WWI tunnels rediscovered in France with carvings in walls by US troops
By James Dunn
for the Daily Mail Online
The haunting momentos of allied soldiers who fought the Germans in World War One have been discovered inside eight miles of secret tunnels deep in the forests of Northern France.
The winding tunnels used by the American Expeditionary Force, sent by President Wilson to reinforce Britain and France, were recently discovered by an amateur battlefield explorer.
Pictures show how the raw recruits carved 250 military insignias and portraits of themselves and their horses into the stone as they were holed up in a quarry they used for shelter from the relentless German assault on the Western Front.
Other pictures show shells, bombs, grenades and shrapnel on the floor of the eight miles of tunnels, recently rediscovered by Battlefield explorer Marc Askat, 31, from Paris, who spent eight hours at the site.
Other historical images show the soldiers who would have used the tunnels as they sheltered from the German forces.
Discoverer Marc Askat said: 'I have spent a lot of time exploring the limestone quarries used by soldiers during first and second world war and the fact is that very few remains of U.S and Commonwealth soldiers are visible.
'After several months of research on the war diaries and the position of trenches on maps, I found a quarry that was exactly on their target.
'After a long crawl underground, I was lucky enough to see a giant Bold Eagle blaze sculpted by the 26th Yankee Division of the United State Army Infantry was in front of me.
'On the floor were, bombs, mortars, hand grenades and many heavily rusted metal devices that you don't want to touch or even know what they are.
'Many names, nicknames, masonic logos, city names were etched into the walls. This place was very rich with finds, I didn't even check my watch during almost eight hours underground.
Read the whole story in the Daily Mail Online.
Les Américains – Seven U.S. citizens who volunteered to fight for France in WW1
By David Hanna
Military History Now, June 29, 2016
In August, 1914, a small, but committed, group of Americans offered their services to the French army. General Alexander von Kluck’s German troops were then advancing through Belgium and set to descend on Paris. Many of the Americans had lived in the city before the war: aspiring writers, poets, and painters mostly. To a man they felt a strong sense of obligation to help defend France in her hour of greatest need.
However, there were others who booked passage on trans-Atlantic steamers to reach the war. These Americans were motivated by an historical and ideological understanding of America’s responsibilities in the coming struggle – in this, they were far ahead of most of their countrymen. The French Foreign Legion provided a vehicle for the Americans to join the fight without renouncing their U.S. citizenship. Even then la Légion enjoyed a certain dark mystique. The volunteers would eventually see combat in some of the bloodiest battles of World War One in Artios and Champagne in 1915; at Verdun and the Somme in 1916; and also in the skies with the Lafayette Escadrille.
Of these remarkable men that formed the American vanguard in the Great War, seven in particular stand out.
Read more: Les Américains – Seven U.S. citizens who volunteered to fight for France in WW1