Bitka na Sommi

Bitka na Sommi


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Mitraljez debitira

Mitraljez je ubijen s hladnom učinkovitošću, a ni pješaštvo ni konjica koji su napredovali na otvorenom protiv dobro postavljenog oružja ovog tipa nisu imali velike šanse za preživljavanje. Njemački Maxim, britanski Vickers i francuski mitraljezi Hotchkiss, između ostalih, bili su sposobni izbaciti smrtonosni tok metaka brzinom do 600 metaka u minuti. Utišavanje utvrđenog položaja mitraljeza zahtijevalo je vrijeme, trud i često mnogo života.

Iako je Haig počeo shvaćati smrtonosnost mitraljeza i uzeo je u obzir cijenu života koju je oružje zahtijevalo uz rijeku Sommu, tvrdoglavo je naredio nastavak frontalnih napada i poslao tisuće vojnika u smrt tijekom četiri mjeseca mučne borbe . Čitave pješačke satnije praktički su zbrisane, a 1. srpnja 1916. ostaje najskuplji dan u povijesti britanske vojske jer je gotovo 60.000 ljudi ubijeno ili ranjeno tijekom herojskog, ali uzaludnog napredovanja protiv dobro ukorijenjenog neprijatelja.

U bitci za Sommu, britanski i francuski zapovjednici naučili su tešku lekciju da je napredna tehnologija promijenila prirodu borbe, te su to iskustvo platili životima svojih ljudi. Tragedija Somme danas se sjeća s pijetetom pri pogledu naizgled beskrajnih redova - grobova onih koji su poginuli prije jednog stoljeća na novom, užasno modernom ratištu. Puka hrabrost više nije bila dovoljna da osigura pobjedu.


Povjesničar Gary Sheffield ruši šest mitova o bitci kod Somme

Jedan od vodećih povjesničara svjetskog rata u zemlji pokušao je osporiti narodnu percepciju bitke na Sommi, uoči 100. godišnjice bitke.

Jedan od vodećih povjesničara svjetskog rata u zemlji pokušao je osporiti narodnu percepciju bitke na Sommi, uoči 100. godišnjice bitke. Ne propustite našu stručnu povijest o razorenim mitovima Cullodena, profesora Murraya Pittocka.

Gary Sheffield profesor je ratnih studija na Sveučilištu Wolverhampton i akademski je savjetnik Vladinih obilježavanja bitke u Prvom svjetskom ratu koja je započela 1. srpnja 1916.

Profesor Sheffield, koji vodi Sveučilišnu istraživačku grupu za Prvi svjetski rat, rekao je da su neke od ključnih popularnih priča o ratu bile netočne te da je unatoč popularnim stavovima da je bitka bio veliki poraz za saveznike, zapravo bio strateški uspjeh.

Rekao je: "Sveukupno je Somme bilo užasno i jezivo ljudsko iskustvo, ali nije bilo uzaludno, kako se često prikazuje. Vojska je pretrpjela velike gubitke ali je bio izuzetno značajan u odlučivanju o ishodu rata.

' & ldquoTo je bila ljudska tragedija, ali nije bila uzaludna i pružila je odskočnu dasku do pobjede 1918. '

BORBA NEKIH MITOVA

1. Somme nije bila & jednodnevna bitka - trajalo je 141 dan. Veliki je fokus na 1. srpnja, što je bilo važno, ali ne bismo trebali zaboraviti ono što je uslijedilo.

To je kultni dan koji se na mnogo načina smatrao simbolom svega uzaludnog u Prvom svjetskom ratu.

2. Ljudi misle da je ovo bila prva velika bitka koja je uključivala vojsku Kitchener & rsquos i da je svaki vojnik bio u bataljonu Pals (jedinice formirane iz lokalnih sela, mjesta ili gradova). Nije to bilo & rsquot. Oni su bili u akciji u Gallipoliju 1915. godine i također u Loosu iste godine.

Bilo je znatnog broja prijatelja i sličnih lokalno podignutih bataljuna iz mjesta poput Accringtona i Liverpoola, ali je vlada podjednako povećala njihov broj.

Godine 1914. veličina vojske bila je toliko velika da je Vlada nije mogla & rsquot obraditi sve novake pa su podugovoreni s lokalnim vlastima, velikim vlasnicima zemljišta i posjedima za učinkovito regrutiranje privatne vojske za Krunu.

Neke jedinice sa & lsquoPals & rsquo karakterom zapravo se i nisu smatrale takvim. Teritorijalne snage često se zanemaruju na Sommi jer su bile prisutne zajedno s redovitim vojnicima. PALS je svakako odigrao svoju ulogu, ali bio je dio šire slike

3. 1. srpnja bila je potpuna katastrofa & ndash Prvog dana bilo je 60.000 britanskih žrtava, s 20.000 poginulih. Bio je to vrlo krvav dan i mnogi ga smatraju neuspjehom. No, tog dana na južnom dijelu Somme postignut je značajan uspjeh za Britance i Francuze. Teren je postignut i postojala je prilika da se pobjeda izvuče iz čeljusti poraza, ali Rawlinson, zapovjednik Četvrte armije, koji je vodio kampanju na jugu, odbio je to iskoristiti.

Da su Britanci u toj fazi napredovali tri do četiri milje, bitka na Sommi mogla je imati sasvim drugačiji ishod, a 1. srpnja 1916. smatralo bi se značajnim uspjehom.

4. Bitka na Sommi bio je sramotan britanski poraz & ndash neki su ga povjesničari opisali kao & ldquobloody pobjedu & rdquo. Ne bih išao toliko daleko, ali bih bitku označio kao strateški uspjeh saveznika u potpunijoj slici Prvog svjetskog rata. To je bila ljudska tragedija, ali nije bila uzaludna i pružila je odskočnu dasku do pobjede 1918. godine. .

5. Somma i Prvi svjetski rat bili su uzaludni & ndash popularna je pripovijest da se bitka i rat u cjelini na mnogo načina nisu isplatili boriti. Međutim, svi dokazi ukazuju na suprotno. Njemačka je bila moćna i militaristička i predstavljala je veliku prijetnju britanskoj i carskoj sigurnosti. Ljudi su u to vrijeme prepoznali ozbiljnost prijetnje. Koliko god rat bio užasan, njemačka pobjeda smatrana je strašnijom.

6. Haig je bio neuspjeh & ndash Ne kažem da je on bio najveći vojskovođa ikad po bilo kakvoj mašti, ali zaslužan je za svoje uspjehe, kao i odgovornost za svoje greške. Imao je ključnu ulogu u pretvaranju neiskusne, slabo obučene vojske u srpnju 1916. u ratnu snagu 1918. Haig je pogriješio na Sommi, ali je odigrao veliku ulogu u pobjedi 1918. godine.

Profesor Sheffield sudjelovat će u nizu događaja za obilježavanje početka bitke na Sommi, uključujući večernje bdijenje u Westminsterskoj opatiji u četvrtak 30. lipnja, kojem prisustvuju kraljica i vojvoda od Edinburga.

Također će održati govore i predavanja na službenom dvodnevnom događaju 1. i 2. srpnja u Manchester & rsquos Heaton Parku u sklopu polja iskustva.


