More Photos from Verdun

A few days ago I posted some photographs that Lewis Michaels shot while in Verdun, the site of one of the costliest battles of World War I.  Today, I’m posting some of my own photos from Verdun.  A map of the area shows the locations of Douaumont and Fleury.

 Verdun Memorial

The Verdun Memorial

The Verdun Memorial is a museum that depicts the devastation that was wrought on the area during the battle at Verdun.  The museum includes artifacts from World War I, dioramas depicting the battle, and audio-video presentations about the War.

Verdun Bunkers 

Observation Posts and the French Flag

Lewis and I both took several photos of the observation posts at Verdun.  This area moved from French control to German control and back again several times during the battle.  Today, the French flag provides a stirring reminder of how much this battle cost the French defenders.

National Cemetery 

The French National Cemetery

In front of the Douaumont Ossuary is the French National Cemetery.  Some 15,000 French soldiers are buried here in graves marked by a white cross with a nameplate and a rose planted in front of the cross.  Muslim soldiers are buried under a gravestone facing towards Mecca.

Fleury 

The Village of Fleury-devant-Douaumont

The village of Fleury is one of nine villages that were never rebuilt after the war.  The ground is still full of ammunition and metal and the landscape remains cratered to this day from the intensive bombardment of the area.  A small chapel has been built on the site and the location of streets, homes, and shops are marked with signs as a memorial to this once thriving village.

The battle of Verdun was a war of attrition:  German General Erich von Falkenhayn intended to “bleed France white” in order to weaken their resistance.  In the end, both the French and German armies were decimated.

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4 Responses to More Photos from Verdun

  1. Barbara Poole says:

    Hi Steve,
    I enjoyed your photos and information about the Battle of Verdun. Nice to still get educated. This site is really chock full of tidbits, and I hope you don’t run out of topics! You do exceptional work.
    Barb P.

  2. Bruce says:

    An excellent record of your search and fascinating to boot. And I am not even part of your family!! That I am aware of at any rate. The coverage of Verdun is interesting and a place I very much would like to visit one day. I had family who died on the Western Front and so there is some pull from that part of the world. I would be interested to know how you felt as you walked over the site. Battlefields do strange things to people, even those who are not directly linked to it in any way. I have no connection to the Civil War but Gettysburg had a profound effect on me.
    Cheers

  3. Thanks, Bruce.

    Even now, so many years distant from World War I, Verdun has a powerful impact on visitors. The observation posts, the barbed wire, the graves, the cratered landscape, and the warnings of still-unexploded shells in the surrounding countryside provide real evidence of the horrors of war.

    My visit to Verdun certainly did have an effect on me, although my feelings about the place are difficult to describe. One thing I remember, though, is an intense feeling of lonliness walking through the now overgrown streets of the French villages that were destroyed and never rebuilt.

  4. Glenn maretti says:

    I was there in the summer of 2008 vith my wife and children.
    The place made a great impression on us.

    No more war!

    /Maretti Family, Denmark

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