powdered_opium (powdered_opium) wrote in little_details,

Walking distance between France and Germany 1918

I've used this LJ before for help with my current novel, and since you were all so incredibly helpful I thought I'd impose on your knowledge once again...

A central aspect of my novel, set in the aftermath of the 1918 Armistice, is that the two main characters - one a nineteen-year-old stretcher-bearer, the other a sixteen-year-old soldier - end up trying to make their way to an address in Berlin, Germany. If plausible, I would like them to both be survivors of Verdun. (EDIT: Verdun isn't plausible for my MCs, so changed to the Somme and then Passchendale at the time of the Armistice.) 

Search terms previously used: walking distance france berlin, walking distance verdun berlin, world war one battlefields, world war i battlefields map, stretcher-bearer world war one. 

EDIT: To clarify some details: Both characters will be taking modes of transport at points e.g. hitching lifts, however I need to estimate the walking distance first for the overall plotting. They don't particularly care how long it takes for them to get to the address because they don't particularly want to return to civilian life - as they basically feel there's nothing to go back to (stretcher-bearer) or that they will never be able to adjust back (underage combatant.) 

1.) After the Armistice was announced, I'm aware a lot of soldiers were left to wait around at the Front before being shipped home. What would they have spent this time doing? Particularly on the part of the stretcher-bearer - is it likely he would continue combing No Man's Land for bodies and taking them for burial, as I have suggested? What would the burial procedure be in that time? 

2.) Also, during this time, were they under Army jurisdiction? When would that jurisdiction probably end? If the two main characters left before they were returned home, would it be seen as abandoning their posts despite the Armistice having occurred? 

3.) What money and clothes would they be likely to have on them at the time? I imagine petty cash and their uniforms, but I'm not certain if the uniforms were returned or if they were given a pension immediately on being discharged. Or - in the case of my stretcher bearer, they would be given a pension at all. 

4.) In this situation, is it therefore probable that they would choose to walk through France to the address in Berlin? Most importantly, how long would this take them? An estimate would be fabulous and vital in the plotting of the novel. 

5.) They arrive in time for them to be present for the Spartacist Uprising of January 1919. What would be the attitude as they crossed the border until this time towards two British soldiers? 

6.) And a final, general query: could their route pass through Ypres, or would they have to take a specific detour to Ypres? If so, how early on in their journey would this be required? 

As last time I was woefully inadequate in thanking people personally due to the sheer number of replies, I'd like to throw out a general thanks in advance now. I'm very, very grateful for your help. 

Tags: 1910-1919, europe: history, france: history, germany: history, uk: history: world war i, ~world war i

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