Urednički pregledi

Pregled

Bitka na Sommi dodaje ljudski pečat ovoj razornoj kampanji — izvrsnoj knjizi onoga koga mnogi smatraju najvećim živim ratnim autorom. ”
Ottawa Sun

“Gilbert je otkrio fascinantne detalje kampanje. . . . Nezaboravno čitanje. ”
Philadelphia Inquirer

“Uvijek zadivljujući rad koji djeluje kao vrijedno sjećanje. ”
New York Post

“Odlično napisano. . . prikladno obilježavanje tragedije. ”
Publishers Weekly

O autoru

Martin Gilbert, autor više od sedamdeset knjiga, službeni je biograf Winstona Churchilla i vodeći povjesničar modernog svijeta. Godine 1995. proglašen je vitezom za zasluge u britanskoj povijesti i međunarodnim odnosima, a#8221, a 1999. za sveukupno objavljeno djelo nagrađen je doktorom književnosti na Sveučilištu u Oxfordu. Kao britanski školarac poslan je u Kanadu da sa sigurnošću proživi godine Drugog svjetskog rata. Sada svoje vrijeme dijeli između Londona, Ontarija i Londona u Engleskoj.

Iz izdanja Tvrd povez.

Izvod. & copy Ponovno tiskano uz dopuštenje. Sva prava pridržana.

Na Sommi se 1. srpnja borila jedna snaga Dominiona, 1. bojna, novofundlandska pukovnija, koja je bila dio drugog vala napadača na selo Beaumont Hamel. Budući da su njihovi vlastiti rovovi na prvoj crti bili začepljeni tijelima i krhotinama iz prvog napada, i zato što je napredovanje pukovnije Essex na desnom boku bilo odgođeno jer su rovovi ispred njih bili isto začepljeni mrtvima prvog vala napadači, Newfoundlanderi su morali prijeći 750 metara otvorene fronte bez bočne potpore. Mnogi su ubijeni dok su izlazili iz svojih rovova. Rijetki su došli čak do linije vlastite bodljikave žice, koja je ležala 250 metara dalje od polazišta.

Oni Novofandlandci koji su ipak došli do svoje žice-ukupno četiri dobro postavljena pojasa žice-morali su slijediti cik-cak trake između unaprijed izrezanih, istaknutih praznina, koje su njemački mitraljesci točno odredili. Oni koji su ipak uspjeli izaći kroz ove rupe u žici otkrili su da je najmanje 500 metara otvorenog tla ležalo između njih i prve linije njemačke obrane. To otvoreno tlo ležalo je na prednjoj padini, izloženo njemačkoj vatri sa njihovih položaja na okrenutom brdu. Blizu određenog stabla na pola puta niz padinu, novofandlendanaca poznatih kao ‘Drevo opasnosti ’, njemačka granata bila je posebno točna i kobna. Danas ostaci tog drveta služe kao snažan spomenik onima koji su ubijeni oko njega.

Neki od novofandlendanaca uspjeli su se dovoljno približiti njemačkoj liniji da bace svoje ručne bombe u neprijateljske rovove, ali većina je oborena mnogo prije toga. Službeni povjesničar s Newfoundlanda piše: ‘ Tamo gdje su dva čovjeka napredovala jedan pored drugog, odjednom je bio samo jedan - a nekoliko koraka dalje i on bi istupio na licu. Mladi podložnik uzalud gleda oko sebe kako bi ga muškarci vodili. Prkosno maše terenskim telefonom u njemačkim rovovima, a zatim spušta glavu optužujući ga za smrt. Vodeći čovjek para koji nosi most od deset stopa je pogođen, a dok pada spušta sa sobom most i partnera. Bez oklijevanja, ovaj ustaje, podiže most na glavu i mrko korača naprijed sve dok ga metci iz mitraljeza ne posjeku. ’

Nekoliko Njufaundlenda koji su došli do njemačke žice bili su oboreni dok su pokušavali svojim kosačima probiti put kroz nju. Do deset ujutro svaki je časnik koji je krenuo u bitku manje od sat i pol ranije ubijen ili ranjen.

Britanski vojnik, vojnik Private Byrne, koji je bio u tekstualnom valu napadača, prisjetio se svog prvog viđenja svojih prethodnika: ‘ Ispred mene su bila dva novofandlandska momka — jedan s lijeve strane dobro je ležao do Nijemca žica, a druga, otprilike dvadeset i pet godina s njegove desne strane, bila je raširena preko same njemačke žice. Bili su prilično mrtvi, u to nije bilo sumnje. ’

Od 810 novofaundlendana u akciji tog jutra, 310 je ubijeno, a više od 350 ranjeno. Samo šezdeset osam izbjeglo je ozbiljne ozljede. Kapetan Eric Ayre bio je jedan od četiri člana njegove obitelji koji su ubijeni 1. srpnja, uključujući i njegovog jedinog brata, kapetana Bernarda Ayrea, koji je služio s pukom Norfolk u blizini Maricourta, na drugom kraju bojišnice Četvrte armije. Eric Ayre, star dvadeset sedam godina, pokopan je na groblju Ancre. Njegov brat, u dobi od dvadeset četiri godine, pokopan je u Carnoyu.

Tijekom poslijepodneva, na sektoru Beaumont Hamel, kao i drugdje, ranjeni muškarci koji su pokušavali otpuzati natrag preko Ničije zemlje do vlastitih linija nisu znali da njihovi limeni trokuti, koji su trebali biti identifikacija za njihovo vlastito topništvo tijekom napredovanja, bljeskaju neprestano dok su se bolno kretali po otvorenom tlu, signalizirajući svoj položaj njemačkim snajperistima i mitraljescima. Dvadeset nosilaca pukovnije radilo je cijeli dan pod vatrom kako bi vratili ranjenike. Kad su zatekli poručnika Berta Dicksa naslonjenog u rov i pripremili ga za stavljanje na nosila, inzistirao je: ‘ Uzeti one kojima je veća potreba, mogu to izvaditi ’, i on je to učinio. Mnogi Njufaundlendani koji su dosegli sigurnost vlastitih linija imali su samo jedno pitanje: ‘Je li pukovnik zadovoljan? Je li pukovnik zadovoljan? ’

Kad je bitka završena, zapovjednik 29. divizije, general de Lisle, izvijestio je premijera Newfoundlanda: ‘ Bio je to veličanstven prikaz obučene i disciplinirane hrabrosti, a njezin napad nije uspio jer mrtvi ljudi ne mogu napredovati dalje. ’


Somme: Vježba u beskorisnosti?

Prvi dan Somme postao je sinonim za nesposobno vodstvo i bešćutno zanemarivanje ljudskog života. Gary Sheffield nudi složeniju sliku bitke i uloge koju je odigrao general Sir Douglas Haig.

Bitka na Sommi, ili barem njen početak, toliko je notorni događaj da ju je teško objektivno procijeniti. Prvog dana ofenzive, 1. srpnja 1916., Britanske ekspedicijske snage (BEF) pretrpjele su 57.000 žrtava, od kojih je 19.000 poginulo. Ovo je bio samo početak četveromjesečne borbe protiv propadanja koja je mogla rezultirati čak 1,2 milijuna britanskih, francuskih i njemačkih žrtava. Saveznici su napredovali najviše sedam milja. Arras i Passchendaele uslijedili su 1917., bitke koje na sličan način nisu uspjele probiti njemačke rovove, ali su uzrokovale ogromne gubitke.

