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- 03 -042016

The “hyperbataille” of Verdun, fourth episode : the battle for the flanks, expansion of the battle to the left bank of the Meuse, 21 February to 1 may 1916

On 26 February 1916, French reinforcements started arriving on the front line. 132 infantry battalions and 25,000 tons of ammunitions, war materiel and equipment were routed through the only available corridor, a single narrow road separating Bar-le-Duc to Verdun that became famous under the evocative name of «The Sacred Way».

extension de la bataille 300x212 The hyperbataille of Verdun, fourth episode : the battle for the flanks, expansion of the battle to the left bank of the Meuse, 21 February to 1 may 1916General Pétain, appointed during the night Commander of the French Second Army, ordered the formation of a line of defence on the Verdun front. He organised and insisted on a rotation of troops and replenished the units in order to maintain them at the required number of soldiers.

On 6 March 1916, following two days of heavy shelling, the German modified their tactics in order to avoid from being caught on the flank by the harassing fire coming from the French positions posted on the left bank of the Meuse. To achieve this, they decided operating simultaneously on both banks of the Meuse and began a general attack by launching two divisions on a 5 kilometres front from the Meuse to Béthencourt. The German assaulting columns advanced on the slopes on Le Mort-Homme and Hill 304 but never managed to get beyond the hills and no position was captured. As the battle spread out over the entire region of Verdun, it entered a phase of attrition that was to result in considerable equal loss of human life on both sides.

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