Was The Battle of Somme a Total Disaster?
The Battle of Somme began on 1st July 1916 and ended 18th November that same year. It took place at River Somme, which runs through Europe. The objective of this war was to gain more land, to keep Verdun and to, hopefully, defeat the Germans. This war is infamous for its long artillery bombardment that eliminated any surprise but failed to destroy the German barbed wire. Many people call it the ‘bloodiest day in British military history’ but was it a complete disaster?
When the battle began, the British army believed no man or barbed wire could have survived 1,750,000 shells being fired. However, as the British troops went forward in long lines, they were mown down by German machine guns that British artillery had failed to suppress. Even when this plan kept on failing, the commander-in-chief, Douglas Haig, refused to change his plan, which is what made the start of this battle so awful. In fact by the end of the day, the British had suffered 60,000 casualties, of whom 20,000 were dead: their largest single loss. Sixty per cent of all officers involved on the first day were killed. Tanks were used for the first time on 15th September however made little impact. Many pals-battalions were completely killed off also and by the end of the battle Britain had suffered from about 420,000 casualties.
Many of these reasons are based on the first day of this bloody war but when you look at the rest of it, it proves that the war wasn’t a total disaster. Firstly, the British leant from their mistakes from the beginning of the war and started placing commanders into the front line so that they could easily and quickly give out new commands. Also, German’s numbers were significantly diminished and even though the British lost a lot, the German’s also lost many men and materials. Even though we ended the war with many casualties, the German’s numbers were down to 650, 000 by the end.
It is difficult to declare the Battle of the...