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8 stvari koje (vjerojatno) niste znali o bitci na Sommi

Jedan od najkrvavijih sukoba u Prvom svjetskom ratu, petomjesečna bitka na Sommi-koja se dogodila između srpnja i studenog 1916.-odnijela je živote više od 127.000 britanskih vojnika, a samo prvog dana s više od 57.000 britanskih žrtava . Evo osam činjenica o razornoj bitci ...

Ovo natjecanje je sada zatvoreno

Objavljeno: 16. studenog 2018. u 9:30 sati

Pisanje za Povijest Extra, Anthony Richards, voditelj dokumenata i zvuka u Imperial War Museums (IWM), otkriva osam manje poznatih činjenica o jednoj od najpoznatijih britanskih bitaka ...

Bitka na Sommi bila je anglo-francuska kampanja

Dok bi ljetna ofenziva 1916. bila anglo-francuski kolaborativni napad, Francuzi su ostali dominantni partner s više ljudi na terenu i vjerojatno veći ulog u ratu: za njih je to, na kraju krajeva, ostalo pitanje oslobađanja vlastitog tla kao kao i rješavanje šireg pitanja njemačke agresije. Stoga bi glavni zapovjednik Francuske, general Joffre, kontrolirao cjelokupni smjer kampanje.

Pikardija je bila područje odabrano za napad, u sektoru gdje su se francuska i britanska vojska međusobno spojile s obje strane rijeke Somme. Francuzi će pokrenuti napad južno od rijeke, dok će Britanci napasti sjever, obje vojske dijele ogromnu bojišnicu koja je u početku trebala imati 60 milja. Još se nije dogodila velika ofenziva u sektoru Somme, pa je okolno tlo izbjeglo veliko uništenje koje su pretrpjela druga područja Francuske i Belgije.

Jedna od prednosti Joffrea zajedničke anglo-francuske ofenzive bila je ta što je mogao osigurati da obje vojske ostanu odlučne u odnosu na cjelokupnu vojnu agendu i spriječiti bilo kakva odlaganja. Haig, kao i mnogi drugi britanski zapovjednici, zapravo su favorizirali ofenzivu u Belgiji kako bi se strateški važna obala mogla osloboditi i kontrolirati. Očuvanje britanskog saveza s Francuzima bilo je ključno, međutim, ako se želi postići dugoročni uspjeh protiv Njemačke.

No u tom bi se slučaju pokazalo da ni Joffre ni Haig nisu donijeli najvažniju odluku prije bitke. Program su na kraju kontrolirali Nijemci, kada su 21. veljače 1916. izveli veliki napad na francuski grad -tvrđavu Verdun.

Nikada nije bila zamišljena kao bitka za okončanje rata

Neočekivani njemački napad na Verdun [u veljači 1916.] i rezultirajući iscrpljivanje francuskih resursa značili su da će britanska uloga sada biti dominantnija u anglo-francuskom planu. Možda neobično, u bitci nije bilo velikih strateških ciljeva, iako su Haigove namjere za ofenzivu bile jasne.

Moja politika je ukratko: 1. Obučiti moje odjele i prikupiti što više streljiva i što više oružja. 2. Dogovoriti se kako bi podržali Francuze ... u napadu kako bi skinuli pritisak s Verduna, kada Francuzi razmotre vojnu situaciju to zahtijevaju. 3. No, napadajući kako bismo pomogli našim saveznicima, ne misliti da možemo zasigurno uništiti moć Njemačke ove godine. Stoga u svojim napadima također moramo nastojati poboljšati svoje položaje kako bismo bili sigurni u rezultate kampanje sljedeće godine.

Somme stoga nikada nije bio zamišljen kao "bitka za okončanje rata", već prije kao ofenziva koja je dovela Britance i Francuze u bolji položaj do kraja 1916. Dok je koncept "velikog potiska" u ljetnim mjesecima koju su svi u potpunosti očekivali i nesumnjivo namjeravala biti odlučujuća akcija tijekom sukoba, važno je zapamtiti da je za britansko i francusko vrhovno zapovjedništvo bitka na Sommi uvijek bila zamišljena kao korak prema kraju rata radije nego konačan zaključak toga.

O datumu napada mnogo se raspravljalo

Sa Sir Douglasom Haigom i njegovim osobljem koje je sada smješteno u njihovom glavnom sjedištu u dvorcu Montreuil, na sastanku 26. svibnja dovršen je datum napada na Somme. Joffre je inzistirao na tome da bi 1. srpnja trebao biti apsolutni posljednji dan za početak ofenzive, budući da su Francuzi patili zbog nastavka njemačkog napada na Verdun i očajnički je zahtijevao da se pritisak na njih preusmjeri na drugo mjesto. Dok se Haig u kolovozu trudio raspravljati o kasnijem datumu, kako bi se Britancima omogućilo više vremena za pripremu za tako veliki napad, to se pokazalo nerealnim kad su se suočili s neposrednom potrebom podrške Francuzima. Stoga je odlučeno o kompromisu u četvrtak 29. lipnja.

Budući da je topničko bombardiranje ostalo ključ uspjeha u bilo kojoj ofenzivi, uporaba zrakoplova i promatračkih balona za njihovo vođenje smatrana je ključnom. Međutim, ta je suradnja uvelike razvila vještinu, pa će se Somme pokazati kao vatreno krštenje i za Kraljevski leteći zbor i za topništvo. Do posljednjih dana lipnja organizirani su bombaški napadi kako bi se pogodila stražnja područja iza njemačkih linija koja nisu bila dostupna čak ni britanskim topovima najvećeg dometa. Međutim, pogoršanje vremena prema kraju mjeseca značilo je da je RFC otežao bombardiranje i promatranje, što je utjecalo na točnost topničke vatre. To je dovelo do toga da se datum glavnog pješačkog napada malo vrati na subotu 1. srpnja.

Pješadijskom napadu prethodila je detonacija mina

Nekoliko minuta prije nultog sata [7,30 sati] 1. srpnja, mine koje su pomno pripremile tvrtke za inženjering tunela Royal Engineer u posljednjih nekoliko tjedana konačno su aktivirane. Britanski tuneli bili su zauzeti kopanjem takvih mina duboko ispod njemačke obrane, koji su bili nabijeni amonalnim eksplozivom za detonaciju u dogovoreni sat. Tajna u takvim operacijama bila je bitna jer su se Nijemci mogli čuti kako kopaju vlastite mine u blizini, a element iznenađenja morao se održavati po svaku cijenu.

U 7.20 sati, mina 40.600 funti ispaljena je ispod grebena Hawthorn u sjevernom sektoru između Beaumont-Hamela i Serra, dok su osam minuta kasnije drugi detonirani u blizini La Boisselle (mine Lochnagar i 40.000 funti 'Y Sap'), nasuprot Fricourt (rudnik Trostruki tambur), te između Mametza i Montaubana (rudnik Kasino Point).

