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German History in Documents and Images
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Devastated Landscape in Armentières (April 1918)
The military engagements in Armentières on April 9-18, 1918, were part of the Germans' spring offensive in the final year of war. As did other battles along the Western Front, they left scenes of utter devastation in their wake. In northern France, around 600,000 hectares of forest lands were destroyed over the course of the war, and in Belgian Flanders, 46,000 orchard trees were felled. Over half a million Belgian and French houses, 750 of which were historically significant, were completely or partially destroyed. All streets, train tracks, and bridges in these areas were leveled. By the end of the war, the region around Ypres was strewn with an estimated 9,600 bunkers, some of which can still be visited today.