The Somme

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Yale University Press, Oct 1, 2008 - History - 368 pages
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In the long history of the British Army, the Battle of the Somme was its bloodiest encounter. Between July 1 and mid-November 1916, 432,000 of its soldiers became casualties--about 3,600 for every day of battle. German casualties were far fewer despite British superiority in the air and in lethal artillery.

What went wrong for the British, and who was responsible? Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson have examined the entire public archive on the Battle of the Somme to reconstruct the day-by-day course of the war. The result is the most precise and authentic account of the campaign on record and a book that challenges almost every received view of the battle. The colossal rate of infantry casualties in fact resulted from inadequate fire support; responsibility for tactical mistakes actually belonged to the High Command and the civilian War Committee. Field-Marshall Haig, the records show, was repeatedly deficient in strategy, tactics, command, and organization. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers died for a cause that lacked both a coherent military plan and responsible political leadership. Prior and Wilson decisively change our understanding of the history of the Western Front.

 

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The Somme

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The Battle of the Somme (1916) epitomizes the immensity of World War I battlefield slaughter. Australian military historians Prior (Sch. of Humanities & Social Sciences, Univ. of New South Wales) and ... Read full review

Contents

The Context
1
The War Committee and the Military
12
Decisionmaking JanuaryFebruary
15
Decisionmaking MarchJune
25
Planning for the Somme FebruaryJune
35
Preparations for Battle June
57
VII and VIII Corps on 1 July
71
X Corps on 1 July
83
Summary 15 July12 September
186
The Politicians and the Somme Campaign JulyAugust
191
The First Division JulySeptember
203
Tanks and
216
The Battle of 15 September
229
The Tragic Hill of ThiepvaT 2630 September
249
The Somme October
261
The Politicians and the Somme Campaign
279

III Corps on 1 July
91
XV and XIII Corps on 1 July
101
Reflections on 1 July
112
TilConsidered Attacks on a Small Front 213 July
119
Cavalry Sharpening Their Swords 14 July
133
We Are a Bit Stuck 1531 July
141
Something Wanting in the Methods Employed 1 August12 September
157
Pozieres and Mouquet Farm JulyAugust
173
Beaumont Hamel 1319 November
289
Reflections on the British at the Somme
300
The End of It All November 1916
310
Notes
316
Bibliography
343
Index
352
Copyright

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