Međutim, unatoč impresivnom spektaklu koji su stvorili, eksplozije su dale malu praktičnu prednost. Njihov je učinak bio previše lokaliziran, s njemačkim mitraljezima i topništvom u okolnim područjima koji su brzo useljeni kako bi popunili obrambene rupe. Doista, u slučaju eksplozije Hawthorn Ridgea, za koju se sumnjalo da je eksplodirala 10 minuta prije pješačkog napada, Nijemci su dobili jasno upozorenje o nadolazećem napadu, dopuštajući im da budu spremni i spremni za susret sa svojim napadačima.

Mnogi britanski pješaci ušli su u bitku

07.30 ujutro 1. srpnja 1916. bio je obilježen zvukom zvižduka koji su britanski časnici širili duž cijele crte bojišnice, signalizirajući početak pješačkog napada. Vojnici su izašli iz svojih rovova, popeli se preko parapeta i počeli napredovati, a britansko je topništvo proširilo domet svojih topova kako bi se koncentriralo na njemačke pričuvne linije.

U vojnim naredbama bilo je određeno da muškarci trebaju napredovati ujednačenim hodom u dugim redovima, udaljenim dva ili tri metra. Mnogi viši zapovjednici vjerovali su da se neiskusni novi dobrovoljni vojnici neće moći nositi sa sofisticiranijom taktikom, dok će tako uska formacija osigurati da su stigli na njemačku liniju u odgovarajuće vrijeme. Nije bilo potrebe za žurbom jer se očekivalo da je većina njemačke obrane već uništena topničkim bombardiranjem.

Na svakih stotinjak metara slijedili su daljnji valovi ljudi, čija je svrha pomoći u prevladavanju blokada prije učvršćivanja ciljnih ciljeva. Taj se plan uglavnom slijedio unatoč nekim lokalnim varijacijama u područjima fronta gdje su iskusniji časnici odlučili usvojiti mobilniji oblik napada.

1. srpnja 1916. pokazao se kao najpogubniji dan u povijesti britanske vojske

Tijekom 1. srpnja 1916. pretrpljeno je 57.470 britanskih gubitaka, uključujući 35.493 ranjenih i 19.240 ubijenih. Žrtve su bile velike u svim postrojbama, ali neke su bojne gotovo uništene: samo je 10. bataljun Zapadno -jorkširske pukovnije izgubio više od 700 ljudi svih činova. Njemački protuudari tijekom poslijepodneva povratili su mnogo izgubljeno tlo sjeverno od ceste Albert – Bapaume. Samo prema jugu rezultati su bili nešto uspješniji, napadima na sela Fricourt i Mametz.

Iako bi bilo lako kritizirati britanske napadače, koji u mnogim slučajevima nisu imali iskustva i obuke, nedostatni topništvo također je bio faktor. Iako su se sada granate isporučivale u velikom broju, granate su bile iznimno promjenjive, a mnoge su se kolebale u letu, a druge nisu uspjele eksplodirati pri udarcu. Neki su povjesničari također istaknuli 66 kilograma opreme koju su nosili mnogi britanski vojnici što ih je otežalo, što je utjecalo na njihovu brzinu i pokretljivost. Međutim, neke su jedinice odlučile baciti svu nepotrebnu opremu prije napada, na temelju iskustva i zdravog razuma pojedinih časnika.

No, ključni faktor bila je značajna snaga njemačke obrane. Nijemci su učinili značajan napredak u projektiranju i izgradnji bunkera i uporišta koja su ih štitila tijekom britanskog bombardiranja. Nakon što je baraž dignut, pojavili su se i ljudi i oružje koji su nanijeli pustoš svojim napadačima.

Neposredni proboj kojem se Haig nadao nije postignut, no unatoč užasnom pokolju lijevo od linije, neki pomaci su učinjeni udesno, kao i u francuskom sektoru dalje prema jugu. Bitka bi se nastavila tijekom sljedećih mjeseci, već kao više raspoređen napad koji će s vremenom postati rat iscrpljivanja.

Somme je prvi put primijenio oklopne tenkove

Od samog početka rata uspostavljena je jasna potreba za nekakvim oklopnim automobilom kako bi se prešlo neravnom površinom ničije zemlje, prejahalo bodljikavu žicu i napadnulo uporište s ugrađenim oružjem. Odbor Admiralty Landships Committee osnovan je u veljači 1915. godine radi izrade početnih prototipova. Oklopna vozila ubrzo su tijekom proizvodnje krštena kao "tenkovi", što odražava njihovu početnu sličnost s čeličnim spremnicima za vodu, ali uglavnom radi očuvanja tajnosti nad njihovom krajnjom namjenom.

Prvobitno su namjeravali voditi napad 1. srpnja, kašnjenja u njihovoj proizvodnji značila su da je tek u rujnu mogao biti isporučen odgovarajući broj vozila, a to bi bilo samo prilično ograničenih 49. U tom slučaju, samo 32 tenka su krenula položaje za bitku kod Flers-Courcelette 15. rujna, u kojoj bi njihov cilj bio krenuti ispred napadačkog pješaštva i pomoći u suzbijanju utvrđenih jakih strana.

Pješaštvo je napredovalo iza puzajuće baraže, a tenkovi su ih pratili u bitku. Nešto više od polovice tenkova koji su u sklopu glavnog nadiranja stigli u ničiju zemlju uspjeli su stići do njemačkih linija, iako su mnogi od njih pokazali uspjeh u razbijanju obrane bodljikave žice, zaštiti britanskog pješaštva i, možda najvažnije, jačanju moral napadača stvarajući nesigurnost među njemačkom obranom.

Ali bili su krajnje nepouzdani, neprestano su se kvarili i bili su prespori da zaista predvode bilo kakav napad, dok njihove posade nisu imale obuku i iskustvo. Topništvo se još uvijek smatralo odlučujućim čimbenikom u svakom napadu, a tenk je jednostavno bio nova novost koja se trebala ugraditi tamo gdje je mogla. No unatoč ograničenjima, Haig je bio impresioniran novim vozilima, a proizvodnja tenkova velikih razmjera započela bi u siječnju 1917. godine.

Konačne brojke stradalih

Životni troškovi zbog bitke na Sommi bili su ogromni. Iako je 1. srpnja 1916. ušao u povijest kao najgori dan za britansku vojsku s obzirom na broj stradalih i postignute ograničene ciljeve, ne treba zaboraviti tekuću bitku tijekom sljedećih pet mjeseci. Tijekom cijele kampanje broj žrtava bio je zapanjujući: broj njemačkih žrtava na Sommi varira, ali između 500.000 i 600.000 vojnika je ubijeno, nestalo ili zarobljeno. Francuzi su pretrpjeli 204.253 ukupnih žrtava, a Britanci 419.654. Od tog broja, oko 127.751 britanski vojnik poginuo je u razdoblju od 1. srpnja do 20. studenog 1916., u prosjeku 893 dnevno.

