6/6/1916 Verdun: desperate times in Fort Vaux

The siege of Fort Vaux continues. Raynal has sent away the stragglers to try their luck slipping past the Germans to the French lines. Apart from the cocker spaniel, who elected to stay in the fort, the only ones left are the men of its garrison.

The defenders’ situation is desperate. They have run out of water and are being tortured by thirst. Men are drinking their own urine and licking at condensation forming on walls. The sufferings of the wounded, particularly the burns victims, is unimaginable. An attempt to relieve the fort fails, the attacking French troops cut down by the Germans. In the fort itself the men suffer another grave reverse, as a German advance puts the last usable latrine out of reach.

Major Raynal decides that his men have done enough. They have fought and died to hold the fort but he cannot expect them to go on without water. The time has come to surrender.

image source:

French soldiers, Fort Vaux (Wikipedia; I am not entirely convinced that this was taken during the siege)

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