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Fort Douaumont (ePub)


WWI Battlefield Guidebooks 1916

By Christina Holstein
Imprint: Battleground
File Size: 45.3 MB (.epub)
ISBN: 9781783469628
eBook Released: 26th October 2007


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The Battle of Verdun, which lasted from 21 February to 15 December 1916, was a turning point in the First World War and Fort Douaumont was the heart of the battle. Situated 395 metres above sea level, in 1914 Fort Douaumont was the strongest and most modern of the forts around Verdun. It formed the keystone to the French defence around the city and its possession allowed for unrivalled observation over the whole sector.

Using both French and German sources this book introduces the reader to the fortress system around Verdun, explains the construction, reinforcement and armament of the fort and describes its surprise capture by the Germans in February 1916. The terrible blow to French morale caused by the loss of the strategically important fort, their attempts to retake it and the conditions of life inside are portrayed in detail. As the months ground on and the Battle of Verdun turned into stalemate, the desire to keep or to recapture Fort Douaumont, whatever the cost, became the reason for both sides to go on fighting. During their eight-month period of occupation, the Germans took steps to render the fort impregnable and following its successful recapture by the French in October 1916, further defensive work was undertaken that clearly foreshadowed the development of the Maginot Line forts with their machine rooms, workshops, deep tunnel systems and specialized personnel.

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 Christina Holstein

About Christina Holstein

Christina Holstein is an independent, multilingual historian now based in Britain. A long period of residence in Luxembourg allowed her to develop her historical interests in a part of the Western Front which saw serious fighting in WWI but which is relatively unknown in the UK. She is fortunate in being able to research the battlefield with local people whose relatives either fought there or returned to live in the area after 1918, as well as with German historians and researchers. In addition to publishing four books on the Battle of Verdun, Christina regularly conducts tours of the battlefield for individuals or groups and, with her specialized knowledge of the terrain, has acted as consultant to a number of other historians and to the BBC.

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