Rhine Battle Walks

Offering guided tours of the Rhine battlefields of WW1, WW2, Napoleonic and Franco-Prussian Wars.

French post card from 1915, showing a battery of French Alpine Artillery in action somewhere on the Vosgian Front.

On the French front line trench at the top of the Hartmannswillerkopf battlefield with the Collége de Collonges, explaining the Poilus' living conditions on this mountain battlefield of WWI.

A French mountain artillery gun crew equipped with the mountain 65mm canon.

Much of these were used along the Vosges line, notably at Hartmannswillerkopf and Le Linge.

On the WWI battlefield of Le Linge today with the Lycée de Mirecourt.

Our guide on the HWK battlefield, awaiting the Saunders family from North Yorkshire.

Today's weather conditions, somewhat out of the ordinary for the beginning of May, does give some idea of what the Poilus and their German adversaries went through on this mountain, which culminates at 957m, during the cold winters of 1915 and 1916, where temperatures averaged around -12!

[04/24/19]   Visit of the HWK battlefield (1914-1916) with a couple of classes of the Agricultural School from Grenoble.

An interesting visit since the whole site was covered with thick fog (giving it a very eerie feel). These teenagers were remarkably well-behaved and showed great interest and respect for the site. Their questions were also very good and, on a couple of occassions, even surprised our guide.

Visit of the Agricultural School of Grenoble - 9th April 2019

The students from the Agricultural School of Grenoble were kind enough to send us their little "Relive" adventure of their visit to the HWK battlefield yesterday. We enjoyed their interest and company, despite the light rain which did begin to transform the trenches into mud, further bringing the experience to life for the students.

Today's visit really brought home the difficulties of operating on the HWK battlefield during the harsh winters of 1915 and 1916, where the average temperature was between -12°C and -15°C.

HWK 1914-1915. Going up Boyau 0 under the snow

Going up "Boyau 0" on the French side of the Hartmannswillerkopf battlefield. The snow today certain put flesh to the bones of the stories surrounding serving on this sector during the harsh winters of 1915 and 1916, where the average temperature was between -12°C and -15°C.

HWK 1914-1915.
Waiting for our visitors to explore the HWK battlefield covered in snow today. It will certainly make the stories of living and fighting on this battlefield more tangible.

Rhine Battle Walks

Rhine Battle Walks's cover photo

[01/01/19]   Rhine Battle Walks are now taking bookings for the forthcoming 2019 summer season for the following battlefields:

Napoleonic Wars
- Invasion of Franche-Comté by the Austrians (1815);
- Defence of the Rhine by Rapp (1815)

Franco-Prussian War
- Battlefield of Wörth/Reichshoffen (1870)
- Forteress and siege of Bitche (1870)
- Battlefield of Wissembourg (1870)
- Battlefield of Gravelotte (1870)

World War I (Alsace-Rhin Sector)
- Le Donon (1914)
- La Tête des Faux (1914)
- Le Linge (1915)
- La Fontenelle (1915)
- Metzeral (1915)
- Hartmannswillerkopf/Viel-Armand (1915)
- Strasbourg/Molsheim Sector
- Sundgau/Mulhouse Sector

World War II
- Colmar Pocket (1945)

Happ New Year and here's to you coming along one of our tours during 2019!

Wishing a very Merry Christmas 2018 to one and all!

Our guide advancing along the French front-line trench on the summit of the HWK, which has recently been renovated and opened to the public, further adding to the immersive experience of the battlefield.

Our guide, doning his old beret of the French 27th Mountain Light Infantry Battalion with both Rememberance Poppy and Bleuet de France, on the outlook for the arrival of his British guests (the Smith family from Durham) on the battlefield of Le Linge.

Rhine Battle Walks's cover photo

HWK 1914-1915.
Descending along "Boyau 0" (Communication Trench 0) on the French side of the battlefield and ending up at the French Military cemetery.

Another magnificent morning on the battlefield of Hartmannwillerkopf. If you are thinking of visiting, please note that we are organising tours until November 14th, 2018. After that, you'll have to wait until April 2019.

