The Battle of the Somme 1916 The Somme

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The Battle of the Somme 1916

The Battle of the Somme 1916

The Somme n July 1, 1916 – November 18, 1916 n Attack along a

The Somme n July 1, 1916 – November 18, 1916 n Attack along a 30 km front n 58, 000 British casualties on first day n One of the bloodiest battles of the war

The Allied Plan n n Joint British-French attack Drain the German reserves Gain territory

The Allied Plan n n Joint British-French attack Drain the German reserves Gain territory Majority of fighting to be done by the French Begin on August 1

Commanders n French – Joseph Joffre n British – Sir Douglas Haig

Commanders n French – Joseph Joffre n British – Sir Douglas Haig

The German Plan Commander – Von Falkenhayn n Ordered Verdun offensive n Wanted to

The German Plan Commander – Von Falkenhayn n Ordered Verdun offensive n Wanted to “Bleed France white” n

The Allies n Attack moved to 1 July n Verdun offensive required French troops

The Allies n Attack moved to 1 July n Verdun offensive required French troops to meet the German threat n British assume the lead at the Somme n Intended to draw Germans away from Verdun n Haig hoped to force a breakthrough to Cambrai and Douai and split German line

Initial Bombardment n Shelling of German trenches for 8 days n Creeping barrage to

Initial Bombardment n Shelling of German trenches for 8 days n Creeping barrage to precede infantry attack n Shelling would continue ahead of the infantry as they took consecutive trenches n 1500 British guns and a similar number from the French n Underground cables for communication

The Attack begins n 27 Allied divisions versus 16 German n 80% of allies

The Attack begins n 27 Allied divisions versus 16 German n 80% of allies were British and Commonwealth n French army will attack to the south n Main attack was preceded by a series of 17 mines exploded under German defences n Many British shells were defective and did not explode

German Defense Germans took refuge in concrete bunkers during shelling n Shelling served as

German Defense Germans took refuge in concrete bunkers during shelling n Shelling served as a warning of an attack n

Early Results n BEF makes little progress in early fighting n Soldiers were heavily

Early Results n BEF makes little progress in early fighting n Soldiers were heavily laden with equipment and supplies n They were slowed down and made easy targets n French troops achieved most of their objectives n The Germans did not expect them to attack

The Battle Continues n 11 July 1916 n General Rawlinson’s Forces take first line

The Battle Continues n 11 July 1916 n General Rawlinson’s Forces take first line of trenches n Germans transfer forces from Verdun to strengthen their line n Two Australian divisions take Pozieres n Germans re-organize their defenses n German First Army led by von Gallwitz

Through the Summer n Each side believes that a breakthrough is imminent because the

Through the Summer n Each side believes that a breakthrough is imminent because the other side is tired and weakening n Fighting will continue on into the fall

A New Weapon n n n 15 September, 1916 Battle of Flers. Courcelette First

A New Weapon n n n 15 September, 1916 Battle of Flers. Courcelette First use of tanks 24 of 50 were able to be used Canadians capture Courcelette Scots capture Martinpuich

Allied Assaults during the Fall n n n British: Battle of Morval Battle of

Allied Assaults during the Fall n n n British: Battle of Morval Battle of Thiepval Ridge Transloy Ridge Ancre Heights Battle of the Ancre – Capture fortress Beaumont-Hamel French: n Chaulnes n East of Morval n

Final Results n British and French gain 12 km of ground n British casualties

Final Results n British and French gain 12 km of ground n British casualties total 420, 000 n French casualties total 200, 000 n German casualties estimated at 500, 000

Sir Douglas Haig A controversial commander n Flawed tactics caused large losses of life

Sir Douglas Haig A controversial commander n Flawed tactics caused large losses of life n Was he forced by the larger circumstances? n