Tijekom prošlog stoljeća bitku na Sommi mnogi su u Velikoj Britaniji i njezinom bivšem carstvu smatrali simbolom pokolja u Prvom svjetskom ratu, pri čemu se prvi dan posebno smatrao strašnim vrhuncem žrtava, no u stvarnosti su Francuzi je podnio daleko gore. Na primjer, 22. kolovoza 1914. pretrpjeli su 27.000 ubijenih u jednom danu, dok je rat iscrpljivanja na Verdunu stvorio njihov nacionalni sinonim za krvoproliće i žrtve. Njemačka je vojska pretrpjela najveći broj žrtava, što možda odražava odlučnost branitelja u držanju svojih položaja pred takvim napadom.

No, nevjerojatna žrtva britanskih vojnika osigurala je stalnu ulogu Somme u kolektivnom sjećanju nacije.

Anthony Richards voditelj je dokumenata i zvuka u Imperial War Museums (IWM) i autor nove knjige IWM -a Somme: Vizualna povijest, koji je sada izašao. Od fotografija do umjetničkih djela, filma do plakata, ova nova knjiga istražuje bitku na Sommi kroz opsežne zbirke IWM -a.

Ovaj je članak prvi put objavila History Extra u lipnju 2016


Bitka na Sommi

. “Bitka na Sommi bila je potpuni neuspjeh” Koliko izvori A-F podržavaju ovu izjavu? 1. srpnja 1916. započela je bitka na Sommi. Izvori A, D, E i F ukazuju na to da bitka kod Somme nije bila potpuni promašaj. Međutim, izvori B i C sugeriraju da su Britanci podcijenili Nijemce i to je bio njihov uzrok.

Bitka na Sommi

. Bitka na Sommi U veljači 1916., nakon godinu dana zastoja, Nijemci su odlučili napasti Francusku i zauzeti strateška francuska utvrđenja u području Verduna, 15 milja zapadno od Pariza. Namjeravali su 'iskrvariti Francusku u bijeloj boji' taktikom iscrpljivanja koju je razvio njihov zapovjednik Falkenhayn. U pokušaju da prisile Nijemce od Verduna.

Bitka na Sommi

. Bitka na Sommi započela je u ljeto 1916. Britanci su vidjeli svoju priliku da izgledaju dobro i budu spasitelji trenutka. Međutim, to se nije dogodilo. Otvorena je mreža rovova od četiri stotine pedeset milja, koja se protezala od švicarske granice gore do Belgije, a bitka je zaista započela. Bitka se ubrzo pogoršala u t.

Bitka na Sommi

. Bitka na Sommi započela je 1. srpnja 1916., a završila je oko 18. studenog. Bitka se vodila u Pikardiji. Bitka na Sommi bila je dio faze 'Rat attrition' Prvog svjetskog rata. Dana 3. kolovoza 1914. Njemačka je napala Belgiju. Sljedećeg dana Britanija je objavila rat, a Britanske ekspedicijske snage (BEF) otišle su u Francusku. F.

Opisi bitki kod Verduna i Somme

. Opisi bitaka kod Verduna i Somme Bitka kod Verduna 1916. bila je najduža bitka u Prvom svjetskom ratu, koja je donijela mnoge žrtve i bila je katalizator za Britance koji su započeli bitku za Sommu u srpnju 1916. Cilj bitke kod Somme je trebao pomoći u ublažavanju pritiska na Britance koji su Nijemci imali.

Bitka za Somme Success ili Failiur

. Je li bitka na Sommi bila uspjeh ili neuspjeh? To je pitanje koje je godinama mučilo umove mnogih povjesničara. S jedne strane, bez bitke rat je mogao imati sasvim drugačiji ishod, ali s druge strane, je li zaista bio vrijedan svih klanja i krvoprolića? Godine 1916., general Sir Douglas Haig je slučajno proveden.

Bitka na Sommi i izvoru

. u izvorima 1 i 2 da je bitka na Sommi postigla vrijedne ciljeve? Analizirajući sva 3 izvora, može se reći da izvor 3 značajno dovodi u pitanje izvore 1 i 2 dajući potpuno drugačiji pogled na bitku kod Somme. Izvor 1 je izvadak iz posljednje depeše Sir Douglasa Haiga, objavljene 19. ožujka.

Zašto je bitka na Sommi otišla tako B

. Zašto je bitka na Sommi tako loše prošla za britansku vojsku? Bitka na Sommi dogodila se tijekom 1916. godine kako bi se uklonio pritisak na Francuze na Verdunu i Ruse na istočnom frontu. Francuzi su bili pod jakom vatrom na Verdunu i bili su od veljače, a sama je vojska bila blizu pucanja. Rusi su se galantno borili.


Bitka na Sommi

Digitalno restaurirana verzija s izborom tri zvučna zapisa u 5.1 i stereo: novonaručena orkestralna partitura rekreacija izvornog preporučenog mješovitog komentara Keeper of I. Pročitajte sve Digitalno restaurirana verzija s izborom tri zvučna zapisa u 5.1 i stereo: novonaručena orkestralna partitura, ponovno stvaranje izvornika preporučeni mješoviti komentar čuvara Imperijalnog ratnog muzeja i filmske i fotografske arhive. Digitalno obnovljena verzija s izborom tri zvučna zapisa u 5.1 i stereo: novonaručena orkestralna partitura rekreacija izvornih preporučenih mješovitih komentara Keeper of Imperial War Museum & Filmske i fotografske arhive.

Pogledajte informacije o proizvodnji, blagajnama i pojačalima

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Fotografije 2

Više ovako

Priča

Dali si znao

Recenzije korisnika 1

Do 1916. godine rat na Zapadnoj fronti zapao je u pat poziciju, s rovovima i bodljikavom žicom koja je prolazila Europom od Sredozemlja do Sjevernog mora.

Razlog bitke na Sommi bio je taj što su Francuzi na jugu bili pod velikim pritiskom Nijemaca. A British attack in the north, across the Somme, would draw the Germany army away and give the French a breather.

At the Somme, the British infantry had 150,000 men against the German's 70,000. The attack was preceded by a massive week-long barrage of a thousand artillery guns, the general idea being to destroy the ground and allow the infantry to walk in and occupy it.

It didn't turn out that way. The defensive lines were still intact because the British artillery wasn't heavy enough, because the artillerists were ill trained, and because there was no special device to open up the barbed wire, which was far more formidable than the barbed wire we're used to today. The Brits used anti-personnel air-bursting shrapnel shells instead of contact high explosives that would have opened gaps in the wire. Military planners had prepared for a fast-moving war and had overproduced shrapnel so the artillery used what was available.

So why had the anti-personnel shells not destroyed the defenders? After all, that was their designated purpose, yet German casualties in the bombardment were slight. Careful research by the Germans had produced the Stahlhelm, a thick steel helmet precisely made to protect the head. The Allies had no equivalent. The Germans had also had two years to prepare underground dugouts, sometimes thirty feet deep, protected by timber and even concrete. Further, the British had planned to use the trenches both to move new troops to the front lines and carry wounded to the rear. The trenches were too narrow and logistics broke down. The British troops were delayed because they didn't know where to go. It was six hours before the commanders learned of the problem.

If I can make a few editorial observations, by 1916 the war was beginning to look a lot like the trench warfare at the end of the American Civil War. Both the North and the South had built wide, sturdy trenches with frequent "bombproofs" that could shelter the men. The Germans more or less used the same techniques but the British did not. One of the reasons the Brits had so few dugouts is that the planners felt that, once inside the dugouts, the men would refuse to come out and be fired upon.

