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'Using the information in the sources and your own knowledge, answer the following question' What were the causes, events and results of the battle of the Somme?

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'Using the information in the sources and your own knowledge, answer the following question' What were the causes, events and results of the battle of the Somme? During the war there was a year of attrition in February 1916 which led to the battle of the Somme. The battle of the Somme occurred on the last week of June 1916. On the battle of the Somme on the first day after a week of bombardment, the British army advanced and had to funnel into areas where there were gaps in the wire as the wire was in many areas was undamaged by the British bombardment. Because the British soldiers were slower then the French in advancing it gave time for the Germans to set up machine guns to easily mow down the funnelled soldiers. On the first day of the advance there were 57,000 British casualties. The fighting continued until the November 1916 with the loss of 1.25 million men. Because of this horrific amount of casualties it gave the impression of the British army as 'Lions led by Donkeys' especially as the majority of those dead were young men in their late teens or early mid twenties. ...read more.


To relieve pressure, The British's new objectives were to gain territory and to draw German troops away from Verdun where the French were near breaking point. Another aim was to kill as many German soldiers as part of the war of attrition. The Battle of the Somme occurred in the last week of June, the British pounded the German lines with 1.7 million shells. The infantry attack began at 7:30 a.m. on 1 July. The attacks usually began at dawn, but the commanders were confident that there would be little resistance. The assault began. Twenty-seven divisions (about 750,000 men) went over the top against the Germans' 16 divisions. The French forces made some quick gains. They were more experienced than the British in such battles and they were moving quickly because they were not weighed down by packs. However, the French found themselves isolated and had to withdraw again because most of the British forces were advancing too slowly. The slow pace of the British advance gave the Germans enough time to emerge from their dug-outs and to set up their machine guns. ...read more.


A strip of land about 25 km long and 6km wide had been taken. These small gains had cost the British casualties of around 420,000, the French around 200,000 and the Germans around 500,000. Haig was criticised after the battle and was called 'butcher of the Somme'. Haig believed its main objectives of the battle were achieved. Verdun was saved - the main objective and some of Germany's best troops were killed and injured in the battle. But this did not comfort people as people began to realise that this would be a long, grim war of attrition. It also damaged confidence in the leaders. In conclusion to this essay I believe that there was one main cause for the battle of the Somme and without it would not have caused Haig to have such a battle. That cause is the Stalemate caused by the better defensive weapons. The Stalemate caused the new tactics of a war of attrition so if there was no stalemate the Germans would not have used that tactic. Without the war of attrition the Germans would not launch the offensive at Verdun which would give no need for General Haig to have the battle of the Somme as Verdun would have been safe. Sohail Deen 21/12/02 1 ...read more.

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