". Considering the advance of the 2nd Battalion and its ultimate position in the village it is most likely that these numbers were later even higher.
              The total casualty number of these three French regiments were at least 984 men, or 6,5 times higher than the German losses! 
              From 15 January 1915 on the Germans would launch a counter-offensive, that concentrated its attacks more northward on the sector of Cernay and the Hartmannswillerkopf.
              (Besides the French JMO's, main source: Philippe Springer;
              “L ‘Alsace en guerre – 1914-1916 – Vers le front continu en Haute-Alsace”.)
              We now continue our route entering the "Ober Hartwald",
              or nowadays named the Hardtwald.
              We cross the N 466 via a bridge.
              Along a parallel channel of the Doller river we visit our
              second bunker plot, starting with this ammunition bunker.
              Next a damaged shelter bunker.
              The second ammunition bunker at this plot.
              The interior.
              The second shelter bunker with relics of the breast works.
              The third, damaged shelter bunker of this plot.
              We follow the signs, which will lead us to ...
              ... the right bank of the Doller.
              From the Doller we continue our walk south-eastward, ...
              ... roughly following the parallel channel, the Steinbächlein.
              After some 400 m. we arrive at this bunker,
              which served as a dressing station.
              It stands at the start of a forest lane ...
              ... along the third bunker plot. The green dots mark some
              of the bunkers, hidden under the trees.
              The view point of this photo is to be found below in the sketch.
              We will visit this personnel bunker with in front of it
              an ammunition niche.
              The concrete ammunition niche.
              The personnel shelter bunker, partly damaged.
              We continue to the ...
              ... "Befehlstelle der Fussartillerie-Batterie 362", or ...
              ... the command Post of the Foot Artillery Battery 362
              (Field Howitzers).
              The inscription of Fussartillerie-Batterie 362.
              The bunker is decorated with Prussian crosses, ...
              ... marked with a W of Kaiser "Wilhelm", ...
              ... which is also the shape of the distinction of the Iron Cross.
              A view at the interior.
              The rear side of the Command Post.
              Notice the thickness of the walls behind the bunker.

              This spot made me think of this period photo.

              We leave the "Befehlstelle" for the next three bunkers
              of this plot: ...
              ... two destroyed ammunition bunkers, ...
              ... and an ammunition bunker with a niche in front of it.
              This ammunition bunker is still in a good condition.
              We leave this position
              and we follow the Steinbächlein southward.
              From the edge of the wood we spot on an open field this stork.
              The stork forms the national symbol of the Alsace.
              Not only the stork, but also an unknown local artist, "W.M.",
              helps us to cheer us up.
              This funny goblin reminds us of our great privilege to enjoy
              our lives in the peaceful Europe of nowadays.
              Now we arrive at the location of the “Dich Waschanlage”.
              These walls in the channel were here already
              before the French Revolution (1789).
              They served a civilian purpose: a laundry for
              the Burnhaupt women, called the “Dich Waschanlage”
              or “Le Lavoir de Dich”.
              Probably the soldiers, stationed here, used it also for
              their laundry.
              Burnhaupt women would use the laundry until the 1960s.
              We cross a small bridge over the Steinbächlein
              to continue first north-westward and later southward.
              Out of the wood we feel the heat,
              when we walk in the open field to a fire gallery bunker.
              The loopholes of the "Schieẞstand mit raum",
              facing westward, are filled in.
              The entrance and staircase.
              The two rooms interior with an ammunition niche.
              The interior of the gallery with the filled in loopholes.
              We leave the "Schieẞstand mit raum" to continue southward,
              crossing the A 36 safely via a bridge, to arrive at
              the northern bank of the "Plan'd'eau" of Burnhaupt-le-Bas.
              Across the lake, at the south-east bank, we spot a bunker.
              A tele view over the lake.
              View from the south-east bank of the lake at Burnhaupt-le-Bas.
              Tele view of Burnhaupt-le-Bas.
              The lake forms now a recreation attraction for the local youth.
              The bunker is covered with modern graffiti, alas
              The same bunker, seen from the south, sinking slowly in the lake.
              From this bunker at the lake we continue southward ...
              .... and we enter the Hinterholz wood for a plot of 5 bunkers.
              At the right side of the path we find this time 2 funny goblins.
              The first bunker is a double one. Considering its state
              and large windows it may have served as an officers bunker.
              Next a second personnel bunker with chicane shaped entrances.
              The interior. Notice the 45° walls of the entrances.
              The ceiling is still in a perfect state.
              The third bunker is an ammunition bunker.
              The ladder suggests that the roof may have been used
              as an observation post.


