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The Battle of the Somme. 1916. Where and Why?. The Somme is a river in northern France The British were trying to force themselves through what they believed to be a weak point in the German line in order to support the French. General Sir Douglas Haig.
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Where and Why? • The Somme is a river in northern France • The British were trying to force themselves through what they believed to be a weak point in the German line in order to support the French
General Sir Douglas Haig • The 54 year old commander and planner of the British attack • Once said; “The nation must be taught to bear losses.”
What was the plan? • The British plan was to bombard the German lines with over 1 million shells • The aim was to cut the barbed wire and destroy the trench system of the Germans • The British could then walk across No-Mans Land and take the German trenches. • One officer was told he wouldn't even need a rifle but could take his walking stick instead!
Captain Wilfred Nevill of the Royal Surreys kicked a football across No Mans Land
What actually happened? • The British bombardment lasted over a week • The Germans hid in their deep concrete dugouts • The wire was not cut by the shells • The Germans were able to take their places in time for the British advance
What actually happened? • 58,000 British soldiers were killed or wounded on the first day of the battle. • The Newfoundlanders regiment lost 684 out of 752 men on the first day. • The British and French armies lost 620,000 men during the 3 months of the battle. • The Germans lost 450,000 • Britain claimed victory as they advanced up to 12km as a result of the battle.
How much do you remember? Write down everything you can remember about the Battle of the Somme before your time is up.