12/7/1916 Verdun: the furthest German advance

The Germans are making one last attempt to seize Verdun from the French. The Anglo-French offensive on the Somme and Russia’s Brusilov Offensive mean that the Germans have no extra men to throw into the fray. Instead this last gasp assault is taking place on a narrow front with only a couple of divisions attacking.

Yesterday the Germans punched a hole in the French line, but took more casualties than expected thanks to the failure of their phosgene gas attacks to eliminate French defenders. Now the Germans find themselves assailed on all sides by French artillery. Exhausted and their ranks depleted, they try to press on forwards, but the assault runs out of steam.

Some Germans make it to Fort Souville, the last French barrier before Verdun itself. Climbing onto the fort’s superstructure, they wave a German flag to call their comrades forward to join them. Looking ahead they can see the rooftops of Verdun, tantalisingly close. But they have advanced too far ahead of the rest of the German forces. French troops from within Fort Souville sally forth, killing, capturing or otherwise dispersing the Germans.

The main German assault is unable to approach Fort Souville. The Germans find themselves stuck. Their last attempt to seize Verdun has failed.

image sources:

Fort Souville (The Great War Fortifications of Verdun in France)

German prisoners (Les Français à Verdun)

12 July map (Les Français à Verdun)

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