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42 THE SECOND YEAR OE THE WAR
lent to the Austro-Hungarians), keeping ·
upon the Northern Russian front under i
Hindenburg the strict minimum necessary
to hold it through the conditions of winter
and the spring thaw, when a bare total of
two men to the yard was thought suf-
iicient, began to concentrate all its
strength for this last possible decision.
If it should fail, which was not thought ‘
possible, the war was certainly lost. All
was done to make it succeed. _
VERJJULN.
The point chosen for the attack was the
sharp salient formed by the French
trenches round the town of Verdun. The
time fixed was the latter part of February.
Difficult as the task would be under the
weather conditions of that season it was
believed necessary to act so early because
the re­armament of the Russians, though
proceeding faster than the Germans
imagined, would begin to be formidable
when the Russian Ports of the north were
free from ice ; the growth of British arma-
ment was apparent and, most important -
of all, the enemy’s one asset, his superior