The Zone Rouge (English: Red Zone) is a chain of non-contiguous areas throughout northeastern France that the French government isolated after the First World War. The land, which originally covered more than 1,200 square kilometres (460 sq mi), was deemed too physically and environmentally damaged by conflict for human habitation. Rather than attempt to immediately clean up the former battlefields, the land was allowed to return to nature. Restrictions within the Zone Rouge still exist today, although the control areas have been greatly reduced.
The Zone Rouge was defined just after the war as "Completely devastated. Damage to properties: 100%. Damage to Agriculture: 100%. Impossible to clean. Human life impossible".
Under French law, activities such as housing, farming, or forestry were temporarily or permanently forbidden in the Zone Rouge, because of the vast amounts of human and animal remains, and millions of items of unexploded ordnance contaminating the land. Some towns and villages were never permitted to be rebuilt after the war.
The area is saturated with unexploded shells (including many gas shells), grenades, and rusty ammunition. Soils were heavily polluted by lead, mercury, chlorine, arsenic, various dangerous gases, acids, and human and animal remains.The area was also littered with ammunition depots and chemical plants.
Each year, dozens of tons of unexploded shells are recovered. According to the Sécurité Civile agency in charge, at the current rate 300 cm (6 inches) of soil in the worst areas.to 700 more years will be needed to clean the area completely. Some experiments conducted in 2005–06 discovered up to 300 shells per hectare (120 per acre) in the top 15
Some areas where 99% of all plants still die remain off limits (for example, two small pieces of land close to Ypres and Woëvre), as arsenic constitutes up to 176 mg/kg of soil samples.
The Battle of Verdun, was fought from 21 February to 18 December 1916 on the Western Front in France. The battle was the longest of the First World War and took place on the hills north of Verdun-sur-Meuse. The German 5th Army attacked the defences of the Fortified Region of Verdun and those of the French Second Army on the right (east) bank of the Meuse. Using the experience of the Second Battle of Champagne in 1915, the Germans planned to capture the Meuse Heights, an excellent defensive position with good observation for artillery-fire on Verdun. The Germans hoped that the French would commit their strategic reserve to recapture the position and suffer catastrophic losses at little cost to the Germans.
A shell is a payload-carrying projectile that, as opposed to shot, contains an explosive or other filling, though modern usage sometimes includes large solid projectiles properly termed shot. Solid shot may contain a pyrotechnic compound if a tracer or spotting charge is used. Originally, it was called a "bombshell", but "shell" has come to be unambiguous in a military context.
Unexploded ordnance, unexploded bombs (UXBs), and explosive remnants of war (ERW) are explosive weapons that did not explode when they were employed and still pose a risk of detonation, sometimes many decades after they were used or discarded. UXO does not always originate from wars; areas such as military training grounds can also hold significant numbers, even after the area has been abandoned. UXO from World War I continue to be a hazard, with poisonous gas filled munitions still a problem. When unwanted munitions are found, they are sometimes destroyed in controlled explosions, but accidental detonation of even very old explosives also occurs, sometimes with fatal results.
Douaumont is a former commune in the Meuse department in Grand Est in north-eastern France. On 1 January 2019, it was merged into the new commune Douaumont-Vaux.
No man's land is land that is unoccupied or is under dispute between parties who leave it unoccupied out of fear or uncertainty. The term was originally used to define a contested territory or a dumping ground for refuse between fiefdoms. In modern times it is commonly associated with World War I to describe the area of land between two enemy trench systems, which neither side wished to cross or seize for fear of being attacked by the enemy in the process. The term is also used to refer to ambiguity, an anomalous, or indefinite area, in regards to an application, situation, or jurisdiction.
The Rocky Mountain Arsenal was a United States chemical weapons manufacturing center located in the Denver Metropolitan Area in Commerce City, Colorado. The site was completed December 1942, operated by the United States Army throughout the later 20th century and was controversial among local residents until its closure in 1992.
Fort Douaumont was the largest and highest fort on the ring of 19 large defensive works which had protected the city of Verdun, France since the 1890s. By 1915, the French General Staff had concluded that even the best-protected forts of Verdun could not resist bombardments from the German 420 mm Gamma guns. These new super-heavy howitzers had easily taken several large Belgian forts out of action in August 1914. Fort Douaumont and other Verdun forts were judged ineffective and had been partly disarmed and left virtually undefended since 1915. On 25 February 1916, Fort Douaumont was entered and occupied without a fight by a small German raiding party comprising only 19 officers and 79 men. The easy fall of Fort Douaumont, only three days after the beginning of the Battle of Verdun, shocked the French Army. It set the stage for the rest of a battle which lasted nine months, at enormous human cost. Douaumont was finally recaptured by three infantry divisions of the Second Army, during the First Offensive Battle of Verdun on 24 October 1916. This event brought closure to the battle in 1916.
