The Battle of the Somme is also referred to as the Somme Offensive. It was a battle of the WWI fought by the armies of the French and British empires against the German Empire. It took place on both sides of the upper reaches of the River Somme in France in the period from 1 July to 18 November 1916. The purpose of the battle was to hasten a victory for the Allies. It was the largest battle during WWI on the Western Front. More than one million men were killed or wounded, which made it one of the bloodiest battles in human history.
In December 1915, the British and French agreed on an offensive on the Somme during Allied discussions held at Chantilly, Oise. The Allies developed a strategy of combined offensives against the Central Powers that would take place in 1916, by the French, British, Russian, and Italian armies, with the Somme offensive as the Franco-British contribution. According to the initial plans, the French army had to undertake the main part of the Somme offensive using the support of the northern flank by the Fourth Army of the BEF. On 21 February 1916, the Imperial German Army initiated the Battle of Verdun on the Meuse, which made French commanders diverted some divisions prepared for the Somme. That is why the support by the British became so important.
On 1 July, the first day of the battle, the German Second Army saw a serious defeat. This day was also the worst day in the history of the British army because it ended with 57,470 casualties, which mostly occurred on the front between Gommecourt and the Albert–Bapaume road. The attack was defeated, and several British troops could reach the German front line. The British troops comprised the remains of the Territorial Force, the pre-war regular army, and Kitchener's Army, a force of volunteer recruits like Pals' Battalions.
The battle is known for the first use of the tank. As a result of the battle, French and British forces managed to penetrate 10 km into the German-occupied territory. It had been the largest victory since the Battle of the Marne that took place in 1914. The Anglo-French armies could not capture Péronne and halted 5 km from Bapaume because the German armies managed to maintain their positions over the winter. Attacks by the British in the Ancre valley started again in January 1917 and forced the Germans to withdraw.
Debate continues over the significance, necessity, and effect of the battle. It is obvious that the battle allowed the Allies to reach the victory.
The Battle of the Somme is also referred to as the Somme Offensive. It was a battle of the WWI fought by the armies of the French and British empires against the German Empire. It took place on both sides of the upper reaches of the River Somme in France in the period from 1 July to 18 November 1916. The purpose of the battle was to hasten a victory for the Allies.