France: World War I – The Battle of Verdun Begins
On this day in 1916, the Battle of Verdun began on the Western Front in World War I, between French and German forces. This battle waged in northeastern France killed close to 700 000 troops. Some 40 million artillery shells were fired before the battle concluded on the 18th December 1916 in a virtual stalemate, though regarded as a French win.
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Greece: Greek War of Independence – The Battle of Gravia Inn
Today in 1821, during the Greek War of Independence (against the Ottoman Empire), the Battle of Gravia Inn took place. In this amazing battle, Odysseas Androutsos led 120 men against an army of 9 000 men belonging to the Ottoman Army.
Fresh from victory over Greek forces at the Battle of Alamana, the Ottoman Army under Omer Vrioni was moving to attack the Peloponnese. However, they ran into the small force led by Androutsos at Gravia (Greece), who had fortified themselves within the inn.
A number of attacks on the inn took place with the Ottoman Army suffering heavy casualties and the Greeks very few (6 only). Vrioni odered up his artillery and during this time the Greeks managed to slip away through the Ottoman lines.
As a consequence of his heavy losses (some 300 dead and 800 more wounded), Vrioni retreated and withdrew. During this time the Greeks consolidated their position in the Peloponnese, including the capture of the Ottoman capital in the Peloponnese – Tripoli.