"VAUQUOIS – MONUMENT TO THE ENGINEERS" Vauquois by mtncorg

Vauquois Travel Guide: 5 reviews and 19 photos

Vauquois is one of the more interesting sites to visit along the Western Front. There used to be a small village atop the flat butte here, but the great views over the Argonne to the west and towards Verdun to the east made this the perfect artillery observation spot, too, leading to the destruction of the village in the ensuing fighting. Some of the most interesting tunnel work and the mine craters that resulted can be explored here. The Vauquois bookends the Verdun front on the western side much like Les Eparges does on to the east. The French gave up the butte in the confusion of the early stages of the war not realizing the tactical significance of the terrain until too late. The Germans could see train smoke along the Verdun-Paris line and call in artillery missions, as needed.
The French didn’t initially react to the fall of the butte until 28 October 1914 when, without artillery support, fourteen companies of the 46th RI charged up the steep southern slopes against Germans who did have artillery. They tried the same tactics in a three-day attack in December with only more casualties to show. The French General Staff finally noted that Verdun’s transportation routes had been cut and they planned a new attack with artillery support for 17 February 1915. To add to the artillery bang, engineers dug into the side of the butte and detonated a mine. This time the French got up to the top of the hill but German counterattacks drove them off again. The French were back at it again 28 February and they got to the top again and by 1 March had established a line atop the butte. More casualties resulted in March, April and June from attacks that go nowhere further. The lines would stay atop in roughly the same places until 26 September 1918 when the US 35th Division would finally capture the hill on the first day of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

  • Last visit to Vauquois: May 2009
  • Intro Written Jul 4, 2009
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