Mort Pour La France: Verdun
Starting in 1916, the center of the Western front existed in the barren moonscape surrounding the French city of Verdun. Intense and near-continuous bombardment of enemy lines by mortars, cannon-fire, and underground sappers lead to so much devastation that after the war, the French government cordoned off large swaths of land. Known as the Zone Rouge (Red Zone), this area was determined to be too heavily destroyed to be viable for human inhabitation. Inundated by unexploded ordnance and the remains of over one hundred thousand missing soldiers, the French began a massive reforestation program, creating a wall of living timber, preventing all but the most intrepid explorers from entering the area. Nine villages were determined to be inside the Zone, and were prevented from being rebuilt. These towns died for France, reduced to dust and rubble, now overgrown.