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Verdun, France

Postcard map with of Verdun, France, showing the forts of Douaumont and Vaux and the German siege line.
Die Belagerung von Verdun (The Seige of Verdun).
Postkarte / Feldpostkarte, dated France, May (?) 26, 1916.

Postcard map with of Verdun, France, showing the forts of Douaumont and Vaux and the German siege line.

Image text

Die Belagerung von Verdun

The Seige of Verdun

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Verdun, France, a fortified city on the Meuse River east of the Argonne, was a pivot point for both the Allies and Germans in 1914. After defeat in the Battle of the Frontiers, the French and British retreated from the center of their line at Verdun west to the left wing. After the Allied counterattack and victory at the Marne, German Commander von Moltke visited the front on September 11. With his First, Second, and Third Armies already retreating, Moltke ordered a general retreat across his line of advance which ran from Noyon to Verdun.

This pivot was the site of Germany's great 1916 offensive, the Battle of Verdun, begun February 21 and continuing to September. Recapturing territory lost to the Germans in this siege, Robert Nivelle convinced himself and others he had found the key to victory. Newly commanding the French army, he launched his disastrous 1917 offensive. His failure triggered mutinies in the French Army.

Henri Pétain restored the army promising he would rely more on artillery and other weapons before any infantry assault, and that objectives would be clear and limited. His Verdun offensive began with a bombardment from August 11 to 20, 1917 with 3,000 guns firing 3,000,000 shells. The following infantry assault ended on the 26th when Pétain had achieved his objective. This Verdun offensive demonstrated how successful his approach could be.

The American St. Mihiel Offensive in early September 1918 reduced the German salient south of Verdun. At the end of that month, Allied Commander-in-Chief Foch launched offensives from the North Sea to Verdun. The Meuse-Argonne Offensive west of Verdun was the Franco-American component of this victory drive.

Verdun, France is a city in France.

A sample pie chart graphic

Statistics for Verdun (1)

Type Statistic
Population 21,706

Some books about Verdun (4)

Title Author Last Name Author First Name
The Battle of Verdun Buffetaut Yves
Verdun : The Lost History of the Most Important Battle of World War I, 1914-1918 Mosier John
The Road to Verdun Ousby Ian
Verdun Pétain Henri Philippe