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The rulers of the Central Powers stumped by Verdun. Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary, Mohammed V of Turkey, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, and Czar Ferdinand of Bulgaria puzzle over a map labeled "Verdun." The ink and watercolor drawing is dated March 4, 1916. By R. DLC?
The German assault on Verdun began on February 21, 1916 and continued through August.
Reverse:
Postmarked Bern, Switzerland, March 7, 1916 7.III.16.)

The rulers of the Central Powers stumped by Verdun. Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary, Mohammed V of Turkey, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, and Czar Ferdinand of Bulgaria puzzle over a map labeled "Verdun." The ink and watercolor drawing is dated March 4, 1916. By R. DLC?
The German assault on Verdun began on February 21, 1916 and continued through August.

Map of the Trentino, part of "Italia Irredenta," unredeemed Italy: Venezia Tridentina (Trentino and Alto Adige)
Text:
Venezia Tridentina (Trentino and Alto Adige)
Confine del Regno d'Italia
Conf.[ine] Geografico d'Italia
Confine fra Trentino e Alto Adige
Ferrovie
Tramvie
Ist. Geogr. De Agostini-Novara - Riproduzione Interdetta
Venezia Tridentina (Trentino and South Tyrol)
Border of the Kingdom of Italy
Geographic boundary of Italy
Border between Trentino and Alto Adige
Railways
Tramways
Geographic Institute of Agostini-Novara - Reproduction prohibited
Reverse:
Message dated December 14, 1917

Map of the Trentino, part of "Italia Irredenta," unredeemed Italy: Venezia Tridentina (Trentino and Alto Adige)

A German Fokker Eindecker flying over the front in the Meuse/Verdun sector.
Text:
No. 104. Westlichen Kriegschauplatz: Schwere Niederlage der Franzosen auf den Maashöhen bei Combres.
Western theater of war: Heavy French defeat on the heights of the Meuse at Combres.
Towns include: Les Éparges, St. Remy, and Combres.
Reverse:
Kriegshilfe München N.-W. 11.
Zum Gloria-Viktoria Album
Sammel. u. Nachschlagewerk des Völkerkrieges

War Fund Munich 11, N. W. 11
For Gloria Viktoria Album
Collection. and reference work of international war

A German Fokker Eindecker flying over the front in the Meuse/Verdun sector.

Headstones from Martinpuich Cemetery, Martinpuich, France: for J. Reid of the Royal Field Artillery, died October 6, 1916, and R.E. Bullows of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died November 11, 1916. Martinpuich was in the Somme sector.
Text:
54766 Driver
J. Reid
Royal Field Artillery
6th October 1916
Known to be Buried in this Cemetery
3009 Lance Cpl.
R.E. Bullows
Royal Warwickshire Rgmt.
11th November 1916 Age 22
Greater love hath no man than this

Headstones from Martinpuich Cemetery, Martinpuich, France: for J. Reid of the Royal Field Artillery, died October 6, 1916, and R.E. Bullows of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, died November 11, 1916. Martinpuich was in the Somme sector. © 2013 John M. Shea

French trench clearers in the Battle of Verdun. French Corporal Louis Barthas recorded a commander's expectations of his men before a May 18, 1916 attack to take no prisoners, neither captured nor wounded, an order 'unworthy of a Frenchman.' The soldier kneeling on the left has likely just killed the German soldier on the ground, either combat or murder. Illustration by Léon Taa. . . ., 1916.
Text:
La Bataille sous Verdun, 1916
Nettoyeur de Tranchées
The Battle around Verdun, 1916
Trench Clearers
Logo: ELD
Visé Paris
Reverse:
Imp. E Le Deley, Paris

French trench clearers in the Battle of Verdun. French Corporal Louis Barthas recorded a commander's expectations of his men before a May 18, 1916 attack to take no prisoners, neither captured nor wounded, an order 'unworthy of a Frenchman.' The soldier kneeling on the left has likely just killed the German soldier on the ground, either combat or murder. Illustration by Léon Taa. . . ., 1916

Quotations found: 7

Sunday, May 14, 1916

"With nothing more than a rifle, a bayonet, and two packs of cartridges in our pockets, the two of us headed out. A sliver of moonlight shone the way for us, across a terrain as pockmarked as a kitchen strainer. In some places the ground was worked over, slashed and overturned as if by a recent earthquake. Any living thing had been snuffed out.

After covering a few hundred meters of this chaotic terrain, our senses were able to discern the limits of this immeasurable horizon of nothingness. We thought we were lost in the middle of an immense desert. It was impossible for us to tell from where we had come and where we were going. Crouched in a shell crater, we sought in vain to orient ourselves by flares, or by the sound of artillery batteries firing."
((1), more)

Monday, May 15, 1916

"No less than 400,000 Austrians were thrown into the narrow sector of 25 miles between the Adige and the Val Sugana. More than 2,000 guns suddenly rained projectiles of all calibers upon the Italian position. A bombardment of incredible violence ensued. Aeroplanes regulated the fire of a 15-inch naval gun [that] showered projectiles on the town of Asiago.

Following the hurricane of artillery fire, the Austrian troops attacked in mass formation. Four onslaughts were made on Zugna Torta. The Italian machine guns cut down the grey-blue masses of men; the wire entanglements were heaped with dead. The Austrians then hurled themselves against the advance posts of the Val Terragnolo, but the Alpini defended every foot of the ground, fighting always in the snow."
((2), more)

Tuesday, May 16, 1916

". . . on the morning of May 16 a cool breeze swept the sky clean of clouds, and a bright sun rose.

