On the page below you will find a rough timeline for the battle. It will also offer links to pages with more detailed articles, eye witness accounts, photographs and awards/documents to the men who fought in the battle, both French and German.
I hope to present awards to men who fought in every sector, sometimes men who looked at each other over the barrel of a rifle.
Tens of millions of artillery shells were fired in the battle, countless small arms round. Hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded hide behind the lines in the history books.
There is little that deals with the individual men and their part in the battle. I hope this page does its bit to keep the memory of the simple men in the trench alive.
The drawings are by the French Verdun veteran Marcel Santi and are available in two small booklets at the Memorial at Verdun.
A selection of patriotic postcards sent home from the battlefield can be seen HERE
To continue to the official German list of actions for the battle of Verdun, please clickHERE
A very useful section deals with the fighting at Verdun in the last half of 1917, one of the few English Language accounts of the battle HERE
To help understand the "lay of the land" the following images may be of help, taking into account that the artists used a bit of imagination HERE
Photographs and the occasional postcard showing the condition of the battlefield can be seen HERE
A selection of photos showing the desolation and destruction on Höhe 304 and the Toter Mann go HERE
For an overview of the battle by Gustav Goes see HERE
21 German probes in the bois d’Haumont and bois des
22 Start of the German offensive on the East bank of
the Maas, fall of the village of Haumont and the forests of Caures, Brabant and
bois de Ville
The Hessen Infanterie Leib Regiment 117 fought in the Caureswald on the 22nd. The awards to two of the wounded with an account can be foundHERE
23 Fighting for Bois le Fays, Herbebois, La Wavrille
and Samogneux. La Wavrille falls, Samogneux remains French
24 Fighting for Samogneux, bois le Fays, villages of
Beaumont and Ornes. Samogneux encircled by the Germans then surrenders. Loss of
the bois des Carriers and of Ornes. Louvemont remains French but they pull back
towards the cote du Poivre and Bezonvaux.
(For the diary of an officer who took part in much of the fighting go HERE)
25 Fighting in the bois des Fosses, on the cote de
Talou, on the cote 344, Louvement and cote 347. Fall of fort Douaumont.
French pull pack to Froideterre (Kalte Erde) then Belleville. Command of the Verdun sector given to General Petain
26 The Germans are stopped at the village of Douaumont.
Fighting in the village and at the strongpoint Louvemont and in the bois d’Haudraumont-Douaumont.
Petain takes command.
27-01 March fighting for the village of Douaumont
2 Fall of the village Douaumont
3-5 French try to retake the village
6 German attacks on the West bank. Fighting for the
villages Forges and Regneville as well as the Rabenwald (Bois de Corbeaux)
and Cumiers forest.
7 Fall of Fresnes on the Wöevre plain
9 Fall of the village Vaux
10 French Counter attacks on the west bank and at Vaux
are beaten back.
On the 17th of March the German 60. I.R. carried out an attack on the Quarry of Vaux Village. they suffered a number of dead, wounded and missing. For related documents seeHERE
14 Fall of the Toten Mann or Mort Homme.
of Avocourt falls to the
Bavarians and men of the Wurtemburg Landwehr.
28-30 Fall of the village of Malancourt
31 Germans gain ground to the west of Vaux
2 Successful German attacks in the Caillettewald
3-4 French counter attacks in the Caillettewald are
5 Village of Hancourt taken on the West
Soldat Maurice Richard of the 69eme R.I. was killed defending Haucourt, his award and citation as well as the Wound badge document to Oberarzt d.Res Walter Jaentsch can be seenHERE
7 Assault on Positions to the South of Hancourt and
the Termiten Hugel.
9 The French abandon Bethincourt. Height 295 on the
Mort Homme is taken.
13-15, 20, 21, 23, 29, 30 French Counter attacks on
both sides of the Maas (especially Toten Mann)
are beaten back.
17 Positions in the Quarry of Haudraumont and on the
Thiaumont Rücken are taken by the Germans.
4-7 Pommeranian Regiments take the bois Camard and
Höhe 304 on the west bank.
10-18 French counter attacks on the Mort Homme and Cote 304
are beaten back.
18 Positions on the Hancourt to Esnes road are taken
20 Germans take large area of land to the South of the
The 120. Landwehr Infanterie Regiment was in the Bois de Avocourt/Malancourt boardering on Höhe 304. On the 22nd of May they suffered a number of victims to a french gas bombardment. SeeHERE
22-24 French attack and occupy half of Fort Douaumont
but are then beaten back.
24 Regiments from Thuringen take the village of Cumieres
on the Maas.
