Verdun



    
2005            -                  1940
Leaving the town of Verdun you are on our way to the battlefields.
Stop at the memorial for Andre Maginot. He was the man who favoured the idea of bulding a ring of defences against the Germans in the 1930ies, then named after him "Maginot - Line"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Driving up to the Verdun Museum and Memorial you pass the Souville Bunker where the German attack on Verdun was stopped.
In the early morning hours of July the 12th 1916 the first German waves reach the fort Souville. But the Fortresse withstands further attacks. The German troops are only 1,5 miles away from the city but they will never get any closer.



 The next stop is at the "Wounded Lion". This Memorial marks oficially the point of the clostest German Advance on Verdun. Not quite right because the German troops came as far as Fort Souville, some houndred feet closer to the town ~ who cares.

Then make a stop to visit the Verdun Museum and Memorial. The impressive museum offers a phantastic collection of Uniforms, Weaponry, Vehicles and displays. The everyday struggle to survive of the French "Poilou" (Fr. word for soldier) and his counterpart the German  "Landser"(Ger. word for soldier).

Here you can get a depressing insight look of the mass murder at Verdun.


Leaving the museum head for the ossuary and stop at the destroyed village of Fleurie. 
Fleurie is one of the villages that were completely destroyed during the Battle of Verdun.
The village was taken on the 23rd of june 1916 by Bavarian troops and retaken by the French on October the 24th 1916. To remember the battle, Fleurie still has a Major and its own zip code.


Ossuaire de Douaumont

Visit the inside of Ossuary and the tower that is 46 metres high. At the end of this tour you can watch a movie about the battle of Verdun.
The building was inaugurated on April the 7th 1932 and houses the remains of nearly 130.000 unknown French and German soldiers.

The beginning of the construction was August the 22nd 1920. Marshal Petain the defender of Verdun was present on this day. It is 37 metres in length,  lang and the bell weighs about 2300 kg. Inside is a memorial chapel and above the crypts are names of the battlefields inscribed where the remains of the soldiers were found.






Have a look throu the little windows from where you see the remains of the 130.000 unknown soldiers.




In the evening you should go to one of the many restaurants at the river Meuse and enjoy the beautiful old town that was rebuilt after WWI.

Day 2

After breakfast check out of the hotel and leave around 07:30 to have enough time to see more of the battlefields of Verdun.



To give you an idea of what happened there you should imagine that the preperatory fire of the German attacks for June 22nd and 23rd 1916 the German artillery fired about 100.000 grenades along the front.

From Fleurie then drive up to the famous "Bayonette Trench".
Here we visit the place where the soldiers of the 137. French Regiment were isolated from their comrades on June the 12th.
After the position was taken by the Germans soldiers of various units weere buried in that trench. Rifles with the bayonette up were stuck in the ground so that the place could be found later.
In 1919 when the former commander of the 137th infantry regiment visited the place where he and his men fought hard and thought that his men had been buried alive when he saw a couple of bayonets sticking out of the ground.
Right after lots of articles in the newspapers about the tragedy appeared in newspapers everywhere. Reading one of the articles urged the American banker Rand to erect a Monument for the fallen. So the "Byonette Trench" is truely a memorial for the fallen.


Dead French soldiers


  Fort Douaumont


2005


Douaumont in the backgound


1940

 

 

 

 

The Fort was built in 1885 and reinforced until 1913.
The Douaumont is 4 times larger then the neighbouring Fort Vaux.


The inside is covered by 12 metres of reinforced concrete.

At the beginning of the war Douaumont was believed to be the strongest Fortresse in the world.


In 1915 the guns were taken out of the Fort and on the 25th of February 1916 the Douaumont is taken by the Germans .

 

It was retaken on October the 24th 1916 at a tremendous cost of French lives.
During the time of the German occupation the Douaumont served as a shelter for the troops and housed munitions and provisions.
During the French offenive against the Douaumont guns with 400mm (about 16 inch) caliber were used.


Douaumont in November 1916           

                                      

 


After visiting the Douaumont you should have a short visit to Fort Vaux




 

Auf dem Weg nach Fort Vaux
Remains of a Bunker

Old trenches
  
Map of Verdun 1916 / Click to enlarge (2.244 KB)



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