Tracing Military Ancestors
WWI French & US Frontline:
Location 7 – Abri des Quartre Cheminées (Verdun Sector)
Click and drag to move the map. Use the slider to zoom in/out.
A few hundred yards from the Ouvrage de Froideterre is a dugout known as the "Abri des Quartre Cheminées" or "Four Chimney's Dugout" after the ventilation shafts that break the surface marking its position. Unlike the neighbouring fort, which looks out from atop the Douaumont Ridge, the dugout was sunk into the reverse slope in an attempt to protect it from enemy fire. It was used during the battle as a Brigade Command Post and Field Hospital. During the massive bombardment prior to the 23rd June attack, some gas shells penetrated into the dugout and hundreds of the wounded, immobile and without gas masks, were asphyxiated. On 23rd June itself, the position was attacked by five Bavarian regiments that reached the top of the dugout and started throwing grenades down the ventilation shafts. A bayonet charge by the 114th Chasseur Battalion restored the situation but, tragically, too late for the dugout's occupants.
All photos © Mark Sluman. Click on image for full size.