Travel Tips: Passe au Present! Militaria Shop in Dun-sur-Meuse

  The webmaster enjoys “discovering” new places every time he visits the Meuse-Argonne; and this happened in November, when he discovered the Passé au Présent! militaria shop in Dun-sur-Meuse.   The shop is run by father, Jacques Mansy, and his son, Thibault Mansy; each with their own areas of specialization.  Jacques Mansy specializes in unit histories, old postcards and ephemera relating to WW1, WW2 and the French colonial wars.  Thibault specializes in military antiques, including helmets, U.S. WW1 items and knives and bayonets from around the world.  Continue reading →

Then and Now: Aid Station in Cunel

    Caption:  The then photo is captioned:  “Figure 82–Aid station, 358th Infantry, at Cunel, Meuse, October 27, 1918.”  The 358th was part of the 90th Division, which entered the line in mid-October and continued the push northward. Note also in the then photo the sign “Ortskommandantur” above the door.  On period military translation dictionary translates it as Town Major’s Office.   Location:  6 Rue de la Fontaine, which is the D123, the main street running through town.  It is very easy to locate.   Continue reading →

News and Events–Over There: Spaces Still Available on the WW1 Historical Association’s June 2017 Pilgrimage, but Deadline Approaching

  Hello readers!  Space is still available on the World War 1 Historical Association’s June 2017 Pilgrimage to the Western Front, but the deadline for reserving your seat is December 31, 2016!  So don’t put off your decision-making too long; and please share this post with your friends who might be interested in the tour!!  Details can be found at this website:  http://ww1ha.org/2017-ww1-battlefield-pilgrimage/.     Tour Guide’s Skill Set This tour is being led by webmaster Randal Gaulke.  Many readers know that Randal has been travelling to Continue reading →

Then and Now: Clermont-en-Argonne

        Caption:  The two “then” pictures show the town of Clermont-en-Argonne before the war, in 1905, and during the war, in 1915.  By the time of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in late 1918 Clermont-en-Argonne was clearly several miles south of the front lines.  Nevertheless, the damage to the city can be seen in the 1915 photo.   Location:  The intersections of the D998 and D603–the main intersection in town.  The two then photos can be viewed just outside the Mairie.   Source:  Then Continue reading →

News & Events–Over There: Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery Visitor Center Update Number 2

This post is a follow-up to a post dated July 16, 2016.     The newly-renovated Visitors Center at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne-sous-Montfaucon opened up on Veterans Day 2016 and the webmaster had the chance to visit it during his recent visit.   As described in the July post, the first floor was being divided into three main interpretive rooms:  A 1920s-style entrance room, a campaign gallery and a commemorative gallery.  The entrance room was designed to look as it was in the Continue reading →

Travel Tips: Visit the Hand at Massiges Trenches in the Eastern Champagne Region

Situated just a bit west of the Argonne Forest, the wonderfully-recreated trenches at La Main de Massiges (The Hand at Massiges) are well worth a visit—even if American troops did not directly fight at that location.  The association, “la Main de Massiges,” was formed in 2008.  Beginning in 2010, it has worked to preserve a small piece of the Champagne battlefields with the help of aerial photographs from 1915.  The association has worked to recreate the trenches using construction methods of the time; and it Continue reading →

People of the Meuse-Argonne: Maarten and Didi Otte

Even today French locals , other Europeans and Americans find themselves drawn to the Meuse-Argonne region of France.  Once drawn there, many return time and again; often working on a multi-year research or preservation project.  In this irregular interview series, the webmaster hopes to introduce readers to some of these individuals and their labors of love.         1) What are your name, nationality and occupation? Maarten and Didi Otte, a Dutch couple running B&B 14-18 Nantillois and private museum ‘Meuse-Argonne 1918’ which Continue reading →

News and Events–Stateside and Over There: #CountdowntoVeteransDay, 2016 and Veterans Day Ceremonies at ABMC Cemeteries

    Just a reminder to join with the World War I Centennial Commission to make Veterans Day 2016 a “day-on” rather than a “day-off.”  The commission encourages citizens to volunteer with a veterans organization or to attend a commemoration ceremony.  A list of volunteer opportunities can be found at this link:  http://www.countdowntoveteransday.org/.     The Webmaster will be in France and will attend on of the ABMC Veterans Day Ceremonies in France  Dates and times for the ceremonies are shown below: Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, Continue reading →

Ninety-Eight Years Ago Today: Remembering the Plight of the Lost Battalion (one day late)

On the afternoon of 8 October, 1918 194 officers and men of the “Lost Battalion” walked out of the Pocket in Charlevaux Ravine.  This represented a casualty rate (killed, wounded/sick, or missing/POW) of nearly 72%.  Seven Medals of Honor were awarded for this one five-day event–more than would be given out for any single modern combat event until the famous U.S. Army Air Forces raid on the Ploesti oil fields in 1943… Well-known historian and author, Robert J. Laplander, was generous enough to provide a well-written Continue reading →

News and Events–Stateside: #CountdownToVeteransDay, 2016 and the World War 1 Centennial Commission

    By November 1918 over two million U.S. men and women were serving in the armed forces in France and about another two million were serving state-side.  To honor the U.S. men and women who served in the Great War and in all other wars/conflicts, the World War I Centennial Commission is encouraging readers to make Veterans Day 2016 a “day-on” rather than a “day-off.”  The commission encourages citizens to volunteer with a veterans organization or to attend a commemoration ceremony.   A list of volunteer and event opportunities can be Continue reading →