French horses resting in a river on their way to Verdun. Image courtesy National Geographic, Vol. 31 1917, p. 338.
The Battle of Verdun begins as the German 5th Army attacks the French 2nd Army north of the historic city of Verdun, following a nine-hour long artillery bombardment. Germany launches a series of sustained attacks, aiming to “bleed” the French Army white, forcing it out of the war, and compelling England to seek a compromise with Germany.
Germany initially gains territory along the east bank of the Meuse River but the offensive loses momentum as large numbers of French reinforcements are marched in. French commander, Henri-Philippe Petain, determined to save Verdun, famously pledges to Commander of the French forces, General Joseph Jacques Cesaire Joffre:
They shall not pass.
The battle settles into a stalemate, as casualties on both sides mount. Bitter fighting continues until German troops withdraw on 18 December 1916. More than a million men are killed or wounded during the ten month long Battle of Verdun, the longest conflict of the First World War. The result of the battle was a marginal French victory.
The Leader publishes a letter describing “the glorious and historical evacuation of the Gallipoli Peninsula”. How We Left Gallipoli
200 German troops are repulsed at Kachumbe on the Ugandan border. 57 of the enemy are killed during the struggle; the British seize a machine gun, 45 rifles and a quantity of ammunition.
Russian forces capture Mush and Aklat in Armenia
German forces in the Cameroons surrender the fort at Mora to the British following 17 months of fighting. Britain has suffered 4,600 casualties, including 1,668 dead, mostly from disease. French dead number 2,567. German East Africa is the last remaining German colony in Africa, with 10,000 troops under the command of General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck.
General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, 1913. Image courtesy German Federal Archives.
General Nikolai Nikolaevich Yudenich’s army captures Ilica, to the west of Erzerum in Turkey. During the campaign Russia captures 12,000 prisoners and 327 guns, while suffering 10,000 casualties. Turkish losses exceed 15,000.
British forces land on the Greek island of Chios in the Aegean Sea
General Nikolai Nikolaevich Yudenich. Image courtesy Current History Magazine, No. 11, December 1919, p. 449.
Russian forces under the command of General Nikolai Nikolaevich Yudenich capture the city of Erzerum following five days of intense combat. The victory gives Russia the upper hand in the battle for control on the Caucasus front. Russians capture Erzerum
The Belgian Sewing Group in Orange completes a further 136 garments for Belgians in need. Belgian Sewing Class
The War Office assumes responsibility for anti-aircraft defence of London, previously the responsibility of the Admiralty
Bulgarian-Austrian troops advance on Durazzo in Albania
Large numbers of Arabic soldiers begin to desert the Turkish army
The French army regains lost ground at Tahure in Champagne
The British Government and chieftains of the Bakhtiari tribe reach an agreement regarding the protection of Persian oilfields; the supply of oil is of critical importance to the operation of the Royal Navy. Oil in Persia and the Bakhtiaris
The Leader reports that Orange nurses Kath and Wynne King have returned from the front. Personal. The ladies of Orange are invited to the Town Hall next Wednesday to meet the celebrated sisters. Welcome Home