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What, in your view, was the short term significance of the Battle of the Somme?

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iHollie Selby What, in your view, was the short term significance of the Battle of the Somme? The Battle of the Somme has been widely viewed as the bloodiest and most futile effort displayed within World War I and all for what appeared an unsubstantial gain. This perception, however, has been tainted throughout the years through the horrors instilled by accounts from soldiers and others emotionally connected with the event. This biased view has surpassed the significance the battle held and the achievements that were gained through its occurrence, although it is highly debatable to whether these outweigh the tragedy the battle inflicted on Britain. The most largely regarded disaster of the battle was the amount of lives lost; The British Army had suffered 420,000 casualties including nearly 60,000 on the first day alone, for very little territorial gain. However, although the gain appeared miniscule, only 12km at the deepest point, it was significant in maintaining control and power over allied lands. This is because it prevented Germany from occupying Verdun, this could have easily lead to the take over of France and therefore leaving Britain in a vulnerable state and open to defeat. ...read more.


The British were also subject to tactical changes, mainly those adopted from the French as they were far more experienced in trench warfare. The British had, up until this point, advanced their men in straight line formations, however this resulted in the loss of more men. Instead the French scattered there advances, cutting down the number of casualties, a tactic in which the British soon adopted. Along with this another French tactic known as "the creeping barrage" was soon a widely regarded technique and used largely within the Battle of the Somme, this involved bombarding the trenches ahead with a line of artillery and an advancing infantry moving in just behind. This reduced the amount of casualties by keeping the amount of German troops ahead down and also allowed allied forces to gain more land in the process. The Battle of the Somme was also significant with regards to highlighting the out dated tactics Britain continuously stood by. Just how backwards military thinking was at the time is shown by the fact that the British put a regiment of Calvary on standby. British military faith was still being placed on cavalry attacks in 1916 when the nature of war in the previous two years would have clearly indicated that cavalry was no longer viable. ...read more.


It was also the start of a series of mistakes in tactical changes made by the Germans that would eventually cost them their victory by bringing the United States into the war. Along with this, it was crucial in highlighting out-dated British tactics such as the cavalry and the importance of improvements in areas such as aviation warfare and the use of tanks, something that would become of much importance to them in future war efforts. Overall, I think the gains the Battle of the Somme provided were of great significance in improving and preparing Britain for the future but at an unnecessary cost of lives. German officer, Friedrich Steinbrecher, wrote: "Somme. The whole history of the world cannot contain a more ghastly word" [5] [1] "Tommy Goes to war" - British captain Leeham, talking about the first day on the battle of the Somme. [2] The senior German commander, Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria on the impact of loss of German troops http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Somme i [3] Minister of munitions, Edward Montagu. December 1915 -Diary extract. [4] Sergeant Major Pegler, 24th division artillery, 15th December 1916. world war one witness accounts - Janice Anderson [5] German officer -Friedrich Steinbrecher - http://www.freeinfosociety.com/article.php?id=456 ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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