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

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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.


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.


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.

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