The Trenches of Verdun, France in 1916

Our film takes place in Verdun, France and so we thought it would be nice to look into it’s history and see what it really looked like back in 1916.


The Battle of Verdun is considered the greatest and lengthiest in world history. Never before or since has there been such a lengthy battle, involving so many men, situated on such a tiny piece of land. The battle, which lasted from 21 February 1916 until 19 December 1916 caused over an estimated 700,000 casualties (dead, wounded and missing). The battlefield was not even a square ten kilometres. From a strategic point of view there can be no justification for these atrocious losses. The battle degenerated into a matter of prestige of two nations literally for the sake of fighting. (Except from Battle of Verdun Website)


Here is a look into the trenches of Verdun in 1916:

Verdun is still littered with so many bodies, arsenic and unexploded shells that nothing grows after 100 years.


Picture from the Daily Mail Online.

Underneath this green carpet lies lethal levels of arsenic, unexploded bombs, tracts of barbed wire and the remains of the men who gave their lives fighting for control of this strip of land almost 100 years ago.


The forest is so dangerous that swathes of it have been declared a no-go zone, where trees no longer grow, and only the brave or foolish have dared tread in the 97 years since the end of the First World War.


Picture from the Daily Mail Online.

Here is a link to see what Verdun looks like today when people go to visit and pay their respects – After the Great War in pictures.


Quick Facts:

  • The battle for Verdun in 1916 was the longest in history, with millions of shells fired over 10 months
  • At its end in┬áDecember of that year, the French victorious, an area larger than the city of Paris had been destroyed
  • The French labelled it a ‘Zone Rouge’ shortly after the end of the war, leaving it to be reclaimed by nature
  • A century on, the ground is still littered with unexploded shells, strewn with barbed wire and filled with arsenic
  • Parts of the forest are still so dangerous the French have sealed them off, while shells are still turned up by farmers


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2 comments to “The Trenches of Verdun, France in 1916”

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  1. Olukayode Olubunmi - 6th December 2015 at 5:52 am Reply

    Wow! I’m speechless!

    Thanks for this very instructive information.

  2. Karen Earls (Classmate) - 7th December 2015 at 5:48 am Reply

    You should totally consider teaching; all your posts are informative and interesting.

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