Le Pigeon Vaillant Héros De Verdun

Verdun (Verodunum, a latinized place namemeaning “strong fort”) was founded de the Gauls and has passed back et forth between French et German manage many times. Ce is nous the Meuse rer in Lorraine, which flows from thé south with France, Belgium et the Netherlands. Auto Meuse vallée is a natural barrier that has historically created part de the defences oui enemies approach thé heart du Francefrom thé east. Parce que le this reason, the ville has had good strategic importance, et the fortress de Verdun was the scene de heavy fighting in world War I.

Vous lisez ce: Le pigeon vaillant héros de verdun

During WWII, the traversée of thé Meuse rer capped the successful German breakthrough into france in peut être 1940. Thé Meuse et its crossings to be a crucial objective ns the last diriger German WWII counter-offensive on the ouest Front—the Battle of the Bulge(Battle of the Ardennes) in auto winter de 1944/45.

Verdun is in auto Meuse department, i m sorry is part du the current region of grand Est. Thé region is sparsely populated.

From 1624-36, a super star-shaped (bastioned) citadel was constructed on the un film western end of the rocky bluff.In 1670, auto world’s leading military architect, Sébastien ns Prestre aux Vauban, drew up année ambitious scheme to fortify thé whole city. Return much de his plan was developed in the following decades, some de the aspects were not completed till after the Napoleonic Wars.


Despite the extensive fortifications, thé Prussians recorded Verdun in 1792 during thé War ns the tons Coalition cible abandoned ce after auto Battle du Valmy. In July 1792, a largely Prussian army led par Karl william Ferdinand, duke de Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, attacked France, et on 29 August moche siege à Verdun with a forces of roughly sixty thousands men and forty guns. Verdun was garrisoned de a unir from the loire region commanded par fifty-two-year-old Lieutenant-Colonel Nicolas-Joseph Beaurepaire, a retired royalist officer who had returned venir serve thé revolution. Auto garrison consist of of just forty-four men, thé rest having actually deserted conditions météorologiques the way à Verdun.

The great fortress was no prepared à resist a long siege, marqué Beaurepaire to be determined to resist for ont long oui possible. However, his enthusiasm to fight was not shared by the leaders de the city and, at a council ns war, masculin officers overruled Beaurepaire. His pride might not overcome auto disgrace de surrender, and shortly after this rencontre Beaurepaire one of two people shot himself or was murdered. Conditions météorologiques September 2, after a brief artillery bombardment, auto fortress surrendered.

After auto fall de Verdun, the Prussian forces continued venir advance progressively towards Paris, permitting the french to conference a large army the defeated auto Prussians at thé Battle ns Valmy on 20 September. Auto Prussians traction back throughout the français border, and the french retook Verdun conditions météorologiques 14 October



Verdun again found itself under assault from Prussians during the Franco-Prussian War du 1870-71. The city was besieged from early August 1870 et held out till 8 November avant accepting a Prussian offer of surrender with complete military honours. Verdun was the last français fortress à surrender in 1870.

The Treaty du Frankfurt, signed conditions météorologiques 10 peut être 1871, obliged the français to hand end most of the territory in thé eastern provinces of Alsace and Lorraine and to pay reparations de five billion franc within five years, v a portion of northeastern la france remaining under Prussian prendre to guarantee payment. The french government paid off the reparations two years ahead ns schedule. With thé debt paid, the Prussian captation force withdrew from french territory, et the Verdun garrison was thé last to leave nous 13 September 1873.

Shortly after auto Prussians left, thé fortification for Verdun was revised. After the french loss du Alsace et Lorraine venir Prussia in 1870, the French frontière shrank to seul twenty-five mile east ns Verdun. Verdun uncovered itself in thé middle du the shortest and most direct cheminement from Germany to Paris. So, beginning in 1874, la france began building new military fortifications: a mutually supporting ring of twenty-two polygonal forts, some as far as eight kilometer from the city, and année inner ring ns six forts. Venir staff these forts, a règlement garrison ns more than 6 thousand masculin was posted. Thé costs of this construction were enormous, marqué perhaps for naught because ns the development ns high-quality rifled cannon et the inventé of new high explosive projectiles during auto 1850s. These creations rendered the brick et stone masonry fort of Verdun obsolete.

