The First World War trenches at Main des Massiges have featured several times on this site recently and understandably so as they are among the most impressive anywhere on the Western Front. Here a local association has used experimental archaeology to recreate both French and German trenches from the early war period. This was an area that saw heavy fighting in 1915 including some of the earliest examples of war underground with… Read More
A century ago the fighting in the fields of the Marne close to Paris was in full swing. Nearly two and a half million British, French and German soldiers, with Colonial troops from the far flung corners of the French Empire, were locked in combat in what would be one of the most decisive battles of 1914 and arguably of the whole war. Historian Dan Snow has just released this excellent video… Read More
On this day a century ago the Battle of the Marne began, a turning point in the early months of the Great War when the German Army was stopped from reaching Paris. Nearly two and a half million men fought in this battle which lasted less than a week and resulted in heavy losses on both sides; one in four of the French soldiers who took part became casualties, for example. The… Read More
A century ago today during the early stages of the Battle of the Marne, French author and poet Charles Péguy was killed in action. Péguy was no youngster; he was 41 when he went to war with the 19th Company of the 276th Regiment of Infantry in the French Army with the rank of Lieutenant. Going into action in the fields seen above he was shot in the head and killed instantly, one… Read More
Les Crapouillots was a satirical magazine during the Great War and also the name given to the Trench Mortar branch of the French Army by the Poilus in the trenches. This memorial in the village of Laffaux in the battlefields between Soissons and the Chemin des Dames commemorates 12,000 men of the unit who died on the Western Front. Constructed in the 1930s it was badly damaged in May 1940 during the… Read More
This huge memorial, the largest free-standing statue in France, is set in 40 acres of ground. Designed by architect Thomas Hastings, the sculptor was Frederick MacMonnies. It was unveiled in September 1932, some 14 years after the First Battle of the Marne in September 1914. Paid for by the American Friends of France, it was in recognition of this important turning point in the First World War and the stopping of the… Read More
Located in the village of La Ferte sous Jouarre, the memorial stands on the site where the Royal Engineers of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) built floating pontoon bridges across the Marne river during the pivotal Battle of the Marne in September 1914. This enabled troops to cross and tipped the balance in the favour of the Allies as the German Schlieffen Plan pushed on Paris.