I wanted also to insert a video, showing a tour of the destroyed village of Haumont, obliterated during the opening German assault on Verdun. My main reason for trying it was to capture the birdsong that gives these places such an ethereal quality, but the technology defeated me. Trust me, the birdsong was wondrous.
Battle of the Aisne 1914
See Blogs Battle of the Aisne 1 and 2, 27/12/14 and 30/12/14)
Visited two of the BEF's crossing points in the pursuit that followed the Marne victory, Conde and Vailly. Advances came to a halt against new German defensive positions on the high ground that rises steeply from the north bank of the Aisne to the plain along which runs the famous Chemin des Dames.
|The Aisne in full and rapid flow.|
I saw a kingfisher, made my morning
|The French half of the Vailly cemetery with the ridge in the background.|
|Panoramic view of the plain north of the Aisne, taken from Chemin des Dames|
The town on the Meuse is both charming and foreboding. The sense of history is pervasive.
|Avocourt National Cemetery with Avocourt Wood beyond|
|Haumont in the Bois|
|Louvremont memorial on|
Cote de Poivre
|Vaux devant Damloup|
At the eastern end of the salient the ground slopes down steeply from Fort Vaux, to the village itself a short distance for the next Village of Damloup.
In the area shown enormous German losses occurred in their attempts to take Fort Vaux. The single route to the Fort became completely blocked with corpses
Vimy Ridge and Notre Dame de Lorette
|The imposing Canadian memorial|
|The Douai plain from Vimy Ridge.|
The slag heaps of Loos are prominent
|The Necropole de Notre Dame de Lorette|
|The new NDdeL Memorial|
Since I was last there, a new monument has been opened. It reminds me of the Vietnam memorial in Washington. It lists, in alphabetical order, without rank, the names of all troops from both sides killed in the Nord and Pas de Calais of France 1914-18. Astounding - 580,000 names.
|View through the memorial window on NDdeL. The white speck on the horizon is|
the Vimy Ridge memorial. The value of high ground.