Battle of Verdun Facts

Battle of Verdun Facts
The Battle of Verdun was the longest of World War I and was also among the costliest. It was fought from February 21 to December 18, 1916 in the hills of northeastern France over a small area of land between the Germans and French. The battle was named for the French town on the Meuse River near where most of the fighting took place. The Germans hope to capture the Meuse Heights near Verdun, which they would then use as a defensive position to reign artillery fire down on the French. Since it was such an important strategic area, both side dedicated immense resources to the battle: the Germans sent about fifty divisions to the battle, while the French dedicated up to eighty-five divisions. The battle was also extremely to both sides, with the Germans having about 140,000 of their men killed and the French having more than 160,000 killed. The Germans eventually gave up on Verdun and focused on other areas of the Western Front.
Interesting Battle of Verdun Facts:
The Germans were commanded by General Erich von Falkenhayn.
The war on the Western Front had become a battle of attrition at that point, bogged down by brutal trench warfare. Falkenhayn's strategy was simply to win a battle of attrition by luring the French into a battle where they would have to use their reserves into hold ground.
In terms of theater logistics, the French referred to the region around Verdun as Région Fortifiée de Verdun (Fortified Region of Verdun/RFV).
The Verdun region was protected by a series of forts, which were modernized in the late nineteenth century.
The most heavily armed and modern of the French forts was at Douaumont.
The German attack was led by the 5th Army.
The French commander on the Western Front was Joseph Joffre.
The battle began with a heavy German artillery bombardment along a nineteen mile front. The bombing affected the city of Verdun and allowed the first wave of German attackers to advance with flame throwers.
Although the Germans took Douaumont early in the battle, most of tis weapons had been moved to the front at Belgium. The battle largely became a quagmire at that point.
With the battle largely bogged down, both sides began using poisonous gas to end the stalemate, but to no avail.
Airplanes were used by both sides, but mainly for reconnaissance.
When the Battle of the Somme began in July, the Germans were forced to move men from Verdun to the Somme area.
The French won the battle after they launched two major offensives beginning in October.
Today, the Verdun battlefield is a historic park pockmarked by crater holes.

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