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The Battle of Verdun
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Pictured Above: Seasoned men of the Landwehr Infanterie fighting in Verdun, France. Cool side note is that the new Stahlhelm was introduced in February, and Verdun was fought in December (14) 1916.
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On the hills north of Verdun-sur-Meuse in north-eastern France, the German 5th army attacked the fortified area of Verdun and the right bank of Meuse river. Inspired by the experience of the Second Battle of Champagne in 1915, the Germans planned rapidly to capture the Meuse Heights, an excellent defensive position with good observation for the artillery to bombard the city of Verdun. Part of the bloodshed was caused by Erick von Falkenhayn’s desire for French blood and to cause heavy French casualties. Starting on February 21st, 1916, the Germans advanced quickly, claiming Forts Douaumont and Vaux after brutal subterranean melees. The German forces made it within two miles of the Cathedral at Verdun but in July, Falkenhayn was relieved of command and the assault slowed. Resources, such as artillery and men, were diverted to the Somme as well. During local skirmishes the village of Fleury changed hands thirteen times from June 23 to August 13. Despite German efforts to persuade the French they were being reinforced, the Germans were continuously diverting supplies to the Somme and the French kept persisting. In August and December, French counter-offensives recaptured much of the ground lost on the east bank and recovered Fort Douaumont and Fort Vaux. On December 14, 1916, the French broke through and beat the Germans. The Battle of Verdun lasted for 303 days and became the longest and one of the most costly battles in human history. An estimate in 2000 found a total of 714,231 casualties. (377,231 French and 337,000 German)
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