Monte Cifalco is a high mountain with steep slopes that dominates nearly the whole of the Belvedere massif.
The summit of Cifalco resembles a sugarloaf, a stone wall 400 metres high, pitted with observation posts. It was the ideal location for the German artillery, which pounded the French continuously during the week of fighting. The Germans not only had the ideal position from which to fire their shells, they also had a natural shelter which provided protection from aerial bombardment and artillery fire. Some German shells had a range of 16,000 metres.
The Germans even made loopholes in the stone that were remarkably efficient. A real natural bunker at an altitude of 947 metres, Cifalco terrorised the French during the fighting.
In order to warn the French of the danger from the German artillery at Cifalco, the service units installed signs at many places showing a death’s head with the words “you can be seen at Cifalco“.
General Chambe described Cifalco as follows in “Le Bataillon du Belvedere”:
“You can be seen from Cifalco!”
“Beware of Cifalco!”
At this time, we cannot distinguish it in the darkness, but we can sense its enormous entablature against the livid screen of the sky. It is close by, within easy reach. No, no one wishes to speak.