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Battle of the Somme - source related questions.

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Introduction

G.C.S.E Coursework Daniel Cole 4) The British casualties on the first day of the battle of the Somme were enormous compared with any other battle fought by the British army. Source F tells us that on the 1st of July 1916, the total amount of men killed, wounded, missing etc was "57,470." We have no reason to dispute these figures, because they aren't those recorded after battalion role-calls. They are the Official British Army Figures. However we usually round this figure up to 60,000. In comparison, the number of men taken prisoner is minute. Only 585 men were captured, and this shows that the battle, and even the war, was very different to any other. Source D and E give reasons why these figures were so high. Source D (the German eyewitness account of what happened on the first day of the battle) describes how the British came in a "series of extended lines." ...read more.

Middle

Therefore he would show him the better parts of the line. Places where the British had at least had minor victories or breakthroughs. One of these places could be Montabon or Mametz, where the British and French did make breakthroughs on the first day of the battle of the Somme. (Only to lose the ground soon after because the promised cavalry advance didn't come.) Source E was written on the 9th of September 1916. This was also the month in which the tank was first used. This therefore could also be the reason why Hankey has been sent out, and why the source describes so many German prisoners. However, even though Haig has shown Hankey the best parts of the line, Sir Maurice does show his worries about the Somme campaign. He tells of the German prisoners being "fine, intelligent-looking men with no sign of poor physique or moral," and he voices his fears that Haig and the over high-ranking officers have an "over-opinion" of their sides superiority over the enemy. ...read more.

Conclusion

He believed his men would march into disaster. Yet when he reported this, no attention was given to it. Both sources also don't mention the mines used in the assault. Before the battle, 5 mines were places near German strong point, and were set to blow five minutes before 7:30. (Zero hour) However, at 7:20, an officer blew his mine at the Hawthorn Redoubt. This was a costly error. It provoked a German artillery bombardment on all the packed British trenches in the area, and helped the Germans to get poised and ready for the British assault. From the evidence that I have given I have found that source D describes the reasons for the casualty figures in most detail, and source E also gives a few reasons. Nonetheless, I have also explained a few out of the many reasons that weren't mentioned, why these figures, 60,000, were so high. These figures also show that the type of warfare had changed from that of the century before, and that the generals, Rawlingson and Haig especially, weren't yet accustomed to it. ...read more.

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