Battle of Verdun
The Battle of Verdun was the one of the major battles during World War I on the Western Front It was fought between the German and France armies, from 21 February – 18 December 1916, on hilly terrain north of the city of Meuse in northeastern France. As again pointed out by French Verdun scholar and historian Alain Dennison in "Verdun, 1914-1918" the Battle of Verdun ended as a French tactical victory. However, it can also be considered a costly strategic stalemate. The German High Command had failed to achieve its two objectives: 1) to capture the city of Verdun and 2) to inflict a much higher casualty count on its French adversary. By the end of the battle the French Second Army had rolled back the German forces around Verdun, but not quite to their initial positions of February 1916.
For centuries, Verdun had played an important role in the defense of its hinterland, due to the city's strategic location on the Meuse River. Attila the Hun, for example, failed to seize the town in the fifth-century. When the empire of Charlemagne was divided under the Treaty of Verdun of 843 the town became part of the Holy Roman Empire. The Peace of Munster in 1648 awarded Verdun to France. Verdun played an important role in the defensive line that was built after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. As a protection against German threats along the eastern border a strong line of fortifications was constructed between Verdun and Toul and between Épinal and Belfort. Verdun guarded the northern entrance to the plains of Champagne and thus the strategically important approach to the French capital city of Paris.
In 1914, following the German invasion of France, the First Battle of the Marne (5-12 September) and the capture of Saint-Mihiel (on 24 September) created a salient around Verdun. Although some forts underwent Big Bertha's artillery bombardment, the fortifications were not threatened with...