Why were the Brits so vulnerable crossing No Man's land? First, they carried a minimum of 72 pounds of personal equipment, plus ammunition or other supplies. They were slow and had great difficulty with the wire. And since the Germans had mostly survived, they were able to fire across the open plain with machine guns. Again, during the Civil War, it was repeatedly demonstrated that such tactics do not work against advanced technology in attacking a fortified position head on. A head-on attack with infantry in line of battle worked for Napoleon's inaccurate muskets. It didn't work against the rifled bullets of the Civil War or the machine guns of the Somme.

The British losses were staggering but planners learned from the calamity. They also learned from their French Allies and their German enemies. Tactics and weapons more suitable to the conditions were used.

I don't know if programs like this interest everyone. I doubt it. But as an anthropologist war fascinates me. It's like a smoldering disease that becomes symptomatic from time to time. And no one has found a reliable way of keeping it suppressed.


The Somme: was it really a monstrous failure?

As we reach the centenary of Britain's most notorious battle of the First World War, Gary Sheffield questions whether it truly was uniquely terrible.

Ovo natjecanje je sada zatvoreno

Published: July 23, 2016 at 11:59 am

In the early evening of 14 July 1916, two squadrons of British and Indian cavalry launched a surprise attack on German infantry and machine-gunners near High Wood in the north-east corner of France. Carefully using the folds in the ground to conceal their advance, the horsemen of the 7th Dragoon Guards charged the defenders, got in among them, and killed and wounded a number with their lances. Stunned by the sudden assault, 32 Germans surrendered.

Their shock action over, the 7th and Deccan Horse dismounted and entrenched, but when the anticipated support from reserve infantry failed to materialise, they fell back. The two squadrons had lost about 100 men.

It was a remarkable end to a remarkable day – one that had begun at 3.25am with an artillery bombardment and a successful infantry attack on the German trenches on Bazentin Ridge. However the success was to be short-lived. To take advantage of the initial advances, reserves needed to be rushed up – a feat of organisation that was to prove beyond the capabilities of the inexperienced British Expeditionary Force (BEF). That’s why, when the cavalry did get into action, it wasn’t until the evening.

So the ‘dawn attack’ of 14 July, which promised so much, ended up gaining little. In the final analysis it was marred by administrative bungling, early gains too easily surrendered and, of course, bloodshed – an all-too familiar story in the long, brutal battle of the Somme.

The Somme has, over the past century, become a byword for futility. It is widely regarded, in Britain at least, as a uniquely terrible slaughterhouse. The casualty figures speak for themselves. Almost 20,000 British troops lost their lives on 1 July 1916 – the opening day of General Sir Douglas Haig’s ‘big push’ against German forces – in what remains the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army. By the time the battle ground to a halt in November, Britain had suffered an estimated 420,000 casualties (killed, wounded and missing), while the French and German armies had lost perhaps 200,000 and 500–600,000 respectively.

Yes, the Somme was a truly terrible battle. But the question is, was it uniquely terrible – a horrific aberration in the history of Britain’s military endeavours? And is it fair to damn it as an abject failure?

Combined assault

The origins of the battle of the Somme lay in December 1915 when Britain, France, Italy and Russia agreed to launch synchronised attacks in 1916. Franco-British forces were to unleash a combined assault in the area of the river Somme, even though an attack further north, at Ypres, held more attractions to General Sir Douglas Haig, the commander-in-chief of the BEF. If the BEF broke out from Ypres, Haig argued, it would place key strategic objectives, such as the German-held Belgian coast, in reach. But the French insisted on the British fighting alongside them on the Somme.

The attack was preceded by a massive bombardment of German positions. With Allied guns pounding the enemy for seven days, morale among the attackers was high – surely nothing, they reckoned, could live through the artillery’s onslaught. Unfortunately, a combination of faulty tactics, the inexperience of the British gunners and lack of high explosive shells meant that the bombardment was ineffective across most of the front.

The infantry attacked on 1 July at 7.30am. Near Thiepval, 36th (Ulster) Division drove deep into the German defences, only to be forced back because the attacks of the divisions on their flanks had failed. This allowed the Germans to concentrate their fire and counterattacks on the Ulsters. Something similar happened to 56th (London) Division at Gommecourt.

In the south of the battlefield, by contrast, the British and, even more so, the French, made major advances. But it is the failures of 1 July 1916 that are remembered, along with the dreadful losses: 57,000 British casualties, of whom 19,000 were killed.

Before the battle, Haig hoped to break the German defences and open mobile warfare once more, but he had always recognised that a back-up plan of limited advances was essential. The failure to break through on the first day of the battle made that contingency a reality. Fighting from 1 to 13 July took the form of a number of small-scale or attritional attacks, usually costly in lives.

British losses were enormous. But so were German. With the defenders under enormous pressure on the Somme, General Erich von Falkenhayn, the de facto German army commander-in-chief, halted the massive offensive on French forces at Verdun (which had begun in February) on 11 July. One of the Allies’ major objectives – to relieve the pressure on the fortress city – was fulfilled.

Building on the partial success of 14 July in the southern sector of the battlefield, relentless Allied attacks crashed into resolute German defences. The German policy of immediately counterattacking Allied gains meant that places such as High Wood, Longueval and Guillemont were the scene of bitter – and repeated – struggles. The South African Brigade captured Delville (‘Devil’s’) Wood on 15 July but the Germans quickly recaptured it. British troops then retook the wood on 27 July, with fighting continuing there until early September.

Brutal training

In the northern sector of the battlefield, the fighting was equally fierce. The mostly inexperienced British empire troops and their leaders endured brutal on-the-job training on a battlefield dominated by high explosive shells. The result was confusion, courage, mistakes, the painful learning of lessons that were not always properly absorbed, and the death, wounding and traumatising of hundreds of thousands of men. Yet across the battlefield the Germans were steadily, if slowly, driven back.

By September the French army was shouldering a larger share of the fighting and, on the 12th, it almost penetrated the German defences at Bouchavesnes. Haig launched a major push on 15 September, when 12 British, Canadian and New Zealand divisions, supported by the first ever tanks to see action, advanced about a mile – far short of the hoped for breakthrough. As ever, the losses were high. A British chaplain later wrote: “The glory and success of [the battle of] September 15th I did not see, but the cost of it I shall never forget… Whereas [at the field hospital] on ordinary days one triple tent for officers and one for men sufficed, now all the rows of them were in use and the ground outside was covered in stretchers.”

Still the battle went on, despite heavy rain that turned the ground into a quagmire. General Joffre, the French commander-in-chief, directed that the attrition would continue. The British attacked one hill, the Butte de Warlencourt, time and again. Shortly after it was captured, Lieutenant-Colonel Roland Boys Bradford VC, commander of 1/9 Battalion Durham Light Infantry, commented that the Butte “had become an obsession… It loomed large in the minds of the soldiers in the forward area and they attributed many of their misfortunes to it. So it had to be taken.”

