An Illustrated Introduction to the Somme 1916
Series: An Illustrated Introduction to ...
- Robert J. Parker
15th February 2016
The Battle of the Somme epitomised the cruelty of the Western Front. 1 July 1916 witnessed the opening round of the British Army’s attempt to break through an eighteen-mile front of heavily defended German lines straddling the River Somme in northern France. Preceded by an artillery bombardment of over 1,500 big guns that lasted a week, the inexperienced members of Lord Kitchener’s New Army went ‘over the top’ and suffered the deadliest day in British military history.
On the first day, British losses alone totalled nearly 20,000 dead. In the next four and a half months of combat, over 350,000 British soldiers would become casualties to one of the most intense, lethal, and futile engagements in history.