Sunday, 16 July 2017

Dun sur Meuse

On the nights either side of our Verdun visit we parked up at a nice little aire at the side of the Meuse.  You're never far away from that river in this part of France.
This time we were the second of eventually eight motorhomes to arrive and having drained and replenished the water tanks we had no trouble finding a nice spot and getting plugged in to the mains electricity supply.  Not bad for €8 a night.
And then there was the view.  In the early evenings boats chugged past at the rate of one every couple of hours.

 Sara spottted a heron on the far bank...
 ...and with the camera at maximum zoom I bagged these photos of 'Ron' as we shall always think of him.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Memorial de Verdun - European Road Trip Day four, part 3

Near Douaumont is this new museum.  I say new as it was only opened in early 2016.
The building contains some very well presented displays of 'big toys'.  I was particularly taken with this Berliet lorry

 French 105mm 
  French 90mm M1877
 Field kitchen.  I'm not now sure if this is French or German.
 The 90mm again.

 Various trench mortars.

 Part of the impressive display of small arms.
  Repro Fokker E.1 and Nieuport 17.  Models in 1:1 scale!

 Limber for French '75.
 Carrier pigeon basket. 
 another field kitchen  
 Models of German and French observation balloons.

Friday, 30 June 2017

SEA Mosquito

Plucked pretty much intact from the no-notorious Partizan Plane Purchase pile was this rather smart Mossie in Southeast Asia RAF colours.  I'm not sure which kit this is.  Airfix perhaps?
 Moqsuitos look pretty good in any finish but this one looks particularly striking.  It even retains a full set of propeller blades.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Fort Douaumont - European Road Trip Day 4, part 2

While visiting Col. Driant's command post and grave was clearly something of a niche interest, a more popular destination was Fort Douaumont.  This was one of the more significant fortifications around Verdun and had been designed to defend the frontiers and deter a German invasion.  Well, they tried.
Given the weight of fire which fell on Douaumont during the war, the surprise is not that it looks a bit knocked about but that so much of it is intact.
Above is one of the retractable armoured turrets.
 We started with a tour round the fort's innards.  Here are the sleeping quarters.
 The lavishly appointed latrines!
  The inner workings of one of the armoured turrets
 Dank, dark and damp.  The interior of the fort was everything I hoped for.  Bloody horrible.

 One of the chambers held this touching German memorial.
 You may imagine what a relief it was to get outside again.
 On the roof a number of the armoured observation cupolas survive..
 ...along with the rather splendid retractable turrets.

 Traces of tranches survive but most of those undulations are shell craters.  Lots of 'em.
 Again, the trees are a postwar innovation so the fort would have had a commanding position.