16 March 2019

Feste Bleibtreu

Le Pain de Sucre, Vosges, France
Category: Historic Landscapes   Tags: WWI
Feste Bleibtreu - André Ruiter Photography

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.

15 March 2019

Kronprinz Abri

Forêt de Parroy, Emberménil, France
Category: Historic Landscapes   Tags: WWI
Kronprinz Abri - André Ruiter Photography
11 March 2019


Schratzmännele, Vosges, France
Category: Historic Landscapes   Tags: WWI
Schratzmännele - André Ruiter Photography
14 November 2018

Drei Franzosen

Le Petit Donon, Vosges, France
Category: Historic Landscapes   Tags: WWI
Drei Franzosen - André Ruiter Photography

Le Petit Donon is one of the northern summits of the Vosges Mountains. In 1914 a short but fierce battle took place between the German and French armies. It ended with a German victory.

The dead were buried on the mountain in individual or collective graves, marked by wooden crosses. In 1916, corporal Ludwig Gebhardt was commissioned by the German military command to replace the crosses with steles engraved on sandstone blocks. Each stele includes a serial number, regimental number, rank and name of the buried (if known).

After the war the bodies were reburied at other cemeteries. The many steles remained and can be found around the summit.

2 November 2017

Bois de la Laufée

Verdun, France
Category: Historic Landscapes   Tags: Verdun / WWI
Bois de la Laufée - André Ruiter Photography