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Operation Gericht was the code name for the German plan at Verdun, designed by German military General von Falkenhayn. The Battle of Verdun was one of the two geatest infantry battle of World War I, an exclusively Franco-German struggle lasting 10 months and tallying over 700,000 casualties between both sides. The primary goal of this operation was not to acquire territory; instead, it was to lure the French army into defending the old medieval French fortress and town of Verdun, and to eliminate as many French infantry as possible.
By 1915, the German Schlieffen Plan for the invasion of France had failed to deliver the knockout punch that was needed to eliminate France before the Russian military could mobilize in the East. Part of Alfred von Schlieffen's planning also concluded that attacking in the south of France was impractical with German military strength at the time he drafted his war plan in 1895. One of the successive reasons why German war planners did not attack in the south of France was the existence of strong, old fortresses at Nancy, Verdun, and Toulouse. However, once the Schlieffen Plan had effectively failed to subdue France for a number of reasons, all convention applied in its creation was suspended, and the previously ignored souther regions of France were now appearing to be quite appetizing for ythe thought of a second western front.
The capture of Verdun under Operation Gericht would have a dual effect; it would hamper French morale if this ancient landmark fortress were to be captured, and as such, the French were rightly calculated to rush to its defense. Herein lies the second component of Operation Gericht: Falkenhayn's plan was to pull the French into defending the city, and as he is quoted saying, 'bleed the French army white'.
Operation Gericht epitomizes the term “a war of attrition”, which World War I arguably was. What Falkenhayn didn't calculate in his plans was that it was costing the Germans just as many men to kill the French as the French were using to kill the Germans. However, in this kind of war of attrition, where it is a case of the 'last man standing', the allies had all the advantages. With Britain, France, and Russia's populations combined, the collective total far outweighs the combined population of Germany and Austria-Hungary. The allies were simply able to field far more men than the German army, and it is this manpower advantage that contributed to the Allied victory and German defeat of Operation Gericht
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