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Devastation of the zone German forces evacuated during Operation Alberich, the strategic retreat at the beginning of 1917. The retreating troops upended trees, destroying structures, poisoned wells, and left booby-traps behind.
Text:
Les régions françaises libèrees. — Noyon — Las regiones francesas libertadas.
The French regions liberated.
Les Allemand ont mutilé et renversé cet arbre sur une maison — Los alemanes han destrozado y derribado este árbol sobre una casa.
The Germans mutilated and toppled this tree on a house

Devastation of the zone German forces evacuated during Operation Alberich, the strategic retreat at the beginning of 1917. The retreating troops upended trees, destroying structures, poisoned wells, and left booby-traps behind.

Image text

Les régions françaises libèrees. — Noyon — Las regiones francesas libertadas.



The French regions liberated.



Les Allemand ont mutilé et renversé cet arbre sur une maison — Los alemanes han destrozado y derribado este árbol sobre una casa.



The Germans mutilated and toppled this tree on a house

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Tuesday, March 13, 1917

"As far back as the Siegfried Line, every village was reduced to rubble, every tree chopped down, every road undermined, every well poisoned, every basement blown up or booby-trapped, every rail unscrewed, every telephone wire rolled up, everything burnable burned; in a word, we were turning the country that our advancing opponents would occupy into a wasteland."

Quotation Context

German Lieutenant Ernst Jünger describing the destruction German troops visited on the countryside they withdrew from as part of Operation Alberich, the German strategic retreat of 1917 to a shorter, well-entrenched defensive system. Covering the retreat, Jünger and his men passed through the results of weeks of devastation on March 13, 1917. The Siegfried, or Hindenburg, Line was actually a Siegfried Zone of four trench lines. Jünger thought the destruction was bad for the men's morale, and continues: 'Here, for the first time, I witnessed wanton destruction that I was later in life to see to excess; this is something that is unhealthily bound up with the economic thinking of our age, but it does more harm than good to the destroyer, and dishonours the soldier.'

Source

Storm of Steel by Ernst Jünger, page 128, copyright © 1920, 1961, Translation © Michael Hoffman, 2003, publisher: Penguin Books, publication date: 2003

Tags

1917-03-13, 1917, March, Operation Alberich, strategic retreat, retreat