Verdun 1918 Engraved French Bullet Trench Art Letter Opener

Verdun 1918 Engraved French Bullet Trench Art Letter Opener


Size: 5.5 in

This is an amazingly well preserved trench art letter opener with the soldier inscribed Verdun 1918 on a French Lebel bullet. Most of these trench art letter openers were made in between battles from soldiers on both sides. They were usually made from collected scraps laying around the battlefield.

Battle of Verdun: 

Battle of Verdun, (February 21–December 18, 1916), World War I engagement in which the French repulsed a major German offensive. It was one of the longest, bloodiest, and most-ferocious battles of the war; French casualties amounted to about 400,000, German ones to about 350,000. Some 300,000 were killed. On February 21, 1916, more than 1,220 guns around an eight-mile perimeter opened fire. It was the sort of drenching shellstorm that would distinguish the battle. Verdun did act as a “suction cup”: three fourths of the French Western Front divisions would eventually serve there. But even from the start, the “Meuse Mill” did not achieve the five-to-two kill ratio Falkenhayn had predicted. The attackers soon forgot this object. Orders went out to take French positions “without regard to casualties.” At the end of the first week, the Germans had advanced six miles; a few men walked into an almost undefended Fort Douaumont and took possession. For the French, that marked the low point. Fighting degenerated into isolated struggles for shellholes, forcing the French into an impromptu but successful defense-in-depth. At the beginning of June, the Germans took another key stronghold, Fort Vaux, after hideous subterranean melees.

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