We're not lost, Sergeant, We're in … France


Another monument violated

Northwest of Reims, when traveling along the Avenue du General de Gaulle, you pass through the small commune of Berry-au-Bac and reach one of France’s many rural traffic circles. At that circle is a grand monument “Aux Morts des Chars d’Assaut“, a memorial to the dead of the French armored forces in WWI. It’s located on the fields of the Second Battle of the Aisne (La bataille du Chemin des Dames or Seconde bataille de l’Aisne), where 118 of the 128 tanks used to assault the Chemin des Dames ridgeline were destroyed. After the atrocious losses in that battle, in which the French General Headquarters (GQG) expected about 10,000 casualties and suffered 134,000, the French Army suffered from wide-spread mutinies. This brought Marshal Petain to the head of the French Army and ended any significant French offensives until the Americans and better tanks could be fielded.

French television reported that the bas-relief (crossed cannons and a knight’s helmet), five brass plaques and some marble memorial markers have been stolen.

It’s a tragedy that the copper or marble has become valuable enough that unscrupulous people will desecrate memorials in order to put money in their pockets. No thought is given to the men for whom these memorials were placed, but only to the looters own selfish needs.

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