13. The battle for Fort Souville continued into August
The French had been equipped with more effective gas masks, and when the infantry attacked in three divisions the artillery pounded them. Supported by machine gunners from the fort, the French decimated the attacking Germans and they retreated with heavy casualties. That night, the Germans at Verdun were ordered by Falkenhayn to adopt a defensive posture. In August another German attack gained about 900 yards of French soil in the direction of Souville, at heavy loss of life. Ensuing counterattacks by the French for the rest of the month gained little.
Crown Prince Wilhelm held overall command of the German forces at Verdun, and he recognized by August that the chances of taking any more French ground with his existing forces were remote. Once the majority of his heavy artillery was transferred to the fighting on the Somme he realized that the exposed infantry was at the mercy of the French artillery. French attacks around Fleury continued throughout August, steadily pushing the Germans back. On August 18, Fleury was once again retaken by the French, and it was obvious that the Germans’ ability to resist was weakening. In Berlin, changes to the German High Command were made.