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  • Date: 1 July - 18 November 1916
  • Location: Picardy, France
  • Campaign: First World War (1914-18)
  • Combatants: An alliance of the British Empire and France against Germany
  • Protagonists: General Sir Douglas Haig, Marshal Ferdinand Foch; Generals Max von Gallwitz and Fritz von Below
  • Outcome: Indecisive

9 comments

Stuart Denoon
20 March 2013, 7.19pm

I live in Grimsby and the

I live in Grimsby and the story of The 10th Lincoln's, (The Grimsby Chums), is still remembered. Flanked by two Edinburgh Pal's battalions, these men surged forwards towards the German lines. Of 750 Officers and Men, less than 100 answered the roll after the first day.

S. Davidson
5 March 2013, 5.07pm

Undoubtedly a great battle

Undoubtedly a great battle and a very tragic one but, for Britain, entirely unnecessary. It did little to advance Britain's cause in the war and, indeed, Britain should never have entered this war. The Kaiser's Germany represented no threat to Britain and Germany should have been allowed to establish its European Union with Britain well out of it. A lesson for today.

8055Bell
28 February 2013, 2.48pm

The sheer number of

The sheer number of casualties in the first hour from 7.30am-8.30am on 1st July 1916 make this an exceptional battle, possibly the most remarkable due to the losses of Service Battalions. While we must be exceptionally proud of the all the men involved, we have to be careful to avoid a soundbite celebration here. I will be at Montauban in 3 years time walking in my Grandad's footsteps for the centenary. He would be proud we remember his Pals, but I'm not sure he would call it Great. I will allow serving Soldiers and Veterans to deal with this conundrum.

Sue Law
14 February 2013, 9.04am

Gets my vote as it may not

Gets my vote as it may not have affected an outcome to the war and may have been indecisive but it reflects the sheer bravery of the men who fought on that first day and affected the whole nation by causing the deaths of many of its young men which affected the structure of society.

wooders
13 February 2013, 5.28pm

It was here that the British

It was here that the British national Charter of optimism ambition was horrifically cut down in a scale simply unimaginable to anyone today. Therefore as to the facts that it is still having a disastrous subconscious effect on British self belief and ambition, it has to be a battle with the greatest long term effect on Britain in a way only matched by Waterloo in that this battle created the self confidence and belief which was wiped out in the bloody summer and autumn of 1916.

WilliamRev
10 February 2013, 4.36pm

My grandfather was a 22

My grandfather was a 22 year-old 2nd Lieutenant and was badly wounded in the Battle of the Somme, when on 18th July 1916 he was buried alive under tons of earth by a howitzer shell in trenches on Bazentin Ridge. He was dug up a while later by his men, who thought that he was dead, but he turned out to be unconscious. (He took a year to recover, and got back to the front just in time to command a company at Passchendaele. He survived the war and died aged 92 - he told me that the Battle of the Somme was "very noisy").
The Battle of the Somme crippled the German army (even worse than the British astonishingly) and meant that they had to retreat to the Hindenburg Line in Spring 1917, and ensured that they would have just one chance only at winning the war, the 1918 Spring Offensive, when the victorious German army returned from beating the Russians on the Eastern Front. The Offensive failed, and then the war was lost for them.
So although it was a dreadful time for all concerned, the Battle of the Somme turned the course of WW1 in favour of the Allies, and could well count as Britain's greatest battle. Also, it was, of course, by a long way the biggest battle in history that Britain ever fought, which might help qualify it in some eyes.

Hooson1916
8 February 2013, 9.59am

My family lost two great

My family lost two great uncles on the Somme, many others have the same story. This is why the very name "Somme" conjures up such a resonance in the British soul. The French and Germans suffered as much in 1916 at Verdun, while the Germans lost so many on the Somme too. The battle is termed 'indecisive' but without fighting on till November I think ultimate victory would not have occurred till 1919 or 1920.

jmatty430
5 February 2013, 2.02pm

losses on the 1st of july

losses on the 1st of july 1916 had a lasting impact on the nation and left a legacy that can and must never be forgotten

R. van Helsland 1940-1945
1 February 2013, 7.12pm

Big battle in this great war,

Big battle in this great war, the end of all war's? the men give there live's for a dream, it whas the beginning of world war II after 21 years, again a great war, where is the end, 1945?.

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