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Bargain Travel Europe guide to Europe on a budget for unusual destinations, holiday travel tips
and secret spots missed by travel tours.

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WAR SCARS ON THE FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE
WWI Battlefields of the Somme

Somme Battle British Cemetary photoThe Battle of the Somme was one of the bloodiest battles of WWI, a desperate attempt by the allies during the clear weather of the summer though autumn of 1916 to push through the German trench lines north of Paris across a 95 mile front which ultimately cost over a million casualties. The first day of the battle alone was the deadliest ever in British Army recorded history. Cemetary of WWI Northern France photoDriving along the backroads between Paris and Belgium, north of Amiens, you come across a series of cemeteries laid out in crisp rows of ordered headstones and marked with memorial columns. The great disasterous offensive of the Battle of the Somme was launched from the trenches near Albert, France, north-eastward. There are separate cemeteries along the road between Proziers and Albert for the French, English, Americans and Australians who died during WWI in the bloody battlefields of the one time peaceful farmlands of Somme River valley (see Battlefields Tours by Rail).

Battle of the Somme Tank Monument photThe Battle of the Somme was recreated with scenes depicted in the recent World War I movie "War Horse" where the German and Allied armies met in the tragic stand-off of trench warfare across a field of barbed wire where the armies slogged back and forth in a mudhole of artillery bombardments, with thousands dying for mere inches across the "No Man's Land". At the end of months of brutality the allies only gained 6 miles of ground. The German Cemetary for the Somme dead is just east of Albert in Fricourt. The Red Baron Von Richtofen was buried there for awhile, but later moved.

Somme Battlefield 1916 monument photoMuch of the battlefields have been plowed into flat farmland, but there is a small patch of ground which has been left as it was, with the bombardment pock marks remaining like earthen acne scars on the landscape where heroic Australian troops made a desperate and tragic stand. A monument adorned with miniature WWI tanks stands at the edge on the former battle field. French farmers still today come across the occasional unexploded artillery shell. Somme World War One  Travel site photoTours of the cemetaries and other sights can be arranged in Albert, leaving from the rail station. In Albert, the Somme 1916 Museum presents the story of the WWI battles along with the history of Albert. The little museum and its trench is located in the center of town next to the church. The Tommy Bar has a realistic display of what the trenches were like along with a growing collection of memorabilia. The WWI memorials of the Somme can be reached in about two hours by car from Paris, or by train to Albert. For more World War I battlefields you can continue on into the Belgium fields of Westhoek near Bruges for the Flanders Fields monuments (see Belgium Flanders Fields in WWI) or head south west of Paris to the Champagne region for battles of the Marne (see Belleu Wood Marne Memorial). © Bargain Travel Europe

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SEE ALSO:

WWI BATTLEFIELD TOURS BY RAIL

BELLEU WOOD - AMERICAN MILITARY CEMETERIES IN FRANCE

WAR DAMAGED CATHEDRAL VALENCIENNES

PASSCHENDAELE & TYNE COT CEMETERY - FLANDERS FIELDS

BRITAIN’S UNKOWN WARRIOR TOUR

KAISER WILHELM II FORT DE MUTZIG - ALSACE

70TH ANNIVERSARY NORMANDY D-DAY TOURS