The final phase was the battle of the Ancre (13–18 November) in the north of the battlefield, where the 51st (Highland) Division stormed the fortified village of Beaumont-Hamel. Having seized this target (which was originally meant to be taken on 1 July) – and with the offensive running out of steam, and the weather worsening – the Allies closed the battle down.

Appalling casualties

In the case of some great military clashes – Hastings in 1066, Waterloo in 1815 – there were clear winners and losers. This was not the case with the Somme. When it ended, the attackers had advanced about seven miles, but had failed to rout the defenders, or even force them into a major retreat. Both sides suffered appalling – and comparable – casualties.

On the face of it, the Somme was a draw. But when you place it into a wider perspective, it soon becomes evident that its outcome favoured the Allies. With their greater manpower resources, the British and French empires were better equipped to sustain the dreadful attrition than the Germans. By the end of the battle, the BEF had completed its apprenticeship, had learned and applied numerous lessons, and was, in 1917, a much more experienced and competent army.

The German army, although still a formidable force, had lost key personnel. A staff officer, Captain Hans von Hentig, commented that: “The Somme was the muddy grave of the German field army… dug by British industry and its shells.”

Before the Somme, German High Command had underestimated the British Army. Now, it faced the unpalatable reality that it was confronted with a major new force on the western front. The German leadership responded in two ways. In early 1917, it abandoned the old Somme battlefield and pulled the army back to a formidable defensive position, which the British dubbed the ‘Hindenburg Line’.

Even more significantly, it took the fateful decision to try to force Britain out of the war through unrestricted submarine warfare – allowing U-boats to sink merchant vessels, regardless of nationality. This was bound to bring the neutral USA into the war. Yet the Germans reckoned that a starving Britain would be compelled to sue for peace before American power could make a difference.

In doing so they made an enormously costly strategic miscalculation.

So, while the Somme was not an Allied victory in the traditional sense, it did amount to a significant strategic success for the British and French. In this respect, it was no failure.

Wars in deadlock

The Somme is remembered – perhaps more than any other military encounter in British history – as a battle of attrition. Thousands of men lost their lives fighting for tiny pockets of land that were, in many cases, soon surrendered back to the enemy. But, for all that, the Somme was hardly uniquely attritional. From Verdun to the great battles on the western front of 1915 and 1917–18, to the massive campaigns in eastern Europe, the First World War was pockmarked by protracted, grinding bloodbaths.

And this style of combat was not confined to the fighting fronts: submarine warfare and blockade were both designed to slowly but relentlessly starve the enemy population.

What’s more, attrition as a weapon of war didn’t disappear with the signing of the armistice in November 1918. In fact, it was all too typical of the high-intensity military operations that dominated the first half of the 20th century – and that includes the Second World War. Despite its reputation as a predominantly swift-moving and decisive encounter, the 1939–45 conflict often descended into deadlock too. Yes, the German army overran its enemies at lightning speed in the early years. But from late 1941 – with the Allies on the ropes but crucially not knocked out – Somme-style slogging matches returned to the battlefield.

The sheer size of the USSR, allied to the iron laws of logistics, meant that the Germans were unable to capitalise on their initial successes in Operation Barbarossa. Soviet commanders learned from their earlier defeats, and the Red Army eventually proved to be a formidable and skilful enemy.

British empire forces, although not as numerous, likewise learned lessons and became much more capable on the battlefield. The entry of the USA into the war in December 1941 brought a large, fresh and technologically advanced army into the anti-German coalition.

The shifting balance of resources was also reflected in the skies, where Allied aircraft – once terrorised by the Luftwaffe – soon reigned supreme. So, by the middle of the war, the German advantages that had served them well in earlier years had largely been eliminated. Now, the armies were much more evenly matched. Stalemate ensued.

This deadlock tended to be shorter in duration than in the First World War. Tanks, motorised transport and aircraft helped make fronts more mobile and restored the possibility of decisive manoeuvre such as battles of encirclement, largely absent from the western front from 1915–18. Nevertheless, campaigns such as the second battle of El Alamein (1942), Stalingrad (1942–43), Kursk (1943), Monte Cassino (1944), and Normandy (1944) produced conditions highly reminiscent of the western front, complete with casualty rates that often equalled or exceeded those of a generation before.

This is the context in which we need to understand the battle of the Somme. It was not an aberration. It was like so many other battles of the early 20th century – battles that had evolved by the Second World War without losing their essentially attritional character.

Yes, British Army losses in 1939–45 were substantially lower than in the First World War. But that was the case for two reasons. First, the army was much smaller. Second, the British, unlike in 1914–18, did not have to fight for a prolonged period against the main enemy – defeat in 1940 and the Dunkirk evacuation ensured that. However, casualty rates for individual units reveal that the fighting was very bloody – especially during the campaign in western Europe in 1944–45. The level of losses during the bitter advance from Normandy to the Baltic would have been grimly familiar to infantrymen who fought on the Somme two decades earlier.

Gary Sheffield is professor of War Studies at Wolverhampton University. A new edition of his biography of Haig has just been published: Douglas Haig: From the Somme to Victory (Aurum Press).

Five defining moments on the Somme

1) The BEF takes the lead

Unexpectedly, it was the BEF and not the French army that contributed the most troops to the first stages of the Somme. The initial plan had the French taking the lead. However on 21 February 1916 the Germans attacked around the French city of Verdun. The fighting there sucked in large numbers of French divisions, forcing the progressive scaling back of the French contribution to the forthcoming offensive.

If the battle-hardened French army had assumed the lion’s share of the fighting rather than the inexperienced British, what would the outcome of the Somme have been? It’s a fascinating counterfactual.

2) Blood and glory on 1 July

The 1st of July 1916 was a day of mixed fortunes for the Allies. In the north of the battlefield the offensive was a disaster. In places the barbed wire was not cut, and the gunners had failed to deal with enemy artillery and machine-guns. Some divisions captured ground but were driven back through lack of support. But in the south the raw soldiers of XIII Corps, including Pals from Liverpool and Manchester, and the 8th East Surreys, who kicked footballs into action, captured all their objectives. The French also made a major advance, at a tiny cost in casualties.

3) Empire troops are cut down

On 1 July the 1st Newfoundland Regiment lost 324 men killed and 386 wounded out of a total of 801, in a brave but doomed attack near Beaumont-Hamel. This was the first contingent from the Dominions of the British empire that fought on the Somme. The Australians first came into action, around Pozières, in mid-July and August. The South African Brigade made its name at Delville Wood in mid-July, while Canadians and New Zealanders made their Somme debut in late August and September. The Somme was an important milestone in the emergence of Dominion divisions as elite formations.

4) The advantage is lost

In the early hours of 14 July, British infantry crept out under the cover of darkness into no man’s land. This lay between the British front line, captured from the Germans on 1 July, and the defenders on Bazentin ridge. When the attack was launched at dawn the defenders were surprised and rapidly overrun. A great victory appeared to be at hand. But, as we explain on page 24, it was not to be, for it proved impossible to get reserves to the right place rapidly enough to exploit the success. A cavalry attack turned out to be too little, too late.

5) Tanks roll into action

On 15 September 1916, the tank appeared for the first time upon a battlefield. Trench deadlock spurred the development of numerous weapons, including mortars and hand grenades, but the most significant was the armoured fighting vehicle.

