100 Years Later, The Scars Of WWI Still Litter The Landscape

The Great War was one of mankind’s fiercest and bloodiest battles.  The total number of military and civilian casualties was an almost unfathomable 38 million people.  It was also the first of the wars to utilize “modern” technology.  The new weaponry changed the strategy of war – gone were the gallant and gentlemanly conflicts of recent past, replaced by battles of trenches and cold and violent killing machines.

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Greater manpower allowed for individual battles to last for weeks or months, which made a lasting impression on the landscape on which they took place.

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Those impressions can still be seen today.  This is Verdun, where a 9 month battle in 1916 involved nearly 40 million artillery shells and resulted in almost 1 million casualties.  The pock-marked field is from the explosions of the artillery shells.

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This is the Somme battlefield. The battle began here on 1 July 1916 and ended in in mid-November, with the Allies having advanced only five miles (8km).

 

This farmland hosted the Battle of Messines, one of the bloodiest clashes of World War One.

 

Another part of the battlefield of Verdun.

 

This football was kicked by a British Regimen across this spot in No Man’s Land on Sept 25th, 1915 as they attacked the German positions in the town of Loos.  They kicked it ahead of them and charged after it.

 

 

This observation post at the Ouvrage de Thiaumont is witness to the sheer fury of German artillery fire – the cupola was 10in thick and weighed seven tons but was blown to pieces.

 

Ammunition can still be found strewn throughout the countryside.  These rifle ammunition clips are seen on the ground in Argonne.

 

 

This was the site of three major battles during the war, the First, Second, and Third Battles of the Aisne. The second battle resulted in 40,000 casualties for the Frenchman  on the first day alone.

 

A British observation post near Hebuterne built in 1917 and overlooking Gommecourt Wood.

 

Shells still remain scattered throughout – some areas have warnings posted or are blocked off entirely.  These are German 77mm and 105mm artillery shells which were never fired.

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World War I was a event that brought tragedy into the lives of millions.  It also had displays of amazing bravery and courage as well as ingenuity in technology and strategy.  The war profoundly affected and shaped what the world is today, and both the physical and non-physical remnants of this great battle can still be seen around us.