First-Person Impressions Of "The Battle Of The Somme"

Essay by brownie123Junior High, 9th grade June 2006

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"The Battle of The Somme" is known to most historians as the bloodiest battle in history. The following are first-hand accounts from people who were somehow affected by "The Battle of The Somme".

(1) After the war, Sir William Robertson, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, attempted to explain the strategy at the Battle of the Somme.

Remembering the dissatisfaction displayed by ministers at the end of 1915 because the operations had not come up to their expectations, the General Staff took the precaution to make quite clear beforehand the nature of the success which the Somme campaign might yield. The necessity of relieving pressure on the French Army at Verdun remains, and is more urgent than ever. This is, therefore, the first objective to be obtained by the combined British and French offensive. The second objective is to inflict as heavy losses as possible upon the German armies.

(2) Sir Douglas Haig explained the importance of using heavy artillery at the Battle of the Somme in his book, Dispatches, that was published after the war.

The enemy's position to be attacked was of a very formidable character, situated on a high, undulating tract of ground. The first and second systems each consisted of several lines of deep trenches, well provided with bomb-proof shelters and with numerous communication trenches connecting them. The front of the trenches in each system was protected by wire entanglements, many of them in two belts forty yards broad, built of iron stakes, interlaced with barbed-wire, often almost as thick as a man's finger. Defences of this nature could only be attacked with the prospect of success after careful artillery preparation.

(3) Philip Gibbs, a journalist, watched the preparation for the major offensive at the Somme in July, 1916.

Before dawn, in the darkness, I...