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German History in Documents and Images
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The Battlefield in the Argonne Forest (1916)
The mountainous Argonne Forest (located in northeastern France between the Maas and Aisne rivers west of Verdun) demanded different military strategies than the wet lowlands of Flanders. These included the construction of an elaborate network of tunnels and fortified trenches, the deployment of shock troops, and a type of mine warfare similar to that practiced on the Alpine Austrian-Italian front. Still, there was little overall movement in this section of the so-called Hindenburg Line before American troops and French forces launched an all-out assault on September 22, 1918, which greatly contributed to the final collapse of the German war effort by early November. Over the course of the war, the Argonne range, once a densely wooded region, suffered extensive deforestation, as evidenced by the skeletal remains of trees in the background of this image. Photo by unknown photographer, 1916.