Germans bleed the French at Verdun, but how long?

Suppose the German manage to take this line by the end of June. Le Mort Homme, Fort Souville and Tavannes are all in German hands. Verdun (together with the French supplies and their artillery) is now threatened by the German artillery hiding behind the German controlled heights. The French desperately try to retake the heights, especially Fort Souville, but despite the Germans being forced to redeploy some forces to the Somme, they fail each time.
Verdun ATL.png


My questions are: How much would the French be willing to endure during their attempts to reverse the German gains? How long could their counterattack attempts last? What could the French do once they give up on retaking the Heights? Would they withdraw from the area? If yes, where would they establish their new lines?

I'm eager to read your thoughts!
 
At some point the French will just say 'screw it' and stop attacking. Petain wanted to IOTL before it even started in the earnest, but the politicians, afraid of their government losing power, mandated their counterattacks. Probably costs Briand his government early (in mid-1916 instead of early-1917).
 
Allies stayed under fire in the Ypres Salient for most of the War, so the French would stay.
On the Western Front, typically only the Germans were willing to surrender ground to improve the defensive outlook.
 
At some point the French will just say 'screw it' and stop attacking. Petain wanted to IOTL before it even started in the earnest, but the politicians, afraid of their government losing power, mandated their counterattacks. Probably costs Briand his government early (in mid-1916 instead of early-1917).
Could the French maintain the attacks in the area longer to assist the Brits at the Somme? Petain would certainly resist, but would he be able to withstand pressure from both the politicans and the British?
Also, who is likely to succeed Briand? Also, what would happen to Joffre? I assume he would get the boot sooner or later, but then who would succeed him?I doubt Nivelle would.
Allies stayed under fire in the Ypres Salient for most of the War, so the French would stay.
On the Western Front, typically only the Germans were willing to surrender ground to improve the defensive outlook.
That's interesting. Although wasn't Ypres important for keeping the Belgians in the war?
 
That's interesting. Although wasn't Ypres important for keeping the Belgians in the war?
So much of the country was already occupied, straightening the line would not have been a huge PR hit.
it was under 50 square miles, and a new defensive created along the Ypres-Comines Canal just west of what used to be the town of Ypres could have been held far easier than in the valley on the other side
 
If the thick brown line is where the ATL front line falls in June I would expect the Germans to push for the hatched thin brown line in July/August. The goal would not be taking Verdun (unless the opportunity to do so very easily presents itself), it is to squeeze the supply lines and create a sense of desperate urgency for its potential fall. Make the French think the city is literally on the brink and reinforce it at all permissible costs given its historical value then hammer it with whatever artillery can be brought to bear - a danse macabre on an industrial scale even more than OTL. Control the forts surrounding the city and create the potential for a Stalingrad-like pocket at any times the Germans decide. Transform the Bois Bourrus and Belrupt into literally fields of cannons, bring in surplus naval artillery if available. Hammer that area of the front and bleed it white, literally order no more offensives here and push for them to be done elsewhere so that if the French reroute forces Verdun could always fall. Then push for a major offensive or two elsewhere.
H
Verdun Anticipated July Attacks ATL.png
 
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sorry late to teh party, I'm not massively clear on what's being suggested but I think my initial take is pretty much what M79 is saying
 
Given, that the Germans need to divert attention to the Somme, I don't think the Germans could overcome the defenses of the Bois Bourrus Ridge. Attacking it unprepared would be disastrous. On the other hand, the capture of Souville and Tavannes already makes the path to Verdun from the East more or less clear. I think that would be enough to alert the French and force them to go on wasteful offensives, Souville was deemed to be essential by the French for the defense of the city afterall.

The Germans only needs to launch minor attacks towards Fort St. Michel and Moulainville and continue the shelling to tie down a good chunk of the French reserves in this area.
 
Given, that the Germans need to divert attention to the Somme, I don't think the Germans could overcome the defenses of the Bois Bourrus Ridge. Attacking it unprepared would be disastrous. On the other hand, the capture of Souville and Tavannes already makes the path to Verdun from the East more or less clear. I think that would be enough to alert the French and force them to go on wasteful offensives, Souville was deemed to be essential by the French for the defense of the city afterall.

The Germans only needs to launch minor attacks towards Fort St. Michel and Moulainville and continue the shelling to tie down a good chunk of the French reserves in this area.
My question now is how long do the French keep counterattacking before they finally decide to withdraw from the city.
 
My question now is how long do the French keep counterattacking before they finally decide to withdraw from the city.
Yes, I would like to know it too. It's among the many questions asked in my OP. Another important question related to this would be "How far would the French withdraw their forces in such case?". Is pulling back into the Argonne forest feasible? It could provide substantial obstacle for both the German infantry and artillery, imo.
 
Yes, I would like to know it too. It's among the many questions asked in my OP. Another important question related to this would be "How far would the French withdraw their forces in such case?". Is pulling back into the Argonne forest feasible? It could provide substantial obstacle for both the German infantry and artillery, imo.
Losing Verdun is bad enough, maybe they take their chances and only withdraw behind the Meuse? If things are bad enough, maybe behind the Aisne?
 
That's precisely backwards, the whole point of the Somme was to take pressure off the French at Verdun.
I wouldn't be surprised if Joffre tries to pin the failures at Verdun on Haig and the British, particularly for attacking too late. Heads are going to roll (almost literally) if Verdun falls, of that I'm almost sure, the question is who.
 
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I wouldn't be surprised if Joffre tries to pin the failures at Verdun on Haig and the British, particularly for attacking too late. Heads are going too roll (almost literally) if Verdun falls, of that I'm almost sure, the question is who.
Well, one thing's sure. Without successes at Verdun, it is quite unlikely that Nivelle would be the successor of Joffre.
 
Well, one thing's sure. Without successes at Verdun, it is quite unlikely that Nivelle would be the successor of Joffre.
It seems unlikely either Joffre or Briand will continue in their positions after this ordeal.

If I had to guess, perhaps d'Esperey or Foch could succeed Joffre. Castelnau's aristocratic background and conservatism makes him seem less likely.
 
If I had to guess, perhaps d'Esperey or Foch could succeed Joffre. Castelnau's aristocratic background and conservatism makes him seem less likely.
Foch IOTL was heavily criticised for his wasteful conduct at the Somme, but maybe ITTL his heroics would be played up in the light of the failure at Verdun. D'Esperey at the time was heading Army Group East, right? There wasn't much action there, and without many merits, he might not be considered for the position at the time. What do you think?
 
Losing Verdun is bad enough, maybe they take their chances and only withdraw behind the Meuse? If things are bad enough, maybe behind the Aisne?
The Heights East of Verdun would prove a line on the West bank of the Meuse to be quite impractical to hold. The river itself might prove useful against enemy infantry, but they would be in plain sight of the German Artillery. The Argonne Forest is the nearest natural defense, that is useful against both infantry and artillery. Pulling back to the Aire River (which you probably think of) is also an option, but it would be unnecessary, imo.
 
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