Battle of the Somme Facts

Battle of the Somme Facts
The Battle of the Somme was the largest battle of World War I, fought on both sides of the Somme River in France near the Belgium border from July 1 to November 18, 1916. With the Germans dedicating most of their resources and best troop to the Verdun offensive, the French and British decided to go on the offensive in the upper reaches of the Somme River. Although the Allies took land and drove the line back a few miles, they were unable to take many objectives due to the Germans being better prepared by construction deeper trenches and better fortifications. More than three million men fought on both sides and more than one million were wounded or killed.
Interesting Battle of the Somme Facts:
Douglass Haig was the British Field Marshall at the time. He favored a major attack in the Flanders region of Belgium, but French General Joseph Joffre convinced him that a combined attack on the Somme would be more effective.
The British-French offensive was supposed to take place with Allied offensives on the Eastern and Italian fronts.
Although the situation in Verdun meant that the Germans were vulnerable along the Somme, it also meant that the French could contribute fewer forces to the offensive.
The Germans generally created better trench systems than the Allies throughout the war, but at Somme they were able to create some of the best trenches in the war because they held the territory for about a year before the offensive.
The elaborate German trench systems had several different lines, a phone system, and concrete bunkers in some places.
The first two weeks of the offensive are known as the Battle of Albert.
The British were the most inexperienced of the three armies and suffered the highest casualty rates in the early phases of the battle.
One of the only non-trench fighting engagements in the Battle of the Somme was the Battle of Delville Wood, fought from July 5 to September 3. British forces largely comprised of South Africans, were able to take the woods.
The Battle of the Somme was the first World War I battle where tanks were used in large numbers. The tanks were used by the British and French, but they were largely ineffective because they could not maneuver past the trenches.
Air combat was also a fairly new feature that took place during the Battle of the Somme.
The Canadians and Australians suffered about 25,000 casualties each during the battle.
The Germans were forced to drawback behind what was called the Hindenburg Line, which could be considered a defeat.
On the other hand, the Allies were not able to take any of the major towns in the sector and only gained six miles of ground.
Despite the high amount of casualties and the inability of the Allies to take any of their major objectives, some historians consider the Battle of the Somme to have been a strategic though not a tactical victory for the Allies. The battle of attrition reduced the German forces to a point that they could not replenish.


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