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My trip through WW1 and WW2 battlefields! to be contd..

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posted on Mar, 30 2019 @ 01:36 PM
Hey ATS’rs..
I'm about 9 days into a 22 day journey following my interest in military history through Europe and I wanted to throw a few photos up there for anyone interested...
Travelling from NZ (for 24hrs) means, when you travel - you make the most of it! None of this sitting in a hotel relaxing for days on end... there's 24hrs in a day and if you stretch it long enough you can turn it into 30hrs - ok not really but when your head hits the pillow it sure feels like a 30hr day!

The basic itinerary of this adventure is:
Aachen - Germany (Hurtgen Forrest)
Arras - France (Somme)
Warsaw – Poland (Hitlers Wolfs Lair)
Moscow – And all it entails
Volgograd - Stalingrad

So, Amsterdam is Amsterdam... I don’t remember a lot.. I remember a few bars, a few cafes and chatting to a few people.. but it was basically 48hrs of chill and get rid of jet lag and it worked although I feel a little spaced out... but thats what its all about!

Aachen was a cool medieval kind of city, a massive cathedral in the city center with cobblestone roads and small cave like bars.

I got naked at a German bath house... real naked... like, naked naked... there were lots of old, fat, young, skinny female and male version of the German Specimen.. having never done it before I figured, what the hell! take it all off a strut like you own the place! And don’t look too hard at the beautiful people! 

I sat in one of the infusion steam houses where they fill the room with eucalyptus.. now that’s something I'd like to start up back home!

But Aachen was a specific place to visit.. I wanted to walk the Hurtgen Forrest…

Not only did this battle start on my birthday (19th sept) but it was the first real attempt for the Americans to push into Germany. They didn’t know of the German strength in the Forrest and sad to say the Americans were given a spanking!

It was the longest battle on German ground during World War II, and is the longest single battle the U.S. Army has ever fought

The battle of the Hurtgen ended in a German defensive victory and the whole offensive was a dismal failure for the Allies. The Americans suffered 33,000 casualties

Earnest hemming way says:

"It was a place where it was extremely difficult for a man to stay alive even if all he did was be there. And we were attacking all the time and every day."

Basically, you need to take a bus to a small town outside of Aachen, find the cathedral then follow it into the forrest, its not very well sign posted so you need to keep your wits about you!

It was freezing cold (like 5oC)raining, windy as hell and I seemed to be the only one on the 8am bus heading into the vacant lands…

Holding my nerve I got off at the stop, found the church and set off in the direction of the Forrest!
The Church was an amazing place, covered in bullet holes and shrapnel scars.. the surrounding town was devastated and it was surreal standing at the church I’d seen so many photos of in a crumbling mess

The Bridge is where it starts, so it was time for a shameless selfie and a quick read on the sign beside me!

For some reason the local authorities closed the trail about 10minutes in, no reason just a large rope across the track and a sign saying ''HALT - Vorbotten'' Yeah, that’s not going to stop me fella’s!

Undeterred, I went off the trail into the woods and figured I could get a look at the trail further down the way and see what the cause was. It turned out they were logging and had large machinery on the trail, no problem.. a quick 30 minute bash through the bush and down a small embankment I found the trail again and had avoided the loggers... I also found a few bomb craters ( I think ) hiding in the bush! Great site to see! But there were bee’s, lots of them.. and I had read that there were many wooden mines still in the forests.. so I stepped lightly

Taking the track along the pathway you come across various places of interest.. You see where the Americans blasted into the rock to make it wide enough for the Sherman’s, you see the tank tracks that fused into the ground after the tank was destroyed.. Many bunkers and statues of Jesus dotted the track and of course, breath taking - beautiful scenery!

I got into Schmidt around 1130am, wet, cold and tired and keen to get back to Aachen and a hot shower, sadly the buses run at odd times, they run all day, but stop between 11am and 2pm.. So it was a 2hr wait on the side of the road as no pubs/bars were open… not cool Germany, but I forgive you!

