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Wednesday, July 12, 2017
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Posted (edited)

A couple of weeks ago I spent the weekend exploring the Meuse-Argonne Forest and Verdun.

Day 1:

I started my Argonne exploration seeing the battle of Vauqois. This small village on top of a a massive hill that overlooked all of the Verdun and beyond became a massive struggle for occupation between the Germans and French. For months they would continuously charge at the bayonet to claim just feet of ground. Eventually, it came to it that the only way to take the area was underground. Beneath the hills both Germans and French dug tunnels to set explosives to blow each other off the ground. Today, you are able to walk this battlefield and even get tours into the German Tunnels; the French tunnels being closed to the public due to collapses.

 image.png.b8c1192ebac2c88c177d91345234ea53.png

Photo gathered from http://www.webmatters.net/

My next stop would be to the Kaiser Bunkers. Here (if you have played Battlefield 1) is where the Kaisers son would take up post to over watch the battle of Verdun. In 1918, the AEF would fight a bloody battle to take these bunkers and push towards the town of Varness-Argonne.

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Photo taken by myself.

 

Next, I would travel to the site of the Lost Battalion. Let me tell you, Hollywood does no justice to where they actually fought. The site of where the Battalion fended off the defending Germans is a steep, narrow side of the mountain where you would think it impossible to dig small trenches and holes to hide from incoming enemy (and friendly) artillery. God bless those men.

image.thumb.png.4a49ef65e5f09c3481dcb2dcd8e55d35.png

Photo taken by myself.

 

I visited the site of the Battle of Montfaucon. Here would be another struggle for a small village overlooking the Argonne forest. The battle obliterated the village which stood for centuries before. What's left of the site is a ruined church where, in the picture below, you can see a pill box that was constructed by the Germans out of the church ruble to fend of the Americans.

image.thumb.png.3c8e1d8112df6dfeec4a223cdb5aa00e.png

Photo taken by myself.

Lastly, I visited the largest U.S. Cemetery in Europe: The Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery. Containing 14,276 Marines, Soldiers, and Sailors who lost their lives in the 1918 fighting.

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Photos taken by myself.

 

 

Day 2:

The next day I did an extensive exploration of the Battle of Verdun.

Starting out with Fort Vaux you enter on a self guided tour through these dark, gloomy and damp halls where the men fought a bloody and gruesome fight. With gas and flamethrowers pouring into the halls to kill the men inside.

There is so much to see on these hills overlooking Verdun, I feel you need more than a day to explore it all. We all know the Forts of Douaumont and Vaux but there is so many more around the area to visit and explore. If you have the guts to do it, and a flashlight, you can walk into the woods and find different forts with entrances wide open still and explore. I Do reccomend watching for those 20 meter drops though. The staff will recommend you to not enter these dwellings but it is free of will to do so.

I also highly recommend to study the trench lines and fighting beneath the forts for you treasure hunters. Walking down the south-eastern side of Fort Douaumont you will find a lot of shell casings, mortar rounds, and plenty of other things. BE ADVISED: There are still some contaminated spots and hundreds of thousands of pounds of unexploded ordinance. If you do not know what it is DO NOT TOUCH IT. That's my best recommendation!

Anyways folks, I hope I did not bore you too much with my rambling on and hope you found the photos fascinating! Below are more that i took of both the Meuse-Argonne and Verdun.

The Lost Battalion Memorial

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German Cemetary

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Vauquois Memorial

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image.thumb.png.6b80d3c07bdf5bb84f20dabdb1d7bd22.png

Verdun: Then and now.

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Verdun Cemetery

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image.thumb.png.44d94c10c9a98c48b4240f912144e268.png

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Edited by Dan Ross

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EDIT:

I want to apologize because I just saw the forum section for battlefields and monuments!

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