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

Why was the battle of the Somme Regarded as a Great Military Tragedy?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why was the battle of the Somme Regarded as a Great Military Tragedy? Haig's three objectives were simple; first was to win a war of 'attrition'. This means that it doesn't matter how many troops die as long as the opponent looses more. His second objective was to gain land. Surely this would happen anyway if you won the battle. His third, probably his most important objective was to relieve pressure on Verdun. This was very important because the French said that if the angel fell from the church of Verdun, France would be out of the war. Even though Haig's plan was simple it did not succeed when he told his troops to go 'over the top'. First he decided to 'bombard' the German trenches for a week before the attack. This was to kill all of the German soldiers and to cut the enemy's barbed wire. ...read more.

Middle

This meant that the British couldn't run and this gave time to the germans. Not only that but the French were not carrying heavy packs so they ran, got to the German bunkers but were not given support promised by british troops. The generals were only equipped with pistols, because more than that would be un-gentlemanly, they were told that the barbed wire would be cut by shells and that all the Germans would be dead. This was not the case. General Haig was overconfident in the tactics, for example he thought that he could cut the barbed wire with lead ball bearings about the size of marbles that would be shot from the shells, after the battle there was a good quote on the subject "any Tommie could have told him that the balls just lifted the barbed wire up and put it down in a worse tangle than it was already. ...read more.

Conclusion

As the British were being slaughtered by the German machine guns a British Commander decided to detonate the mine that had failed to explode at kasino point thus burying his own men under rock and soil. warfare was not the only part to the somme being a great military tragedy. The conditions of the trench were a part to the somme being a tradgedy. the water in the bunkers gave men 'trench foot' and invited in creatures like rats. Communication was a big part in the outcome of the battle aswell. For instance the telephone wires had been cut so this meant haig was not in touch with the front lines. The generals were out of touch and the re-inhforcements never arrived. The battle of the Somme went on for nearly five months. Only on 18 November, as winter set in, did the battle grind to a halt. Bapaume had not been captured. Only 6 miles of ground had been taken. The final casualties were: British 415,000, French 195,000, Germans perhaps 600,000. To me this shows that the Somme was a great military tragedy. ...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. Was General Haig a donkey or a great commander?

    in the front line, and also launched their attack at exactly the same time as the Australians launched theirs. Unfortunately a few days later it started to rain again. Haig, encouraged by these three victories nevertheless ordered yet more attacks on the ridge, all of which were to end in failure and catastrophic loss of life.

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

    However, many lessons were learned after the disaster of the first day and some gains, though small, were made. Haig eventually varied his tactics, introducing the tank and the "creeping barrage" in hope of breaking the stalemate. By 18th November, the battle was over, a strip of land roughly 25km

  1. The Third Battle of Ypres

    of July. These effects of the geography and the weather were made many times worse by Haig's insistence on a preliminary bombardment of the German lines, even though he had been warned about this. Many shells fell short and the result was to turn a very difficult battle ground into

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

    Source A has interpreted the battle of the Somme as highly important. It fails to state this exactly; however, using the contents of the source it is easy to derive the writer's interpretation of the importance of the battle of the Somme.

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

    As the Schlieffen Plan had failed it meant that there was no quick defeat of France, as the British had to fight a war on two fronts, instead of defeating one enemy and then the other, as originally planned.

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

    Haig's main aim was to gain territorial land from the Germans and destroy their morale. The Germans were ready for the attack commencing 1st July 1916; they had seen the preparations and were expecting a large-scale attack. Consequently they moved their divisions accordingly.

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