World War I, Chateau-Thierry, France

CHATEAU-THIERRY – Le Pont – Entrée Rue Carnot
[The bridge & entrance to Rue Carnot]
Publisher: Phototypie Baudiniere

Google Street View.

The village of Chateau-Thierry has lived through centuries of history, and German and AEF soldiers helped reclaim it from the ruins of World War I. In February 1919, the guns that echoed across the River Marne and shells that shattered the wooden rooftops and walls of Chateau-Thierry had been silent for eight months. The optimism of peace lured Chateau-Thierry residents back from hiding to rebuild their homes and lives despite the winter cold. The guns of war had scattered the survivors, but they were slowly gathering and returning. A hotel, hastily but thoroughly rebuilt, awaited American pilgrims. In February 1919, the Great War had been over for three months, since the Armistice of November 11, 1918.
. . .
Chateau-Thierry gained another measure of fame when in May through July of 1918, the French and American armies successfully halted the German Spring Offensive and drive toward Paris, only fifty miles away. The Germans bombarded Chateau- Thierry, giving it the distinction of being the farthest point of their Army’s 1918 offensive.The Allied Expeditionary Forces under General John J. “Back Jack” Pershing saw some of its first European action at Chateau Thierry. On May 27, 1918, the Germans attacked the Allied Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front and by May 30, 1918, German troops were shelling Chateau-Thierry. The American and French soldiers prevented the Germans from crossing the Marne River, decisively checking the German offensive. Thousands of young French, British, German, and American soldiers fell at Chateau-Thierry and the Marne and many Allied soldiers are buried near the Marne battlefields just west of Chateau-Thierry.
Windows to World History

[Carnot Street]
Publisher: Phototypie Baudiniere

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WW I trench & ruins, Diksmuide, Belgium

Google Street View (overview)=””>
Boyau de la mort à Dixmude | Le Cavalier avec ses postes de guetteurs
Doodengang te Dixmude | De Ruiter mel zijne posten en bespieders
(Dodengang/Trech of Death in Dixmude | The Cavalier post with lookout)
Publisher: Nels (Ernest Thill)

Located in Dixmude the ‘Trenches of Death’ comprise preserved trenches featuring galleries, shelters, firesteps, chicanes, concrete duckboards and concrete sandbags. Together they give a fair impression of the makeup of trenches during the First World War – that is, notably leaving aside the quiet, serene nature of the trenches as they appear today. The Dixmude trenches were in fact held by the Belgians for over four years during the Battles of the Yser against determined German forces (often ranged just 100 yards away), hence their grim name.

The Dodengang (Dutch, also called Trench of Death in English and Le Boyau de la mort in French) is a World War I memorial site located near Diksmuide, Belgium. . . . The Dodengang is a 300 yards (270 m) section of preserved trench where many men were killed in World War I. The trench was begun at the time of the Battle of the Yser which was manned by soldiers of the Belgian Army. As part of the Yser Front, it played a key role in preserving the front line in this area and stopping further German incursions across the Yser Canal. Belgian soldiers fought here under the most perilous conditions until the final offensive of 28 September 1918.

DIXMUDE. — Ruines. — Pant sur l’Yser et Entrée de la Ville
Ruins. — Bridge over the Yser and entrance of the town.
Publisher: Nels (Ernest Thill)

Ruines de Dixmude | 1914-18 | Canal d’Handzaeme
The ruins at Dixmude | 1914-18 | Handzaeme canal.
Publisher: Nels (Ernest Thill)

Albert, France

La Place d’Arme — The Arm Place.  Guerre 1914-19

Guerre 1914-1918
ALBERT (Somme) — La Place d’Armes après le bombardement.
The Arm Place after the bombardment.

Google Maps.

La place d’armes d’Albert: images of destruction of Albert during WWI (in French, but mostly images).

Albert was founded as a Roman outpost, in about 54 BC. After being known by various forms of the name of the local river, the Ancre, it was renamed to Albert after it passed to Charles d’Albert, duc de Luynes. It was a key location in the Battle of the Somme in World War I . . . The German army recaptured the town in March 1918 during the Spring Offensive; the British, to prevent the Germans from using the church tower as a machine gun post, directed their bombardment against ‘imaginary’ trenches the other side of the basilica as orders specifically stopped them from targeting buildings in the town; the line of fire took the artillery through the basilica, thus it was destroyed. The statue fell in April 1918 and was never recovered. In August 1918 the Germans were again forced to retreat, and the British reoccupied Albert until the end of the war. Albert was completely reconstructed after the war, including widening and re-orienting the town’s main streets.

“Illustrated Michelin Guides to the Battlefields: The Somme, Volume I The First Battle Of The Somme (1916-1917)”, Michelin & Cie, 1919

The prosperous, industrial town of Albert, whose population before the war numbered more than 7,000 inhabitants, is to-day entirely in ruins. Lying at the foot of a hill, on both sides of the River Ancre, Albert formerly went by the name of Ancre. At the beginning of the seventeenth century Albert belonged to Concini, the favourite minister of Marie de Medicis, but after his downfall in 1619 it became the property of Charles d’Albert, Duke of Luynes, who gave it his name. . . . The shelling of the town began on September 29, 1914, and continued unceasingly until it had been annihilated. The numerous iron and steel works, mechanical workshops, sugar factories and brick-kilns, which had contributed to the prosperity of the town, were specially singled out by the enemy artillery. No public building, not excepting the civilian hospital, was spared. In spite of the Red Cross flag which floated over the hospital, the Germans, with the help of an aeroplane, directed a violent artillery fire upon it on March 21, 1915, killing five aged inmates and wounding several others, as well as the Superior. In October, 1916, Albert was at last out of range of the German guns. But in 1918 the British were unable to withstand the overwhelming German thrust, except on the west of the town, and the latter fell into the hands of the enemy on March 26, after desperate fighting. Albert remained in the first enemy lines until August 22, when the British counter-offensive, which was destined to clear the whole district—this time definitely—was launched.
“Illustrated Michelin Guides to the Battlefields: The Somme, Volume I The First Battle Of The Somme (1916-1917)”, Michelin & Cie, 1919

LA GRANDE GUERRE. — Albert (Somme). — Ce qui reste d’un Quartier aprés le bombardment
The remains of a Part of the Town after the bombardment
Publisher: Levy Sons & Co

War Damage, Ypres, Belgium

La Grande Guerre 1914-16 – Ypres (Belgique) – Rue d’Elwerdinghe
Postmarked 1916

Ruines d’Ypres
The ruins of Ypres
Ruines des Halles et Grand  Place
Ruins of the Hlls and Market Place
Publisher: Nels (Ernest Thill)

Google Street View (approximate).
Prior to war

Ruines d’Ypres Place du Musée et Conciergerie
The ruins of Ypres Museum Place and Conciergerie

Publisher: Nels (Ernest Thill)

World War I (Before & After), Ypres, Belgium


Boutique au coin des Halles avant et pendant la guerre.
Shop at the corner of the Halles, before and during the war.

These two pictures were on the same postcards. There are many single image cards and other photos showing war damage. There are some on the Great War in a Different Light site: a Personal Narrative of a Visit to the Ruined City and Ypres: the Unique City.