Verdun - The Left Bank, Christina Holstein

Verdun - The Left Bank, Christina Holstein

Although the original German attack at Verdun, and much of the heaviest fighting, took part on the right bank of the Meuse, the Germans soon discovered that their troops were exposed to fire from French guns on the left bank, guided by artillery observers on a series of key hills that gave them a good view across the German lines. The Germans were forced, reluctantly, to expand the battle to the left bank north of Verdun, in an attempt to push the French back out of artillery range. This would allow the troops on the right bank to advance to their original objectives, where they were meant to stop and destroy the French army as it attempted to retake the key hills overlooking Verdun.

This book is split in two – the historical narrative and the guided tours. This book is balanced towards the historical narrative, which fills the first two thirds of the volume. The reason for this becomes clear in the second half – the area is clearly rarely visited, and each tour starts with a warning that there are no amenities to be found on the routes, the paths are generally muddy and a warning not to leave the paths and especially not to enter any pits, presumably because there is still a danger from unexploded munitions.

The narrative soon makes it clear why this is the most significant battle of the war for the French – although the battles here only covered a small area, they were of an intensity rarely equalled anywhere else, and the eventual French defensive victory came at a very heavy cost, just as everywhere else around Verdun. The narrative is clear and compelling, and draws you into these costly brutal battles.

1 - A Limited Operation
2 - Goose Ridge and Mort-Homme
3 - Malancourt Wood
4 - Malancourt and Haucourt
5 - Cote 304
6 - Mort-Homme

Tour No.1 - Cote 304 - The North Side
Tour No.2 - The Mort-Homme
Tour No.3 - Cote 304 - The South Side

Author: Christina Holstein
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 176
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2016

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