The Battle of the Somme
(The Blood Bath)
British soldiers "going over the top."
SUMMARY OF THE BATTLE
Said to be one of bloodiest battles in World War 1 and one of the greatest losses of British lives, The Battle of the Somme was fought between the French, the Germans, and the British Empire.
The city of Verdun was a vital city for the french, they could not afford to lose it so they asked the British for assistance. So the main goal of the battle of the Somme was to relieve military pressure off the city of Verdun by launching a major offense at the Somme. It was also thought that the huge offense would make a breach in the German line that would bring a quick end to the War.
Commanded and commanded by Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig, the plan was to constantly bombard the German front lines with artillery to disorient the barbed wire and weaken their forces tremendously. The Bombardment began on June 24, 1916 and lasted nearly a week. On July 1, 1916 the allied advance began. Thinking that there would be little resistance, they moved forward, but they were gravely mistaken. During the constant bombardment, the Germans had hidden deep within their trenches and most of the shells fired were very inaccurate and most of them ended up in no man's land creating massive craters. (Matnesky, J.P, and G.W Carkin. World War 1 Canada in the 20th Century Series. Toronto: Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2012. Print) Many allied forces died embracing German machine gun fire with casualties mounting up to 57540 men on the first day. (Oxford Canada, The Canadian Challenge, Don Quinlan, Doug Baldwin, Rick Mahoney, Kevin Reed, Oxford university press) After nearly 5 months of bloody trench warfare, Haig called off the attack claiming that his original goal of relieving pressure on Verdun had been accomplished. The battle had also played a part in ending the war, the great number of German soldiers were sent to defend this front which contributed to the overall end of the war, casualties of the Allied forces mounted up to 623907 men while the German casualties added up to roughly 660000 men. (Roy, R.H. "The Battle of the Somme." The Canadian Encyclopedia. Toronto, 2012. Print)
A picture of a German soldier participating in the battle of the Somme.
GERMAN SOLDIERS PERSPECTIVE (LETTER TO HIS WIFE)
What's it like at home in Berlin? I wish for this war to end soon so I may see you.
Our unit was assigned to defend against the enemy at the Somme river. As our unit was progressing, we felt tremors in the earth and blasts of artillery in the background. Our entrance was welcomed with showering rain and while the constant barrage of enemy artillery fire was happening, all of the troops were cramped into our trenches. For a week, we were forced to sleep in wet, muddy, freezing cold temperatures, and the putrid smell of rotting flesh. I didn't get much sleep at all and I felt as if I would die from exhaustion. But on the 1st of July, the pounding stopped and it seemed I had lost my hearing. But right after, I heard the roar of what sounded like nearly 1 million men strong and saw a wave of men with angry faces charging at me. My heart skipped a beat and I instinctively ran to the closest machine gun and started to unleash hell on the angry troops. I stayed at my post for nearly an hour cussing and mowing down enemy troops who were struggling through all the barbed wire and craters. I lost track of how many I had killed before my gun had jammed and I fainted from exhaustion.
(1 Months Later)
How are you doing? Every day I'm here in this hell hole I've been thinking about you. I'm sick of this war, everyday the allied fores are attacking us with great numbers and I cant help think that i'm going to perish one of these days. I've seen many of my fellow troops who I've made friends with being cut down or tossed around by shelling or machine gun fire. There is the smell of death everywhere, I cannot escape it. Its nearly impossible to sleep because the fear of an enemy raid or an artillery shell not to mention the terrible weather conditions. Every day, seems as if its raining and the days that it isn't, there is left over water filling up the trenches. The lack of food is driving many soldiers crazy and it doesn't help that the rats are helping themselves to our food supplies. This battle seems hopeless, raid after raid we go with barely any men returning and gaining no territory. Me and some of the other soldiers were talking about surrendering to the Allied forces.
(1 Week Later)
I don't know if you'll get this letter, but i'm hoping you will, a group of soldiers have agreed to surrender to the allies. I hope all goes well. I love you and I will see you after the war ends. Stay safe my love.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BATTLE
The battle of the Somme was significant in many different ways, one of the reasons why it was significant was because it portrayed the new style of fighting in World War 1, Trench Warfare. Trench warfare was considered to be one of the most useless styles of fighting in history causing many men to die during horrible conditions while achieve very little in return. It was also if some significance because many recognize it as one of Britain's worst military disasters as it sent many men to their deaths for the purpose of a mere 15 kilometers. The battle was also of some significance because it was the first time that a tank had been brought into the war. (World War 1, Dolald Sommerville, RSVP, raintree steck) Another reason the battle was of significance was because it led to the overall defeat of the Central Powers. Germany sent large forces to defend this front from the Allied forces, this battle wore the numbers of the German army down which later contributed to the ending of the War.
LINKS TO OTHER WEBSITES
"Battle of the Somme | 10 Facts about the Bloody BattleBattle of the Somme | 10 Facts about the Bloody Battle." Learnodo Newtonic. Web. 23 Feb. 2015. <http://learnodo-newtonic.com/battle-of-the-somme-facts>.
"Battle of the Somme Ends." History.com. A&E Television Networks. Web. 23 Feb. 2015. <http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/battle-of-the-somme-ends>.
"Battle of the Somme." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 23 Feb. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Somme>.