The takeover of Mondement

The takeover of Mondement

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  • Takeover of Mondement.

    BROQUET Hope Léon (1869 - 1936)

  • After the takeover of Mondement.

    BROQUET Hope Léon (1869 - 1936)

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - T. Ollivier

After the takeover of Mondement.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - T. Ollivier

Publication date: May 2009

Historical context

The takeover of Mondement

The war began on August 3, 1914. On the evening of September 9, the infantry of the 77e infantry regiment, the tirailleurs and the Zouaves of the Moroccan Division of General Humbert retake the castle and the village of Mondement, near Sézanne. After the fighting, France won its first battle, and the colonial troops distinguished themselves with bravery.

Image Analysis

The assault then the rest

The two images Takeover of Mondement and After the takeover of Mondement are charcoal drawings by Espérance Léon Broquet. The artist followed the troops to the front lines in 1914-1915, and he is credited with numerous drawings of this type, made during and following the action. The artist's annotations to describe each scene give his work appreciable documentary value, reinforced by the realistic character of the line.

Takeover of Mondement shows the skirmishers, wearing their characteristic fez, rushing to the assault. Before, three of them are already engulfing the breach that an explosion has opened in a wall. Behind them, four other soldiers bayonet forward. A corpse of a German soldier (spiked helmet) is lying on the ground, and one of the skirmishers has just collapsed, trying either to get up or to delay the moment when he is about to collapse.

The drawing After the takeover of Mondement He also shows skirmishers, but this time at a stop in the Saint-Gond marsh. In the shelter of a building partly devastated by the fighting, they rest by a fire, still equipped - they have not even put down their weapons. In the foreground, a soldier faces them, his back to the designer.


Live war

The illustration of the war and its battles is first entrusted to cartoonists (press or art) who thus follow the troops as closely as possible. Then, photography replaces drawing in this function of representation. These two drawings, drawn from life, perfectly reflect this “war of movement” which characterizes any assault and, more generally, the first battle of the Marne. First of all about the war: from a realistic perspective, the artist did not hide the violence of the fighting since he depicted, in the first image, several corpses but also a wounded soldier. It was also with great, almost documentary precision, that he handed over the soldiers' equipment and their assault maneuver, almost minute by minute. Movement then. The first drawing is marked by the contrast between the wall, static, and the mobility of the soldiers who rush into or towards the breach and who, even when split into two groups, seem to advance in the same movement. Their trajectory traces a slight curve which thus opens a breach in the drawing itself and gives it a certain depth. The second shows soldiers at rest, stopped, but not motionless, thanks to the rather fluid line which does not freeze them in their attitudes. This reinforces the timeliness of the two drawings, which depict the action on the spot. While the fact that these soldiers are Moroccan tirailleurs is remarkable from a historical point of view, Broquet gives it little importance. It represents soldiers, without trying to draw attention to "exotic" details. He sees them as fighters like any other, who heroically contributed to this decisive victory.

  • Marne (battle of the)
  • battles
  • War of 14-18
  • ruins
  • Moroccan tirailleurs
  • colonial troops


Henry CONTAMINE, The Victory of the Marne, Paris, Gallimard, 1970.Pierre MIQUEL, The battle of the Marne, Paris, Perrin, 2004.Pierre VALLAUD, 14-18, World War I, volumes I and II, Paris, Fayard, 2004.

To cite this article

Alban SUMPF, "The recovery of Mondement"

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