Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Friday, November 21, 2014

Western Front Virtual Tour — Stop 44: Blanc Mont

Anchor of the German defensive line in the Champagne, this nub seems hardly worthy of the “Mont” part of its name. From its crest, however, the entire Champagne region can be observed from Reims to the Argonne Forest. Blanc Mont held out against every assault by the French Army for the better part of the Great War. It was considered so secure that Kaiser Wilhelm was invited to observe the opening of one 1918 offensive from its heights. 

In October 1918 it fell to a single assault by the Marines and Doughboys of the 2nd Division in a single morning and then became one of the grimmest battlefields in American history as the German Army repeatedly tried to retake it. It is the most forgotten victory in U.S. history.


  1. The main battle in the Argonne overshadowed the efforts of the Second Division. But the mont was a vital point as shown by the photograph of what it looks like today. A very vital height to hold.

  2. The large white marble US monument on top of Mont Blanc is the largest US monument in France or Belgium. It is close to Reims, but rarely visited by veterans or other visitors. That is a shame becuse there is a French caretaker there and a small visitors' reception building. The last time I visited it, the caretaker was so pleased to see visitors that he made us all coffee and treated us to some of his wife's sweet rolls. The monument is quite spectacular and can be seen from miles away, but most people have no idea what it is. The French have taken very good care of our monument and should be congratulated about that. After al, they gave us the land that it sits upon. All of this nonsense about the French not honoringour dead is a lot of bunk! The French remember and revere our dead more than we do!
    Tom Morgan

  3. Note that there are several other US-related monuments in the vicinity of Blanc Mont. These include four of the 2d Division boulder-markers and a small but interesting museum in the mairie of SommePy-Tarhure. (The boulder-marker now at the church was moved years ago from its original location some distance to the NE of the village.) The mairie and the area around it are also an American monument of sorts. Much of the city planning for the reconstruction of Somme-Py as it was then called was done by a group of architecture students from Harvard; funds were raised by members of high society in New York and Washington, D.C., to pay for much of the reconstruction.