Saint Mihiel Salient
South of Verdun, the German advance in September 1914 was initially contained by strong resistance from Fort Troyon but the German Army eventually captured Saint-Mihiel. The Saint-Mihiel Salient, which was unsuccessfully attacked by the French Army in 1915, was not liberated until the American offensive of 1918. In memory of the American Army’s combats in Lorraine, a Memorial was erected on the Butte de Montsec.
It was on the Crête des Éparges and in the village of Saint-Rémy-la-Calonne that a number of writers came face to face with the Great War, some with tragic consequences. They included Alain Fournier, Louis Pergaud, Jean Giono, Ernst Jünger and Maurice Genevoix, a member of the Académie Française and the author of a monumental work entitled, “The Men of 14”.
Remains of the trenches at the Saint-Mihiel Salient
Today numerous remains of the trenches can still be seen, in an exceptional state of conservation: here you can appreciate the famous face-to-face aspect of the war, as it has remained in our collective memory.
The trenches, often lined with concrete on the German side, can be seen from above, from special platforms.
Saint-Mihiel Salient 14-18 war sites:
- Apremont-la-Forêt, the Bavarians' and Roffignac trenches with their firing steps and gun ports;
- Bois Brûlé, famous for the command given by an NCO named Péricard "Debout les morts" (Dead men, arise!) (8 April 1915), and location of the Gobessart German hospital.
- the Croix des Redoutes, a cross erected in 1925 in memory of the French troops who fought here.
These different sites can be visited at your leisure. Guided tours are organised by the Cœur de Lorraine tourist office, which also offers an educational activity for schoolchildren, "Du Piou Piou au Poilu" so that they can discover history in an interactive way in the Saint-Mihiel Salient trenches.