Ridge of Éparges

Crêtes des Eparges.
The Battle of Éparges took place on the ridge during the First World War. It is best known because it is the place where the writers Alain Fournier, Louis Pergaud, and many others died. But also because it is considered as the beginning of the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of the Somme.

The year 1915 saw a heavy death toll during the Battle of Les Éparges. Located 22 km from Verdun, this ridge that dominates the Woëvre Plain still holds the memory of terrible fighting. The 12th Infantry Division of the 1st French Army fought for many months against the 33rd German Infantry Division. However, the extreme climatic conditions continually slowed down the soldiers of both sides, who were respectively recluse in their trenches, under the rain, the mud, and sometimes the snow.

The opposing divisions camped out their positions, clashed in numerous attacks and counter-attacks, and suffered many losses for a tiny piece of territory. This battle was a sort of introduction to the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of the Somme.

Monument on the Éparges Ridge
© Land of Memory

Alain Fournier Cemetery

The war included the use of new landmines, which have marked the landscape with explosion craters until today. The bodies of the soldiers found there, including Alain Fournier who was a famous writer, rest in a glass pyramid in the Calonne Forest. Other monuments accessible to visitors pay tribute to the fallen. Nearby you can find the Memorial of the Engineers, the Monument of Point X, including its panorama, and the Monument of the Rooster. Also, at the foot of the hill extends the French cemetery known as “Cimetière du Trottoir.”

Memorial plaque, Éparges Ridge
© Land of Memory

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