It didn't take long for several enemy airplanes to make their bothersome droning heard, and they circled over Cote 304 and the Mort Homme all day long, like birds of ill fortune foretelling a great storm. . . .

In the afternoon, the German batteries—well briefed, no doubt, by their aviators—opened a rolling fire on Cote 304, lasting at least two hours.

How many tons of projectiles fell on this hill?

Our brains were shaken by the nearby explosions. Stunned, we expected to be pulverised at any minute. It was just a matter of being caught in a salvo."
((3), more)

Wednesday, May 17, 1916

"Whatever the reason, all of a sudden a volley of small-caliber shellfire fell all around us with a crackling like fireworks. What kind of devilish device was this, which we hadn't encountered before—and never did afterward? Doubtless it was some new kind of rapid-firing cannon which the Germans never use again (too bad for them). The firing lasted about thirty seconds, which seemed interminable, then started up again. These packets of shells tore up the earth all around us, whistled, farted, shot off showers of sparks and flames, and stirred up a storm of iron fragments, chunks of dirt, and stones.

Flat on our bellies with our noses in the dirt, we were terrified, disconcerted by this new way of scaring and killing people."
((4), more)

Thursday, May 18, 1916

"It seems that the commander of the Moroccan Zouaves, leading the attack, gave his men an odious order: 'My friends, I have no orders to give, but you already know what I expect you to do in an attack . . .' He meant taking no prisoners. This was reported to me by eyewitnesses. The language was unworthy of a Frenchman. And the Germans, when they would advance and see the fate reserved for those who fell into our hands, would resist to the last when they saw themselves surrounded. Or they would massacre those of us who fell into their hands. That's the way they killed those who were at one of our first-aid stations: the medical officer, the orderlies, the wounded, some of them finished off with blows from rifle butts." ((5), more)


Quotation contexts and source information

Sunday, May 14, 1916

(1) Excerpt from the Notebooks of French Infantry Corporal Louis Barthas who had rotated into the Verdun sector on May 6, 1916, and moved to the front line on May 11. He is describing events the night of May 14 when Barthas and his sergeant go on patrol to find out whether French or German soldiers are ahead of them on Hill 304, facing the hill of Mort-Homme. The French had lost and then regained round on Hill 304 in the preceding days. They come upon a ration detail from Barthas' former company, and he learns of the death of several old comrades. As they continue stumbling in the night through shell holes and sections of unconnected trenches, a soldier is killed by a machine gun bullet fired from Mort-Homme.

Poilu: The World War I Notebooks of Corporal Louis Barthas, Barrelmaker, 1914-1918 by Louis Barthas, page 196, copyright © 2014 by Yale University, publisher: Yale University Press, publication date: 2014

Monday, May 15, 1916

(2) After a year of war in which Italy had launched five Battles of the Isonzo River in the country's northeast, Austro-Hungarian Chief of Staff Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf struck back with his Asiago Offensive on May 15, 1916, attacking in Trentino and Alto Adige on Italy's northern border. Conrad hoped to drive across Italy's north to reach the Adriatic Sea, enveloping the Italian Army. Although he had ample warning of the impending offensive, Italian Commander in Chief Luigi Cadorna made few preparations, but quickly created a new Italian Fifth Army of 180,000 men drawn from the Isonzo Front to halt the Austro-Hungarian advance.

King's Complete History of the World War by W.C. King, page 231, copyright © 1922, by W.C. King, publisher: The History Associates, publication date: 1922

Tuesday, May 16, 1916

(3) Excerpt from the Notebooks of French Infantry Corporal Louis Barthas who had rotated into the Verdun sector on May 6, 1916, and moved to the front line on May 11. Cloud cover on the 15th prevented German planes from observing the French positions. Barthas and commanding officer wait in vain for French planes to come and drive the Germans from the sky.

Poilu: The World War I Notebooks of Corporal Louis Barthas, Barrelmaker, 1914-1918 by Louis Barthas, pp. 197, 198, copyright © 2014 by Yale University, publisher: Yale University Press, publication date: 2014

Wednesday, May 17, 1916

(4) On May 17, 1916, French Infantry Corporal Louis Barthas was on Hill 304, facing the hill of Mort-Homme during the Battle of Verdun when this new type of German shell fell upon his unit. The men retreat only to debate advancing to their old position when they are subjected to what Barthas calls 'one of the terrible bombardments that I heard and saw throughout the whole war' advancing, retreating, and advancing again. Barthas marvels that the same immense 'salvoes of iron and fire' he suffered in his 'small link in Verdun's chain of defense' are falling to his left and right across the Verdun sector.

Poilu: The World War I Notebooks of Corporal Louis Barthas, Barrelmaker, 1914-1918 by Louis Barthas, page 198, copyright © 2014 by Yale University, publisher: Yale University Press, publication date: 2014

Thursday, May 18, 1916

(5) French Infantry Corporal (then Private) Louis Barthas on preparations for an attack on May 18, 1916 during the Battle of Verdun. The Zouaves attacked at 2:00 a.m. to seize a fortified outcropping. At first successful, the French were forced to pull back suffering heavy losses.

Poilu: The World War I Notebooks of Corporal Louis Barthas, Barrelmaker, 1914-1918 by Louis Barthas, page 202, copyright © 2014 by Yale University, publisher: Yale University Press, publication date: 2014


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