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.
The Royal Naval Air Service in the First World War
By: Philip Jarrett
Conquerors of the Roman Empire: The Vandals
By: Simon Macdowall
Watford at War 1939-45
By: Dr Eugenia Russell, Dr Quentin Russell
The Dandy Ninth
By: Neill Gilhooley
By: John Sadler
Alan Bristow: Helicopter Pioneer
By: Alan Bristow, Patrick Malone
By: Allan Mallinson
By: Manfred Griehl
Spitfire Manual 1940