Camp Leach was the name the U.S. military used for the segment of the Washington, DC main campus of American University during World War I and World War II. The site is now in Spring Valley.
The iron harvest is the annual "harvest" of unexploded ordnance, barbed wire, shrapnel, bullets and congruent trench supports collected by Belgian and French farmers after ploughing their fields. The harvest generally applies to the material from the First World War, which is still found in large quantities across the former Western Front.
The Voie Sacrée is a road that connects Bar-le-Duc to Verdun (Meuse), France. It was given its name because of the vital role it played during the Battle of Verdun in World War I.
Fort Vaux, in Vaux-Devant-Damloup, Meuse, France was built from 1881–1884 for 1,500,000 Francs and housed a garrison of 150 men. Vaux was the second fort to fall in the Battle of Verdun after Fort Douaumont which was captured by a small German raiding party in February 1916, in the confusion of the French retreat from the Woëvre plain. Vaux had been modernised before 1914 with reinforced concrete top protection like Fort Douaumont and was not destroyed by a German heavy artillery fire, which had included shelling by 16-inch howitzers. The superstructure of the fort was badly damaged but the garrison, the deep interior corridors and stations were intact when the fort was attacked on 2 June by German troops.
The Douaumont ossuary is a memorial containing the skeletal remains of soldiers who died on the battlefield during the Battle of Verdun in World War I. It is located in Douaumont, France, within the Verdun battlefield. It was built on the initiative of Charles Ginisty, Bishop of Verdun. It has been designated a "nécropole nationale".
Soil contamination or soil pollution as part of land degradation is caused by the presence of xenobiotics (human-made) chemicals or other alteration in the natural soil environment. It is typically caused by industrial activity, agricultural chemicals or improper disposal of waste. The most common chemicals involved are petroleum hydrocarbons, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, solvents, pesticides, lead, and other heavy metals. Contamination is correlated with the degree of industrialization and intensity of chemical substance. The concern over soil contamination stems primarily from health risks, from direct contact with the contaminated soil, vapours from the contaminants, or from secondary contamination of water supplies within and underlying the soil. Mapping of contaminated soil sites and the resulting cleanups are time-consuming and expensive tasks, requiring extensive amounts of geology, hydrology, chemistry, computer modeling skills, and GIS in Environmental Contamination, as well as an appreciation of the history of industrial chemistry.
Battlefield archaeology is a sub-discipline of archaeology which studies the material remains and topography of a battlefield to understand a conflict. Archaeological battlefields consist of skirmishes, sieges, camps, and training sites. The study of the relationships and contexts of the material by-products of war give an alternate account to the version recorded in a history book, poem, or witness account, which may be constructed though bias, or may present only a limited perspective of the events. Examination of these locations gives insight to what tactics were being used, weapon modifications, and battle formations. It is not considered distinct from Military archaeology or Recceology.
Involuntary park is a neologism coined by science fiction author and environmentalist Bruce Sterling to describe previously inhabited areas that for environmental, economic, or political reasons have, in Sterling's words, "lost their value for technological instrumentalism" and been allowed to return to an overgrown, feral state.
Fleury-devant-Douaumont is a commune in the Meuse department in Grand Est in north-eastern France.
Beaumont-en-Verdunois is a commune in the Meuse department of the Grand Est region of northeastern France.
Ammunition is the material fired, scattered, dropped or detonated from any weapon. Ammunition is both expendable weapons and the component parts of other weapons that create the effect on a target. Nearly all mechanical weapons require some form of ammunition to operate.
Study of the environmental impact of war focuses on the modernization of warfare and its increasing effects on the environment. Scorched earth methods have been used for much of recorded history. However, the methods of modern warfare cause far greater devastation on the environment. The progression of warfare from chemical weapons to nuclear weapons has increasingly created stress on ecosystems and the environment. Specific examples of the environmental impact of war include: World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, the Rwandan Civil War, the Kosovo War and the Gulf War.
Aftermath: The Remnants of War is a 2001 Canadian documentary film about the painful legacy of war directed by Daniel Sekulich. Based on the Lionel Gelber Prize winning book of the same name by Donovan Webster, it is co-written by Sekulich and Allen Abel, and co-produced by the National Film Board of Canada and Aftermath Pictures.