The British have the Somme. For the French it is the 10-month battle of Verdun.
For both countries, these two epic confrontations came to symbolise the suffering and endurance of the common fighting man.
What is often forgotten, though, is how closely the two battles are connected in the history of World War One.
Because each country sacralised one of the battles – making it the focus of national commemorations – each also tends to overlook the other.
And yet the stories of the Somme and Verdun – the centenary of which will be officially marked in France on Sunday – are tightly intertwined.
Over the winter of 1915-1916, the allies agreed their best hope of beating back the Germans on the western front was to hold off from any offensive action over the spring – but to prepare for a co-ordinated attack in early summer.
Unfortunately these plans were immediately dealt a blow, because the Germans decided to get in first. On 21 February they launched their mass attack on Verdun.
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Source Credits: Hugh Schofield in BBC News, from Paris. Image above is of a video game commemorating the war.