Warfare in News

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Posted on Tuesday 8th November

Archaeologists in the Alsace region in France have recently discovered the bodies of 21 German soldiers in an underground shelter which has remained undisturbed since it was destroyed by a French attack during the First World War.

War casualties are often still discovered during construction on the former Western Front battlefields in France and Belgium, but the finding of so many bodies in one location is unusual.

The 'Killian Shelter' was first discovered in October 2010. It was a 125-metre-long tunnel which would have been big enough to shelter 500 men. It is believed that 34 men from the 6th Company of the 'Reserve Infanterie Regiment 942' were in the shelter at the time of the attack, in March 1918. 13 bodies were removed at the time, but 21 were trapped inside.

Archaeologists have removed a number of items such as uniforms and personal items from inside the tunnel, as well as its timber structure. The German War Graves Commission is not hopeful with regards to tracking down descendants of the 21 men, but the names and dates and places of birth are known for all. Their names are inscribed on a memorial stone in the nearby German war cemetery, Illfurth, which is where the bodies will be buried.

Further Reading

1918: Last Battles of WW1 & the Armistice

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1918: Last Battles of WW1 & the Armistice

(Commemorative magazine)

This publication takes the reader through the events of 1918 and the final battles of the Great War. Highly illustrated with contribution from leading military authors. Read more...


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