The Parc d'Artillerie or Artillery Park near Verdun, during World War I, circa 1916. (Photo by Henry Guttmann/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

On this Day 21 February 1916: The Battle of Verdun commenced

The battle was fought from 21 February to 18 December 1916, and was the largest and longest battle of the First World War on the Western Front between the German and French armies

Lasing for 303 days, it was the longest and one of the most costly in human history. In 2000, Hannes Heer and K. Naumann calculated 377,231 French and 337,000 German casualties, a total of 714,231, an average of 70,000 a month.

9th May 1917:  A French telegraphist in Verdun in north-east France, scene of a long and extremely bloody battle between French and German troops.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

1. Telegraphist

9th May 1917: A French telegraphist in Verdun in north-east France, scene of a long and extremely bloody battle between French and German troops. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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January 1918:  French troops passing through ruins at Verdun.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

2. Verdun

January 1918: French troops passing through ruins at Verdun. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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May 1916:  German infantrymen before leaving a village near Verdun in north-east France, scene of a long and extremely bloody battle between French and German troops.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

3. German Infantry

May 1916: German infantrymen before leaving a village near Verdun in north-east France, scene of a long and extremely bloody battle between French and German troops. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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circa 1925:  The French fortified town of Verdun, on the Meuse, scene of the longest and most severe battle of World War I in 1916, in which the French repelled a powerful German offensive.  Ten years after the battle, the reconstruction of Verdun is almost finished.  The archbishop's residence, which had to be almost entirely rebuilt, is viewed from the cathedral.  (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

4. Verdun Rebuilt

circa 1925: The French fortified town of Verdun, on the Meuse, scene of the longest and most severe battle of World War I in 1916, in which the French repelled a powerful German offensive. Ten years after the battle, the reconstruction of Verdun is almost finished. The archbishop's residence, which had to be almost entirely rebuilt, is viewed from the cathedral. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
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