th few exceptions, the French stood firm.
It seemed that the Germans, beaten off time after time as they were, must soon abandon the attempt to break the French lines at Verdun; but each repulse brought a new assault mightier than before. The Germans raced across the open ground under a veritable hail of lead. They fell by hundreds and thousands, but what few survived hurled themselves against the barbed wire entanglements of the French or into the trenches, there to die upon the points of the foes' bayonets, or to be shot down as they tumbled over the breastworks.
The German general staff drew heavily from its forces on the east front and added these new legions to the already large army occupied before Verdun; but the result was always the same. So far they could progress and no farther.
After almost five months of defensive tactics, General Petain began to launch assaults of his own. At first the Germans put these down with regularity, but at last the effort began to tell. The French made headway.