I am not much of a World War I buff, but I can honestly say anyone would be after a trip to Verdun France. I have a new appreciation for what the soldiers of World War I endured.
The battle of Verdun began on 21 February and did not end until 18 December 2016. It was the largest battle of World War 1 and The Western Front between the German and the French armies.
The Germans attacked France here because they wanted to "bleed France" by launching a massive attack on a narrow strip of land that had sentimental value for the French.
The French lost over 360,000 men while the Germans lost nearly 340,000. The battle averaged 70,000 casualties a month. Verdun is known as one of the longest and costly battles of life in human history.
The landscape in this area is incredible. The land is still riddled with massive holes from artillery. The trenches are still in place. Two million shells were fired by the Germans in the first 8 hours of the attack. The attack would continue another 302 days.
We were able to walk the route of Sargeant York through the woods outside Verdun. After his platoon suffered heavy casualties and 3 other noncommissioned officers had become casualties, Cpl. York assumed command. Fearlessly leading seven men, he charged with great daring a machine gun nest which was pouring deadly and incessant fire upon his platoon. In this heroic feat the machine gun nest was taken, together with 4 officers and 128 men and several guns.
All in all it was a gorgeous day and a history lesson we all benefited from.
Patrick at Verdun
Kids on French Fort at Verdun
Gun inside Verdun Fort
Artillery holes at Verdun
French Fort at Verdun/Artillery hillside
Daniel at Verdun. Barbed wire left behind.
Verdun Fort in the forest
Boys playing in the trenches at Verdun
Boys in the trenches
Daniel and Teddy in the Trench
Fort at Verdun
Daniel in the fort. This fort was so damp and cold. I cannot imagine living in there. It was loud too. I cannot imagine how it sounded with artillery outside.
Racks where the lucky men slept. The others slept outside in the trenches.
Toilets where the lucky men got to relieve themselves