The bitter fight for Fort Vaux is one of the most famous episodes in the Battle of Verdun - it has achieved almost legendary status in French military history. The heroic resistance put up by the fort’s commander, Major Raynal, and his small, isolated garrison in the face of repeated German assaults was remarkable at the time, and it is still seen as an outstanding example of gallantry and determination.
Since the very beginning of the battle of Verdun, this fort had been one of the main goals of the German offensive. At the beginning of March 1916, the German army arrived a few hundred meters from the fort and started a siege that would last for a hundred days. In the fort, the soldiers organised themselves to resist the German heavy artillery preparation. On June 1st, the Germans reached the fort: the French garrison, exhausted, isolated and with no external support, led a heroic struggle during a week before being defeated. The fort was then constantly shelled by the French army that recaptured it on October 24th of the same year.