Not to be deterred, indigenous 1888 all existing and new fort were sheathed in special layers du reinforced concrete. Par 1914, auto fortified area dealing with Germany native Verdun extended up à fourteen kilometre east and contained thirty-two major defensive lieu de travail manned passant par almost five thousand men. In addition, 114 defended artillery battery positions armed through 407 mobile field weapons were constructed. Venir support and supply these fortifications, eight reinforced concrete ammunition storage bunkers, 3 concrete-protected command posts, countless supply depots, an airfield, a training and storage facility pour observation balloons et protected infantry shelters to be added. All of this fortifications to be linked par a network of roads and narrow-gauge railway lines. In total, the français military spent almost 820 million francs on boosting Verdun’s defences between 1874 and 1914, a vast amount ns money pour the time.

Fort Douaumont was auto centrepiece de this defensive network. Located nous a 390-metre ridge nine kilometres northeast de Verdun, Douaumont was the highest job-related in Verdun’s defences ont well ont the largest. It had a twelve-metre-thick concrete roof and two super retractable armoured pistolet turrets. The quai was garrisoned v 820 soldiers housed in a two-level barracks.

Despite thé expense in constructing auto Verdun fortification system, par 1915 the français Army normal Staff had determined that these forts were once more obsolete and did not suppose there venir be any major German assault in this area. Ont a result, conditions météorologiques the eve de the Battle ns Verdun, this fortifications to be undermanned et under-armed.



The bloodbath the was auto Battle of Verdun to be ostensibly fought for control ns the small, fortified region east of the town ns Verdun. Unlike any kind of battle of the past, this battle raged for almost a year et involved des millions of soldiers. German forces pushed unrelentingly versus determined français resistance in a battle du attrition with no real strategic goal by Germany except venir kill oui many Frenchmen oui possible and so compel the french into submission.

The français never foresaw a battle taking carré at Verdun. While the area was protected de eighteen defensive forces, the french high command did not consider auto area oui either vital or a likely path du attack. Parce que le this reason, the forts were deficient in hefty artillery and undermanned. German general Erich von Falkenhayn, the army chief ns staff, decided venir stage a principale assault in auto Verdun area. While there is some academic debate nous the point, auto generally-accepted objective du the attack was to cause such hefty losses of french fighting homme that france would surrender.


In so late 1915, the Germans began à assemble along auto Verdun front, acquisition advantage de heavily-forested areas à bring increase troops et shells par night and hide castle in underground galleries. At least 168 German airplanes to be dispatched to thé area venir ensure aerial supremacy. Stealth combined with mauvais weather prevented the français from taking note of the German construct up.

Artillery bombardment to be the main source ns death in the life World War, and Germany planned to use gros bombardment and barrage venir decimate the french defenders at Verdun. This strategy envisaged deliberately sacrifice German troops in a limited offensive designed to provoke a français counter-attack that might then be decimated by massed artillery fire. à la this purpose, in February 1916 the Germans secretly massed 1,200 guns near Verdun together with a stockpile ns 2.5 million shells. This initiale stockpile was considered sufficient for six days de intensive fire. A further deux million shells were to be fired over auto succeeding twelve days, brought up by dedicated munition trains at a rate du thirty-three trains effronté day. Replacement pistolet parts, barrels et repair tools were stockpiled at depots fermer la porte to the front et the Germans fabriqué arrangements to ship pieces requiring an ext extensive fix back venir factories specifically configured venir repair them quickly for return venir units..

The initiale German bombardment was venir be thé heaviest ever experienced in warfare to date et was part ns a sophisticated fire destiné intended à target every facet du the français defence. Auto Germans emplaced approximately two hundred minenwerfer (mortars) of 75mm, 170mm et 250mm caliber fermer la porte to auto front line. They situated 77mm, 100mm, 105mm and 210mm field guns farther earlier from the front line. Mortars et field guns were tasked through obliterating the français front-line trenches. Longer-range pieces targeted the French appui trenches et French pho positions, roads and rail traces linking the français front line and rear areas


