The 1916 Somme offensive took place from 1 July – 18 November 1916, an agonising five-month struggle that failed to secure a breakthrough. A joint operation between British and French forces, The Battle of the Somme was intended to achieve a decisive victory over the Germans on the Western Front. And for many Britains, the resulting battle remains the most painful and infamous episode of the First World War.
The Germans were stationed behind a formidable set of defences, vastly underestimated by Allied intelligence. A combination of a compact battlefield, destructive modern weaponry and several failures by British military leaders led to the unprecedented slaughter of wave after wave of young men. In the first day alone, the British army took 57, 570 casualties.
The battle marked a significant turning point in the war. After the Somme the British army was supplied with more firepower than before. And it was firepower, rather than manpower, that eventually decided the course of the war.
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