Saturday, June 21, 2014

08 The Somme

I continue my quick journey through some key events of the First World War.

If you are an English-speaker and know anything about the First World War you have probably heard of the Battle of the Somme. This began on the 1st of August 1916. It was a huge offensive by British and some French troops against the German army in France. In part it was intended to draw German forces away from Verdun but it was also hoped that the onslaught would smash through the German lines. Unfortunately, the fighting on the first day went disastrously for the British, who suffered 57,470 casualties (of whom 19,240 were killed).

The fighting continued sporadically until November, with the allies giving up on their plan to break through the German lines. Instead the focus was on attrition, trying to fight a bloody battle that would exhaust German manpower before the British and French well of blood would run dry.

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