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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              Pierre is the author
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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 

               

               












              Le Tanet - Villa Sidi-Brahim
              Alsace Vosges:
               
              Le Tanet - Bichtstein
               
              Chasseurs Alpins Stronghold
               
              Villa Sidi-Brahim
               
              year of visit: 2010.
              From Soultzmatt we return to Munster. From Munster we drive westward into the direction of the Col de la Schlucht. On a rainy day we explore an interesting stronghold position of the Chasseurs Alpins at the eastern sub-summit of le Tanet, the Bichtstein, guarding the village of Soultzeren and the road from Munster to the Col de la Schlucht.
              Some 3 Km. after passing the village of Soultzeren we turn right at a sharp hairpin curve to follow the numberless road upward to the summit of le Tanet. Halfway to the summit, after some 2,5 km., on a junction of 3 roads, we park our car.
               
              With a view north-eastward we walk on a track
              some 500 m. upward and eastward into the Forêt du Bichtstein.
               
               
              In the autumn of 1914 the 12me Bataillon Chasseurs Alpins
              of Lyon, being a component of the 115me Brigade,
              the “Brigade de la Schlucht”, were stationed
              at this position on the Bichtstein, a height of 877 m.
               
               
              This bunker, scattered with rubble and debris,
              is a relic of the stronghold position of the Chasseurs Alpins
              on this height of 877 m.
               
               
              Around this inaccessible bunker we find trenches, ...
               
               
              ... constructed by natural rocks.
               
               
              Before we go on, I show you in the frame below
              some concise information about this site
              and about one of the units, which was stationed here.
               
              The 12me B.C.A. in the Vosges, 1914-1916.
               
               
              After the bloody fights for Ingersheim near Colmar on 22 August 1914 against Württemberger units and units of the Bavarian L.I.R. 1, the 12me Bataillon Chasseurs Alpins and the 152 R.I., had to withdraw westward in a fighting retreat with many losses.
               
               
              Lt. Colonel Gratier led his 12th battalion of special mountain troops first to fight fiercely near Ammerschwihr and Kintzheim, next in the Katzenthal, and near Giragoutte. At 2 September 1914 the German fighting units forced the 12me B.C.A., as all French units present in this region, to retreat at the eastern slopes and summits of the Vosges Ridges, “les Crêtes”. After fights at the Col du Wettstein on 2 September the 12me B.C.A. arrived at 4 September 1914 at their position east of and near the Col de la Schlucht.
               
               
               
              On the same day Capitaine Martin took over the command of the battalion of Lt. Colonel Gratier, who had just been promoted to General of the 115me Brigade, the “Brigade de la Schlucht”, a component of the 66me Division d’Infanterie.
               
               
              The 66me D.I. was a component of the Groupement des Vosges, the Vosges Army Group.
               
               
              Next to the 12me B.C.A. the Brigade de la Schlucht knew also 3 other components, the 334me R.I. and the 229me R.I., and at the left flank, the Reserve Battalion of the 12me B.C.A. , the 52me B.C.A.
               
               
              So, the 12me B.C.A. was the first unit out of other units of Chasseurs Alpins, who occupied this position. In September and October 1914 the 12me B.C.A. had to defend the lines near the village Soultzeren and the Col de la Schlucht. Later in the war various companies of the 12me B.C.A. would be involved in battles on nearby mountains, like at the Barrenkopf in the beginning of February 1915.
               
               
               
              During the Battle of Munster, which started at 19 February 1915, the 12me B.C.A. fought fiercely at Stosswihr, reinforced by their intended relief troops of the 11me B.C.A. Some days later during the Battle of Munster, from 28 February 1915, the Bavarian and Württemberger soldiers of the Armee Abteilung of General Gaede started again a series of attacks at the village of Soultzeren. The 12me B.C.A. was again forced to defend Soultzeren. At 1 March, after one day of fighting,  the Battalion counted 100 men killed and 40 men taken Prisoner of War. The fighting for the village would go on until 7 March. During the fights for Soultzeren the 12me B.C.A. lost 5 captains, amongst them the commander of the Battalion, Capitaine Martin.
               
               
              On 14 July Capitaine Thierry took over the command and led his battalion, as a special forces unit of General Nollet, into the battle for the Barrenkopf of July and August 1915.
               
               
               
              In August and September the 12me B.C.A. would also be involved in the battles of the Lingekopf and the Schratzmännele.
               
               
               
              In December 1915 and January 1916 the 12me B.C.A. was involved at the Rehfelsen and the Hirtzstein in the Christmas Battles for the Hartmannswillerkopf.
               
               
              After a period of rest near Fraize, the Battalion was stationed in March until May 1916 in the Metzeral Sector, before it departed to Curlu at the Somme to fight their part in the great battle, as it would do later on during the war on various battlefields, even in Italy.
               
               
               
              Sources: JMO – Groupement des Vosges
              Henri Charles-Lavauzelle, “Historique Résumé de 12e Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins”, 1920.
               
              After this intermezzo we continue from the bunker
              some 50 m. to the west, ...
               
