Autumn 1914. The valley of the river Ijzer is flooded, soldiers in the trenches. Four hundred young Belgians meet in Paris. An elite group. They start to work with armored cars and become the ACM, Autos-Canons-Mitrailleuses. A few months later a Russian captain notices them on the French-Belgian border. He negotiates with King Albert who donates the Corps of armored cars to the Russian Tsar.
Autumn 1915. A turbulent sea voyage, storm and hunger and mutiny. The four hundred Belgians are in Saint Petersburg with their armored cars. They suffer cold, parade before the Tsar. Their captain gets lost and disappears.
Spring 1916. They live among Jews and Russians in Ukraine, the Belgians are preparing for battle.
Summer 1916. The Russian offensive erupts, Austrians withdraw, Belgians get killed.
Fall and winter 1916. Belgian armored cars in the Carpathians, the Germans hit back, the heroes are tired. Four hundred Belgians overwinter in the borderland behind the front. It's gray, it's freezing, it's Galicia in the snow.
The year 1917. Revolution in Russia, the czar is dethroned. Four hundred Belgians keep fighting, thousands of Russian soldiers want to go home. The last Russian offensive, with Belgians in the forefront of the attack. A bloody debacle, a dramatic retreat.
October 1917. The Bolsheviks of Lenin and Trotsky seize power in St Petersburg and Moscow. Four hundred Belgians are stuck in Kiev. There is fights, it is civil war, the Belgians lose their armored cars.
It's 1918. Four hundred Belgians get hold of a train, they journey across Siberia, keeping the Reds at a safe distance, they reach China. Rest in Manchuria, Japanese geishas, Belgian tiger hunters. The big finale after crossing the Pacific. Four hundred Belgians parade as King Albert's Heroes across America, from San Francisco to New York. The rest is coming home and looking back in amazement. Together with the writer Marcel Thiry, the wrestling champion Constant le Marin, the communist Julien Lahaut, and many others. The casualties, the deserters, the drunkards, the clowns, the married. Little heroes in times of war, revolution and destruction.
King Albert's Heroes - the worldwide adventure of the ACM with all the stories and 200 original photographs. More info: http://www.houtekiet.be/boeken/p/detail/king-alberts-heroes