This was the longest battle of WW1, from February 1916 through to December 1916. The British were not directly involved, and the battle is not so well understood in UK, compared to the Somme.
Verdun was the major German offensive on the Western Front (between the opening attacks of 1914, and the Spring Offensives of 1918). Verdun was of huge symbolic importance to the French, and was in a salient, pushing into the German line. Falkenhayn secretly deployed huge numbers of German guns, which could shoot into the “killing ground”; he anticipated that the French would fight to the last man to keep Verdun. In his memoirs, Falkenhayn claimed his aim was to “bleed France white”. One interesting question is, did the Germans ever intend to actually take the city of Verdun?
Verdun is an unusual battle for WW1, the extensive use of artillery was such that conventional trenches were mostly blown away, so fighting was largely from shell crater to shell crater, and the various fortifications became very significant (prompting the French to construct the Maginot line after the war).
Tim is a graduate of Oxford University. He is particularly interested in military history, and has visited numerous battlefields around Europe and the UK. Having gained early retirement from a career in computing in 2016, he has been able to devote more time to his historical interests. Tim is the chair of the Manchester Military History Society.
The cost of this expert talk is £10 per person. To book your place visit: https://classicbattlefieldtours.com/talks/ and scroll down to ‘Battle of Verdun by Tim Cockitt’ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
These talks are open to anyone and please do pass on our details to anybody who you think would be interested.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Best wishes, James
James Stewart-Smith | Classic Battlefield Tours
Box House, Lower Froyle, Nr Alton, Hampshire GU34 4LN
Tel: 07814 586441