Picking up those brushes again.

Hi and welcome to the occasional mutterings of Dave Doc, a military modeller and some time gamer. Gaming and model making has given me a real education, History & Geography(obvious really), Artistry, Politics, Economics, Logistics, Project Management -you try building miniature armies without the last 3.

I will use the blog to record my creations & the odd occasion I actually do some gaming.

I have always been inspired by the aesthetic side of gaming. Playing on well constructed terrain using excellently painted units is always a joy.

Tuesday 14 May 2024

Holidays - Belgium / France WW1 battlefields

 We have just had a short break which happily coincided with sunshine . We were back to our base in Ypres and to visit some areas of WW1 . 


First was a visit to a preserved part of the historic Belgian line next to the Yser . The name says it all . It was actually an area built above ground due to the water table being flooded to defend it .

The Belgian army held it for 4 years - with various small actions , and frequent harassing fire from guns and MGs from the 3 sides it was surrounded on .



The small museum in site had various uniforms and items 

 

It literally looks over the Yser to German line on the other sides - though to the top of the picture the  Germans had crossed it and a breach had t9 be made in the left hand dyke to stop them advancing further . 



 

From here we travelled towards the sea at Nieuwpoort. 

King Albert 1 of Belgium memorial 



At the top of the memorial you can look down to the sea and back across the lock complex . In Oct 1914 Belgian troops opened the lock sluices to allow the sea in to feed to various canals and flood the surrounding land to stop the German advance along the coast towards Dunkirk 



Plan of the locks 

 

The Westport museum at the base of the Albert memorial has the story of the battle and a great panorama which has an AV event that expands an area of action and overlays actual pictures from the time .





  

 It also has a card foldout called the Berlyn Tapestries in the style of the Bayeaux one , but this should the invasion of Belgium by the dastardly Huns !













 

Day 2 saw a visit into France to the Aubers ridge area and Fromelles . The battle if Fromelles was July 19/20 1916 and was a diversion attack to pin German units from reinforcing the Somme area . It was an utter failure - with horrendous casualties - particularly for the 5th Australian division some 5000 killed and wounded in 24 hours . The Germans had buried casualties in mass pits and some of these were excavated in 2009 . Lots of work has been done to identify the bodies as most did not haveID tags . 


VC Corner monument to the missing at Fromelles 


The Cobber memorial .

  

 
The museum has lots of good recreations and artefacts 
















The most powerful part was the photographs and letters - with the story told - some of these men had since been identified in the find from 2009. They are now identified and buried in the adjacent Pheasant Wood cemetery . 

 


Not Forgotten 
 

There is also a new memorial to all the International Rugby  Players who died in WW1 . It surprised me just how many there were .

  

More to come