15/7/1916 Verdun: the French push back

At Verdun the last German offensive has failed. The French have held Fort Souville and the town of Verdun remains out of German reach. Germany has no more reserves to send to renew the offensive at Verdun, as every available man is needed to face the Allied offensives at the Somme and in Galicia.

German positions at Verdun are now dangerously advanced. It would make sense to retreat to ones more readily defensible. However German commanders fear that doing so would betray the men who have died to capture them.

The end of German attempts to seize Verdun does not mean the end of the battle. Artillery continues to blast each side’s men into oblivion. French counter-attacks intensify as they attempt to recover lost ground and push the Germans back from Verdun, in case they should attempt to renew their offensive. However these assaults are costly, to Pétain’s mind needlessly so. He orders his subordinates to halt their counter-attacks until he is ready to strike a great blow against the enemy.

The Germans have taken some 250,000 casualties since the start of the battle, to 275,000 for the French.

image source:

French troops (Les Français à Verdun)

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