A Lonely Outpost where the howling wind is often stirred up into a fateful Desert Song. The sand driven hard by such a wind of change stung well the faces of those that once saw fit to guard such a place as this. It was Service at a price. It was Duty, and a Mind Set of determination that often would lead to an Ultimate Price being made.
Above stands one remaining chimney and part of the walls of the Blockhouse at Boudenib.
Below the Blockhouse still stands in the Fort,and in the distance another keeps watch, but where is this place?
Southern Morocco near the Algerian Border
It was here in the Fort above on the cold night of the 1st day of September 1909 that forty defenders fought off over 400 Arabs for near on two days in a battle to hold this place. A key position guarding the approaches to Boudenib , and such actions as this one have inspired writers and movie makers throughout the years since to produce moving tales of the tough regulated life and actions of the French Foreign Legion. Often such men fought to the last man and the last bullet.Why? Because they had no other choice.
The Plan above reveals three pieces of field artillery most probably French 75mm Guns,two to the west and one to the east thereby providing extra fire power to defend the outer Blockhouse and the Fort where the fighting was ferocious to say the least. As in most cases these Forts were it seems kept way under strength and there are desperate accounts of Legionnaires throwing explosives over the walls as the Rif tribesman tried to scale them.
The thing i found most strange looking at all the evidence shown in the modern photo`s is the total lack of any remaining roofing materials.
Having shown the mud brick forts of OMAN,i thought to show what is left of these Legion Forts in North Africa. A friend kindly remarked such pictures can inspire and determine future scratch builds.
1908 Morocco here the Legion is shown with the wrong color sash it should be one of blue.
The French arrived in Algeria in 1833 and were soon building up Forts.
It might seem strange for the Well to be outside the walls of this unnamed place,but often was the case a new Well needed digging after this Fort was built and saw actions of rigid military life.
Looking above at the damaged section of wall i realised that there had been quite an explosion here and near a third of that building had gone.
A Breach in the wall ,i wonder if there was a desperate fight here.
The high-point of this Fort is not all that clear on the first glance of the picture,but to the bottom right the low road or desert track can be seen below. So this was a good well thought out vantage point of defence,and with plenty of firing slits built into the walls.
I chanced upon information that the French used aircraft during the Great War and after to support these Forts. One account mentions water supplies being dropped in the form of blocks of ice. After suffering a number of defeats the French finally blew up most of the Forts that the Legionnaires had built by 1927.
With all the roofs long ago blown sky high in all these hard fought over places their ruins remain today just rugged solitary places that`s for sure. With only the passing shadows and the desert wind for company.
This is the AIRFIX FORT that Paul Converted. Paul`s Bods!
Below a scratch built model Fort made for the gaming table.
Below a welcome rest from the beating sun and time to catch the shade.
The remains of a French built Block House. The people themselves help set the scale of the place well.
That`s All Folks.