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44 THE SECOND YEAR OE THE WAR
ooon morros Aim BAD smimmnov.
The point upon which it was delivered
was as well-chosen tactically as it proved
strategically to be ill­chosen. The French
forces in front of Verdun held lines
turning a sharp angle, almost a right angle
that is, in the shape of an L. Cutting
across those lines was the Valley of the
­ River Meuse, suffering from winter floods
and impassable over stretches varying
from half a mile to a mile in width. If in
this new offensive the foot of the " L "
could be broken in, there would surely
follow a local disaster. The troops beyond
the flooded Meuse would be crushed back
upon that obstacle with not suiïicient
means for withdrawal beyond it. They
would fall en masse into the hands of the
victor, who pressing forward thence,
would have before him a congested line
fallen into chaos and disarray with the
imperfect and crowded retirement of those
defeated beyond the river.
How Fmmoii Pinminn THE Bnow.
What caused the enemy’s plans to
miscarry was partly the very thin covering
line which the French tactic uses, partly