Massive siege pho including substantial 305mm and 420mm howitzers—cannon with brief barrels intended venir throw shells in a high révérence to maximize your impact—were stationed farther ago from thé front line and used to pound the français forts. . There were also three 380mm marine guns de the joli of armes à feu mounted in German battleships. These tools were much more accurate and had longer range than the howitzers et were assigned to drop a steady forty rounds revenir day into the town du Verdun et the roads et rail lines on the west bank of the rer Meuse. The naval guns to be sited in forêt twenty-seven kilometres northeast of Verdun. They each weighed much more than two hundred tons et had 15-metre barrels an installed on géant traversable stole platforms. These were in turn anchored in 6-metre-deep concrete-lined pits that incorporated chambers parce que le sophisticated sur le feu control equipment. Castle had an accurate range du up venir forty kilometres. The pits were linked to concrete-protected underground ammunition stores by light railway prefer those work in coal mines. Each 380mm ring weighed around 725 kilograms. One ns the des sites) can encore be checked out in thé Bois de Warphémont.

The Battle ns Verdun opened nous February 21, 1916, initiated de the opening shot indigenous a German 38cm-long barrel gun. At 07:12, 1220 guns nous a twenty-kilometre front straddling both sides de the rer Meuse began auto barrage. In auto opening minute of the attack, all telephone links in between forward positions et brigade headquarters to be cut, and the long-range German weapons began à seek out thé network de fortifications that safeguarded the city of Verdun. This initiale bombardment continued until thé afternoon ns February 22, at which temps six divisions attacked on the east banque of auto Muese River. German tempête troopers equipped through grenades et flamethrowers led the assault. Waves du German infantry complied with the tempête troopers. The français immediately began to absorb significant casualties. The constant shelling, lack du artillery support and general under-supply had its an adverse effect on français morale, et on 25 February, quai Douaumont, the henn fort du the Verdun protective system, fell without a shot gift fired.

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It appeared that thé German army was poised parce que le a breakthrough at Verdun, but the français were fixed not to abandon the fortress. Auto Battle de Verdun was à principally be an artillery battle. Thé Verdun defensive système was based au a series of permanent fortifications built du reinforced concrete. Général Philippe Pétain, who assumed command over auto Verdun sector nous 25 February 1916, decided to supplement these v the terre of thirteen hefty batteriesassembled nous the west banque of the sortie Meuse à deliver a burst ns concentrated fire. Ont the shelling and counter-shelling tactics du both sides progressed, thé battlefields du Verdun devolved from characterized trench lines venir infantry-holding covering holes and craters. Auto German repoussante10 became static in between March et May as it came to be increasingly difficult venir move men and supplies over auto landscape of mud, craters et decomposing bodies. Auto battle de attrition started in full measure.

Pétain also readjusted infantry tactics from thé massed assault à a système of limite offensives, v infantry advancing non farther than artillery faire un don could reach. Seul after année enemy had actually been ground down et exhausted can a series of breakthrough en fonctionnement be launched and manoeuvre warfare restored. Combat was intense, characterized par localized struggles for strategic high ground et key positions. Each à côté de sought to prendre or recapture tactically considérable positions—Fort Douaumont, ns Mort Homme, côte 304, quai Vaux, Thiaumont et Fleury.

To supply auto defenders, the french constructed a light railway and established a auto supply chemin passing up thé road from Bar-le-Duc. De June, part twelve thousand vehicles, one every fourteen seconds, would navigate this route. This roadway was immortalized oui the la petite rue Sacrée (Sacred Way) par the patriotic french writer Maurice Barrès, et this designation is inextricably linked to the legend de Verdun. During thé months du battle, this dirt roadway link venir Bar-le-Duc was simply called “la Route” et consisted ns a petit railway v a metre-wide surveiller called the “Meusien” and a young dirt road running approximately parallel venir it. Between 22 February et 7 March, trucks lugged twenty-five thousands tonnes ns supplies et ammunition into Verdun. Verdun was for this reason the life battle in history to be supplied by truck rather than passant par horse cart. à maintain ns Route, roughly ten thousand labourers, plenty of from Indochina et Senegal, to be employed venir hand shovel tonnes de stone from local quarries onto thé road. In addition à supplies, hundreds of thousands of french soldiers travelled ns Route. Français policy was venir rotate devices in et out du battle to Brent venir prevent physical et psychological stresses from dampening fighting effectiveness. As a result, eventually close to three-quarters of the entire français fighting renforcer was rotated v Verdun in 1916..

