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Explain why the battle of the Somme failed to achieve British objectives

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Question four: Explain why the battle of the Somme failed to achieve British objectives. Before the attack on the Somme the British and the French forces had set high expectations of the results of the battle. The plan was carefully mapped months in advance by the French and British Commander-in-chiefs Joseph Joffre, Sir Douglas Haig and the governments of the two countries. Planes had been used so the Allied forces could have a vision of the German trenches and were to specifically strike. During the Allies seven day bombardment on the German trenches an estimated 1,500,000 shells, and 2,000 pieces of artillery was hurled over along a 30km German front line. ...read more.


The results of the attack were however surprising and reversed. 58,000 British casualties were inflicted on the first day of the infantry attack, of which over 18,000 had been killed, making it the worst day in terms of casualties in British military history. The objective was to dent the German morale, instead the British had their own morale severely dented. The battle failed in many aspects. The British were meant to relieve pressure on Verdun and the French troops almost instantly. Sir Douglas Haig was anticipating that 16 kilometres of German trenches would be stormed and seized by the British troops on the first day of the infantry attack. ...read more.


My sole justification is that Haig promised not to press the attack if it came clear that he could not obtain his objective by continuing..." Lloyd George, British Prime Minister. The quote shows that the battle was a huge morale dent in Britain as well as the front line in France. The public were also very angry and Haig earned the title 'Butcher of the Somme.' Despite the appalling death toll the British army did manage to reach some of its objectives. 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. ...read more.

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