On the bus journey home, by pure chance, I managed to find some of the Siegfried line fortifications… I got off the bus and went exploring! Genuine Dragons teeth!

Well, that’s all part of the adventure, back to Aachen, rest, recover and onto Arras!

Arras was a battleground during the war! A small town near the Somme battlefields the Germans occupied it and it was a struggle to reclaim!... There's bullet holes and scars of war all over the city! ... I'd love to retire in a place like this, open a small underground bar...relax and spend my weekends metal detecting!

Again, another medieval kind of town centered around a Cathedral and town hall, signs of war damage all over the city. This was a quick 1 night stop to relax and rent a car! I wanted to see the Wellington Tunnels, but alas time was limited and it gives me another reason to return! 
Driving in France (when you are from NZ) is never enjoyable.. for 1, they drive on the opposite side of the road and for 2 they sit in the opposite side of the vehicle.. Ok, a challenge but nothing I wouldn’t able to work out.. until Europcar give me a manual!... checkmate you bastards…

Thanks to various detours in the city, I ended up in a 1 way ‘bus lane’ at some traffic lights boxed in.. can you believe it a police man drove past and stopped right in front of me.. I was only 5 minutes into it and I was already explaining to the French Cops that I wasn’t some idiot.. ok yes I was the wrong way on a one way street that happened to be a bus lane but that’s no the point..
Ok, stress over back in the car… From here on in it was 48hrs of exploring the Somme Battlefields… no itinerary in mind, I had a few things I knew I wanted to see (Cambrai, Vimmy Ridge, Hamel and Albert) but in no particular order!

I found a small B&B in Mailly Maillet that seemed suitable – it was great walking around at sunrise in the fog!

.. sitting for breakfast the first morning I strike up a convo with the owner asking if he had much ‘’iron harvest’’ In his shed I could look at … his eyes lit up!.. No, he says! But he has something better..

edit on 30/3/19 by Agit8dChop because: (no reason given)

+2 more 
posted on Mar, 30 2019 @ 01:36 PM
He walks way and comes back with a rifle in his hands.. Turns out, under the B&B are some tunnels… when he purchased the farm he was clearing everything out and found this rifle hiding in a small hole in the tunnel! A genuine German WW1 rifle.. he offered to sell it to me, I wasn’t sure on the ability to bring it into the country without paper work so I had to decline, but I was a real experience holding it and pulling the trigger a few times.

Over the next 2 days I found 5 unexploded WW1 bombs, a tonne of shrapnel, fence posts, barbwire, 1 German round not fired and one pristine bullet… There’s crap EVERYWHERE! And I saw a lot of farmers plowing their fields putting small flags out, the flags are to alert the authorities to a bomb/grenade.. They’re everywhere! According to the documentaries, a third of British shells didn’t explode! So much so, the Germans held up signs asking if the Brits would like their unexploded bombs back… That’s awesome trolling 1916 style!

The Somme's first day is still the worst day of British Military history. 20,000 lost on day 1 during the battle of Albert. The fields will forever be British Soil!

There’s a little place near Malliey Maillet called ‘Ocean Villas’ a small B&B that had trenches on the property. They excavated the yard and brought them back to life and turned it into a mini museum!
Well worth a visit!

These signs dot the landscape..

I kind of wish I had of paid more attention in English class! /j

One thing that fascinates me more than most are the WW1 Tanks,

Mach 1-V tanks the British built were amazing! A few years ago one of the tanks was thought to exist around Cambrai, some researches using photos were able to locate it and dig it up! Deborah was revived and she’s a site to behold!
And she a beautiful, big b***tch. She took a few direct hits and was knocked out of the war…

Luckily, I did a quick stop in Brussels and managed to see the Female Version of this tank… that’s 2x WW1 tanks in the space of a week! Boy what a treat!

Finally on this 2 day adventure was a trip to Albert, the Somme Museum there is one of the best!
Situated in tunnels that run under the city it has everything a WW1 buff would love to see!
I wont spoil you with too many photos of the museum..

