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

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Introduction

Why is the Battle of the Somme regarded as such a great military tragedy? After the Germans Schieffen Plan had failed both sides tried various attempts to make a break though. These were made mainly by the allied troops. Many of the breakthroughs in 1915 included Chapelle, Ypres and Loos, however only small areas of land were gained. In 1916 the German army tried to destroy the French at Verdun; for they knew that the French would pour men into protecting it. Their aim was to "Bleed France dry". The battle lasted six months, and the French did not collapse. However they needed help so they asked the British to bring forward the attack on the Somme in order to relieve the pressure. The aim of the Somme was to "kill as many Germans as possible". As this battle had been moved forward from August to July because of Verdun it became a mainly British fight. The Somme is regarded as a great military tragedy because it had a huge death count and this was the turning point on the view of the war at home. The Somme had a huge effect on the attitudes at home and of the views of the generals and the leadership of the war. ...read more.

Middle

Also the communications were so bad that the Germans knew everything about the attack, the tactics when everything was going to take place and what the signal for "going over the top" was. For example a quadrant of men had just sent a group "over the top" and they none had made any progress, so a message was sent to the generals to ask whether another group should go "over the top", the decision was that they shouldn't however as the communications were so bad it didn't arrive in time and they went "over the top" and died. This made it very easy for them to defend themselves. The tactics didn't reach their target and lost many thousands of men. However it wasn't just that the tactics used at the Somme weren't good, it was also the fact that the weapons weren't brilliant either. During the artillery bombardment there were 1� million shells fired (in the first week), 1/3 of them didn't explode. This is shown by the fact that today 90,000 a year are found unexploded. As well as that tanks were first used at the Somme, they were seen as the weapon that would win the war; however it didn't seem like that at the Somme. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also the tactics that had become a success weren't built upon, so therefore it showed that the generals were narrowed minded and not very educated in that didn't seem to see what was wrong with their attacks. Also the weakness of the generals was an important point in that even with all their experience trench warfare was different and difficult to plan. Generals had know idea what to do, because this was a new type of warfare. Even with military schooling generals didn't know because defence was important in trench warfare and in the schools attacking was taught to be important. This is an important point in that if the tactics were built upon they could have meant that the Somme would have had a better effect for the British. However the most important is the huge human cost. The battle of the Somme lost thousands of men, and for some of them it was there first and last fight. The human cost had a huge effect on the view of the war back home. It was the turning point, for after the battle conscription had to be brought in. this showed that the people of Britain had changed their views on the war. It now seemed to them to be a terrible thing instead of an exciting one. ...read more.

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