An extract on #iamsrk
Samarkand features a Mediterranean climate (Kppen climate classification Csa) that closely borders on a semi-arid climate with hot, dry summers and relatively wet, variable winters that alternate periods of warm weather with periods of cold weather. July and August are the hottest months of the year with temperatures reaching, and exceeding, 40 C (104 F). Most of the sparse precipitation is received from December through April. January 2008 was particularly cold, and the temperature dropped to 22 C (8 F)
Verdun was isolated on three sides and railway communications to the French rear had been cut except for a light railway; German-controlled railways lay only 24 km (15 mi) to the north of the front line. A corps was moved to the 5th Army to provide labour for the preparation of the offensive. Areas were emptied of French civilians and buildings requisitioned, thousands of kilometres of telephone cable were laid, thousands of tons of ammunition and rations were stored under cover with hundreds of guns installed and camouflaged. Ten new rail lines with twenty stations were built and vast underground shelters (Stollen) were dug 4.514 metres (1546 ft) deep, each to accommodate up to 1,200 German infantry. The III Corps, VII Reserve Corps and XVIII Corps were transferred to the 5th Army, each corps being reinforced by 2,400 experienced troops and 2,000 trained recruits. V Corps was placed behind the front line, ready to advance if necessary when the assault divisions were moving up and the XV Corps, with two divisions, was in the 5th Army reserve, ready to advance to mop up as soon as the French defence collapsed.
Special arrangements were made to maintain a high rate of artillery-fire during the offensive, 33 12 munitions trains per day were to deliver ammunition sufficient for 2,000,000 rounds to be fired in the first six days and another 2,000,000 shells in the next twelve. Five repair shops were built close to the front to reduce delays for maintenance; factories in Germany were made ready, rapidly to refurbish artillery needing more extensive repairs. A redeployment plan for the artillery was devised, for field guns and mobile heavy artillery to be moved forward, under the covering fire of mortars and the super-heavy artillery. A total of 1,201 guns were massed on the Verdun front, two thirds of which were heavy and super-heavy artillery, which had been obtained by stripping the modern German artillery from the rest of the Western Front and substituting it with older types and captured Russian guns. The German artillery could fire into the Verdun salient from three directions, yet remain dispersed.