About to take another group of amateur historians around the Hartmannswillerkopf battlefield. If you are interested in our tours, do please get in touch.

Hartmannswillerkopf is a 3,136-foot rocky spur on the eastern ridge of the Vosges Mountains in France’s Alsace region. Site of one of the least known of the major World War I battles, it is also one of the most impressive and remarkably well-preserved battlefields of any period. Some 7,000 French and German soldiers fell here and another 30,000 were left wounded during several fierce battles, among the very few World War I engagements fought on what at the time was German territory. 
...........
About 15 miles northwest of Mulhouse and 20 miles west of the German border, Hartmannswillerkopf today is a French national monument. During the almost four-year standoff both sides dug bunker complexes and carved extensive trench works into the solid rock, which accounts largely for their excellent state of preservation. In places the opposing trench lines are within a hand grenade’s toss of each other. A museum and French military cemetery stand on the French side of the line. A German military cemetery can be found in the nearby town of Cernay.
...............................................
Rhine Battle Walks can propose a series of visits that range from an hour to 3 hours which takes in the French trench systems and German defensive concrete works, the monuments to the French 152nd Infantry Regiment (152e Régiment d'Infanterie) and 28th Mountain Light Infantry Battalion (28e Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins) as well as the remains of the German cable cart lines. Of course, all these visits include a trip to the French military cemetery, the national monument and the museum.

Hartmannswillerkopf is a 3,136-foot rocky spur on the eastern ridge of the Vosges Mountains in France’s Alsace region. Site of one of the least known of the major World War I battles, it is also one of the most impressive and remarkably well-preserved battlefields of any period. Some 7,000 French and German soldiers fell here and another 30,000 were left wounded during several fierce battles, among the very few World War I engagements fought on what at the time was German territory.
...........
About 15 miles northwest of Mulhouse and 20 miles west of the German border, Hartmannswillerkopf today is a French national monument. During the almost four-year standoff both sides dug bunker complexes and carved extensive trench works into the solid rock, which accounts largely for their excellent state of preservation. In places the opposing trench lines are within a hand grenade’s toss of each other. A museum and French military cemetery stand on the French side of the line. A German military cemetery can be found in the nearby town of Cernay.
...............................................
Rhine Battle Walks can propose a series of visits that range from an hour to 3 hours which takes in the French trench systems and German defensive concrete works, the monuments to the French 152nd Infantry Regiment (152e Régiment d'Infanterie) and 28th Mountain Light Infantry Battalion (28e Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins) as well as the remains of the German cable cart lines. Of course, all these visits include a trip to the French military cemetery, the national monument and the museum.

A marvellous tour of the Hartmannswillerkopf battlefield with the Western Front Association (Wessex Division)

Monument to the French 152nd Infantry Regiment.

Hartmannswillerkopf is a 3,136-foot rocky spur on the eastern ridge of the Vosges Mountains in France’s Alsace region. Site of one of the least known of the major World War I battles, it is also one of the most impressive and remarkably well-preserved battlefields of any period. Some 7,000 French and German soldiers fell here and another 30,000 were left wounded during several fierce battles, among the very few World War I engagements fought on what at the time was German territory. 
...........
About 15 miles northwest of Mulhouse and 20 miles west of the German border, Hartmannswillerkopf today is a French national monument. During the almost four-year standoff both sides dug bunker complexes and carved extensive trench works into the solid rock, which accounts largely for their excellent state of preservation. In places the opposing trench lines are within a hand grenade’s toss of each other. A museum and French military cemetery stand on the French side of the line. A German military cemetery can be found in the nearby town of Cernay.
...............................................
Rhine Battle Walks can propose a series of visits that range from an hour to 3 hours which takes in the French trench systems and German defensive concrete works, the monuments to the French 152nd Infantry Regiment (152e Régiment d'Infanterie) and 28th Mountain Light Infantry Battalion (28e Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins) as well as the remains of the German cable cart lines. Of course, all these visits include a trip to the French military cemetery, the national monument and the museum.