              The interior.
              Almost hidden by the vegetation, two bunkers next to each other.
              This shelter bunker possesses two chicane shaped entrances.
              One of these entrances is also protected
              by a concrete wall in front of it.
              Only a half is left of this twin shelter bunker.
              We continue some 200 m. southward. At the east side
              of the path we detect a large concrete structure: ... 
              .. a double shelter bunker for infantry soldiers.
              The two entrances on the north-east  side.
              The interiors of the "left" and the "right" bunker.
              Notice the good condition of the metal parts of the ceilings.
              View from the right bunker
              via the connecting door into the left bunker.
              We continue some 150 m. southward.
              At the western side of the path we find a double shelter bunker.
              Whenever I find an original inscription, even if it is
              almost illegible, I always get rather excited.
              "Constructed 1917 by Pioniere Compagnie 251
              and .... Batt VII/54""
              The interior of the left bunker.
              The interior of the right bunker.
              We leave the Hinterholz, cross the open field for some 500 m.
              View north-westward at Burnhaupt-le Bas.
              We arrive at the north-western edge of the Limberg wood
              to find the last bunker of our visit.
              Like the first bunker with which we started our walk,
              this bunker served also as an artillery observation post,
              with a staircase to the roof.
              It is almost identical to "our" first observation post,
              more to the north of the village.
              The interior possesses two rooms.
              The smaller room, a sentry room,
              with three loopholes, guarding the two entrances.
              The rear side of the artillery observation post.
              We leave the wood and we cover again some 500 m. westward
              in the open field to our last goal.
              At the edge of the fishing pond we will find a rather
              confusing structure, covering the "Hagendorn" source.
              Beneath it we will find the typical concrete block structure
              which we were seeking.
              Although we are at first a bit disappointed by the state of
              this spot, we are rewarded by finding a
              well-cut German inscription.
              From the Hagendorn source we continue north-westward
              to return to our car, parked at the foot of the village church
              of Burnhaupt-le-Bas.
              Continue to the next chapters
              about the Alsace Vosges battlefields:


              op 01-10-2011 12:17
              Mooi Peter
              Ik heb zelf de wandeling een paar jaar geleden gemaakt, zeker de moeite waard. Als je van Burnhaupt naar het oosten de bossen in gaat kom je daar ook nog vele bunkers tegen.
              René Kappert op 02-10-2011 09:40
              Oeps vergeten m´n naam achter te laten.
              >>>> Ik heb zelf de wandeling een paar jaar geleden gemaakt, zeker de moeite waard. Als je van Burnhaupt naar het oosten de bossen in gaat kom je daar ook nog vele bunkers tegen. <<<<
              Pierre op 02-10-2011 10:42
              @ René. Ik had al het vermoeden dat jij dit was, René! Bedankt voor jouw twee reacties. Het is altijd leuk als iemand, die ervaren is met een stuk front, bevestigt dat mijn foto indrukken overeen komen met hun eigen ervaringen aldaar.
              Prettige zondag nog verder!
              Brett op 08-10-2011 02:40
              Another most excellent and memorable article Pierre. I always leave your site wondering how I can convince my wife to let me leave home for a month (without her and the kids). Your kangaroo-eating friend, Brett

              Pierre op 08-10-2011 22:43
              @ Brett. Thanks, Brett, for your laudable words. The period photo contributions of Joe and of you yourself, Brett, form really an extra asset to my otherwise perhaps dull narration. Thanks again also for this courtesy.
              Considering your trip to the Western Front, Brett, bring your wife and kids with you, drop them respectfully at Disneyland Paris, and join us for a front trip.
              You and your family would be of course most welcome with us also here in Holland!
              Your cheese head friend, Pierre.
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