I've added 23 glass stereoviews to my collection of images from the First World War. This time no trenches, soldiers or destruction. These images show the monuments of Paris, covered by sandbags to protect them against enemy fire.
My latest acquisition is an antique cabinet stereoscope for viewing 45x107 glass stereoviews. The stereoscope dates from the beginning of the 20th century and is built by Hemdé. I wanted to know everything about the device and its maker. A product catalogue and online archives revealed some information about its past.
This month I looked for the first time through the lenses of my Zeiss Ikon 628/8 stereoscope. I viewed an image of the Battle of Verdun and the visual experience and 3D effect made a big impression on me. A new passion was born.
During World War I, the German army used the peaks in the Vosges Mountains as observation posts. Le Pain de Sucre is a rock formation at 671 meters near the village of Celles-Sur-Plaine. It dominates the Vallée de La Plaine and faces Col de la Chapelotte. The Germans strengthened its position with fortifications and called it “Feste Bleibtreu”, named after one of its commanding officers.
On 1 August 1916, French troops tried to conquer the peak. The distance to the top is only one kilometre, but the steep slopes proved very difficult terrain. The German defenders soon noticed the French progressing through the barbwire and they bombed them with grenades. Under heavy fire, the French commander ordered to retreat.