Then and (Not Quite) Now: 315th Inf. Regt. Celebrating Thanksgiving 1918 in Damvillers

In 2017 the Webmaster and a client explored this series of Signal Corps photos showing troops of the 315th Inf. Regt. , 79 Division, A.E.F. celebrating Thanksgiving 1918 in Damvillers. These were taken on 28 November, 1918–101 years ago from the date of this post. The first three photos show Maj. Gen. Joseph E. Kuhn addressing troops in the town square. Photos taken there are easy to line up because the uniquely-shaped Mairie (Village Hall) still stands. Unfortunately, the Webmaster lost his “now” photos, so Continue reading →

Then and (Not Quite) Now: German Ammunition Dumps at Brandeville and Lissey

The series of excellent Signal Corps photos shown below caught the Webmaster’s attention while living in France last November.  He spent a good bit of time one day trying to line up then and now photos by the hills around Brandeville, because all but the last photo shown are captioned as Brandeville.  He finally admitted defeat when he could not get any good “now” matches.  Coming back to those photos in January 1919, he wonders if most of them were mis-captioned.  The clue comes from Continue reading →

Then and Now: Montfaucon d’Argonne 1918-19 Versus Today

    Few sites on the Meuse-Argonne American battlefield are as heavily visited as Montfaucon d’Argonne; and yet it remains difficult to “see” the town as it looked at the end of the war.  Moving from a destroyed village to a preserved memorial park that can be visited safely by thousands annually requires considerable clean-up and sanitization.  Thus, one sees the Memorial, the (enhanced) church ruins and a scattering of observation pillboxes, along with some good signage; but one does not see the ruined town Continue reading →

Then and Now: Apremont-en-Argonne

“The taking of Apremont was the greatest struggle the division had in its fighting career.  Much has been said and written during the war of “the blood-soaked fields of France” and “streams of blood.”  Officers who were at Apremont solemnly vouch for the fact that there was a time in that town when the water running in the gutters was bright red with blood. And not all of it was German blood.” Thus begins a chapter in “The Iron Division:  The National Guard of Pennsylvania Continue reading →

Then and Now: Attigny German Airfield (Champagne)

Caption:  Griffin Group Photo CH64.  German Aviation Field.  270.5 – 301.7.  30 January, 1919. Technically, the town is in the Champagne Region; but it is often difficult to find and line-up airfields, so the Webmaster selected this photo for the current Then and Now post. The ground in this photo was liberated by the 36th Division, AEF on 12 October, 1918. The photo below shows a series of wind turbines along the D987 south of Attigny.  Those are the only blades turning in the region Continue reading →

Then and Now: Grandpre and Vicinity (77th and 78th Divisions, AEF), Part 2

The tour of the Grandpré battlefield continues…     Caption:  Military Cemetery near Grandpré.  Griffin Group Photo AM372.  Taken 17 January, 1919. Note:  The “now” photo includes a much larger piece of today’s road than seen in the “then” photo. Location:  Along the D946 east of Grandpré.  The road that follows the power lines north is the D6.     Caption:  The Griffin Group Photo is mislabeled.  This is Grèves Ferme, not Belle Joyeuse Ferme.  (Belle Joyeuse Ferme sits on a hilltop much closer to Continue reading →

Then and Now: Grandpre and Vicinity (77th and 78th Divisions, AEF), Part 1

Situated just south of the Kriemhilde Stellung (aka Hindenburg Line), the French village of Grandpré has fascinated this New Jersey-based Webmaster for some time.  Doughboys of the 77th Division gained a foothold in the southern portion of the town on 15-16 October, 1918; but it was the doughboys of the 78th Division that struggled to take the rest of the town and the “citadel” in late October. The town has some wonderful architecture that sets it apart from many of the rural towns in the Continue reading →

Then and Now: Up the Nantillois – Cunel Road with the 3rd and 80th Divisions, AEF

Intro:  The D15 running from Nantillois to Cunel is perhaps one of the most travelled roads by American battlefield visitors.  Going back to 1938, the ABMC described the route as follows:  “From here [Cunel] to the next town, Nantillois, the tour goes opposite the direction of the American advance.  The view of the terrain is, therefore, that which was seen from the various German positions. The difficult character of the ground over which the American Army forced its way forward is illustrated by the country Continue reading →

Then and Now: St. Juvin–77th Division River Crossing and German Infrastructure

Introduction:  In this selection of Griffin Group then and now one has the opportunity to see areas that were hell for the 77th Division when attacking St. Juvin as well as the German rear-area infrastructure that existed in the Meuse-Argonne. One of the most vivid accounts of the capture of St. Juvin can be found on pages 342-6 of Ed Lengel’s book, “To Conquer Hell:  The Meuse-Argonne, 1918.”  He describes:  “The 306th’s First Battalion left Marcq at 8:30 A.M., but instead of Marching east as Continue reading →

Then and Now: Dannevoux (80th Division, 26 Sept., 1918)

Intro:  Dannevoux was taken by the 80th Division, AEF, on 26 September.  However, the Signal Corps photographers that were part of the Griffin Group took many pictures of Dannevoux and the surrounding area.  The then and now pictures shown here are just a small, but interesting, subset of those photos.  The Webmaster intends to do another “Then and Now” with additional photos.  However, readers can also view the “then” photos on the website below: For all of photos below, the source of the “then” Continue reading →