PARIS, May 31, 1916 (UP) - The 101st day of Verdun, the world's greatest battle, today found the crown prince rushing into action fresh legions amid the roar of hundreds of great guns west of the Meuse.
The new German offensive, begun Sunday, is the final supreme assault, all French military critics agreed today.
The volume and violence of the artillery fire, together with the frequency and intensity of infantry attacks, eclipse anything seen on any battlefield in the world's history.
The Germans are hurrying into action against Verdun every man the kaiser can spare.
The kaiser himself is reported to be returning to the Verdun front to watch the final assault.
For the past 72 hours military trains have been unloading fresh divisions from the Russian front before Verdun.
One of these new divisions was hurled into action northwest of Verdun in Monday night's fighting, suffering terrible losses.
There are widespread rumors that a large Austrian force is on the way to the western front, either to take over a portion of the German line or to take part directly in the fighting at Verdun.
From Swiss sources came the report that Emperor Franz Josef asked that Austrian troops be allowed to share in the grand assault.
In some quarters it is believed the Austrian offensive against the Italians was delivered to hide the shifting of Austrian forces to the western front.
Before the end of the week, it is believed, the crown prince will be hammering against the French lines with 1,000,000 men.
There is not the slightest doubt in Paris that Gen. Nivelle, if forced to retire upon the northwestern forts of Verdun, will hold his positions there with the same grip that halted the Germans on the northern and northeastern fronts of Verdun.
French troops were compelled to evacuate a first line trench south of Caurettes woods and to retire south of Cumieres village, under violent German attacks, the war office said today.
By a counter attack the French regained the lost ground south of Cumieres.
Throughout yesterday the most violent battle yet fought on the northwestern front of Verdun continued.
The struggle grew more furious toward nightfall and went on today.
Between the Meuse and Dead Man Hill, the Germans drove attack after attack on a two-mile front.
German divisions charged in powerful strokes against French works east of Dead Man Hill and against positions still held by the French in the southern part of Cumieres.
These attacks, for the most part, were completely repulsed.
The Germans meanwhile treated the French positions to a terrific artillery fire.
One German detachment which managed to reach the Meuse was completely annihilated by French fire.
In upper Alsace, the Germans, following intense artillery preparation, captured trenches east of Seffors, but were immediately driven out.