Hartmannswillerkopf is a 3,136-foot rocky spur on the eastern ridge of the Vosges Mountains in France’s Alsace region. Site of one of the least known of the major World War I battles, it is also one of the most impressive and remarkably well-preserved battlefields of any period. Some 7,000 French and German soldiers fell here and another 30,000 were left wounded during several fierce battles, among the very few World War I engagements fought on what at the time was German territory.
...........
About 15 miles northwest of Mulhouse and 20 miles west of the German border, Hartmannswillerkopf today is a French national monument. During the almost four-year standoff both sides dug bunker complexes and carved extensive trench works into the solid rock, which accounts largely for their excellent state of preservation. In places the opposing trench lines are within a hand grenade’s toss of each other. A museum and French military cemetery stand on the French side of the line. A German military cemetery can be found in the nearby town of Cernay.
...............................................
Rhine Battle Walks can propose a series of visits that range from an hour to 3 hours which takes in the French trench systems and German defensive concrete works, the monuments to the French 152nd Infantry Regiment (152e Régiment d'Infanterie) and 28th Mountain Light Infantry Battalion (28e Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins) as well as the remains of the German cable cart lines. Of course, all these visits include a trip to the French military cemetery, the national monument and the museum.

First beautiful day of 2018 on the battlefield of Hartmannswilletkopf, overlooking Mulhouse and, in the background, Switzerland.

A great first day of the 2018 season on the Hartmannswillerkopf, where we had the pleasure of guiding the men and women of the Bourges Military School. We were then honoured by the school's colonel, who expressed his men's satisfaction and presented us with a commemorative medallion.

A very foggy day...on the HWK.

[04/28/18]   Please note that we will be closed from 01/05/2018 to 14/05/2018 for the spring holiday break.

[04/20/18]   RBW is extermely happy to announce that it has secured a contract with the Museum of the Hartmannswillerkopf battlefield to be part of it's battlefield guides for the 2018 season!

Hartmannswillerkopf, also known as the "Vieil Armand"in French is a pyramidal rocky spur in the Vosges mountains of the Alsace region of eastern France. The peak stands at 956 metres (3,136 ft) overlooking the Rhine valley.

The French and Germans fought for control of the mountain peak during the First World War. Fighting took place throughout 1915. 30,000 died near Hartmannswillerkopf during the First World War, with the majority of deaths suffered by the French. After about 11 months of fierce combat, both sides began to focus most of their attention farther north on the Western Front. Only enough men to hold the lines were left at Hartmannswillerkopf. The lines remained relatively stable for the remainder of the war and generally only artillery exchanges took place.

Today, the area is a French national monument. There is a museum and a cemetery at the site, and it is also possible to explore the extensive trench system. Because the lines were static for such a long period, the trenches are very well preserved, especially on the German side of the front.

RBW will be conducting tours of the battlefield in English and in French so if you fancy joining us, just drop us a message.

Rhine Battle Walks's cover photo

[01/01/18]   As we head into the final centennial year of the First World War, we at Rhine Battle Walks wish you all a very happy new year 2018!

[01/03/17]   A Happy New Year to from RBW!
Bonne année de la part de RWB!

[12/25/16]   RBW vous souhaite un joyeux Noël!
RBW wishes you all a merry Christmas!

Thanks to a close mutual friend, we were given the extraordinary opportunity of accompanying the BARTOLO family from Birmingham (UK) on a special week-long trip to visit the different battlefields of the WWI Italian Front, following some of the footsteps of their grand-father, who fought in the Italian army.

Unforunately, techincal problems with our camera meant that most of the photos taken are not fit to be published. We have however tried to bring to this album the best photos of the different stops of our visits.

The tour started in the village of Timau, in the Carnia mountains and included a tour of the battlefield and vists to the local WWI museum and charnel house. The following day, we crossed the Austrian border and visited the WWI museum at Kötschach-Mauthen and then back to Italy to visit the Osoppo forteress.

On Wednesday, we travelled south to the town of Gorizia and after visitng certain parts of the battlefield, visited the castle, which was holding a special WWI exhibition and the WWI museum.

