Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Period Photos from the 1918 Meuse-Argonne Campaign

This is a follow-up to a previous post covering a few sites we visited last year in the area of the US Meuse-Argonne campaign of September-November 1918.  Lately, we have been doing more serious research into the campaign in hopes of going to back France to explore the area in more detail.  During the research, we ran across some period photographs of Montfaucon, the US cemetery at Romagne, and Dun-Sur-Meuse.  They are fascinating photographs and while no photo ever does real life justice, these give a sense of the destruction and desolation of the battlefield over which American troops fought. All the photographs are from two books which are a little hard to find:  The Fifth Division in the World War:  1917-1919 (published in 1919 by The Society of the Fifth Division) and American Armies and Battlefields in Europe (Center of Military History, US Army; originally published in 1938).

These old unit histories are priceless.

Aerial shot of Montfaucon looking south.  The arrow in the upper left hand corner marks the spot where the US Meuse-Argonne Memorial now stands.  See our previous post on the Meuse-Argonne campaign for a shot of the monument, the ruins of the village, and an idea of how the vegetation has recovered since 1918.

US troops move through the ruins of Montfaucon in early October 1918.
A shot of No Man's Land south of Montfaucon near the village of Malancourt.

Another shot of the terrain US troops fought in during the Meuse-Argonne campaign.
The American cemetery at Romagne in May of 1919.

The village of Romagne in October of 1918.
Dun-sur-Meuse in November of 1918 not long after the 5th Division's 2nd Battalion/61st Infantry took it.

German prisoners taken in the fighting around Dun-sur-Meuse.

A pontoon bridge over the Meuse constructed by the 7th Engineer Regiment.

US troops repair a bridge in Dun destroyed by the retreating Germans.

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