Battle of Verdun
Battle of Verdun
The Battle of Verdun was one of the major battles during The Great War on the Western Front. It was fought between the German and French armies, from 21 February-18 December 1916.
Verdun resulted in 306,000 battlefield deaths (163,000 French and 143,000 German combatants) plus at least half a million wounded an average of 30,000 deaths for each of the ten months of the battle. It was the longest and one of the most devastating battles in the First World War. Verdun was primarily an artillery battle: a total of about 40 million artillery shells were exchanged,
Battle of Verdun
After March 1916, along the 72 km (45 miles) of the "Voie Sacrée" 3,900 trucks were on the move day and night, ferrying men, armaments, and supplies to the Verdun battlefield. During the initial crisis of 21 February to 22 March, 600 trucks per day had already delivered 48,000 tons of ammunition, 6,400 tons of other material and 263,000 men to the battlefield. Beginning on February 21st, all horse drawn traffic and troop movements on foot had been ordered off the road leaving it open for truck and motor car traffic only. After March 1916, one truck passed every 14 seconds,
Robert Nivelle. Verdun
He was given command of the French Third Army in the Battle of Verdun, leading it there into successful counter-offensives that rolled back the German forces in late 1916. However he and general Charles Mangin were already accused of wasting French lives during some of his attacks at Verdun. Following his successes at Verdun, he was promoted to Commander-in-Chief of the French armies on the Western Front in December 1916.
Henri Philippe Pétain
He commanded the Second Army at the start of the Battle of Verdun in February 1916. During the battle he was promoted to Commander of Army Group Centre, which contained a total of 52 divisions. Rather than holding down the same infantry divisions on the Verdun battlefield for months he rotated them out after only two weeks on the front lines. His decision to organize truck transport over the "Voie Sacrée" to bring a continuous stream of artillery, ammunition and fresh troops into besieged Verdun also played a key role in grinding down the German onslaught to a final halt in July 1916.
Erich von Falkenhayn
Erich von Falkenhayn: "the Blood-Miller of Verdun" Staged a battle of attrition at Verdun. He believed that the French would cling on fanatically to Verdun and the expected loss exchange ratio would virtually destroy the French Army. He wrote "The string in France has reached breaking point. A mass breakthrough—which in any case is beyond our means—is unnecessary. Within our reach there are objectives for the retention of which the French General Staff would be compelled to throw in every man they have. If they do so the forces of France will bleed to death".
William, German Crown Prince:
He was the eldest son of Wilhelm II; German Emperor Despite being raised within militaristic circles, the Crown Prince had little command experience when he was named commander of the 5th Army in August 1914, shortly after the outbreak of World War I. He led the 5th until November 1916, a two-year period which included the battle of Verdun. From April 1916 onward he tried in vain to convince the supreme command that the Verdun offensive no longer made any sense, but the campaign continued until 2 September of that year. In 1918, both Emperor William II and the Crown Prince signed the document of abdication.
Fort Douaumont (French Fort de Douaumont) was the largest and highest fort on the ring of 19 large defensive forts protecting the city of Verdun, At 16:30 on 24 February a German raiding party, made up of only 19 officers and 79 soldiers, promptly overwhelmed the small French maintenance garrison (68 men) and forced its surrender. The easy fall of Fort Douaumont, only three days after the beginning of the Battle of Verdun, produced a deep shock in the French Army's command structure. Douaumont was finally recaptured by three infantry divisions of the French Second Army, on 24 October 1916. This event brought closure to the Battle of Verdun in 1916
Émile Augustin Cyprien Driant
11 Sept 1855 – 22 Feb 1916 A French nationalist writer, politician, and army officer. He was the first high ranking casualty of the Battle of Verdun. The German Army attacked French forces in the Verdun sector on 21 Feb 1916, With French defences
begining to disintegrate
Driant's two battalions – 1,200 men in total – began a desperate defence of the Bois des Caures in Flabas. By his command, the battalions managed to resist the German onslaught until the afternoon of the next day, helping to gain the time that the French High Command needed to rush troops to the threatened sector. When his battalions were outflanked and the position was untenable, Driant ordered the survivors to withdraw. During the withdrawal, he was killed. He was regarded as a hero among the French at the time, and he and his men are still commemorated at a ceremony on 21 February every year.
8 Feb 1880 – 4 March 1916
A German painter and printmaker, one of the key figures of the German Expressionist movement. After mobilization of the German Army during World War I, the government identified notable artists to be withdrawn from combat to protect them. Marc was on the list, but before orders for reassignment could reach him, he was struck in the head and killed instantly in 1916 by a shell splinter during the Battle of Verdun