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Ypres today
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Author:  NebrHogger [ Fri May 02, 2014 9:29 am ]
Post subject:  Ypres today

As part of the trip, Andrey booked me a one on one Ypres tour. ( "eep er" in Flemish - "eep" in French) Very much worth the cost! The guide in his small car was able to park much closer to things than the big tour buses. A very sobering place!

This is the remains of a German bunker on Hill 60 - bunkers litter the landscape here.
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This depression is from a French mine that was detonated under German positions. There are a lot of mine craters and a lot of the sappers who placed them are still down there where they perished in German counter mining operations. Hill 60 remains as it looked in 1918, the guide said. There are crates everywhere. The area was so heavily shelled, every square foot took an artillery round.
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I'm not psychic, and I'm not even sure to what extent I believe in the concept, but there's just a feeling about Hill 60. Even though it was a beautiful spring day, and birds were singing, there was a feeling of torment. From the many thousands of souls who perished in bloody uphill charges that gained exactly nothing? I don't know. But I felt it here and nowhere else around Ypres. Make of these ill-considered remarks what you will. Might be nothing more than a hyperactive imagination.

The next two pics show a farmer's fence supported by actual WW1 barbed wire hangers. The flat fence posts are pieces of light rail. Artillery shells, food , ammo and other supplies were rolled to the front trenches in small rail cars ( something like ore cars from a mine) pulled by small horses... until those were all killed. The cars were then pulled by soldiers.

The view is from the German line looking downward toward Brit & French positions.
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Bayernwald. This area is privately owned. It was returned to farm ground after the war, but the land owner apparently saw it would be more profitable to restore it and charge people to tour the place. The trenches have been reconstructed - the bunkers like this one are original. Hitler's unit occupied these, the guide said. Hitler either lived in this very bunker or another nearby. Ironically, Churchill's unit was about a mile away.
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The Irish Tower. This monument is from the battle won by Catholic and Protestant troops who put aside cultural differences to storm German lines. In the tower were 12 roster books listing all Irish troops who died in the fighting. Over the years, all have been stolen but four. Also shown is one of the epitaphs that line the walkway.

This is near what they called "Whitesheet".
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These two pics are from one of the larger Commonwealth cemeteries. The first shows WW1 graves - the elevated part is Brit soldiers killed in the rearguard action covering the Dunkirk evacuation. Oddly, they were buried here by Germans. Apparently, they felt they could be magnanimous this early in the war.

The last is for Doc Sharptail. It's the Canadian corner of this cemetery.
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My overall thoughts... what a waste. Just a criminal waste of life and resources of the nations involved. NO regard for human life. It was a very sobering day. SW

Author:  A square 10 [ Tue May 06, 2014 8:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ypres today

i can get only a sense of what you must have felt but it comes through

Author:  Doc Sharptail [ Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ypres today

Thanks, Hogger. Must have been quite a trip.
I agree with you on the mentality of the general staff of all the countries involved in "the war to end all wars".

Tragic waste of life.

It seems we really haven't learned a whole lot from this- history keeps repeating it's self...

Regards,

Doc Sharptail

Author:  eliculpepper [ Tue Aug 19, 2014 11:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ypres today

Great pics! Thanks for sharing.

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