Noyon, revue devant la fontaine - © Musées de Noyon

Following the old WWI frontline, the Musée Territoire 14-18 / "The WWI Territorial Heritage Museum" provides a better understanding of many aspects of this conflict that left its indelible mark on a landscape and its people.

Lassigny_Zouaves (Enlarge image). Zouaves à Lassigny - © collection GIUVILI Livio

In August 1914, the First German Army invaded Oise and the Soissonnais region. Overrunning first Compiègne and then Senlis, its objective was to pass to the east of Paris in order to participate in the encirclement of the French troops.

However, the latter, with the support of the British, managed to stop the invader during the Battle of the Marne (5 to 10 September 1914). It was therefore the turn of the Germans to beat a retreat, stopping on the right bank of the Aisne River.

From 14 to 20 September 1914, the especially violent series of fights in the Noyonnais and Soissonnais regions had little effect on the frontline. While the invaders made a final attempt to continue their advance by passing northwest of Noyon (the start of the so-called "Race to the Sea"), the frontline, dotted by Roye, Lassigny, Ribécourt, Autrèches and Soissons, became established for a period of 30 months. The towns and villages located near the frontline were evacuated, while the Germans occupied Noyon and the northeast of the Oise department.

Following the German retreat back to the Hindenburg Line in March 1917, the Oise department enjoyed its first liberation. But justwhen life was returning to normal with the return of the civilian population, the German offensives of spring 1918 brought the fighting back to the region until the end of August 1918. The various battles fought during this period transformed the region's towns and villages, which had up until then escaped more or less unscathed, into a "flattened land".

However, on 11 November 1918, the Rethondes Clearing became the symbol of restored peace with the signing of the Armistice.Following the old WWI frontline, the Musée Territoire 14-18

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