Grégory Smellinckx - Oise Tourism

The shelter of the Kronprinz, the First World War


The edges of the Oise are a territory steeped in history. The Cuisien era, the knights of the Middle Ages, the traces of the Emperors of France, but it is also a territory that witnessed war. Thus we find on our territory a strong heritage linked to the First World War 14-8. Destroying many of our villages, the war also left behind many vestiges, notably one in the village of Nampcel, in the natural region of Soissonnais and in the Valley of the Oise... 


In 1914, the First World War broke out, and the village suffered the consequences in mid-September of that same year. The fighting in the region is raging and the German soldiers will quickly realize the strategic advantage of this place, and thus settle there. The village will then transform gradually, testifying to the presence of German troops. The soldiers are buried alongside the villagers, more and more blockhouses are built, thus surrounding the village on its heights and in the hollow of the valley.  

Grégory Smellinckx - Oise Tourism
Arnaud Beauvois / Oise Tourism
Grégory Smellinckx - Oise Tourism


In 1915, the staff of the German army decided to build a regimental command post there, intended to house artillery and engineering officers. Built with the stones of the houses of the village, its base is 33 m long and 10 m wide for 6 m in height. Built to withstand bombardment, it has a metal frame and walls more than a meter thick that can withstand the forces impelled by the bombardment. The embankment facing the entrance adds another protection by creating impermeability against shock waves and splinter shields that can cause long-term damage to the building.  

Its strategic location on the hillside allowed it to avoid being hit by French artillery fire, whose front is only 1.5 km away as the crow flies. This building is particularly surprising when you discover all the comforts it contained: electricity, fireplaces, gutters... and even a summer kitchen! The shelter will remain unknown to the French until the liberation of the village in 1917, during the withdrawal to the Hindenburg line. 

Grégory Smellinckx - Oise Tourism
Grégory Smellinckx - Oise Tourism
Grégory Smellinckx - Oise Tourism


Passionate about history or wanting to know more about the cultural heritage of our beautiful region, this visit will be a real leap into the past. Today in the hands of members of the APRAK (Association Pour la Rénovation de l'Abri du Kronprinz), the command post is open to all those who wish to hear its past history, its present and its future projects. . 


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