The crosses of the Hartmannswillerkopf


Hartmannswillerkopf, also known as the Vieil Armand, is located 24 kilometres north of Mulhouse. This mountain was a strategic area bitterly fought for during the Great War. The most severe fighting for the peak took place on 19–20 January, 26 March, 25–26 April and 21–22 December 1915. Through the course of the war, thirty thousand deaths were reported with a majority of these among the French. After about 12 months of fierce combat, both sides began to focus most of their attentions on the western front farther north. Only enough men to hold the lines were left at Hartmannswillerkopf, and they remained relatively stable for the remainder of the war and generally only artillery exchanges took place.

Today, the area is a French national monument. There is a museum and a cemetery at the site, and it is also possible to explore the extensive trench system. Because the lines were static for such a long period, the trenches are very well preserved, especially on the German side of the mountain.

On 3 August 2014, French President Francois Hollande and German President Joachim Gauck together marked the centenary of Germany’s declaration of war on France by laying the first stone of a memorial at Hartmannswillerkopf, for French and German soldiers killed in the war. (source: Wikipedia).

I missed this event by a few days, but I wanted to share with you this view of the crosses on the slope of the Memorial

 

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