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This is a German 77mm standard size shell case which is a lovely bit of trench art and a rare design souvenir of the battle on Hill 304. The case is in very nice condition nicely marked with no major damage it still retains its shiny brass colour. The case has all of its original markings on the bottom of it including the date October 1915 very clear to see. The case came from a local fair in Verdun and is for the battle on Hill 304 and Malancourt area of the March - May 1916 battle which was the large German advance towards Verdun.
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.