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In 1915, Kitchener's 'New Army' of the British Empire took over many sectors on the Western front.

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Jimmy Hamilton VM History Coursework Task 1. In 1915, Kitchener's 'New Army' of the British Empire took over many sectors on the Western front. One of these sectors was the area North of the River Somme in France. At this time, this part of the front was relatively quiet, with hardly any fighting. However, allied generals had decided this would be the area where a great offensive would break through German lines and win the war. In 1916, the German army launched massive attacks against the French fortresses at Verdun. Verdun was of great symbolic importance to the French, as it was their country's symbol of military strength. In order to relieve pressure on the French fighting at Verdun, it soon became highly important for a British offensive. Plans had been made for an attack around the Somme area, but they were originally intended for an Anglo-French army. The proposed time for the offensive would have been later in the year, as Kitchener's volunteer army needed time to train for battle, although the troops arriving to fight at the Somme had received inadequate training. ...read more.


This bombardment would destroy German machine gun posts and would kill any German soldiers in the trenches. This was to take place for the first two days of the bombardment. In the three days following this, the RAF's spotting aircraft would mark the positions of any German heavy artillery thus allowing the British guns to destroy any enemy artillery that would decimate their men. Any fortified villages would also be obliterated by the bombardment. A five day bombardment was planned, although this was extended by two days, so the day of infantry attack was changed from June 29th to July 1st. The final stage of the bombardment would take place as the troops began attacking when the artillery would use an early form of creeping barrage. They would fire on the first line of German trenches for a set period of time, then they would target the German second line and keep moving in this pattern, the idea was to fire on the trenches that the British troops were attacking in order to support them, then to lift the barrage at the time when the British troops were scheduled to arrive. ...read more.


Men were sent in four waves, because in the past battles with four waves of men had usually been won. The infantry had been told that the German trenches would be destroyed by the bombardment, and all they had to do was walk through enemy territory capturing territory and prisoners while the Germans retreated before them. Some were told they would not need their rifles. This method of infantry advance was expected to work because the cornerstone of Haig's plan was an accurate bombardment that would devastate the German sto such an extent that they would not be able to resist. His final touch to the plan was his favourite method of attack. Haig had been trained as a cavalry officer, and he firmly believed that the only way to win a war was to break enemy lines with infantry and send cavalry pouring through the gap. This was what he intended to do on the Somme. After the infantry had opened a gap in the German lines, he would send regiments of cavalry through the gap to round up the German lines and win the war. ...read more.

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