browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

Verdun, the deadliest battlefield of World War I

Posted by on December 17, 2018

Verdun, probably THE most deadliest battlefield of World War I where the Germans and French had been fighting for months, almost a year-long battle during the Germans driving towards the French capital only to become bogged down at this mountainous, hilly section of eastern France. The Germans ended up getting stuck in the mud due to this location that both sides lost over a combined 300,000 troops! It was here that made World War I famous for its trench warfare, nothing but chaos and destruction of wasteland of barren, destroyed fields that used to be farmland, forests, and cities. The only living things that remained were the ticks, rats, and vultures that inhabited among the war-wearied troops basically fighting over a few meters of worthless dirt.

But this was some very important dirt, Earthland that Verdun sat upon because it was the beginning of the road from Verdun to Paris, the French capital, where Napoleon I used to rule the French Empire from. Some people speculate that had the Germans won the Battle of Verdun then its armies along with those of Austria-Hungary would have easily marched straight into Paris without any resistance. That likely would have ended World War I right then and there which might not have caused World War II to occur; and no rise of Hitler either as Germany would not have been forced to pay reparations to cause its economy to suffer dearly and later go through hyperinflation. Austria-Hungary would never broken up either.

trench warfare memorial bayonets world war i verdun

This is known as Tranchée Des Baillonnettes or Trench of Bayonets where soldiers were buried with bayonets sticking up. It’s a dark reminder of what trench warfare turned into becoming.

The entrance to the Trench of Bayonets entrada einfahrt

The entrance to the Trench of Bayonets.

Memorial De La Bataille De Verdun

Now this is probably what sticks out the most when you go to Verdun along with the grand cemetery there.

tower view vista de la torre memorial guerra mundial 1 uno un

You can climb up the stairs of the Memorial Tower and get a good view of both the battleground and the cemetery. Just note that time has healed a lot of the scars upon the land but there are some places where you can still see the war scars if you know where to look.

Verdun war cemetery

Thousands were buried in this Verdun cemetery. Both Germans and French soldiers were buried there.

It would have been a completely different world afterwards had Germany and Austria-Hungary won as both would have stayed together eiter allied or even combined into one bigger country. Also, these smaller countries that had belonged to the Hapsburgs in Vienna (Austria-Hungary) such as Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary – never have never went on their own. The German language would likely hold more sway as well and who knows what the Bundesliga would have been turned into? 40 teams in the first league? 60 teams in the second league? Bayern Munich and Dortmund would have likely to have more serious rivals.

Instead, the French put up a mighty resistance at Verdun which caused the Germans to get bogged down into trench warfare where very little gains were made. And only deaths, deaths, and more deaths until finally the United States came in to the relief of the British and French forces to finally swing the pendulum of victory towards one side. Of course, the endings of World War I only set up the beginnings of World War II so in the end, it was not much consolation at all particularly after the Germans ended up invading Paris couple of decades later and war spread all over the world.

museum Douaumont Ossuary war memorial german army uniform

There is a museum at Douaumont Ossuary, which is a war memorial to Verdun. It’s also place where thousands of killed Soldiers are stored there due to the massive deaths occurring at that time.

cannon artillery war piece museum verdun great war

As shown in this picture World War I artillery technology had vastly improved by that time as shown by its barrel. The big wheels still make it scream 1800s though.

If you’re going to visit Verdun, I highly suggest getting a car so you can drive around the place. Unlike some battlefields such as Bastogne or Waterloo where there is just one place to go visit, Verdun is more like Normandy. It’s more than just one place – the entire area was the battleground. Be sure to visit in the later spring, summer, and early fall because certain areas of Verdun close down for the season. This is due to the weather/conditions changing to where you might be knee deep in water rather than walking comfortably on dry land.

Fort Vaux verdun fuerte world war i germans french trench warfare

This here is Fort Vaux, one of several forts in the area. If you see the pictures from the World War I era, you’ll see that it’s very gray unlike today’s version of it which is more greenish because no one is shooting, bombing, or gassing the area!

fort vaux french german war battle Krieg fight shooting artillery bombings earth hurt damaged

You can walk around the Verdun battleground area and still see the land scarred with big holes in the ground due to all the artillery shellings, back all the way from World War I!

Fort Vaux artillery window fenster la ventana con canon fenetre

If you look outside, it’s an artillery barrel sticking out…

artillery firing position fort desperar pistola grande arma

…but inside the Fort, you can see the entirely of the artillery piece. I don’t think this was used for long range bombing but more for anti-personnel usage to prevent any brave troopers from trying to charge and take back the fort.