In the spring of 2006, Clark Hultquist, UM Professor of History, was on sabbatical and living in Paris. During his stay, he traveled to Verdun and spent a weekend touring the area where German forces attempted to overwhelm the French army with a concentrated infantry and artillery attack. His visit coincided with 90th anniversary of the battle. Luckily, Dr. Hultquist took the time to relate his experience through writing, photographs, and video. With his permission, I've included links to his blog entry and media.
This Sunday marks the 94th anniversary of Verdun's opening salvo. On February 21, 1916, Germany unleashed a nine-hour artillery assault on the French stronghold. However, this bombardment was on a scale that world had never seen before. According to the Almanac of World War I, the barrage resulted in "284 shells for every 6 feet of the front" completely saturating the battlefield. The shelling continued at this rate for days and days. To put this in perspective, Dr. Hultquist states, "In the first week alone the Germans fired more than two million artillery shells on some twenty-five miles of French defenses. In the first three weeks alone, at Verdun, more artillery shells were fired by the German army in this sector than during the entire American Civil War by both sides." The battle continued for almost one year and resulted in more than 700,000 casualties (with as many as 420,000 dead). Ending on December 22, 1916, Verdun provides a perfect snapshot to a war that eventually consumed tens of millions of lives.
To read more about Dr. Hultquist's experience, please visit:
And to view his photos and video, click here
For further reading:
Almanac of World War I by David F. Burg and L. Edward Purcell (Ref. D 522.5 .B87 1998)
Fighting the Great War: a global history by Michael S. Neigberg (D 521 .N44 2005)
The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916 by Alistair Horne (D 545 .V3 H6)
Again, I'd like to thank Dr. Hultquist for allowing us to use his materials. His experience is a perfect example of how the University of Montevallo attempts to bring the world to its students on a daily basis.