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.
Passchendaele-The Hollow Victory
By: Martin Marix Evans
By: Bernard Edwards
Thunderbolts over Burma
By: Angus Findon, Mark Hillier
Waterloo: The Campaign of 1815
By: John Hussey
Foreword by: Mungo Melvin
The History of the British U Class Submarine
By: Derek Walters
ShipCraft 20: Scharnhorst and Gneisenau
By: Steve Backer
Brentwood in the Great War
By: Stephen Wynn
Recollections of an Airman
By: Louis Arbon Strange
Voices in Flight: RAF Escapers and Evaders in WWII
By: Martin Bowman