Lingekopf - German Lines.
We start again with a view at the top of the Lingekopf.
The summit itself is still forbidden terrain,
because of the danger of explosives,
and the possible presence of bodies of soldiers, missing in action.
But as long as you stay on the paths or in the German trenches,
you are free to visit anywhere you will go.
For now we follow again the eastern path,
concentrating on the German 1st line.
Christine just passed the first, southern "Blockhaus".
The French line of October 1915 is just 2 m. from the path.
As we continue, ...
... we remark this shelter bunker.
It shows how well organised
and well built the Germans made their bunkers:
steel U bars covered with lots of concrete.
On this page you will find some photo's of the unique collection of period photographs by Oberleutnant Dose (left) of the Prussian 187th Infantry Regiment, who served at the Lingekopf or le Linge in October 1915.
I am very grateful for the courtesy of Mr. G.F. Dose (+12-09-2008) from Germany, who allowed me to show you some samples of this well protected and well saved extraordinary collection of his father Oberleutnant Dose.
Herr Dose managed some interesting websites. For this topic about the Lingekopf I also do warmly recommend a visit to Herr Dose's English version of
After this intermezzo
we continue our walk along the German 1st Line.
Steel rifle shields.
An observation bunker.
The concrete pill-boxes served as observation bunkers.
In the meantime we have reached
the most northern "Blockhaus", ...
... an observation bunker at the highest point
of the 1st line trench,
which offers this view in the direction
of the Col du Wettstein and the Tête de Faux.
Of course I had to take a look inside this observation bunker.
These trenches and fortifications were often constructed or
repaired under enemy fire!
I climbed down the trench to find the entrance.
The inscription tells, who builded this concrete observation post:
B(avarian) L(andwehr) I(nfantry) R(egiment) No. 29 K(ompany)".
In the next photo's I will show you the view from this bunker.
At the inside again a graffiti-like inscription:
"Pionier - Komp 6/16 - I L - (unreadable)".
View from the left window.
View from the right window over the French line.
With a last view over the former French trenches, ...
...we decide to descend into the German 1st line trench
to track another interesting observation post .
We pass some firesteps, ...
... with armoured rifle shields, ...
... to inspect this observation bunker.
The Bavarian Wilhelm Betz was very proud of his bunker,
improved in June 1916.
He autographed "his" bunker twice, once on the outside, ...
...and another one on the inside of the observation post.
The inscriptions form proof of the improvements,
the Germans would still make on their trenches
and fortifications long after the end of the battles
in October 1915.
View from the left window.
A Reminder: On 9 September 1915;
new German attacks, with gas and flame-throwers.
The French counter-attacks failed.
We return through the trench, upward the Lingekopf, ...
... to visit the 2nd German line.
Behind the northern observation blockhaus on the ridge, ...
... we pass eastward the narrow ridge with this black cross, ...
... to find our way through the communication trench, ...
... between the lines, downward on a steep slope.
After a short turn to the north, we saw this bunker,
which the French call the "Fort Carré".
It's openings are following the surface of the rock around it.
It's concrete roof is about 1 m. thick.
The entrance of the 3 story bunker is in the 2nd line trench.
The bunker used to be connected with underground tunnels
to and from the third line.
Nowadays the entrance to the tunnels has been filled in.
We continue through the trench southward, ...
... to the most advanced point of the French
at the German 2nd line, ...
... they would by times, interfered by German counterattacks, ...
... possess from 26 July until 24 August 1915.
A the end of October the front stabilised,
and the great battles around the pass of Le Linge
Until 1918 each party along "The Forgotten Front"
reorganized and strenghtened it's defences.
Both belligerent parties worked often under enemy fire.
Sometimes there were still artillery duels
and hand to hand combat fighting in the Lingekopf sector.
Casualties at the Lingekopf.
Around 4.000 French soldiers of 17 battalions, of Chasseurs Alpins and of Chasseurs au Pied, died during the period of July until October 1915.
French sources estimate that 80 % of these French soldiers, fighting at le Linge, were killed.
The losses on the German side were, roughly seen, equal to those of the French.
The Collet du Linge had no strategic value.
It was not overseeing any important east-west roads.
At least around 8.000 German and French men were killed in this battle in 1915 without any strategic progression!
In the meantime we have arrived back at the southern slope
of the Lingekopf.
The base of a trench mortar, ...
... and the relics of a German field oven.
A last view northward to the 2nd German line.
Back at the parking of the battlefield,
I advise you to visit the "Mémorial du Linge" Museum, ...
...to watch an interesting historic movie
about the French mountain warfare in the Vosges,
and about the transport of supplies and troops
under harsh conditions from Gérardmer to these summits.
On the next photo page we continue with our explorations
of the Lingekopf-sector with the Kleinkopf and the Barrenkopf.
Continue to the next chapter: