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Explain why the Battle of the Somme failed to achieve British objectives?

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Introduction

Q3) Explain why the Battle of the Somme failed to achieve British objectives? The British achieved only some of the objectives, at an unnecessary high cost. In the long term the French army and Verdun were saved as they were very close to total collapse. The Allies had defeated the Germans at another battle and were close to winning the war. Victory was finally achieved although at great cost. Firstly we have to know what the objectives were. The major offensives were to break through German lines with a massive bombardment. The second was to relieve the pressure on the French soldiers at Verdun. Thirdly, was to wear the Germans down and lastly, to improve their defensive positions. To break through the German lines, the British and the French had to move to at least 15km in order to do this. But at the furthest point, they were still only 8km from where they started. ...read more.

Middle

Haig was anticipating that 15 kilometres of German trenches would be stormed and seized by the British troops on the first day of the infantry attack, initially to gain a strategic stronghold in Baupaume. However, it took five months to capture just eight kilometres of German trenches. One of the most important reasons why the battle failed was that the German positions were impregnable. The German forces were on higher ground than the British giving a good view of the troops preparing the attacks. Also the Germans' trenches had been there since 1914 and the German troops had not been standing idly. They had been improving their trenches for two years now and their dugouts had been dug deep and reinforced with concrete. This ensured that the British shells did not have the effect that the generals had hoped. This played a part in the British and French unable to improve defensive positions. ...read more.

Conclusion

This only increased the death rate. In Haigs defence, he was under immense pressure to make the attack and he also believed that there was no alternative to the big push. Having no alternative tactics, meant that there was no element of surprise for the Germans. On the other hand the Battle of the Somme was not a total disaster. There were positive points that came out of the battle. For example it definitely assisted the French at Verdun because some of the German forces fighting in Verdun had to withdraw to help out their comrades fighting in the Somme. It was so important to draw the Germans away from Verdun because the French army was on the brink of defeat. So if the Somme had not been launched the French would most likely have surrendered leaving the British to face the German army alone. So if you think of it like that the Battle of the Somme was the battle, which prevented the Germans from winning the war. Laura Bentley 11 Dolbe History Coursework ...read more.

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