The Battle of Verdun WWI German Offensive

Feb211916On February 21, 1916, the German army began what would become the longest, and bloodiest, offensive in all of World War One.

Over the course of ten months, The Battle of Verdun claimed the lives of an estimated 305,000 people and injured hundreds of thousands more before a French victory was achieved. It was fought between the armies of the French Third Republic and the German Empire and was took place on the battlefield of the Région Fortifiée de Verdun (RFV). In whole the war lasted 303 days.

France and Germany had been locked in bitter war since 1914 as members of the Allies and the Central Powers respectively.

The Germans had devised Operation Judgment to take the RFV quickly and decisively. They intended on using “relentless pressure” from artillery fire and infantry to force the French into surrender. It was planned to take place on February 12th, but poor weather did not permit the Operation to go into execution until 9 days afterwards on the 21st. As the battle raged on Verdun became the Blood Pump of the World.

Even with the use of artillery the German infantry still faced heavy losses at the hands of the French who still held the higher ground within the forts of Verdun despite being outgunned by the German army. The Germans, regardless of their casualties, dug in wherever they could and became impossible to remove.

Artillery was the greatest killer of this battle, but new weapons like the German flammenwerfer (flamethrower) and nerve gas also caused psychological effects on those who witnessed their power.

The battle was eventually won as German methods of relentless pressure at the enemy were proven too inefficient in prolonged warfare, and the war would eventually go the same for Germany as a whole, they would lose the war and bring an end to the German Empire.

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