Location of French forts in the area around Verdun, 1916, taken from the, Key sites of the Battle of Verdun, taken from the. They also knew that it was impossible to assault the British Isles and that the sectors occupied … He zeroed on to Verdun. Trench warfare had begun. In the initial 4 days, the Germans met with hardly any resistance and they were able to occupy Fort Douaumont with ease. In preparation for attack, thousands of artillery guns of all calibers bombard the French bulwarks. [December 19, 2016] Yesterday was World War One’s 100th anniversary of the last day of the Battle of Verdun; December 18, 1916. Initial plans had been made to mass French forces on the left bank so as to oppose a German crossing, but the French high command soon decreed that a new defensive line, stretching from the heights on the east bank of the Meuse to the village of Douaumont, should be held at all costs. French resistance stiffened over subsequent days, however, and the German advance slowed. Due to the city’s strategic location on Meuse River, it played a crucial role in the defense of its surroundings. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The Allies had dug Trenches to prevent further advances, the Germans had dug in having already gained ground. The reason that Falkenhayn selected Verdun was because of its numerous forts that posed a threat to the German lines of communication. The expected war of movement had developed into one based around trenches. Before the Battle of Verdun, the Germans had fought on two fronts, with allied forces to their west and Russia to their east. Combat engineers then followed, ahead of the main body of the advance. The fortress of Verdun with its surrounding fortifications along the Meuse River was selected because it threatened the main German communication lines, it represented a salient in the French defenses, and the loss of such a storied citadel would be an enormous blow to French morale. Since the Germans did not succeed in their aim, it can be said that the French won the Battle of Verdun. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. French soldiers receiving gas mask training during the Battle of Verdun, 1916. As French commanders had been almost exclusively focused on their own offensive plans, their hasty efforts to bolster the defenses of Verdun were very nearly too late. The Battle of Verdun, which dragged its length from February 21, 1916, to the 16th of December, ranks next to the Battle of the Marne as the greatest drama of the world war. The Germans were destroying Britain in Verdun, but the British had a surprise for them- the tank. The 37-mile (57-km) dirt road connecting the railhead at Bar-le-Duc to Verdun came to be known as La Voie Sacrée (“the Sacred Way”) for its critical role in the French defense. The battle of Verdun was the longest and costliest battle in world history, lasting from February 21 to December 18, 1916. As the French defense was reorganized, the Germans captured the undefended Fort Douaumont, arguably the most formidable of the strongpoints surrounding Verdun. By the end of 1915, German General Erich von Falkenhayn (arguably the main architect behind the bloodshed at Verdun) asserted that the path to a German victory had to be on the Western Front where he believed French forces could be weakened. French reinforcements being moved to the front during the Battle of Verdun, 1916. On February 26–29 some 500,000 German troops assaulted Douaumont village, but the French defenses held. At 7:15 am on February 21, the Germans commenced a massive bombardment of a front some 25 miles (40 km) long, from the Bois d’Avocourt to Étain. 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