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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

December 18th, 1916 - The Battle of Verdun

Conflict: World War I

Combatants: French vs. Germans

Location: France

Outcome: French victory

Intent on breaking the stalemate along the Western Front, the German Chief of Staff Erich von Falkenhayn launched the Fifth Army into the Battle of Verdun in February of 1916. The Germans continued attacks over the next six months and succeeded in capturing several French forts and advancing gradually west. In June, the Fifth Army nearly seized the heights over Verdun and the Meuse bridges before being driven off. Yet, in October, the French, now commanded by General Robert Nivelle, launched a counter-offensive which pushed the Germans back almost to the line as it had been in February. The fighting ended on December 18th with both sides suffering nearly half a million casualties.

French 87th Regiment Cote 34 Verdun 1916 by unknown French photographer

Points of Interest:

  • Beginning in February and ending in December of 1916, Verdun was the longest battle of the war.

  • On August 29th, Falkenhayn was replaced on the Western Front by Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg. Nivelle had replaced General Henri Petain in May.

Robert Georges Nivelle by an unknown photographer

Erich von Falkenhayn by Albert Meyer

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