Verdun WW1 Battlefield site, Verdun-sur-Meuse, France. March 2014
During the war, the village of Douaumont on the Verdun Battlefield was completely destroyed ( one of nine 'Villages Detruits' in the area ) and the land was made uninhabitable to such an extent that a decision was made not to rebuild it. The area around the municipality was contaminated by corpses, explosives and poisonous gas, so no farmers could take up their work. The site of the commune is maintained as a testimony to war and is officially designated as a "village that died for France." It is managed by a municipal council of three members appointed by the prefect of the Meuse department. The white markers indicate the names and professions of the previous inhabitants.
The Battle of Verdun lasted 9 months, 3 weeks and 6 days between 21 February and 20 december 1916. It was the longest and one of the most costly battles in human history; recent estimates increase the number of casualties to 976,000.
Caption information below from wikipedia:
The Battle of Verdun (Bataille de Verdun0, was fought from 21 February – 18 December 1916 during the First World War on the Western Front between the German and French armies, on hills north of Verdun-sur-Meuse in north-eastern France. The German Fifth Army attacked the defences of the Région Fortifiée de Verdun (RFV) and the Second Army on the right bank of the Meuse, intending rapidly to capture the Côtes de Meuse (Meuse Heights) from which Verdun could be overlooked and bombarded with observed artillery-fire. The German strategy intended to provoke the French into counter-attacks and counter-offensives to drive the Germans off the heights, which would be relatively easy to repel with massed artillery-fire from the large number of medium, heavy and super-heavy guns, supplied with large amounts of ammunition on excellent pre-war railways, which ran within 24 kilometres (15 mi) of the front-line.
The German strategy assumed that the French wou