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Verdun, France – 45 million artillery shells – World War 1

Posted by on 27 June, 2012

A field of crosses - Douaumont Ossuary - Verdun - France

One of the sites we decided to visit on our way across to Frankfurt was Verdun. We wanted to visit a site of a battle and a war cemetery whilst in France however I am not sure what the reason or motivation is behind that. Perhaps curiosity, perhaps a desire to understand a little more of the horrors faced by not only our ANZACS but all forces during war.

Whilst it could have been more relevant if we had visited the western front area like the Somme or similar where a great number of Australians fought it was not on our route but a visit to Verdun was.

Casemate - Bunker - Fort Douaumont - Verdun

In brief, Verdun resulted in 698,000 battlefield deaths (362,000 French and 336,000 German combatants), an average of 70,000 deaths for each month of the battle.  It was the longest and one of the most devastating battles in the First World War and in the history of warfare. See wiki page . Over 45 million artillery shells were fired in the 10 month battle.

Whilst there we visited some Casemates (bunkers), Fort Douaumont and the incredible Douaumont Ossuary where tens of thousands are buried and hundreds of thousands of unidentified remains are intombed.

On our way out of Verdun and onwards in the direction of Luxembourg we managed to find some poppies growing by the side of the road. Just what we had been searching for, a symbol to capture on our cameras.

Poppies by the side of the road very near Verdun, France, June 2012

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