On 23rd August 1914, the Col de la Chapelotte, located between the Donon and Raon l'Etape, suddenly became a strategic point of friction. The n°8 Zeppelin from Strasbourg was brought down on the road between Celles-sur-Plaine and Badonviller. The legendary airship terrified the French soldiers, because they knew it was much more capable than aeroplanes of bombing Paris or London.
The violence of the mountain fighting peaked with a battle of the mines that lasted for almost 30 months. The blast furnaces were dug to a depth of 80 metres and 55 explosions ravaged contour line 542 (the military designation for La Chapelotte) where all vegetation quickly disappeared.
In the depths of winter, on 27th February 1915, the Germans launched an attack that was intended to strengthen their positions on the Domèvre-Bréménil-La Chapelotte-Allarmont line. The French counterattacks did not manage to regain any ground. The Germans established the front by carrying out extensive fortifications.
The pass and surrounding peaks still show the scars of this fighting. At the place known as La Menelle, in the commune of Pierre-Percée, the Interpretation and Documentation Centre 1914-1918 (CID) displays objects and maintains an archive of this forgotten front.
Office de Tourisme de Raon l'Etape, des Lacs au Donon
88110 Raon l'Etape
Tel:+33(0)3 29 41 28 65