25 German attacks gain ground to the South of Fort
On the 25th of May Richard Wahl was gassed in Avocourt Forest. SeeHERE
On the 26th of May in one of the "Ravines of Death" near Douaumont, a Bavarian Pioneer won the Bavarian Silver bravery medal for saving one of his comrades in a bombardment. SeeHERE
29 French positions between the Mort Homme and Cumieres
1 Attack on the Caillettewald
2 Germans break into Fort
Vaux and take the village of Damloup
2-7 Heavy fighting on the Fuminrücken and around Fort Vaux
7 Capitulation of Vaux
Armand Detrus was killed by artillery on the 8th-9th of June 1916 while evacuating wounded soldiers south of Fort Vaux. His awards and documents can be seenHERE
9 Germans gain ground on the Thiaumont rücken, in the
Chapitrewald and on the Fuminrücken
Confusion reigned on the Thiaumont Heights after the attack of the 9th of June. German and French commanders sent out patrols to establish where the new frontline was. Hard fighting followed... for descriptions and awards seeHERE
15 A number of French attacks to the south of the
Totenmann are beaten back
23 Bavarian troops take the strongpoint Thiaumont on
the “Kalte Erde” and the village
24 June- 7 of July Heavy fighting for the strongpoint
Thiaumont which changes hands a number of times but remains German in the end.
Numerous French attacks on height 304
The 12th Bavarian Infantry Regiment suffered heavy losses in the fighting between fort Douaumont and Thiaumont on the closing days of June 1916 seeHERE
Towards the end of June the Germans continued their pressure in the direction of Fort Souville. The awards to a Poilu of the 171eme R.I. who was wounded in front of Souville on the 27th of June seeHERE
3 the 99. Infanterie Regiment takes the “Höhe batterie
11-12 Germans push past Fleury in the direction of Fort Souville
and strongpoint Laufee
13 PC 119 is retaken by the French
15-16, 19, 24, 28 French attacks on the Kalte Erde and
Fleury in an attempt to retake the village and clear the approaches to Souville
Documents and awards to German and French troops that took part in the endless slogging match for Fleury in July 1916 seeHERE
The death of the 5th Company, Bavarian Leib Regiment in the Poudriere at Fleury HERE
1 -5 German attempts to reduce the Souville pocket,
fighting in the Vaux-Chapitre Wald and Bergwald
On the 1st of August the Hessens of the 21. Reserve Division attacked the Souville Heights through the Bergwald. For a description and awards to the men seeHERE
On the 5th of August the 4th Zouaves of the French 38th Division defended the western approaches against the Garde Ersatz Division. Awards to men who opposed each other in this close quarter fighting can be foundHERE
2-8 French offensives on the east bank, heavy fighting
for the strongpoint Thiaumont and village
of Fleury. Thiaumont is retaken
by the French on the 3rd of August and then retaken by the Germans
on the 8th of August.
The 2nd Bavarian Jägers, brought to the Verdun front again, had to retake Thiaumont on the 8th of August. An account from a participant and awards to men involved areHERE
17-19 heavy fighting at Thiaumont and the bois des
Trois Cornes (Laufeewald), the French retake Fleury on the 18th
24, 28, 29 French attacks in the Thiaumont and Fleury
areas held back
3 Successful German push in the Souville Schlucht
4, 6, 9-12, 14, 20, 23 French attacks along the line
Constant heavy artillery bombardment without any real offensive
action on the east bank.
24 Successful French push on the east bank takes the
strongpoint Thiaumont, the fort and village
of Douaumont, the bois de
Nawe, the bois de Morchee and the “Höhe Batterie von Damloup”
The French 38eme Division d'Infanterie was one of Mangin's elite assault units, on the 24th of October it attacked Douaumont and the ravines to the west of the fort, seeHERE
2 Germans abandon Fort Vaux
5 French takes the villages of Vaux and Damloup
15 Successful French attack on the East bank. They
take Vacherauville, Louvemont and the Strongpoints Bezonvauv and Hardaumont….
The 4th Zouaves were tasked with taking the farm les Chambrettes, for an account of their attack and an award for the assault clickHERE
of Bezonvaux falls to the
1917 and Beyond...
In June and July 1917 the elite 10. Reserve Division, one of the "big assault" divisions of the German army was called on to conduct a raid on Höhe 304. An account and awards for the action can be found HERE
The Baden 112th Infantry Regiment took part in Operation "Zähringen" on the 1st of August 1917. On the 2nd of August 1917 the II. Batl. took part in a bayonet charge while fighting off a French counter attack on height 304 HERE
In August 1917 the Germans were finally pushed off the "Mort Homme" HERE
The men of the 110th Grenadiers fought the last actions in the Bois de Caurriers in 1917, this one is well worth a look. HERE
It may seem to be little more than a footnote to the battle but Men of the US AEF delivered the final blows at Verdun on the 11th of November 1918. The men of the 104th Field Artillery were fighting at Crepion HERE