In four and a half years of fighting on the Western Front during the First World War a few battles stand out from the rest. They had a decisive impact on the course of the conflict, and they still define the war for us today. For the French, the Battle of Verdun, fought between February and December 1916, was one of the greatest of these.
That is why the selection of contemporary photographs Ian Sumner has brought together for this volume in the Images of War series is so important and revealing. They show the strained, sometimes shocked faces of the soldiers, record the shattered landscape in which they fought, and give us an insight into the sheer intensity of the fighting.
At the time, and ever since, the battle has been portrayed as a triumph of French tenacity and heroism that is encapsulated in the famous phrase ‘They shall not pass’. These photographs remind us, in the most graphic way, what that slogan meant in terms of the devastating personal experience of the men on the Verdun battlefield.
By: Anton Rippon
Siege Warfare during the Hundred Years War
By: Peter Hoskins
In a Guardsman's Boots
By: Paddy Rochford, Caroline Rochford
By: Guy Dempsey
Military History of Late Rome 284-361
By: Ilkka Syvanne
Philadelphia in the Civil War, 1861-1865
By: Frank H. Taylor
Shot In the Tower
By: Leonard Sellers
Follow Me! I Will Lead You!
By: Lt Col. G. B. Laurie
European Resistance in the Second World War
By: Dr Philip Cooke, Dr Ben Shepherd