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

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

Extracts from this document...


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Britain 1905-1951 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 Britain 1905-1951 essays

  1. General Haig - Butcher or Hero?

    The main reason why Haig was reviled by many is that, in their opinion, he made intolerable losses during battle. However, to make a fairer judgment, we must try to ascertain our views from a wider perspective. Like many other generals of the time, he would have taken the vast

  2. The great war: The battle of the Somme.

    The technology was poor and most of the shells were faulty, so the high number of Germans expected to be killed, and the easy way of cutting the barbed wire was not achieved. The new weapons failed to be used effectively, and the majority of weapons were better for defence than attack.

  1. Assignment Two: Objectives two and three

    All the people in the photograph are smiling towards the camera with the same pose, a 'thumbs up'.

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

    This objective was achieved, but at a very unnecessarily high cost. One German soldier called the field where it took place a muddy grave. The German casualty rate was very high, and one and a quarter of a million men lost their lives at the Somme.

  1. Looking at what happened in the battle of the Somme, and studying different aspects ...

    There were lots of problems that the soldiers faced because of mud for example walking around the trench was more difficult and putting on clothes such as trousers was harder because of the mud. The daily routine of a solider was to resemble the trenches, fill sandbags, put ammunition and go to the front line for 48 days.

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

    Many were shot as they tried to cut the enemy barbed wire or as they stopped to take in what was happening. By 10am the British had 52,000 men, either killed or wounded, most in the first hour. At some parts of the front line the British had gained their

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