The Deadliest Battle of the First World WarBook - 2016
Fought on the heights above the town of the same name on the River Meuse east of Paris, the Battle of Verdun lasted for the ten months between February and December 1916, double the length of the Battle of the Somme. Conceived by the Germans as a means of destroying the French Army through attrition rather than by breakthrough and encirclement, the battle cost 300,000 dead. Massed artillery was employed on a hitherto unprecedented scale - the initial bombardment lasted for nine hours and pumped 80,000 shells onto the French trench line while on the ground the initial attack saw the combat debut of storm troop tactics and the man-pack flamethrower. In the ten months the battle raged the combatants endured heat and thirst akin to desert conditions along with bottomless mud the dreadful equal of Passchendaele. For an additional twist, the fixed defences of Forts Douaumont and Vaux sparked hellish underground fighting in subterranean pitch darkness that occurred nowhere else on the Western Front. The result was almost 200 square kilometres of ground that had been blasted and poisoned into a virtual desert by explosives and gas. Post-war the French authorities simply planted thousands of coniferous trees and left it to the elements. Illustrated with over fifty colour photographs of the battlefield today and contemporary images of the battle.
Publisher: Stroud, Gloucestershire : Amberley Publishing, 2016
Branch Call Number: 940.427 B92v
Characteristics: 318 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm