Catalogue number
  • IWM 473
Production date
Place made
Subject period
  • whole: Number Of Items/reels/tapes 4

© IWM (IWM 473)

License Film
Object description

English language version of a French film of German damage to French property, mainly in the Retreat to the Hindenburg Line, February-March 1917.

Physical description


Full description

Damage in the Roye-Soissons area, showing many of the smaller towns and villages. Destroyed fruit trees. A desecrated cemetery at Tergnier. Damaged houses at Coucy-la-Ville and Coucy-le-Château. The French have highlighted the damage with signs such as "Musée Souvenir de la Kultur Boche". Damage to the station at Roye. Damage to the abbey at Mont des Cats to the North. Back to the River Somme area with a damaged calvary at Crapeaumesnil (just south of Roye), damaged churches at Beaulieu and at Lassigny, and more damage at Chauny. Damage to factories in the Rheims area. Back to Chauny, and Vauxrot (just North of Soissons). A mounted patrol moves in the wake of the German retreat. Seraucourt sugar factory is rubble. The sugar factory at Flavy-le-Martel (north of Noyon) is ruined. A political fact-finding mission visits the area. Agricultural equipment has been wrecked at Trosly-Loire. The glassworks is destroyed at Neuvillette (? this is east of Saint Quentin and still in German hands). At Corbie factories are in ruins. Refugees are taken by trains to Paris and re-located elsewhere. At Soissons the cathedral is badly damaged. The village of Trescourt is wrecked. French soldiers take part in worship in the rubble of the church at Missy-sur-Aisne (just north of Soissons). Near Verdun there is a pilgrimage of children, led by religious leaders, to the front lines. At Rheims the cathedral façade is intact but the roof is damaged and the floor covered with rubble, Cardinal Luçon and Monsignor Neven of the cathedral point out the damage. Another damaged calvary at Mont Renaud. Further north, at the Scherpenberg (just south of Ypres) a statuette of the Virgin Mary has been built into the trench line. The reason given for the German retreat is that "the continuous reinforcements of French heavy artillery compelled the Germans to shorten their lines". French 400mm and 320mm railway guns in action. The country around Noyon flooded by the Germans in their retreat. French troops liberating Noyon, working to repair the railway and roads. At Roye a mine has cratered the street, partly demolishing the town hall and church. French troops follow up after the Germans.

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