Orchard Dump
Webmatters : The Battle of Verdun 1916 : The wounded lion

The Battlefield

The Wounded Lion

If you have reached the battlefield via the D 112 and the Cemetery at the Faubourg Pavé you will pass the Maginot Memorial and then shortly afterwards reach this crossroads at the heart of the battlefield.

The junction is known as the carrefour Sainte Fine after a chapel that used to be located here and the lion will be on your right.

Alternatively if you have taken the main D 913 which comes in via the access to Fort Vaux it will be on your left.

Decimal49.191945.43784 Map
The lion of Souville

The wounded lion of Souville

Here but no further

The fight for Fort Souville

Based on the French Official History
Modern locations are included to assist with on the ground orientation

In the forest behind the lion is Fort Souville which was garrisoned by men from the 130e Division d’Infanterie (DI).

In June and July 1916 Bavarian soldiers launched heavy assaults on Souville which was the final obstruction to reaching the town of Verdun.

For a moment, as the battle raged, the Bavarians could see Verdun in the valley below but this was as far as they reached before being repulsed.

Sculptured by René Paris a veteran from the 130e DI the wounded lion represents the Bavarians (who have a lion as their symbol) brought down and at the limit of their strength. If you look you will see that the lion has no claws ; a ferocious beast, tamed.

The monument was inaugurated on 1 October 1922.

The Sainte Fine Chapel

Chapelle Sainte Fine

Immediately opposite the lion you will see a plaque telling you that there used to be a ruined chapel at the crossroads — where the lion lays today.

After a massive bombardment an assault was launched on the French on 23 June 1916. This was broken and the final attempt against Fort Souville itself (12th July) was also beaten off.

That October the French launched their own counter-attack which would reclaim Douaumont and further offensives in December would finally put Souville beyond the range of the German artillery.