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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Military/History Related Hobbies > Battlefields and Museums

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Battlefields and Museums Visited a battlefield or museum lately? Share your thoughts impressions here.

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  #1  
Old 28 Aug 13, 15:01
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Sedan and the Franco Prussian War

Just thought I would try my luck again and see if anyone here may have any experience or advice in traveling around Sedan and exploring some of the sites and battlefields around the city.

We are staying one night in the hotel thats actually inside the Sedan Fortress, and I know there will be plenty to see inside the fort on its own! But it seems like most of the battlefield sites and monuments are outside the actual city of Sedan - like in Floing, the scene of a failed French cavalry charge, and Bazeilles, which still has some buildings showing battle damage and an ossuary. But I'm just curious if anyone has ever been and might be able to provide some insight as to what's worth exploring and seeking out, or some hidden gems that don't appear in any travel guides.

I know there's a WWII bunker near Sedan, but on this trip I'm primarily interested in the war of 1870.

Thanks in advance if anyone can help!
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  #2  
Old 04 Sep 13, 12:51
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I haven't been to Sedan and would be very interested in what you saw or found out. I did visit Gravelotte/St Privat in 2008 on my way back from Verdun, no where near as interesting as Verdun but highly interesting in regard to an 1870 related tour: http://johnsmilitaryhistory.com/Gravelotte.html
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Old 16 Oct 13, 14:52
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I recently returned from my vacation in Europe, and thought I'd share some experiences and photos from Sedan - a very interesting and beautiful region thats so steeped in history. Both my wife and I really enjoyed our time there, especially around the fortress itself. We stayed one night in the hotel inside the fortress for less than 90 Euros, well worth it!

Anyhow - as for the Battle of Sedan itself - while there is a museum inside the fortress, its content is mostly medieval/renaissance, with a small section dedicated to the 1870 war. Most of the battle sites are to be found in the surrounding areas.

The Marfee Heights: a hill site located south west of the town, it gives a commanding view of Sedan. Here the Prussians set up their artillery and rained down shells in and around Sedan. They took the hill with little French resistance.

Whats most interesting about Marfee Heights is that its the site of 4 different battles from 4 different wars. The Prussians shelled Sedan from here in 1870, the French and Germans both clashed here in 1914 and 1940, and in 1641 French troops clashed with those of the Holy Roman Empire and Spain - Sedan was not yet French territory and Sedanais troops also fought against the French here. Its an amazing feeling to realize the ground I was standing on and been the site of so much bloodshed over the centuries.

An enormous German cemetery is found on this hill, containing German dead from both world wars. A smaller French cemetery containing mostly 1914 dead is nearby, with a few British graves from both wars.

Below the Heights is the commune of Bazeilles, which lies on the outskirts of Sedan. Heavy fighting took place here in 1870. The House of the Last Bullets still stands here and is pocked marked with bulletholes, and an unexploded shell still remains in place just below the roof. Its now a museum but was closed by the time we got there. There is a memorial there to the French Marines who held this location under heavy Prussian bombardment. In the town is a graveyard, which also contains an ossuary full of bones and perforated and damaged skulls of those that died during the battle, all out in the open and on display for people to see. Very sombre and surreal, its just as moving as the huge ossuary at Verdun.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Sedan.jpg (394.4 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg Sedan Bazeilles.jpg (406.3 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg Sedan Bazeilles (3).jpg (399.2 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg Sedan Bazeilles (4).jpg (413.0 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg Sedan Bazeilles (6).jpg (417.7 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg Sedan Marfee Heights (3).jpg (404.2 KB, 0 views)

Last edited by VimyHero17; 16 Oct 13 at 15:19..
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Old 16 Oct 13, 15:25
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Part 2:

To the north east are the villages of Illy and Floing, the site of the last calvary charge in French history. Around the hills surrounding Illy one can trace where the charge began, where General Margueritte assembled his troops for his attack, then follow it through Floing to where it was bloodily repulsed by the Prussians. Along the way is a statue of Margueritte, a mass grave filled with dead French calvarymen, a marker indicating where Margueritte was mortally wounded, the site where the Prussians were situated and mowed down the French cavalry, and lastly an impressive monument to the French Chassuers, "Les Brave Gens" as expressed by Kaiser Wilhelm when he witnessed the French charge.

All in all, a pretty fascinating visit with plenty to see - we enjoyed our time there very much and would recommend it to anyone, if anything just to spend a night in the fortress!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Sedan Floing 2.jpg (399.5 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg Sedan Floing 4.jpg (416.7 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg Sedan Floing 6.jpg (418.4 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg Sedan Floing 11.jpg (402.7 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg Sedan Floing 1.jpg (426.7 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg Sedan Floing 10.jpg (404.0 KB, 0 views)
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