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eisenbahn.tv

Blowing up a church [Picture]

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eisenbahn.tv

Hello,

 

I've got this spectacular picture:

 

2019-04-04-0001.jpg.be3b203ce3b52107257c1fc2a97ce04c.jpg

 

No description. To my opinion the blast of the tower of a church by the germans in france is shown. Reason: Not to give a target point to the enemys artillery. (The towers were visably from quite a distance)

 

Anyone a idea, where this picture could be taken?

 

Gabriel

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kenf48
Posted (edited)

Possibly the bombardment of Rheims Cathedral though I can't work out the angle.  It was shelled over a number of days in September 1914 and the ensuing months and was virtually destroyed.

 

 

 

 

Screenshot 2019-05-06 at 20.35.41.png

Edited by kenf48

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Sly
Posted (edited)

Hi,

 

It's not Reims , the cathedral is much bigger than the church on the photo. The architecture (the shape of the roofs and bricks) looks more like northern France - so possibly one of the many churches destroyed in the area - maybe during the retreat on the Hindenburg Line ? The chemney to the right gives a good indication, but I still don't know where it is.

 

Sly

Edited by Sly

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mebu

Agree with Sly...looks like a northern industrial town such as around Lens area.

 

Peter

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nigelcave

It looks like Laon Cathedral - but that was supposed to have escaped both wars undamaged ... It has the twin towers and rose window at the west end, what looks like the spire at the east end; and it looks about the right size.

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nigelcave
Posted (edited)

A photograph of Laon Basilica/Cathedral from the early 1920s. It does not look all that undamaged to me!

 

Screen Shot 2019-05-07 at 09.56.19.png

Edited by nigelcave

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phil andrade

Significant that the big funnel is left intact...at least for the time being.

 

That is just as good a landmark for targeting as the church.

 

I too would guess industrial North East France ; Artois comes to mind.

 

Shame we don't have a date.

 

It’s clearly quite a big township.  

 

Withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line early 1917 seems plausible.

 

For some reason I’m thinking of Douai.

 

Phil

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AOK4
1 hour ago, nigelcave said:

It looks like Laon Cathedral - but that was supposed to have escaped both wars undamaged ... It has the twin towers and rose window at the west end, what looks like the spire at the east end; and it looks about the right size.

 

Nigel, you were looking at the picture of Reims cathedral in the second post... The church we are looking after is in the first post.

8 minutes ago, phil andrade said:

S

 

For some reason I’m thinking of Douai.

 

Phil

 

Definitely not! (Douai was only affected by the war in October 1918)

 

I would go for one of the villages/towns affected by the Alberich Bewegung in February/March 1917.

 

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eisenbahn.tv

I do not think this demolition was done during the withdrawl. During the withdrawl to the (Hindenburg-) Siegfried-Line, strategically usable facilities such as the station and bridges were destroyed. The destruction of a church would have only been a waste of explosives.

 

I think the church tower was blown up in order to give the Allied artillery no target position. The chimney has been blown up immediately afterwards.

 

Gabriel

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AOK4
2 minutes ago, eisenbahn.tv said:

I do not think this demolition was done during the withdrawl. During the withdrawl to the (Hindenburg-) Siegfried-Line, strategically usable facilities such as the station and bridges were destroyed. The destruction of a church would have only been a waste of explosives.

 

I think the church tower was blown up in order to give the Allied artillery no target position. The chimney has been blown up immediately afterwards.

 

Gabriel

 

I can assure you that almost all churches or church towers were blown up during the Alberich retreat as they could be used for observation in enemy hands.

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eisenbahn.tv

Well.

 

Why didn't the germans use the towers as observation instead of blowing it up?

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AOK4
5 minutes ago, eisenbahn.tv said:

Well.

 

Why didn't the germans use the towers as observation instead of blowing it up?

 

Because they blew them up when they gave up the area in february/March 1917...

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SiegeGunner

Orders were given that conspicuous major demolitions were not to be carried out during the early part of Alberich, in order to avoid alerting the enemy prematurely.  Then (from Gruppe Nord orders):  "Church towers and other potential observation positions in the territory to be evacuated must be blown up in good time, as enemy activity could all too easily prevent the departing outposts from carrying out this work at the last moment."  (My translation).

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Sly

That could be the St-Gery church at Cambrai ?

Not sure...

Sly

 

1968730831_Capturedcran2019-05-0805_18_04.png.b5442c691800d5bf1fbce857cd78f104.png

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AOK4

I don't think so, Sly. The spire is not the same, nor is the nave.

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SiegeGunner
Posted (edited)

What are the chances of someone in a high vantage point less than 1km away having a camera trained on the church at the exact moment that it was hit, precisely at the base of the spire, by a heavy shell?  I think the photograph has to show the detonation of a demolition charge, of which the photographer somehow had at least some forewarning.  When else were church towers in largely undamaged towns demolished, except during the later stages of Alberich?  The tower and chimney were evidently not previously regarded as aiming points for hostile artillery, so the town was presumably beyond artillery range until the enemy moving forward became a possibility (or even a probability).  Those factors surely help to narrow down the possible locations.

Edited by SiegeGunner

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AOK4
24 minutes ago, SiegeGunner said:

What are the chances of someone in a high vantage point less than 1km away having a camera trained on the church at the exact moment that it was hit, precisely at the base of the tower, by a heavy shell?  I think the photograph has to show the detonation of a demolition charge, of which the photographer somehow had at least some forewarning.  When else were church towers in largely undamaged towns demolished, except during the later stages of Alberich?  The tower and chimney were evidently not previously regarded as aiming points for hostile artillery, so the town was presumably beyond artillery range until the enemy moving forward became a possibility (or even a probability).  Those factors surely help to narrow down the possible locations.

 

There are plenty of pics around showing the demolition of the churches and other places during Alberich (before, during and after). It was obviously a very popular subject for the many German amateur photographers of the time...

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phil andrade

You have to be right, Mick....that has to be a demolition charge.

 

There are a few missing tiles on the roof of a structure in the foreground - maybe dislodged by the shock waves of the explosion - apart from that, there is no evidence of damage.  Had the town been targeted by artillery, the damage would have been extensive and visible.

 

Barring an incredible coincidence , of course.

 

Phil 

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Open Bolt

I'm not saying this is the same, but here is Roye...

Roye.jpg.7c3618a3e853ba0b6ef45b3b1ce5e5ec.jpg

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phil andrade

Damned good addition, Open Bolt  !

 

Look at the date....far from our assumption about Alberich.  Last stages of the Battle of the Marne, or opening of the Battle of the Aisne?

 

I suppose the two are conflated.

 

Which sector of the Western  Front is Roye in ?

 

Phil

 

 

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AOK4

Hello,

 

I have handled and seen thousands of German photocards and pictures. For me, the card from the original poster feels like one from the Alberich period and area.

I know wery well that church towers and spires were demolished by both sides elsewhere and during other periods as well.

 

Jan

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TEW

Roye is SE of Amiens and SW of St Quentin, pretty much equal distance from both. Just been looking at other copies if the Roye PC and others seem to date it to December not September.

 

Also noted that the tower in Roye was blown up twice, apparently the Germans blew up the tower & roof in Dec 1914 and then a platform was blown up by the occupants in March 1917 (Germans again?)

 

Other tower shot with date; 1916, seems church towers were fair game throughout the war depending on location.

TEW

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eisenbahn.tv
Posted (edited)

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AOK4
1 hour ago, eisenbahn.tv said:

 

No, it wasn't in German hands until April 1918...

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eisenbahn.tv

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