On 21 February 1916, the German Army launched a major attack on the French fortress of Verdun. The Germans were confident that the ensuing battle would compel France to expend its strategic reserves in a savage attritional battle, thereby wearing down Allied fighting power on the Western Front. However, initial German success in capturing a key early objective, Fort Douaumont, was swiftly stemmed by the French defences, despite heavy French casualties. The Germans then switched objectives, but made slow progress towards their goals; by July, the battle had become a stalemate.
During the protracted struggle for Verdun, the two sides' infantrymen faced appalling battlefield conditions; their training, equipment and doctrine would be tested to the limit and beyond. New technologies, including flamethrowers, hand grenades, trench mortars and more mobile machine guns, would play a key role in the hands of infantry specialists thrown into the developing battle, and innovations in combat communications were employed to overcome the confusion of the battlefield. This study outlines the two sides' wider approach to the evolving battle, before assessing the preparations and combat record of the French and German fighting men who fought one another during three pivotal moments of the 101/2-month struggle for Verdun.
Adam Hook (Illustrator)
Country of Publication:
28 April 2020
Introduction /The Opposing Sides /Combat 1 /Combat 2 /Combat 3 /Analysis /Aftermath /Bibliography /Index
David Campbell has worked as a freelance new media producer and content specialist for many years, including roles at IBM, the BBC, various internet consultancies and the civil service. He has a broad range of interests in literature and history, including the Middle Ages, the Napoleonic era, naval warfare and the genesis of the 'Military Revolution'. He lives in Hampshire, UK. Adam Hook studied graphic design, and began his work as an illustrator in 1983. He specializes in detailed historical reconstructions, and has illustrated Osprey titles on subjects as diverse as the Aztecs, the Ancient Greeks, Roman battle tactics, several 19th-century American subjects, the modern Chinese Army, and a number of books in the Fortress series. His work features in exhibitions and publications throughout the world. He is based in East Sussex, UK.