Thursday, December 22, 2016

18 December 1916: Battle of Verdun Ends

The Battle of Verdun, which had begun on 21 February 1916, at last came to an end on 18 December. The meat-grinder, as it came to be known, occasioned some 700,000 to 900,000 French and German casualties--among them at least 300,000 dead.

The medal below was issued by the city to the defenders. As historian and security expert John Schindler notes in a piece written on this week's centennial: because of the French system of rotating units in and out of Verdun, "virtually every division in the French army fought at Verdun at some point in 1916."

Details in the post from the February anniversary.

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"The Butcher’s Bill of 1916: Europe’s Blood-Drenched Year of Horror:
A century ago, Europe was busy killing itself—a nightmare we still live with today," Observer, 17 Dec. 2016

John Schindler (@20committee) places the Battle of Verdun in the context of other bloody operations of 1916, including the Somme (intended to relieve the pressure on France arising from Verdun), and the lesser known battles in other theaters: Isonzo, on the Italian Alpine front, and Russia's Brusilov offensive against Austria-Hungary.

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