Battle of Somme Sucess or Failiur

Topics: Trench warfare, British Army, British Empire Pages: 2 (888 words) Published: March 10, 2011
Was the battle of the Somme a success or failure? It’s a question that has plagued the minds of many historians over the years. On one hand, without the battle the war could have had a very different outcome; but on the other hand, was it really worth all the slaughter and bloodshed? In 1916, General Sir Douglas Haig was enforced with chance to conduct a major offensive against the Germans, ‘The Big Push’ some called it. His plan was to gather thousands of troops to attack the enemy at the Somme, forcing the German forces to focus on the defence of the Somme and straying away from France’s primary target Verdun. The attack was originally scheduled to take place on August 1, 1916, but was moved forward to July 1, to divert the German forces at Verdun in defending the Somme. But the troops couldn’t just run in there guns blazing; the British had to prepare their battlefield. An eight-day preliminary bombardment began on June 24, were shells would thunder across the German defences, destroying barbed wire, turrets, heavy artillery and soldiers. Aircraft soared high above; pinpointing the locations that the shells would land. In fact, 10 minutes before the official attack, 17 mines were launched as one big explosion, but the mine’s co-ordinates were a bit off, missing the German lines. However the attack was so big, apparently the noise could be heard from London (In fact the crater can still be seen today). With all the German defences destroyed, Haig planned for the British to simply walk in and claim the Somme. But in war, are things ever that simple? July 1, 1916, day one of the battle of the Somme; 60,000 wounded, 20,000 dead, 60% of all officers active in the first day were killed. The single largest loss ever in one day for the British Army. Day one was a complete and utter travesty. So what went wrong? Well for starters, the shelling was a complete failure. The German troops hid in their deep bunkers until the shelling stopped, and some shells didn’t even go...
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