Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Verdun Chronology

 As the centennial of the Battle of Verdun unfolds I thought a chronology would help our readers follow the big anniversaries of the Great War's longest battle. Today 100 years ago the German Army launched a major operation to capture the heights of Mort Homme and Cote 304 on the left bank of the Meuse.

Verdun Chronology

21 Feb: Offense begins on right (east) bank of Meuse

25 Feb: Fort Douaumont captured; Pétain takes over 2nd Army and the defense of Verdun

6 Mar: German offensive expands to left bank of Meuse

German Assault Troops

9 April: Major attack on left bank against Mort Homme and Hill 304

30 April: Robert Nivelle replaces Pétain as Second Army commander

8 May: Explosion in Fort Douaumont kills 679 German soldiers
General Nivelle

7 June: Fort Vaux surrenders

12 June: Bayonet Trench incident

23 June: Nivelle's order of the day "They shall not pass!"

29 June: Hill 304 in German hands

1 July: Battle of Somme begins relieving pressure on the French

12 July: Assault on Fort Souville on right bank marks German high-water point at Verdun

29 August: Falkenhayn resigns as chief of the German General Staff; replaced by Paul von Hindenburg

4 Sept: Explosion in Tavannes Tunnel kills over 500 French

24 October: Fort Douaumont abandoned by Germans and recaptured

2 Nov: Fort Vaux recaptured

15 Dec: Major French attacks push line back close to February position on right bank

Fleury Village

18 Dec: Major operations around Verdun halted

20 Aug: Mort Homme recaptured by French

12 & 26 Sep: U.S. First Army launches major offensives in Verdun sector

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