Navan Fort is an historical royal fortress and the stronghold of the kings of Ulster from around 700 BC. The Fort was the center of King Conchobor mac Nessa and his Red Branch Knights. It is surrounded by a bank with a ditch inside, suggesting that it was a ceremonial, rather than defensive site. The Fort was eventually abandoned, which probably was a result of the creation of St. Patrick’s church two miles away. But in 1005, the Irish king Brian Boru camped there, and in 1387, Niall O’Neill chose Navan Fort as the location for a house.
It is said that the great Irish mythical hero Cuchulainn spent much of his youth in Navan Fort before single-handedly facing the army of the mythical Queen Maeve.
One mile west of Navan Fort lies another myth site, the mysterious King’s Stables which is thought to have played a role in water rituals in the area.
Pictured - Machine-gun trained on the door, a German squad watches the bombardment of Fort Vaux.
Next to Fort Douaumont at Verdun was the smaller Fort Vaux, which alongside its stronger neighbor formed the linchpin of the first line of defenses of the city. In February, after the capture of Douaumont, the Germans had claimed, incorrectly, that Fort Vaux had fallen to them too, a boast that brought some ridicule down on the Crown Prince. Subsequent efforts to right the claim and take the fort had been forced back with heavy casualties, but in June, Falkenhayn ordered that the fort’s capture finally be completed.
Douaumont, the strongest fortress guarding Verdun, fell almost without a fight in February. Vaux did not look like much of an obstacle with that in mind. It was much smaller than Douaumont, or its other neighbor Fort Moulainville. It had no massive, retractable gun turrets, mounting only one 75mm howitzer turret, which had been shattered by a German satchel charge in February, and a few machine-gun pillboxes.
On June 1, a colossal German bombardment began on the fort, at one point firing shells at the rate of 2,000 an hour. Inside the fort had a complement of 600 men, crowded together in a fort designed for only 250. Many were wounded, or stragglers and strays from other units, stretcher-bearers, signalers, who had gotten lost and hid in the fort. Four carrier pigeons and a signalman’s pet cocker-spaniel rounded out the complement.
Major Sylvain-Eugene Raynal, a tough 49-year old colonial soldier from Bordeaux, commanded the motley garrison. He had only been appointed on May 24, his first impression upon arriving in the crowded, squalid structure was of soldiers crammed together, “in such numbers that it is extremely difficult to move, and I took a very long time to reach my command post… If an attack materialized all the occupants would be captured before they could defend themselves.”
Raynal watched helplessly as German attacks routed the French infantry positions ahead of the fort. He could see massive crowds of German infantry - if only his 75mm gun worked! Vaux’s machine-gunners, nevertheless, tore holes into the ranks of baffled German soldiers from over a mile away, compounding Falkenhayn’s desire to take the position.
The garrison endured the bombardment for 48 hours, when it stopped suddenly before dawn on June 2. Two German battalions moved forward, swarming Fort Vaux’s superstructure. Unlike Douaumont, Vaux’s machine-gun bunkers were crewed and prepared, and spat rounds into the oncoming German soldiers. German pioneers tried unsuccessfully to knock them out with bundles of grenades, until they heard the sound of a machine-gun jam and muffled French curses from the gunners. They leaped up and slammed grenades into the loophole, ending the resistance of the brave French machine-gun crew.
German soldiers started to enter the fort via a caved-in part of the wall, when suddenly Major Raynal’s second-in-command, Captain Tabourot, blocked the entrance with his body, fighting single-handed against the entire German onslaught with his pistol and hand-grenades. He kept the Germans off for some time until - his abdomen ripped open by a stick-grenade explosion - he crawled back inside to die.
By the end of the day, the Germans had entered the fort and captured a number of the galleries. Rather than surrender, however, the French soldiers moved underground, clambering down into the lower levels of the fort, where they prepared to continue fighting on. A grim battle began in pitch-dark, narrow corridors with hand-grenades, flame-throwers and machine-guns.
So during my game on Team Defense Fort 2 (2) this evening/ morning I discovered how to keybind and accidentally binded my C key to say “Come at me Scrublord I’m ripped”, forgetting that I constantly press C to call for help, jeer, cheer and congratulate people on their nice shots, thus constantly told people to come at me because they are scrublords and I am ripped.