"On Flanders Fields" Top 5 Page for this destination Flanders Fields Tip by iandsmith

Flanders Fields, Brugge: 12 reviews and 23 photos

  Polygon Wood, changed hands 18 times
by iandsmith

We learn how the fabled story of the Christmas football matches (three of them), when opposing troops shared provisions and had a game, only happened in 1914. Things got nasty after that and the generals didn?t like the thought of you actually seeing the opposition. Heck, you might even not want to shoot them.
The Germans took to putting a jagged edge on their bayonets. This act infuriated the sensibilities of the British and they shot any prisoner on the spot if he had one. The French took to urinating on their blades before combat in the hope of promoting infection.
Meanwhile, Belgian civilians were trying to escape, many to Holland who remained supposedly neutral; but they eventually put up something unheard of at the time - an electrified fence; and on this hundreds of Belgians perished. The Dutch also bought concrete from the British and sold it to the Germans. It was used to build trenches and bunkers. It?s called profiteering. Others may have other names for it.
Then came the gas. The first recorded use was by the French in a grenade but the bulk stuff was first used here. It was stored and ready to use for a month before they actually unleashed it. Had they done their homework they would have known the prevailing winds are in the opposite direction. I was chlorine gas, the first of 17 different types that would ultimately be used.
The Belgians and Zouaves (mainly from Africa), copped it first and worst. The Germans gained over 2 kilometres then stopped. During the month they were forced to wait, their reserves had been sent to France and they had no more momentum.
The Allies learnt quickly that a moist rag over your face helped a lot and if that moisture was urine it worked even better. We are shown a picture of some soldiers with female sanitary pads strapped to their faces.

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  • Written Apr 30, 2007
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