On Thursday, we stayed in the area and visited the battlefields around San Daniele del Carso and the national WWI memorial at Redipuglia.

Finally, we concluded our tour of the Italian front along the trench lines at Montfalcone and the Adriactic Sea. 

The organisation and logistics of the tour were quite challenging for us. Being specialised in the military campaigns along the Rhine river and the Vosges mountains, the WWI Italian Front certainly demanded more preparation time than usual. But the smiles and thanks of our clients at the end of it all was the perfect reward for us.

Thanks to a close mutual friend, we were given the extraordinary opportunity of accompanying the BARTOLO family from Birmingham (UK) on a special week-long trip to visit the different battlefields of the WWI Italian Front, following some of the footsteps of their grand-father, who fought in the Italian army.

Unforunately, techincal problems with our camera meant that most of the photos taken are not fit to be published. We have however tried to bring to this album the best photos of the different stops of our visits.

The tour started in the village of Timau, in the Carnia mountains and included a tour of the battlefield and vists to the local WWI museum and charnel house. The following day, we crossed the Austrian border and visited the WWI museum at Kötschach-Mauthen and then back to Italy to visit the Osoppo forteress.

On Wednesday, we travelled south to the town of Gorizia and after visitng certain parts of the battlefield, visited the castle, which was holding a special WWI exhibition and the WWI museum.

On Thursday, we stayed in the area and visited the battlefields around San Daniele del Carso and the national WWI memorial at Redipuglia.

Finally, we concluded our tour of the Italian front along the trench lines at Montfalcone and the Adriactic Sea.

The organisation and logistics of the tour were quite challenging for us. Being specialised in the military campaigns along the Rhine river and the Vosges mountains, the WWI Italian Front certainly demanded more preparation time than usual. But the smiles and thanks of our clients at the end of it all was the perfect reward for us.

We had the honour of being asked to conduct a tour of the Le Linge battlefield by the Farrell family from Ohio (USA) .

The Battle of Le Linge (Lingekopf in German) took place from 20 July 1915 to 16 October 1915 in the Vosges mountains not far from the town of Colmar.

The battle started with French assaults by the 3rd Light Infantry Brigade (3e Brigade de Chasseurs) and the 129th Infantry Division (129e Division d'Infanterie) on German positions, which were beaten off and the subsequent German counter-attacks threw the French back from their original positions, with only minor territorial gains. 

From Septembre 1915, after savage German flamethrowers and gas assaults, the Linge sector settled down before once again erupting in October 1915, when the Germans attempted once more to win back lost ground unsuccessfully. After that, the Linge sector remained quite until the end of the war.

The combats at the Battle of Le Linge were the first of the war that suffered such a high casualty rate for so little territorial gain, and one of the bloodiest. Over 10,000 French soldiers fell at this battle as well as 7,000 Germans.

Nowadays, the battlefield is classified as a national monument and included a small museum.

We had the honour of being asked to conduct a tour of the Le Linge battlefield by the Farrell family from Ohio (USA) .

The Battle of Le Linge (Lingekopf in German) took place from 20 July 1915 to 16 October 1915 in the Vosges mountains not far from the town of Colmar.

The battle started with French assaults by the 3rd Light Infantry Brigade (3e Brigade de Chasseurs) and the 129th Infantry Division (129e Division d'Infanterie) on German positions, which were beaten off and the subsequent German counter-attacks threw the French back from their original positions, with only minor territorial gains.

From Septembre 1915, after savage German flamethrowers and gas assaults, the Linge sector settled down before once again erupting in October 1915, when the Germans attempted once more to win back lost ground unsuccessfully. After that, the Linge sector remained quite until the end of the war.

The combats at the Battle of Le Linge were the first of the war that suffered such a high casualty rate for so little territorial gain, and one of the bloodiest. Over 10,000 French soldiers fell at this battle as well as 7,000 Germans.

Nowadays, the battlefield is classified as a national monument and included a small museum.

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Vidéos (voir toutes)

Visit of the Agricultural School of Grenoble - 9th April 2019
HWK 1914-1915. Going up Boyau 0 under the snow

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