• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why is the battle of the Somme regarded as such a great military tragedy?

Extracts from this document...


Haig Coursework Q1. Why is the battle of the Somme regarded as such a great military tragedy? The Battle of the Somme was an attack launched in order to relieve pressure from the French army at Verdun; it was a way of diverting the Germans. The Somme valley was chosen as its river marked the junction of the British and French armies on the Western Front. The Battle of the Somme has gone down as the biggest disaster in British history. There is no doubt about this in a historians mind that this battle was a tragedy because this it saw the death of 57,000 British soldiers in the first day of the Battle after the heavy bombardment on July 1st 1916. The main aim of the Battle of the Somme was to commence a five day bombardment, obliterating the German trenches, killing all the soldiers, cutting the barbed wire defences and destroying the fortified villages along with the German machinery. ...read more.


The bombardment was a failure because the British troops did not realise that German troops had sheltered themselves in deep dugouts, which allowed most of them to survive the bombing launched. Although when the bombardment ceased this was a clear indication for the surviving German troops that an attack was about to commence signifying when they should emerge. The explosions of several huge mines under the German front line did not prevent their machine guns (which had not been destroyed by the shelling) to kill waves of the advancing British infantry. Once the German troops did emerge from their dugouts, too few guns and too big an area to shell led to the preliminary bombardment being largely ineffective. When British troops began advancing they walked forward as if they were on an exercise. This made it also easier for surviving Germans to shoot each row of soldiers down leading again to large numbers of deaths for the British Army. ...read more.


Haig's critics did have a lot of ammunition with which to ruin his reputation from this war, as he did a lose a lot of men for only 7 miles of land gained. For the amount of land gained the losses was far too great I think. Haig would say and most historians would agree that this battle made the morale of the German troops grow very low, but I feel that it could not have done much for the esteem of the British troops who knew that Haig wanted to win this war by attrition. The main consequence of this disastrous battle was the great losses of men suffered by both sides. I think what made this such a military tragedy was that the factor of the weather was not considered when they went to battle they should have made allowances for it before hand, they really should have considered all factors which might affect the war. Shalini Rajcoomar 11 Elgar Page 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE War Poetry essays

  1. Why did William win at the Battle of Hastings?

    Throughout the battle the Norman army seemed much more disciplined than the English and knew how to follow orders. So the Bretons mistake actually turned out to William's advantage. William being a clever leader realised that he could fake this situation again and told his knights to pretend to retreat once more.

  2. Was the Battle of the Somme a success or a failure?

    It was not the result Britain had planned. It was pure bloody murder. Douglas Haig should have been hung, drawn and quartered for what he did on the SommeThe cream on British manhood was shattered in less than six hours. That is the opinion of Private P .

  1. To What Extent Was the Battle of the Somme a Disaster.

    There were many points that point to the British commander Douglas Haig being a poor commander and the murderer of the Somme. But there are certain points that point to him not being all that bad such as the fact that although he insisted on old tactics like the use

  2. Why Did So Many Men die in the Battle of the Somme?

    The English infantry came in behind. A German war correspondent describing the effect the sight of British tanks had on German soldiers at the Somme. Facts about Tanks Tanks could get to speeds of 6 kilometres an hour on solid ground, but much slower in the mud of battle.

  1. The Battle of Passchendaele (The Third Battle of Ypres)

    The British put their lack of success down to the weather. They didn't take note that the German deployment of barbed wire had improved making it more difficult to reach the enemy trenches. Passchendaele was reached in early October. The first battle was fought here on 12th October.

  2. Why is the battle of the Somme regarded as a great military ...

    This could not have been any further from the reality of what it really did. The fact that friends fought side by side made the Somme that bit more horrific. Soldiers saw their best friends and relatives killed in front of them.

  1. Why is the battle of the Somme regarded as such a great military tragedy?

    Kitchener began to train his new army in August 1914. Most of these soldiers joined through their own patriotism. The Somme would be the volunteers first military experience, therefore the general believed that lack of experience would cause the soldiers to become disorganised and in a rush to attack.

  2. Are knights and castles a sufficient explanation for Norman military success between 1066 and ...

    Nonetheless, the armies tactics were very different. The Anglo-Saxons lead by Harold had marched and ridden from the North, but stood on foot forming a shield, which could wield blows from axes. Harold chose to follow traditional Anglo Saxon methods of using foot troops with a few archers, although the

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work