The Somme

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  • The Somme campaign in 1916 was the first great offensive of World War I for the British, and it produced a more critical British attitude toward the war(General Haig). During and after the Somme, the British army started a real improvement in tactics.
  • Before the actual attack, the Allies began by bombarding the German lines. They believed that this would destroy the front lines of the German trenches allowing the soldiers to walk in and take over. However, the Germans were warned and so took shelter and waited. Little real damage was done to the German.
  • Although the telephone line was cut, general Haig(British) did not tried to get to the front line to know the situation. For this reason he kept sending troops to their death.
  • After July 1, a long stalemate settled in, with the German army digging defenses faster than Allied attacks could take place.
  • By the time the offensive ended in November, although the British won, they had suffered around 420,000 casualties, and the French about 200,000. German casualty numbers are controversial, but may be about 465,000.
  • Haig was criticized heavily due to the high number of deaths. Although he won his next battle with better tactics and better weapons(aircrafts). But the name 'Butcher of the Somme' was given to him.
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