The 2nd Army was a division of France's army during World War I. During 1916, the 2nd Army was engaged in the Battle of Verdun. It had been commanded by General Henri Philippe Pétain, who had allowed for very little German advances in the area of Verdun. The field headquarters of the 2nd Army was in a chateau in Souilly. From there, the generals issued orders, sent by phone and motorcycle courier to the different sectors north and east of Verdun.
Adventures with the 2nd Army[edit | edit source]
In September 1916, Pétain's disagreement with Commander-in-Chief Joseph Joffre's strategy to go on the offensive at Verdun, no matter the cost, led to Pétain's promotion to remove him from the 2nd Army, and put Robert Nivelle, who agreed with Joffre's strategy, in his place. Pétain remained at the headquarters, and clashed with Nivelle and General Charles Mangin over futile attacks on German-held Fort Douaumont. Believing that the couriers had been infiltrated by German spies, Nivelle brought in new Belgian couriers, including Henri Defense (Indiana Jones).
On his first courier mission, Jones drove written orders to Colonel Barc to start another attack. With phone lines down, Barc sent Jones to the trenches to inform Major Gaston. Jones watched the French soldiers get cut down by machine guns and artillery until Gaston ordered a retreat. Jones returned to Souilly with the casualty count that night.
Jones' next mission was to pick up an ammunition order from the artillery units. On the way, he was attacked by Hermann Göring in his biplane. Returning to the headquarters, he accidentally volunteered to Gaston and Barc for a spy mission - to eavesdrop on German commanders across no man's land. That night, Jones learned that the Germans were bringing in two Big Bertha guns.
Despite Jones' report, Nivelle, under pressure from Joffre, ordered another attack. After confirming Jones' intelligence, Pétain issued a cancellation order, which was carried to the front by Rocco. Joffre arrived and re-authorized the attack, sending Jones out with a new order. Knowing that the attack would cause major casualties with no gain, Jones secretly destroyed the orders and his motorcycle and fled from the 2nd Army.
Eventually, Nivelle and the 2nd Army were able to retake Fort Douaumont.
Members of the 2nd Army[edit | edit source]
- Headquarters Staff
- Sector Four
- Sergeant Jean DeMille
- Belgian Courier Detachment assigned to the 2nd Army
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
In real life, Nivelle was given command of the 2nd Army in May 1916, and not in September as depicted in the episode "Verdun, September 1916".
Appearances[edit | edit source]
- The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles – "Verdun, September 1916" → Demons of Deception
- Verdun, September 1916 comic