               
              ... where we find traces of trenches, ...
               
               
              ... facing the east.
               
               
              We return on the track and we descend some 250 m.
              westward to look for our original goal.
               
               
              In between the trees we sometimes get a glimpse
              north-westward of the summit of le Tanet.
               
               
              Some 100 m. south of the track we had some difficulty
              to locate this ruined house.
               
               
              This the front of the former officers quarters
              of the Chasseurs Alpins, stationed here.
               
               
              The architrave of this masonry building tells us some interesting hints.
               
               
              The officers quarters is named "Villa Sidi-Brahim".
               
               
              For the Chasseurs Alpins "Sidi-Brahim" forms
              a most significant name,
              which I explain concisely in the frame below.
               
              The battle cry "Sidi-Brahim!" at the Hilsenfirst.
               
               
              Above:the Hilsenfirst.
               
              During the Great War “Sidi-Brahim!” used to be the battle cry of the Chasseurs Alpins. Legend tells the battle cry was first used on 14 June 1915 at the Hilsenfirst by the 6th company of the 7me B.C.A.
              The Battle of Sidi-Brahim, 1845.
              “Sidi-Brahim!” refers to the Battle of Sidi-Brahim in Algeria of 23-29 September 1845. The predecessors of the Chasseurs Alpins, the 8me Bataillon Chasseurs à Pied, were surrounded together with the 2me Régiment des Hussards in the marabout of Sidi-Brahim by the superior numbers of Abd-el Kader’s 10.000 Algerians.  Though they were completely surrounded and besieged, and having many losses the French did not surrender. When the remaining 80 survivors completely ran out of munitions, they managed to break through the enemy lines with a bayonet charge, but only 16 of them managed to rejoin the French lines.
              Sidi-Brahim at the Hilsenfirst, 1915.
              On 14 June 1915 the 6th coy. of the 7me B.C.A. was engaged in heavy fighting at the Hilsenfirst (1.270 m.) The Chasseurs were almost encircled by German troops. For three days the 6th coy. defended desperately their trench. Running out of ammunition and having many losses the Chasseurs, shouting “Sidi-Brahim!”, were even forced to defend themselves, throwing rocks down the slope. After 3 days they were liberated from this critical situation by volunteers of the 13me B.C.A. ... 
               
              ... and other companies of the 7me B.C.A.
              Legend tells that this event was also the occasion, where the Chasseurs Alpins got their proud nick-name of the “Diables Bleus”, the Blue Devils. “Sidi-Brahim!” would forever stay the war cry of the Chasseurs Alpins.
              A Similar Critical Situation.
               
              A period photograph of an unknown date, taken on an unknown location, of a similar critical situation; French infantry soldiers throwing rocks on their opponents, somewhere in the Vosges. The soldiers are equipped with the "Bleu Horizon" battle dress and the "Casque Adrian", the Adrian M 1915 helmet. From February 1915 this light blue outfit, meant as camouflage, was distributed gradually to the French troops .
               
              Back to the front of the Villa Sidi-Brahim. There is
              another interesting inscription to be found on the architrave.
               
               
              "1914-1915 - République Française", decorated by a hunting horn.
               
               
              These two inscriptions on the architrave confirm
              the presence of the Chasseurs Alpins on this spot.
               
              The hunting horn and the bugle;
              emblem and symbol of the Chasseurs Alpins.
               
               
              The hunting horn on the front of this officers quarters forms the symbol or emblem of the Chasseurs Alpins, which they always, until nowadays, wear on their beret hat, their “Tarte”, or pie, as the Chasseurs call it themselves.
              The hunting horn is also used on official occasions like musical parades, as we see on this realistic painting below of a festive event in 1917, probably at St. Amarin.
              The Chasseurs knew also “Clairon” soldiers, who were playing the field version of the horn, the bugle. At the right of these details below you will find the bugle in the hand of the fanfare’s conductor. The “Clairons” blew the bugle with different tunes to signal and to command the troops like for instance to attack or to retreat. The bugle announced also important parts of the day, like the last post. Notice that some hunting horn blowers keep their bugle at hand under their left arm.
              Hunting horn.                                                   Bugle.
              Dutch Readers, for more info about the historic background of the Chasseurs Alpins, please read my Dutch, concise article elsewhere on my website;
               
              On the ground in front of the Villa Sidi-Brahim ...
               
               
              we find metal parts of the building, ...
               
                
              ... and a lot of shards of orange roof tiles,
              which used to cover the house.
                
               
              A last view at the interior of the Villa Sidi-Brahim.
               
               
              Another 50 m. to the east we find the ruin of another house,
              which is roughly similar to the Villa Sidi-Brahim.
               
               
              I don't know which function this house had.
              Considering the limited size of the Villa Sidi-Brahim, I suppose,
              this house could probably have served as the annexe of the Villa, offering other officers their quarters.
               
               
              We leave the Villa Sidi-Brahim and we return to our car.
               
               
               
              On the next photo page we go to the Col de la Schlucht
              to continue our route along the frontline southward
              along the Route des Crêtes.
               
               Continue to the next chapter:

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