Battle Rages in Verdun

A Million Casualties in 10 Month Fight

A Bloody Battle on the Western Front

France and Germany fought the battle of Verdun near the town of Verdun-sur-Meuse, France. It began on February 21, 1916. The Germans hoped that a major offensive at the heart of the French lines would knock France and Britain out of the war. Germany was also using submarines at this point in the war to attack British ships. Germany hoped that if they could defeat France and Britain, they could turn their full attention to beating Russia on the eastern front. The battle began with a German attack on French fortifications on a hill in Verdun. On one side of the hill was the Meuse river, and on the other side was the town of Verdun. German forces were met with French artillery fire and waves of troops from the fort on the hill. The battle lasted ten months, into December 1916, making it the longest battle of the war.


The Germans used phosphene gas in the battle. They were able to defeat several smaller French forts near the main fort at Verdun, but they were not able to break through the French lines. Distractions on the eastern front and at the Battle of the Somme took German forces away from Verdun at important moments to give the French forces a chance to regroup.


By December when the fighting ended, the French had more than 500,000 casualties, while the Germans had more than 400,000. There was no clear winner of the battle of Verdun and the battle did not have a major effect on the outcome of the war.

World War I: Battle Of Verdun 1/4