Walking out of the museum I saw they were selling some of the items that had been donated to the museum. I couldn’t resist, I purchased a WW1 German Helmet.. a bit rusted and battle worn.. it’s now in a box on express post back home! Cannot wait to throw that onto the shelf with the rest of the relics I got!

Well, that’s where I am at! I’m having a relaxing night in Paris before I hop on a plane to Warsaw.. and figured I’d like to let a few of you in on the trip – being not everyone is able to make it to these places and experience the history! I hope you enjoy, I’ll throw another update up once I leave Russia and have done some digging around Stalingrad!

I encourage anyone who’s keen to get out there and enjoy it! Don’t make excuses… You can get a car for $80 US, a B&B for $70 US per night and flights from the US To Paris aren’t to expensive… go check it out!

edit on 30/3/19 by Agit8dChop because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 30 2019 @ 01:49 PM

Very Kool

Good luck on this great adventure !! 😎

posted on Mar, 30 2019 @ 02:09 PM
Wow, amazing! Thank you for sharing a part of your adventure with us! Looking forward to seeing more pics and hearing more about your adventures.

posted on Mar, 30 2019 @ 02:15 PM
Awesome adventure, awesome thread.

posted on Mar, 30 2019 @ 02:22 PM
Don't forget to check out East Asian museums. Such as Japans and Chinese one. Both might have a different story.

Understanding the Western history isn't the only thing. We all need to know that WW2 began in East Asia, that is the tip of the iceberg.

edit on 30-3-2019 by makemap because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 30 2019 @ 02:28 PM
a reply to: Agit8dChop

Great pictures, as a World War II buff I'm really enjoying this.

posted on Mar, 30 2019 @ 02:36 PM
It’s amazing that so much of it still remains untouched even till this day, a reminder that it wasn’t that long ago. Just imagining the horrors that took place in these photos makes me thankful that most of us are able to live relatively peaceful lives. I can’t imagine what these soldiers and citizens experienced, with so much chaos it must’ve felt like the end of the world. We’re losing these veterans every day, and I worry that the further we get away from it, the more we forget just how tragic war is.
Anyhow I really enjoyed your post!I would one day like to take a trip and follow the allied invasion from Normandy all the way to Berlin.

posted on Mar, 30 2019 @ 03:49 PM
That is cool as hell, I just might add it to my bucket list .

Is this place on your agenda? I would love some live pics from there.

I've got a big mouth but I would be remiss not to mention this.

Stay on the trail and don't pick up any unexploded ordinance. We'd like you back here in one piece .

The farmers plowing their fields should never go swimming . Their brass B*** would drag them to the bottom .
edit on 30-3-2019 by Fallingdown because: (no reason given)

edit on 30-3-2019 by Fallingdown because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 30 2019 @ 06:19 PM
a reply to: Agit8dChop

Awesome stuff!!!

Thanks for sharing. I am envious

posted on Mar, 31 2019 @ 05:28 AM
My son's school organise trips to the war cemeteries and battle fields of Normandy, as do other schools in the UK. It's a sobering lesson to be taught.

posted on Mar, 31 2019 @ 10:28 AM
a reply to: Agit8dChop

I love the WW1 tanks also. I love the AHC when they have documentaries on WW1 and WW2, This is an awesome thread. Thank you very much for sharing.

posted on Mar, 31 2019 @ 09:29 PM
My father was in the 2nd armored div 41 armored infantry Regiment and went through North Africa and Sicily and the liberation of France.

i still have a rare speewerks P38 he liberated from a German officer.

posted on Apr, 1 2019 @ 08:01 AM
a reply to: Agit8dChop
Thank you very much for sharing. Very cool!! When I was in Paris and went to the Invalides and saw the WW1 and WW2 relics it was very interesting. Your journey would be more than awesome for me!! Have fun!! Enjoy and more photos later would be a special treat.

posted on Apr, 1 2019 @ 10:23 AM
Wicked Kewl...
Very envious..
Thanks for sharing

posted on Apr, 5 2019 @ 11:24 PM
Hey bro,

I just wanted to chime in and to say how appreciative I am of you showing us these photos. And all your experiences. Thank you and 🍻!

