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

Why did Haig decide to fight the battle of the Somme in 1916 and why did he fail to achieve his objectives (600 words max, 20 marks)

Extracts from this document...


Great War Coursework Essay 3 Why did Haig decide to fight the battle of the Somme in 1916 and why did he fail to achieve his objectives (600 words max, 20 marks) Haig decided to fight the Battle to relieve French pressure at Verdun, to regain territory, to gain more experience within the Army and to destroy the enemy's army. Douglas Haig became general in late 1915 and by February 1916, the allied generals had decided that a "combined offensive should be carried out across the Somme". Haig wanted to not only destroy the German army but in the process regain territory that had been lost in France. Later on in February, the Germans struck a heavy blow against the French army at Verdun and so attacking on the Somme would draw the German forces away. ...read more.


When the offensive at the Somme began, Haig had many objectives which needed to be completed. Unfortunately, many of them weren't. Firstly, using the bombardment he hoped to annihilate the enemy barbed wire and thus make it easier for the British troops to attack the trenches. This regrettably didn't go as planned, because as the shells hit the barbed wire, instead of destroying or deactivating them, they just sent the wire in the air, only to land back where they had started, often more tangled than before. Another reason why Haig failed in his objectives was the fact that he decided to use a bombardment followed by ground troop offensive, but when the bombing finished at 7.20am, the troops did not go "over the top" until 7.30am. ...read more.


These reasons also show why Haig failed to achieve his objectives. There was also a definite overestimation of the effectiveness of the tank, the tactics used and the overall power of the troops on Haig and Joffre's part, as their initial objectives showed that the Allies would have had to gain 4000 yards and using a thinly spread amount of artillery across a 25000 yard front line. This was a serious overestimation and so also adds to why they did not achieve their objectives. Another serious flaw in the plan of attacking at the Somme was the severe under-estimation of the enemy's ability to recuperate. In retrospect, it can be concluded that Haig "overestimated the ability of his own army" and he "was overambitious in his objectives". WORD COUNT: 606 ?? ?? ?? ?? Matthew Conway History Coursework ...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. Explain why the Battle of the Somme failed to achieve British objectives?

    With 420,000 British soldiers injured or killed. Achieving this goal showed the Germans that the British and French were a national front. But improving the defensive positions was much harder to achieve.

  2. Why did Haig decide to fight the battle of the Somme ?

    The plan of attack was the British launched an attack partly to draw German soldiers away from Verdun and partly to try and break through the German lines.

  1. World War I in France 1916 - the Somme and Verdun.

    The book was published in 1989 which is seventy-one years after the War ended on the Western Front. Therefore, Anthony Livesey would have no reason to lie and the source can be considered as reliable. The source suggests that Haig's greatest failing was his optimism and his inability to recognise

  2. Windsor Coursework

    The council may have plans to widen roads and pavements to lessen the congestion cause by the tourist thus making life easier for both residents and tourists. Conclusion The information that I have gathered (primary and secondary)

  1. Battle Of The Somme Coursework 3

    Lloyd George was Welsh and he put his friends in charge of the Welsh divisions. The 38th division were a Welsh division and Haig had criticised them for taking to days to clear the wood of Mametz in July, 1916.

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

    Trenches were very hard to capture since the system consisted of at least three lines of trenches, all protected by rows of barbed wire up to thirty metres deep. The armies were evenly matched, with the French and British armies joined together, and half the German army in Russia.

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

    When the British advance out of the trenches and are approaching the German front line, the German soldiers attacked with grenades, gas and machine gun fire. Many British soldiers threw away their rifles to ease their burdens but many found they could not find cover and died instantly.

  2. Why did Haig decide to fight the Battleof the Somme?

    Then the German defences would be bombarded with over 11/2 million shells over a 7-day period from 24th June - 30th June 1916. Haig did this so the German barbed would be cut and it would be easier for the men to get into the German trenches.

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