Initially developed by the British, the Mark I tank deployed in the fighting at Flers-Courcelette was a fragile machine that broke down easily. Its performance was patchy, but the success of one machine at the village of Flers was reported in the press and caught the public imagination.

Why Haig was no butcher

The general’s strategy in 1916 was fundamentally correct

Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig is one of the most controversial generals of all time, and his performance during the battle of the Somme is central to his reputation. He has become known to some as ‘The Butcher of the Somme’, although there is no evidence that anyone called him that while the war was going on. Interestingly, until the 1960s it was Passchendaele (properly, the third battle of Ypres) that was popularly regarded as the epitome of wasteful horror, rather than the Somme.

Among the charges against Haig’s conduct of the Somme is that he was an old-fashioned cavalry general who failed to adapt to trench warfare. In reality, Haig was thoroughly conversant with modern war. After the trauma of the Boer War, he played a key role in reforming the army and preparing it for a new conflict. Haig had, among other things, been responsible for modernising the British Army. Cavalry (reformed by Haig and others) continued to have a place on the battlefield, even on the Somme.

As C-in-C from late 1915 onwards, Haig oversaw the transformation of his inexperienced army of volunteers and conscripts to a war-winning force – but the battle of the Somme took place very early in this process. He was consistent in his belief that trench deadlock should be seen as a transient phase, and that the BEF should be ready for when ‘normal’ conditions returned to the battlefield. Ultimately Haig was proved right in 1918, but it took far longer to break the stalemate than he had anticipated.

Whatever else he might have been, Haig was not a technophobe. He was a keen supporter of advanced technology, such as aircraft, quick-firing artillery and machine-guns. He has been criticised for supposedly throwing away the advantage of surprise by prematurely committing a small number of tanks to battle on 15 September. This is unjust. Tanks were simply too primitive to be war-winners, and their use to support the infantry was appropriate given the circumstances.

If Haig had waited for months for large numbers to be available, the secret would probably have leaked out.

Haig has also been accused of being vastly over-optimistic, with dire results for his troops. There is some truth in this, but only some. He believed that British shelling had cut German barbed wire prior to the attack on 1 July, but that was what his intelligence staff had told him. There was a collective failure, rather than it being solely down to Haig.

But Haig was culpable for the disastrous decision to order the artillery to fire on multiple targets during the preliminary bombardment, to ease the infantry’s way through the dense German positions and restore mobile fighting. The weight of explosives was spread far too thinly, and key German positions were not suppressed. This had bloody consequences for the attacking infantry, many of whom got no further than no man’s land or, at best, the enemy front line.

Haig also consistently overrated the effect of attrition on German morale. He was not well-served by his intelligence staff in this regard, although it is not true to say that they simply told him what he wanted to hear.

Haig’s performance as a general on the Somme was patchy but by no means all bad. He made mistakes and sometimes expected too much of his raw troops.

On occasion he was let down by senior subordinates. But while Haig’s strategy was sometimes clumsy and wasteful, it was fundamentally correct. The Somme was a critical phase in Haig’s apprenticeship as a high commander, an essential stepping-stone to the victories of 1918.

In late 1916, a divisional commander reflecting on 1 July suggested “that perhaps we had all been rather optimistic as to what it was possible to do”. Haig’s reply was unusually candid: “Well, we were all learning.”


The Battle of the Somme

Digitally restored version with choice of three soundtracks in 5.1 and stereo: newly commissioned orchestral score recreation of original recommended medley commentary by Keeper of I. Read all Digitally restored version with choice of three soundtracks in 5.1 and stereo: newly commissioned orchestral score recreation of original recommended medley commentary by Keeper of Imperial War Museum's Film and Photographic Archives. Digitally restored version with choice of three soundtracks in 5.1 and stereo: newly commissioned orchestral score recreation of original recommended medley commentary by Keeper of Imperial War Museum's Film and Photographic Archives.

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By 1916 the war on the Western Front had bogged down into a stalemate, with trenches and barbed wire running across Europe from the Mediterranean to the North Sea.

The reason for the battle of the Somme was that the French in the south were under great pressure from the Germans. A British attack in the north, across the Somme, would draw the Germany army away and give the French a breather.

At the Somme, the British infantry had 150,000 men against the German's 70,000. The attack was preceded by a massive week-long barrage of a thousand artillery guns, the general idea being to destroy the ground and allow the infantry to walk in and occupy it.

It didn't turn out that way. The defensive lines were still intact because the British artillery wasn't heavy enough, because the artillerists were ill trained, and because there was no special device to open up the barbed wire, which was far more formidable than the barbed wire we're used to today. The Brits used anti-personnel air-bursting shrapnel shells instead of contact high explosives that would have opened gaps in the wire. Military planners had prepared for a fast-moving war and had overproduced shrapnel so the artillery used what was available.

So why had the anti-personnel shells not destroyed the defenders? After all, that was their designated purpose, yet German casualties in the bombardment were slight. Careful research by the Germans had produced the Stahlhelm, a thick steel helmet precisely made to protect the head. The Allies had no equivalent. The Germans had also had two years to prepare underground dugouts, sometimes thirty feet deep, protected by timber and even concrete. Further, the British had planned to use the trenches both to move new troops to the front lines and carry wounded to the rear. The trenches were too narrow and logistics broke down. The British troops were delayed because they didn't know where to go. It was six hours before the commanders learned of the problem.

If I can make a few editorial observations, by 1916 the war was beginning to look a lot like the trench warfare at the end of the American Civil War. Both the North and the South had built wide, sturdy trenches with frequent "bombproofs" that could shelter the men. The Germans more or less used the same techniques but the British did not. One of the reasons the Brits had so few dugouts is that the planners felt that, once inside the dugouts, the men would refuse to come out and be fired upon.

Why were the Brits so vulnerable crossing No Man's land? First, they carried a minimum of 72 pounds of personal equipment, plus ammunition or other supplies. They were slow and had great difficulty with the wire. And since the Germans had mostly survived, they were able to fire across the open plain with machine guns. Again, during the Civil War, it was repeatedly demonstrated that such tactics do not work against advanced technology in attacking a fortified position head on. A head-on attack with infantry in line of battle worked for Napoleon's inaccurate muskets. It didn't work against the rifled bullets of the Civil War or the machine guns of the Somme.

The British losses were staggering but planners learned from the calamity. They also learned from their French Allies and their German enemies. Tactics and weapons more suitable to the conditions were used.

I don't know if programs like this interest everyone. I doubt it. But as an anthropologist war fascinates me. It's like a smoldering disease that becomes symptomatic from time to time. And no one has found a reliable way of keeping it suppressed.


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Komentari:

  1. Doulmaran

    Cool članak, a ja gledam na samom mjestu nije ni loše. Došao sam ovdje tražeći s Googlea, unio u oznake :)

  2. Gorry

    vratit ćemo se na temu

  3. Gajora

    Apsolutno se slaže s tobom. To je izvrsna ideja. čuvam ga.

  4. Tyger

    Potpuno se slažem.

  5. Briant

    Mislim da griješim. U stanju sam to dokazati.Piši mi na PM, raspravimo.



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