I look forward to the rest of the journey!

posted on Apr, 6 2019 @ 12:17 PM
Stalingrad, Russia!

For a long time, I'd wanted to see this city. I'd heard rumors of a ''field of bones'' outside the city limits, but never really believed it! Today was day 1 with a group looking for remains of soldiers. We found remains, a whole field of them, bones scattered - you didn't even need to dig. I feel sick and inhumane, i cancelled tomorrows 2nd excursion. It really is a field full of human remains, shoes, buttons, clothes, exploded bombs and craters. 2.X million people were casualties in this battle, It was the turning point of WW2. The Germans never took the city and it was ultimately the beginning of the end of Hitlers 3rd Reich. The Russians surrounded the German 6th army outside the city and slowly let them freeze and starve to death in the fields. 90,000 ended up as POW's marched to Russia! I wont post photos of the humans bones we found and I think my interest exploring battlefields is over. This city never recovered from the war, there's ruins, drugs, crime and its a little too close to Chechnya and the border of Ukraine for most peoples liking... How can we justify doing this to each other.

I genuinely feel pretty off and am looking forward to getting to London in 48hrs..

T34 tank - the workhorse of the Russian Army

Romanian Helmet we found digging in the fields

The Romanians took the brunt of the Russian stealth attack that ultimately doomed the German 6th Army. The Soviets slammed into the Romanian defenses on the edge of the 6th Army, they were under trained, under equipped and annihilated.

Strange Volgograd Hotel roof

Banks of the Volga, this is where the Russian's stormed ashore - if you have seen enemy at the gates, this is the where the Russians resisted as a back against the wall mentality

Random German trash in the fields

Todays tools

Random fields around Gumrak Airport

remains of a german mortar

a quick stop on our way to the fields

We found a german dugout in a defensive position

Defensive trenches

this was on the edge of ''the field of bones''

From what I understand, its basically a mass cemetery of german soldiers who were never buried but left to rot in the fields

More random photos of the area around Gumrak

One thing that surprised me and you might not see it in this photo, is the Volga River at Stalingrad is pitch black and crystal like.
imagine what lies at the bottom of the river

German Cemetery outside Stalingrad

Freshly dug graves with recently recovered remains in the Russian Cemetery

German goggles and wrench found in a trench

random junk found while digging

amongst the bones in the fields were German shoes... they were everywhere!... they obviously do not break down

German mortar remains

remains of the battle at the museum

random track outside stalingrad amongst the digging

More german shoes

more shoes

Just up the bank from the Volga

posted on Apr, 6 2019 @ 12:37 PM
and a few pics from Moscow.. Moscow is... Moscow by all accounts! Its super interesting although not very welcoming!

Not much to really talk about here, typical moscow.. some of their military hardware.. but I did find the Gary Powers U2 remains interesting

these are all around the Kremlin

some military hardware

U2 spy plane remains

I got pretty drunk one night and went exploring the back streets..

one thing I did find surprising... of about 8 people I spoke to about ''politics''.. they all HATED putin.. no one had a good word to say..

and when I asked about trump.. it was always 'meh' or... '' i have no opinion ''

the only real response I got was ''im 50/50''

... seems - they just dont give a damn!

posted on Apr, 6 2019 @ 12:44 PM
Oh yeah and thanks for all the responses guys!
Its great to see people take an interest and enjoy the pics!

Its definately been a trip and a half and I always say, if you have a passion - spend the money and spend the time and go do it. Dont wait! these places are there and accessible to anyone and im happy to give anyone some advice/help on how to make it go easy!

I over heard this in Poland and I'll never forget it..

''stop living life like you live it twice''

posted on Apr, 6 2019 @ 09:00 PM
More excellent pics — thank you!

It almost sounds like you somehow felt the energy off of all the dead soldiers. I could imagine that being overwhelming.

On another note, I’ve always wondered what type of psychedelics the architect of the Kremlin was taking. Just look at that beautiful colorful marvel!

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