The Somme

The Somme was very much a rural landscape. Through Amiens and Albert a main road route ran up towards would eventually be the front lines, other roads and routes existed but were certainly not suitable for the amount of traffic and use they would need to endure. There were few railway lines and many of the rivers didn't have bridges. Both Road and railways needed to be constructed for the huge quantity of constant water food and water supplies, ammunition and equipment. This being as well as troop accommodation, trenches, dugouts etc. An utterly exhausting programme, but concealment was key, so that an attacks made would have the element of surprise. Division troops could expect to dig both assembly and communication trenches,  mortar emplacements, trenches for water supplies and cabling, bridges and gas cylinder stations. All this prior any organisation of manning the trenches and training for forthcoming offences. 

The Artillery Regiments were also very busy, over 3000 filed guns and heavier artillery, along with over 1500 trench mortars were deployed to support the Somme battlefront. 

The Somme offensive began on the 24th June with a preliminary bombardment, with over a million rounds fired in an attempt to flatten any German defenses that may hamper the advance of the Infantry upon zero hour. 

Come 30th June it was expected that all had been accomplished and the British Army were ready to attempt a hopefully decisive breakthrough in the German line. The plan was to initiate 3 planned phases, in hope that at least one phase would

breach the enemy line and inflict utter havoc on the German Troops. There was a diversionary attack further North at Gommecourt along with the French committing themselves to fight either side of the River Somme in support of the British offensive. Although preparations and the build up had not been ideal, The Battle of The Somme was to commence on 1st July. Haig himself wasn't brimming with confidence with plans being delayed by rain contributing to waterlogged trenches and guns. 

However, the offensive began, the casualties on both sides were far beyond anyone had imagined. By the end of 1916, hundreds of thousands of men were wounded, killed or had just disappeared on the battlefield, not just British and the French. Men from all corners of the Earth fought and died on the Somme. 

THE SOMME

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