Military Monday No.4
(Note: This article is about the Battle from July-November 1916 not any preceding or subsequent battles of the Somme).
One of the most famous battles of the war, The Somme is remembered for its high death toll and fierce fighting. Fought on the Western Front, both sides amassed huge losses with the numbers estimated at 650,000 Germans, 195,000 French and 420,000 British casualties.
This particular battle also introduced the tank as a weapon of war but it had little effect for the British. This was mainly due to the lack of tank tactics but also due to the famous rain which left the battlefield in a sea of mud and dirt. Due to the mud and limited tank effectiveness, the Allies could only advance a maximum of 8km (5 miles) in the whole battle.
Perhaps most famous is the action of ‘going over top’ that was disused in the first ever Military Monday (See it here) Used extensively during the battle, this may have been one of the reasons that the death toll was so high. The battle was decreed as a victory but with losses so high, it was a hollow one. If one battle ever summed up the futility of trench warfare, it was The Somme.
(Featured image credited to ‘Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-R05148,_Westfront,_deutscher_Soldat’)