Tracing Military Ancestors
WWI French & US Frontline:
The Frontline from Reims, through Verdun to St Mihiel
Whilst I have concentrated, thus far, on battlefields that have involved British and Commonwealth forces, it will also be my intention to provide photographic guides and historical brief histories of the French and American battlefields of the First World War located further to the south and east. To this end I have included the following "whistle-stop" tour of some of the sights of interest as one passes along the French and, later, American-held frontline from Reims to Verdun and then to St Mihiel. This short guide is designed to give a flavour of the sectors known as Champagne, Argonne, Verdun, the Meuse and the St. Mihiel Salient and as an introduction to more detailed exploration to follow at a later date.
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In the wake of the immense struggles around Ypres, Arras and on the Somme, it is often forgotten in Britain the equally savage battles conducted by the French Army from Reims in Champagne to St Mihiel in Lorraine. Altogether the French Army suffered nearly 1.4 million dead and missing in the First World War, many of these falling on the slopes of the Chemin Des Dames north of Reims, amongst the slopes and ravines around Verdun and amongst the woods and forests of the Argonne and Meuse heights. The Americans too suffered horrific losses in the region – of their 325,000 First World War casualties, no less than 117,000 were killed, wounded or missing in the Argonne offensive of September and October 1918 alone.
Index of sites:
- French National Tank Monument, Choléra Crossroads, Berry-au-Bac (Aisne/Chemin Des Dames Sector)
- Fort de la Pompelle (Champagne Sector)
- Butte de Vauqois (Argonne Sector)
- Colonel Driant’s Command Post (Verdun Sector)
- Beaumont-en-Verdunois (Verdun Sector)
- Ouvrage de Froideterre (Verdun Sector)
- Abri des Quartre Cheminées (Verdun Sector)
- La Voie Sacrée/Souilly (Meuse Sector)
- Fort de Troyon (Meuse Sector)
- Tranchée de la Soif (St Mihiel Sector)