Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Vosges in 1915

I am currently writing a series of blogs, a result of a holiday in the Vosges Mountains in August 2011 (The Vosges in 1915), exploring the First World War in the region during 1915. For most British Great War enthusiasts the Vosges is that forgotten section of the Western Front, the section where French and German units were sent to rest and recuperate after being mauled elsewhere. This perception is correct for 1916 onwards but the battles in the region during 1914 and 1915 matched the intensity of those further north, in addition they were fought on terrain that makes the British sector to the north appear very benign. Based mostly on French texts the series of blogs is my attempt to introduce the forgotten front to an English audience.

I am in the process of translating 3 bodies of text; a website that describes the activities of the German 19th Reserve Royal Bavarian Infantry Regiment in the Vosges between '21 Jan - 2 Jun 1915' and '1 Jul 15 - 12 Jul 16' and 2 books that describe the battles for the Hartmannswillerkopf in 1915. One that incorporates German sources but focuses predominantly on the French perspective (Diables rouges Diables bleus à Hartmannswillerkopf by Pierre Marteaux (1937) ), the other a German perspective written in German but translated into French in 1934 (Hartmannswillerkopf by Capitain G. Goes ).

Although my oral understanding of French is reasonable the written French word is more of a challenge for me. Up to now I have been using Google Translate coupled with comparative visual editing to overcome the errors introduced through the software’s habit to translate the texts literally. My intention is to carry on with this process but to carry it out in a space (this Wiki) where others, if willing, can help.

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