Yesterday the Germans took the Bois des Corbeaux, from which they hope to launch a successful assault on the Mort Homme, key to the French defences on the west bank of the Meuse. But now the French launch a desperate counter-attack, hoping to recapture the woods before the Germans have properly established themselves there. The counter-attack is led by Colonel Camille Macker. They advance shoulder to shoulder like re-enactors of some Napoleonic Wars battle, closing up the line to fill the gaps created by enemy machine guns. Once they are close enough they fix bayonets and charge.
The attack catches the Germans by surprise. They have inadequately reinforced the Bois des Corbeaux. Seeing these mad men coming towards them they flee. The French recapture the woods and the Germans shelve their plans for an assault on the Mort Homme.
charging French troops (Mr Moore’s World History; the illustration shows French troops in 1914)
map (Les Français à Verdun)