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Why is the battle of the Somme regarded as such a great military tragedy?

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Introduction

MODEL B: ASSIGNMENT: HAIG ROBERT NELSON 11H 1. Why is the battle of the Somme regarded as such a great military tragedy? The Chamber's Dictionary defines a 'tragedy' as any sad story or turn of events, any event involving death or killing that can be avoided. The battle of the Somme is regarded as a great military tragedy, because of the enormous amount of deaths and tragedies. In just the first day of fighting, almost 60,000 British soldiers were killed. By the end of the battle, 400,000 British lives were lost. But what were all these lives lost for? The British and French gained just 12 km. The Battle was a joint plan between Great Britain and France. ...read more.

Middle

Most of the soldiers in the attack were new recruits, who were inexperienced and lacked knowledge. The shells were not fired accurately enough to destroy the German machine gun posts. The shrapnel did not destroy the barbed wire which meant that when allied soldiers reached the German trench, they would be shot down by the machine gun posts, or German soldiers. The Germans were well prepared for the allies as they intercepted a good luck message sent out. Large mines exploded at Hawthorne Ridge which signaled the start of the attack and these mines caused massive German casualties and the noises could be heard in London. The artillery fire which had been going on day and night for weeks stopped which also indicated to the German's that an attack was close. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is not just 400,000 lives lost, it is 400,000 families destroyed, which is what makes it such a tragic event. Was it worth destroying 400,000 families, for just gaining a couple of kilometers? Haig thought the way to win the war was to kill more German's than German's killed the allies. This was a bad strategy because more lives were lost and not much was gained. It was a war of attrition, and fought very differently to how a war is fought today. With the changes in technology over time, battlefields are rarely used to fight a war. Fighter jets dropping bombs and ships firing missiles mean that less people are killed on the ground. The Battle of the Somme is seen as a greater tragedy today as there are many ways to fight wars now, back then, a ground battle was the only way to fight a war. ...read more.

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