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Sunday, November 17, 2013

German Cemetery in Consenvoye, France in Argonne. Why are they here?

     Stark black crosses mark the graves of 11,148 German soldiers who died in the Battles for Meuse-Argonne in Autumn 1918 in France.

     Here near the American Cemetery of the Meuse-Argonne rest these soldiers along the highway outside the very tiny town of Consenvoye, France. As you can see here, the plots are not as well tended as the Americans'. We understand this decision.

     But when I talk about this quiet little cemetery along the road to our own huge one, many ask why these German soldiers are laid to rest here.

   One reason, we learn from memoirs of American soldiers, nurses and ambulance drivers, is that the Germans retreated very rapidly in the Argonne offensive. They left, rushing to their homeland, leaving behind huge amounts of armaments and supplies. One account noted that the Americans had to climb into trucks to pursue them, the Germans were running so quickly. They had no time to bury their dead.

     In fact, American burial teams did this for them. And while it is true that they buried their foes' bodies after interring their own deceased, nonetheless the Americans did do this.

     For more on this, please do read a stirring account of this in Brannon Simon's edited version of his grandfather's diary (one I highly recommend).  The buy link for his wonderful book, THAT's WAR, is:

"In this soldiers' cemetery rest 11,148 German soldiers."

I took this picture in late April when the dandelions are in bloom, a contrast to the serene black crosses.

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