In February of 1916, the General Staff entrusted to Captain Doumenc the problem of transportation along the main road between Bar-le-Duc and Verdun. Immediately thereafter, the Automobile Regulatory Commission had to address the need to accommodate 2,000 tons per day in the Verdun region and, at the same time, transport 15,000 to 20,000 men in that area.
The highway was only accessible to cars. Any broken-down vehicle that could not be towed was pushed into the ditch!
The route, which was divided into six cantons, had to transport infantry, munitions and various equipment, starting from the railroad in the areas of Revigny, Bar-le-Duc and, especially, the train station at Baudonvilliers south of Bar-le-Duc, all the way to Regret, a village located very close to Verdun.
Access to the highway was denied not only to artillery and horse-drawn convoys, which had to travel by their own methods, but also to supplies which had to be transported by the Meuse Railroad.
On February 22, 1916, Commander Girard opened the route, where 1,200 persons threw loose stones under the wheels of vehicles which, at speeds of 15 to 20 km/h, served as roller-compactors.
During the Battle of Verdun, almost 9,000 vehicles – 6,000 of which traveled constantly along this “bucket brigade” – transported 90,000 men and 50,000 tons of equipment every week, covering a total of one million kilometers. Additionally, there were armed forces vehicles, ambulances, etc., which brings the total to 8,000 vehicles in a bumper-to-bumper procession from Bar to Verdun ... One vehicle every 14 seconds!
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