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

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Story Behind the Photo: The Machine Gunners of Verdun

The triumphant machine gunners in the photo above are standing in front of combat shelter MF2 on the Verdun battlefield.  They have just participated in the recapture of Fort Douaumont in September 1916. The shelter had been completed in 1907 and was almost destroyed in 1915 as obsolete. After Verdun was attacked in February 1916, however, it proved its value.  Located mid-way between Fort Douaumont and Froideterre (an important part fort, part field fortification complex). MF2 never fell to the enemy during the battle and withstood numerous bombardments.  It still stands today, but it's quite difficult to get to. Here are two recent photos from Christina Holstein, who helped me pin down the location of the photo.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting article, but it needs a topographical map inclusion that shows the fields of fire, etc. A discussion of how militarily effective the emplacement was. It is hard to tell just from looking at the photos.