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This is a French percussion fuse 24/31 MLE 1899 for 75mm high explosive shell. The shell head is in fantastic condition still it's nice shiny brass colour around the middle ring and internal centre section it has been very well cleaned and it is in nice solid condition it is perfect for display or any collection. This shell head was recovered in 2011 from around Hill 304 and Malancourt area of the March - May 1916 battle which was the large German advance towards Verdun. A very nice French relic from the famous French defence of the Verdun battlefield during the early years of the war.
In late February 1916, following German attacks on the right bank of the River Meuse during the Battle of Verdun, the French had established artillery batteries on the hills on the left bank commanding the opposite, right-hand bank. One of these was Le Mort Homme. These batteries caused such havoc that the Germans, belatedly, decided to attack southwards along the left bank of the river simultaneously. Their objective was Le Mort Homme and its neighbouring hills. Over the next few months, the Germans made repeated attacks, pounding the French lines, rushing their positions and ejecting the French from their wrecked trenches. French artillery would then pulverise the Germans and counter-attacks would drive them out again, the French infantry re-occupying the shell holes where the trench systems had been.
Despite the terrible cost, the Germans were able to advance slowly, first capturing a neighbouring hill, Côte 304, which was dominating the approach to Le Mort Homme. Then, on 16 March, the Germans took Côte 265, labelled on their maps as Toter Mann (Le Mort Homme), but not on French maps. Finally, on 24 May, they took the second summit, Côte 295.