Tracing Military Ancestors
WWI French & US Frontline:
Location 8 – La Voie Sacrée/Souilly (Meuse Sector)
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The N35 Route Nationale from Verdun to Bar-le-Duc provided the only access into Verdun during the battle, all other routes into the beleaguered city being cut or covered by German guns. The importance of the road led the French to nickname it “La Voie Sacrée” (The Sacred Way) a name which it carries to this day. At the height of the battle, around 6,000 trucks were transporting 90,000 men and 50,000 tons of supplies into the city along this road each week. So vital was the link that any broken down vehicles were simply shoved off the road to maintain the flow of men and material to the front.
Twenty kilometres from Verdun, La Voie Sacrée passes through Souilly from which General Pétain directed the defence from 26th February to 1st May 1916 basing his headquarters in the town hall.
All photos © Mark Sluman. Click on image for full size.