Tag Archives: WW1 Battlefield Tours

Then and Now: Observation Balloon on Road Between Bantheville and Remonville

    Caption:  Road Between Bantheville and Rémonville, November 1918.   Location:  The bend in the road where the D12 and D15 intersect.  Looking south.  This ground was taken during the November 1 advance; and it is right at the divisional boundary between the 89th and 90th Divisions, AEF.   Source of Then Photo:  American Armies and Battlefields in Europe.  Page 279.   Source of Not Photo:  Webmaster, with the help of Sjoerd van der Ven.      

La Vie en France #13: Taking Stock of the First two Months–Part 1

The Webmaster finds it hard to believe that he has been in France for 60 days already.  That’s effectively one-third of his “sabbatical” over here.  Time to take stock of his experience to date: Battlefield Tours Randal has led five battlefield tours for a total of 24 days; or 40% of the days he has lived in France.  Overall, he has enjoyed bringing Americans closer to the battlefields of WW1.  Here are a few excerpts from participants:   “I would not be here if it Continue reading →

People of the Meuse-Argonne: Alain Cesarini

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 multi-year research or preservation projects.  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? Alain Cesarini French Retired for six years   2)  Which languages do you speak, and how fluently do you speak them? Continue reading →

La Vie en France #12: Through the Years, Im Laufe der Jahre, A traverse les annees

The Webmaster has met many new friends through his website and Facebook group over the last few years.  Yet many people do not know that he has been coming to the Meuse-Argonne regularly since 1994.  In fact, he held his 50th birthday party at the Hôtel du Commerce in Aubrèville in 2013, where he has been a regular guest since 1997.  Here is a partial selection of photographs from his June 2013 birthday slide show.   1994  Deutsches Erinnerungskommittee Argonnerwald–Irma Tunnel         Continue reading →

La Vie en France #11: The Beloved Brocante (Flea Market)

  From around May to September one sees countless signs for brocantes when travelling the battlefields.  These are town-wide flea markets / garage sales; although the Webmaster believes that many non-resident vendors also buy table space.   Each town seems to have one scheduled during the spring / summer; and the dates seem to be selected carefully so that a town does not infringe on its immediate neighbor towns.  Sunday appears to be the most popular day for the brocante.   For the rural French, Continue reading →

La Vie en France #10: Finding Suitable Places for Ladies to Pee

War-Time German Postcard:  Caption Reads “A Height Record for the Air Ship Service”   After completing his first two tours with female clients, the Webmaster is again reminded that hiking the battlefields of rural France is much easier for men than for women.  Men can simply walk behind a bush or tree to urinate.  Anatomically speaking, the same is true–but a bit more complicated–for women.  However, American women tend to see this as an option of last resort.  Thus, from a male point of view, Continue reading →

La Vie en France #9: Cheap Gas, Sundays and Creative Solutions

“When in Rome do as the Romans do,” goes the popular phrase.  Said differently, when travelling abroad one can’t expect everything to be done as it is in one’s home country.  That is definitely true when travelling from suburban USA to rural France.  Here are a few examples:     Gas Prices and Finding Cheap Gas Gas is expensive in Europe:  Right now the cheapest diesel is about €1.30 per liter.  €1.30 x 3.78 liters per gallon x $1.13 exchange rate = $5.55 per gallon! Continue reading →

Then and Now: Samogneux

    Caption:  Samogneux is on the D964 at the edge of the Verdun battlefield East of the Meuse.  In 1918, any of the American divisions (33rd, 29th and 79th) fighting East of the Meuse would have passed through it.  Unfortunately, trees block the view of the canal and river in the now photo.  However, the horizon matches up well.   The now photo is taken from in front of the statue in the town cemetery.  The cemetery is on a slight hill, which mirrors Continue reading →

La Vie en France #8: It Takes a Team Part 2–Language Lessons

    The Webmaster has just returned from tracking down a difficult “Then and Now” photo with extreme gratitude for his language tutor, Alexis P. Miller!  After fifteen months of language lessons, 2x per week more or less, the Webmaster can at least express himself and explain what he is doing:  Even if he doesn’t understand everything that others say.   On today’s search the Webmaster thought it best to ask a farm family before driving off into their field in search of the site of an airplane crash landing.  He Continue reading →