The Battle of the Somme The Battle of the Somme 1 The Somme: The cost
Sheffield Pals at the Battle of the Somme • This shows part of the list of dead and wounded from the Sheffield Pals Battalion on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. • Many soldiers were in ‘pals’ battalions. If you joined a pals battalion, you would be fighting with men from your local area. • The Sheffield Pals suffered 548 casualties on the first day of the battle.
36th Ulster Division at the Somme • This is a mural, painted in 1936, at Donegall Pass in Belfast. • The 36th Ulster Division was one of the few units to achieve its objective on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. • It suffered over 5000 casualties in the battle.
The Accrington Pals • The Accrington Pals were possibly the best known of the pals units which went into battle in July 1916 at the Battle of the Somme. • On the first day of the battle 720 Accrington Pals went over the top. • They suffered nearly 600 casualties. • Whole streets lost all of their men. • The fate of the Accrington Pals was made into a song by Mike Harding in 1986, 70 years after the battle. • You can listen to it at this website: www.aftermathww1.com/harding.asp.
How we view the Battle of the Somme • The Somme has become the focus of debate about leadership. The abiding impression of the war is that the volunteers who made up most of the army followed their orders with enormous courage, but were betrayed by their leaders. • It is a popular view. It is also an easy view to support. But in this section we want to look at the Battle of the Somme more objectively. • What actually went wrong? • Was it all the fault of the British commander, General Haig? • If it was Haig’s fault, why are there military historians who argue that Haig was not a blundering incompetent and why are there also many military historians who believe that the Somme was not a military disaster?
From what I have read so far about the Somme I think my final decision will be … • It was a disaster and Haig was to blame • It was a success and Haig deserves the credit • Somewhere in between 1 and 2 • I don’t have enough evidence to say yet