The Battle of Verdun (Bataille de Verdun, IPA: [bataj də vɛʁdœ̃], Schlacht um Verdun, IPA: [ʃlaxt ˀʊm ˈvɛɐdœŋ]), fought from 21 February to 18 December 1916, was one of the largest and longest battles of the First World War on the Western Front between the German and French armies. The battle took place on the hills north of Verdun-sur-Meuse in north-eastern France. The German 5th Army attacked the defences of the Région Fortifiée de Verdun (RFV) and those of the French Second Army on the right bank of the Meuse. Inspired by the experience of the Second Battle of Champagne the year before, the Germans planned to rapidly capture the Meuse Heights, providing them with an excellent defensive position that would also allow them to bombard Verdun with observed artillery fire. The Germans hoped that the French would commit their strategic reserve to recapture the position and suffer catastrophic losses in a battle of attrition, as the Germans would have a tactical advantage.
The Battle of Verdun lasted for 303 days and became the longest and one of the most costly battles in human history. An estimate in 2000 found a total of 714,231 casualties, 377,231 French and 337,000 German, for an average of 70,000 casualties a month; other recent estimates increase the number of casualties to 976,000, during the battle, with 1,250,000 suffered at Verdun during the war.