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The Battle of Somme - Research Paper Example

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Irshad Ahmad Academia-Research.Com Order # 758443 December 04, 2012. The Battle Of Somme The Battle of Somme was fought during First World War in 1916. When in 1914, the German army occupied a huge territory of France, the anti-German forces were shackled…
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The Battle of Somme
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Download file to see previous pages Anglo-French in nature, the Somme offensive aimed at shattering the powers of Germany. The British army led the allied forces consisting of a major part of British and French army. The German army which awaited them retaliated harshly. The first day of the battle proved the most fatal for the British army. At the end of the day, the British army had lost 60000 of its men (Gilbert, pp65-78). Despite the heavy human loss of almost 1 million from both sides, the British Generals of the time have been criticized for the battle. At the end of the battle, the British army had succeeded in capturing only 12 kilometers from the Germans. The allied forces were still 5 kilometers away from Bapaume which had been termed as a major objective of the battle while Germany was still maintaining much of its frontline. One view however favors the offensive that the battle caused a severe blow to the Germany ultimately bringing its defeat in 1918. At the start of battle, the balance in composition among the British and French was 20 British and 13 French divisions. Though majority of the composition was British, it had earlier been decided that the attack on German army would be primarily a French offensive. The German onslaught at Verdun forced the French to depute a huge manpower of its army. The Somme offensive aimed at draining the German forces of reserves and the territorial target was the secondary objective. The Verdun onslaught changed the nature of the Somme offensive completely. The aim had then become to shift German resources from Verdun to the defense of Somme (Doughty, p291). The heavy bombardment was planned to precede the attack which began on June 24. It was believed that the fierce bombardment would destroy the German front line. After the destruction of the front line, the allied forces would become able to walk into the no man’s land and take edge over the Germans. Both the British and French artillery had an equal share in the 3000 guns for bombardment. After the bombardment, it was planned that a creeping barrage would lead the advancing infantry towards the front line of the Germans then consecutively towards the second and third trench lines. In addition, Rawlinson’s Fourth army was heavily loaded with arms and ammunitions which had the task of consolidation. During the course, the whole Fourth army would attempt a sudden breakthrough by using the cavalry to catch the gap in the German defense lines. After the possession of the German front line, the plan was that the British army would break through to Cambrai and Douai which meant the breakup of German line into two. 750000 soldiers from 27 divisions went into the offensive. About eighty percent of the army was from the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). The figures comparison favored the attacking allied forces as only 16 Divisions German army defended the battlefield of Somme (Keegan, pp290-292). What Happened? The bombardment began and continued for eight consecutive days. The allied forces of British and France had however looked down upon the strengths of the German army and its strong arrangements. The bombardment had failed to destroy either of the German front line’s barbed wire or the strongly built concrete bunkers. It was evident that the Germans were alert for all of the enemy’s onslaughts. Besides, the munitions and explosives used by the British were defective. Many of them did not explode. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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