It is difficult to dédié the fear that was the Battle de Verdun. Tens ns thousands of masculin died jaune were mutilated every week pour almost a year, most par artillery. Both sides fought surrounded par dead and decomposing comrades teeming with rats et other scavengers. Mud was everywhere ont were auto gory remnants of men and horses. Extended in this patina de filth, combatants cowered during barrages wondering si this was venir be the day their luck ran out.

A battle hero pigeon

Fort Vaux was thé smallest quai in Verdun’s defences et housed a garrison du 150 men. Early in auto battle du Verdun a German heavy artillery shell completely destroyed thé fort’s simple retracting arme à feu turret et badly damaged thé superstructure ns the emplacement. This damages stripped the chaton of its main armament. However, surtout Sylvain-Eugene Raynal, a 49-year-old infantry officer, stationed thé garrison deep into the interior corridors et stations du the fort, whereby they mettre the attack ns German attack troops conditions météorologiques 2 June. A five-day-siege climate ensued. Thé besieged french garrison repulsed German assaults, consisting of fighting underground from barricade inside auto corridors, Raynal’s homme resisted German attempts à penetrate deeper into thé interior ns the quai in extrême hellish underground fighting.

With the defenders was a spaniel called Quiqui et a petit loft du four military carrier pigeons.

The garrison at some point ran out ns water, ammunition, clinical supplies, et food. Nous Wednesday 7 june 1916 Raynal was finally obliged venir surrender to Leutnant Müller-Werner from Fusilier Regiment 39.

During auto siege, v telephone present cut, Raynal sentiment several messages via homing pigeonsrequesting relief à la his soldiers. Auto last, transport Pigeon No. 787–15 (“Vaillant”), to be released through the un message : “We are encore holding marqué are under an extremely dangerous attack par gas and fumes. Urgent relief is imperative. Do give nous optical contact with Souville, which does no respond to our calls… This is our critical pigeon”. The bird was injured de toxic fumes, thé bird calmer managed à deliver its message antérieur à dying. Carrier Pigeon No. 787–15 to be awarded a posthumous corps d’Honneur parce que le its dedication to duty, and officially designated as Mort convecteur le france (died parce que le France) et preserved pour posterity with auto aid of a taxidermist. Hey is honored and in a 1929 plaque from placed passant par the compagnie Française de Colombophiles (The society of french Pigeon Fanciers) in auto courtyard of ladolescence Vaux where ce remains venir this day. Mémoire replicas ns the bird deserve to be purchased from auto fort pitié shop.

In late pouvez 1916, Germany fix up the repoussante10 with non clear objective other than to impose significant accident to the French. In june 1916, auto six hundred defenders of ladolescence Vaux to be subjected venir a ferocious bombardment and eventually, under auto command of principale Sylvain Raynal, retreated to auto cellars ns the fortress. There they to be attacked par flamethrowers and forced à breathe toxicity smoke. On june 8 they to be forced to surrender. In their resistance, the french suffered only one hundred casualties compared venir 2,740 German. Auto fight pour Fort Vaux is indicative of the far-ranging casualties associated with any kind of advance conditions météorologiques the Verdun front.

General téléphone Falkenhayn pushed the German fifth Army à maintain thé offensive, cible the onset du the Somme offensive in juin 2016 by the an unified Anglo-French force, merged with intensified fighting conditions météorologiques the east Front, forced thé redeployment ns German reserves and année end to thé Verdun Offensive.

In October 1916, the français went conditions météorologiques the offensive. Utilizing newly-developed tactics de creeping barrage (supported par the excellent French 75mm artillery gun) followed by mass infantry attack,the french were able à recapture much of the soil taken de the Germans in a matter of days. Fort Douaumont was retaken conditions météorologiques October 24 et Fort Vaux nous November 2. By December 15, auto battle finally concluded with almost all territory formerly captured par the Germans again in français hands.

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Casualties from the Battle of Verdun to be abysmal. The french lost 156,000 dead and 195,000 wounded. German losses to be 142,000 dead or missing and 187,000 additional casualties.

In aller because de the failure of the Verdun repoussante10 to bleed the français out ns the war, normal von Falkenhayn resigned and was replaced as chief of staff de General de Hindenburg