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The Battle of the Somme

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Introduction

The Battle of the Somme The allies sent in total 18. 14 of them were British and 4 were French. They wanted to attack the fortified villages on the Somme that were held by the Germans. Below is the map of the villages of the Somme and where the British, French and German lines. The head of the British Army in France was General Rawlinson. He was in charge of 400,000 men to begin with. His plan was to shell the German trenches for 5 days then at 00.00Hrs just walk over no man's land and capture the Germans. Due to bad weather the shelling was delayed by 48 hours and ended up lasting for 7 days. When the wire wasn't cut General Rawlinson saw that the shelling hadn't caused the damage it was predicted to and so knew the attack was an inevitable disaster. ...read more.

Middle

At 7.30a.m 66,000 soldiers went over the top. Most of the soldiers were cut down by the waiting German machine guns. The British attack was a failure. It under estimated the Germans' defence and trenches and due to the British Generals' incorrect assumptions about the effects of the Preliminary Bombardment 60,00 men were killed. The devastation and destruction was horrendous. For example, the Tyneside Division started off the morning with 3,000 men. Only 50 remained afterwards. The Newfoundlanders tried to launch a second wave of assaults but were cut down even before the got to the front line. There were 91% casualties in that division. All 26 officers were killed and 658 out of the 726 men also died. The British and French made some minor gains in the south of France but all in all this was a disastrous day. The fighting continued through autumn and into winter. ...read more.

Conclusion

They had captured Beaumont Hammel very late on (the irony of this is that this was 1/7 target.) and only gained 71/2 miles. Their loss was a massive number of men. As one soldier described it 'The Somme was just slaughter'. In all 500,000 men were lost by the British, 250,00 by the French and 450,000 by the Germans. To the relatives of the British soldiers these loses would have meant a lot. To the Commanders in charge they didn't mind that 500,000 men had died, they could just recruit more from the vast lands of the British Empire. What the Commanders in the British army cared about was the 450,000 German dead. Even this was smaller than their loss the Germans couldn't afford to lose so many men and so this was thought to be a minor victory for the British by the commanders in charge. All in all the Somme was a bloody conflict with the lose of many lives. But for what? Neither side made any major gain and could claim they destroyed their enemy. ...read more.

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