fort of france

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How it took one German soldier to capture Fort Douaumont,

Constructed in the 1890’s, Fort Douaumont was the largest of a series of 19 forts which protected the French city of Verdun and would be a key feature of the Battle of Verdun. A large hill fort constructed of steel reinforced concrete, the fort was armed with one 155mm gun, five 75mm guns, a number of Hotchkiss revolving cannon, and dozens of machine guns.  The fort was also manned by a garrison of 800 French soldiers, and surrounded by a moat and fields of barbed wire.

During World War I the French greatly downscaled the fort, removing all weaponry except for a few heavy guns, and reducing its garrison to 56 men, all of whom were middle aged reservists.  After the Battle of Liege in 1914 where large German siege guns had destroyed a number of Belgian forts, military planners believed that the forts would not withstand a similar German attack. In addition, Verdun was out of the way of the main German offensive, thus French military planners felt that it did not need to be so heavily armed. Little could they predict that the Germans would launch a major offensive with the capture of Verdun as its goal.

On the 21st of February, 1916 the Germans launched their attack.  After only four days German forces were within reach of Ft. Douaumont.  On February 25th, a group of ten German combat engineers lead by Sgt. Kunze came upon the fort.  Kunze entered the fort alone under the cover of rain and darkness, then wandered its labyrinth of tunnels and corridors.  Nearing one of the gun turrets, he found an artillery crew manning one of the forts guns.  Armed with a bolt action rifle, he took the crew prisoner and locked them up.  He then found the rest of garrison inside a barracks.  The sneaky Sgt. Kunze managed to eliminate the rest of the garrison by locking and barricading the barracks door, trapping the French soldiers inside.

The fall of Fort Douaumont was one of the most embarrassing military defeats for the French during World War I.  After being captured, the German heavily armed and fortified the fort.  Despite the predictions of French military planners, the fort withstood repeated bombardment by heavy artillery and siege guns, as the fort’s walls was constructed of steel reinforced concrete, whereas the Belgian forts at Liege were simply made from regular concrete.  While it only took one German soldier to capture the fort, it’s recapture would cost the lives of over 100,000 French soldiers.

“Profession? Top modèle?”

Au commissariat de Fort de France pour porter plainte, le policier qui me reçoit me dit “Profession ? Top modèle ?” Avec un petit sourire charmeur… Je fais comme si il n'avait rien dit et je réponds froidement “Je suis militaire”. Il semble un peu vexé et me dit “Oui ok, remarque dans la police aussi parfois on recrute des handicapés.” Je ne suis pas handicapée, ni même blessée à ce moment, alors je suppose que ça se veut être une blague ou une remarque insultante.

My gift for @xdeewolfx for the @frukgiftexchange!
the prompt was Steampunk.
Arthur is pretty much a rather rich investor like guy who heard from a friend that Francis can fix basically anything. Francis is a well known mechanic who specializes in robots and airships.
When they met they were both basically thinking ‘oh no he’s hot!’

The Abenaki warriors were fascinated by the French siege works and great artillery pieces at Fort William Henry in August 1757. ‘They were constantly around our gunners because they admired their dexterity. But their admiration was not passive. They wanted to try everything to make themselves more useful. They said they wished to become cannoniers; so they could distinguish themselves. After having fired a cannon for himself, and hitting a corner of the fort one had achieved his goal.’ Impressed with his skill the French gunners tried to persuade him to try another shot but he refused. With his fellow warriors looking on with admiration 'he said the reason for his refusal was that the first was so perfect he did not want to hazard the glory in a second attempt’. Art by Graham Turner.