Memoirs & Diaries - Official Account of the Struggle for Thiaumont, Verdun, July/August 1916
July 1st. On the east bank the fighting has been desperate all day in the region of Thiaumont. This morning, towards ten o'clock, in the course of a very brilliant attack, our troops carried the Thiaumont work in spite of an extremely violent curtain fire delivered by the enemy.
This afternoon the Germans redoubled their efforts to drive us out again, and sustained considerable losses. In the course of these attempts an enemy attack succeeded in re-entering at about three o'clock, but a vigorous counterattack gave us complete possession of the work onece more. (Second capture and recapture.)
July 2nd (afternoon). On the east bank the fighting begun yesterday in the Thiaumont sector was continued in a desperate struggle for the possession of the work of that name. After a series of furious assaults preceded by bombardments the Germans succeeded in once more penetrating the redoubt. which was completely wrecked, while we ourselves are established in its immediate approaches. (Third German capture.)
(Evening). About ten in the morning our infantry dashed to the assault of the Thiaumont work, which we again captured. The afternoon was marked by a recrudescence of the bombardment in this region, as well as in the sectors of the Fumin and Chenois Woods. (Third French recapture.)
July 3rd. On the east bank several enemy attempts against the Thiaumont work in which we are established were easily repelled.
July 5th. About 2 p.m., after several attempts which were repulsed, an enemy attack against the Thiaumont work succeeded in capturing it for the fourth time. The Germans, who had been repulsed six times during the night in front of the Thiaumont work, smothered it under an appalling bombardment, and finally succeeded in taking it in the afternoon. (Fourth German capture.)
July 8th. On the east bank of the Meuse there was rather fierce fighting during the day in the region of Thiaumont work. The Germans successively launched several attacks preceded by bombardment against our positions. One of these succeeded in getting a foothold in our advanced elements, but our counter-attack, developed about 2 p.m., enabled us to re-establish entirely our line, which is maintained at the immediate approaches to this work. All the other enemy attempts were repulsed by our machine-gun fire, and occasioned him serious losses.
August 4th. On the east bank of the Meuse our infantry, pursuing its offensive action on the Thiaumont-Fleury front, captured during the day by a series of successive attacks all the trenches between these two points as far as the southeast of Thiaumont work and the approaches of Hill 320.
Several counter-attacks with large effectives made on our positions in the neighbourhood of Thiaumont were repulsed with heavy losses to the enemy. Our troops in the course of the fighting even succeeded in capturing the work, which we subsequently evacuated under the force of the bombardment, whilst bringing back ninety prisoners in this action. (Fourth French recapture and fifth German capture.)
August 5th. On the east bank of the Meuse fighting continued all day in the Thiaumont-Fleury region. To the northwest and to the south of the Thiaumont work all enemy attacks undertaken to dislodge us from the positions captured were vain. Not only did we break the enemy's efforts and inflict on him heavy losses, but by means of a second return offensive our troops succeeded in capturing for the second time in twelve hours the Thiaumont work, which remains in our power in spite of several counter-attacks made by the enemy. (Fifth French recapture.)
August 6th. On the east bank of the Meuse the Germans attempted by furious counter-attacks to drive us from the Thiaumont work, which we are strongly occupying. The struggle lasted from 9 p.m. yesterday till this morning, causing heavy losses for the enemy, who was repulsed at each of his attacks without succeeding in obtaining the least advantage.
August 9th (afternoon). The Germans succeeded in obtaining a footing in the Thiaumont work after a desperate struggle, which still continues. (Sixth German capture.)
(Night). On the east bank of the Meuse stubborn fighting continues on the whole of the front of Thiaumont-Fleury. With remarkable tenacity our troops checked and repulsed the enemy, who attempted by his counter-attacks to drive us from the ground captured by us during the last few days to the northwest and to the south of the Thiaumont work. Then passing in their turn to the offensive, our troops reoccupied all the trench elements where the enemy had obtained a foothold in the course of the battle, and again entered the Thiaumont work. (Sixth French recapture.)
August 10th. On the east bank of the Meuse the combat round the Thiaumont work lasted a portion of the night. The enemy again obtained a footing there after numerous attacks repulsed by us. (Seventh German capture.)
August 19th. We followed up our offensive by driving the enemy out of two fortified redoubts to the northwest of the fort. (Seventh French partial recapture.)
Photograph courtesy of Photos of the Great War website
Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. IV, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923
A 'Toasting Fork' was a bayonet, often used for the named purpose.
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