Why Was the Battle of the Somme Such a Disaster? Essay

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On 1st July 1916 England attacked the German trenches in a big bombardment to finally push the Germans back and win the war. However, despite the preparations and an unbelievable amount of 1,732,873 shells raining down on the German trench, Britain did not succeed in defeating Germany. Instead it was a disaster and the British army suffered some of the worst casualties in its entire history. But was this down to Haig’s poor leadership, failing technology or the things that Britain could not control? Haig, Britain’s leader was an experienced cavalry officer but he sometimes underestimated the power of the German Army. The Germans held high ground around the Somme area and were able to see the preparations for the attack therefore they built another trench line to strengthen their defences. Britain reconnaissance aircraft observed this, but Haig ignored the reports and warnings. This was bad planning because he could have gone over the plans on order to make the attack a surprise. Another example of bad leadership is Haig refused to believe that the British shelling was not working. This is bad because he should have listened to the warnings in order to make the battle successful. Another reason the Battle was a disaster because not all the British technology was efficient enough. One third of the shells that were meant to ruin the German trench line were duds and did not explode. This meant that the German trenches stayed in good condition so some of the soldiers could survive. Another weapon that did not work was the shrapnel bombs which were meant to cut the German barbed wire, instead they just left it in a tangle with was impossible to get past. This meant that when the British went across no man’s land they could not pass into the German trench. Also Haig was told they didn’t have enough weapons to attack all the trenches but they still went ahead with the plan

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