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The Battle of the Somme

The Battle of the Somme. Write down three things you remember about the Battle of Verdun. Today we will learn about The Battle of the Somme. Today we will…. Understand the events of the Battle of the Somme Assess the British battle plan for the Somme.

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The Battle of the Somme

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  1. The Battle of the Somme Write down three things you remember about the Battle of Verdun Today we will learn about The Battle of the Somme

  2. Today we will… • Understand the events of the Battle of the Somme • Assess the British battle plan for the Somme

  3. By 1916, Generals knew they had to try and make a breakthrough • The British Generals decided to attack the Germans near the River Somme • They hoped this ‘big push’ would finally win the war • They planned to do it in August 1916, but the French asked them to do it earlier since they were being beaten at Verdun

  4. Lord Kitchener Many men volunteered to join his army Many of these men fought at the Somme

  5. Haig likes cavalry and thinks that can win the war He doesn’t think machine guns and tanks are very important Field Marshal Douglas Haig- in charge of the battle

  6. Haig’s plan for the Somme • Bombard 30 km of German trenches for a week solidly • Use British planes to spy on German artillery then try and destroy them • Use shells to destroy barbed wire in front of German trenches • Once machine guns and trenches were destroyed, British soldiers would walk across No-Man’s land and capture the German trenches He felt it would be an easy victory for Britain

  7. Haig’s plan for the Somme 1. 2. 3. 4. What can you remember?

  8. What do you think were the problems with Haig’s battle plan?

  9. Problems • German trenches were damaged but not destroyed – they also had deep dugouts • Foggy weather made aerial spying very difficult • Shelling did not cut the wire, and many shells were faulty • British troops were mowed down by machine gun fire as they advanced Look at the diagrams on page 44

  10. Important vocabulary… • Battle of the Somme – a joint ‘push’ by the British and French near the River Somme • General Haig – leader of the British forces • Kitchener’s Army – British volunteer soldiers

  11. The Battle of the Somme Lesson starter: Who was Douglas Haig? Today we will find out what happened at the Battle of the Somme

  12. Today we will… • Understand why Douglas Haig has been a subject of debate • Assess his leadership of the British in 1916

  13. On 21 July, British soldiers fixed their bayonets and went ‘over the top’ • They had on huge packs of ammunition and supplies • One general gave his troops a football and told them to try and be the first to get the ball across to the other side of No Man’s Land

  14. What Happened? • The Allied bombardment had not been enough to destroy the Germans • Thousands of British soldiers ran straight into machine gun fire • By the night of 21 July, 20,000 British were dead

  15. Only some of the empty shell casings from 21 July 1916

  16. A demolished trench and dugout

  17. British dead awaiting burial

  18. The first day of the Somme was the biggest ever loss of British life

  19. The Battle of the Somme showed the end of enthusiasm for the war • Men realised there was nothing glorious about a long slow death in No Man’s Land • ‘War Fever’ was definitely over • Somme - Pals Battalions • Dulce et Decorum Est • Somme Remembrance

  20. The Battle of the Somme: Factfile Date: Battle between: Leader of British Forces: Battle Plan (four stages): Battle Reality (problems of four stages:) Battle end: First day casualties: Overall casualties: Pages 44-45 textbook

  21. General Haig has been criticised for his Somme battle plan • He has become known as the ‘Butcher of the Somme’ • Can you think why people might see him in this way?

  22. After the war he was made an Earl for his ‘good work’ serving his country • He was also given £100,000 • Do you think the government was right to do this?

  23. After Britain lost so many men at the Battle of the Somme, many people described the Battle as ‘Lions led by Donkeys’

  24. Haig has been widely criticised for his leadership at the Somme • This caricature shows Haig as being needed like a ‘hole in the head’

  25. Copy this table and fill it in using the sources on the following slides

  26. Source A ‘It was clear that the plan to shell the German barbed wire had not worked. Hundreds of dead bodies hung from the wire in front of the German trenches.’ Written by a British soldier from the Somme

  27. Source B ‘It was pure bloody murder. Douglas Haig should have been hanged for what he did on the Somme. Top class young British men were sent out to their inevitable death’ Private P. Smith, July 1916

  28. Source C ‘ To have refused to fight at the Somme would have meant abandoning the French who were fighting at Verdun.’ From a book about Haig, written in 1936

  29. Source D ‘The Somme was successful. The pressure was taken off the French and the German strength was worn down. Haig was right to send them in to battle. Death is always a result of war.’ From a book about the Battle of the Somme

  30. Source E ‘Haig was called the butcher because he didn’t care about sending thousands of men to their death. It was a waste of human life. He didn’t care about those boys because they were ordinary working lads. All he cared about was winning medals for bravery. You didn’t see him going over the top, did you?’ A British soldier who fought at The Somme, speaking in 1993

  31. General Haig • Glue the picture of General Haig into your jotter • Using the green box on p45, write a detailed summary of General Haig next to the picture

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