Loivre is a small village in the Marne, about ten kilometres north of Rheims and the same distance to the south of Berry au Bac and the Chemin des Dames. It lies just off the D944 (which begins as the D1044 in the Aisne to the north).
From the main road take the D30 into Loivre village. The monument is on your right at mini roundabourt as you enter the village.
A little further to the south is the village of Brimont and one of the forts that was built to guard the city of Reims. One of the outpost batteries to the fort was at Loivre and the fighting for the village and area of the canal would take place throughout almost the entire war (Brimont was never captured by the Allies).
The Brimont Fort is situated on the hill on the far side of the canal behind the monument. The Loivre Battery was a little lower down and a few hundred metres on the other side of the canal
On the 13th September 1914 the 28e Régiment d’Infanterie (RI) attacked Loivre and forced the Germans, who had been holding it, to cross the canal. For nearly a week the Regiment held the Germans at bay but were eventually forced back.
The front remained to the west of the canal and village (about half way between the canal and the modern autoroute) until the 16th April 1917 and the opening day of the Battle of the Chemin des Dames.
That day the 133e RI entered Loivre in the area of this monument whilst the 23e RI coming from the far side of the village crossed the canal in the area of the railway station (Gare) across the bridge.
On the 19th April it would be the turn of the 363e RI, which had been in reserve on the opening day, to continue the advance towards the Bois du Champ de Seigneur on the northern side of the village. The wood is no longer there but was in the area of the German Military Cemetery.
The attack by, two battalions made about 400 metres before being forced to ground by constant machine-gun fire. Pulled out of the line to the villages just behind Loivre the regiment reformed in preparation for an attack against Berméricourt on the 4th May.
This time, the 170e RI attacked the wood whilst the 363e RI were given the village as its objective. In front of them was the aptly named Tranchée de Transylvanie running parallel to the main road on the west before curving under the village. The trench may well have traversed a number of woods at one time but on this occasion it was its allusions to vampires and blood letting that summed it up.
At 0650 hours the 363e RI launched their assault only to find that the opposing positions had not been dealt with by the artillery. Within minutes, they had lost almost all of their officers and suffered 700 casualties. With the failure of the 170eRI to budge the Germans out of the wood the 363e RI were forced in turn to retire to their point of departure.
Here the line would remain until the closing months of the war.
The attack on Loivre was one of the very few successes of the Chemin des Dames. On the 13th May Général Philippe Pétain replaced Nivelle but that was far from the end of the story, for a few weeks later, on 1st June, the two regiments that had taken Loivre, the 23e and 133e RI, would become involved in one of the major acts of mutiny that had been precipitated by Nivelle’s act of folly.
The monument was inaugurated on 24th August 1930 by the veterans of the 363e RI and in the presence of Colonels Do-Huu Chan and Dauphin, Général Pichot-Duclos and Colonel Franchessin the former commander of the Regiment.
The sculptor was Antoine Satorio a former soldier of the regiment and recipient of the Croix de Guerre. He also created their war memorial in the cemetery at Badonviller. He took part in major works in Marseille including the facade of the opera house. In 1962 he worked on the frieze showing the baptism of Clovis (the first French Christian king) as part of the restoration work at Reims Cathedral.