First Day On The Somme: On The Somme 1 July 1916

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9780140068832: First Day On The Somme: On The Somme 1 July 1916

After an immense but useless bombardment, at 7.30 am. On 1 July 1916 the British Army went over the top and attacked the German trenches. It was the first day of the battle of the Somme, and on that day the British suffered nearly 60,000 casualties, two for every yard of their front. With more than fifty times the daily losses at El Alamein and fifteen times the British casualties on D-day, 1 July 1916 was the blackest day in the history of the British Army. But, more than that, it was a watershed in the history of the First World War. The Army that attacked on that day was the volunteer Army that had answered Kitchener's call. It had gone into action confident of a decisive victory. But by sunset on the first day on the Somme, no one could any longer think of a war that might be won. After that it was a struggle that had simply to be endured.

Martin Middlebrook's research has covered not just official and regimental histories and tours of the battlefields, but interviews with hundreds of survivors, both British and German. As to the action itself, he conveys the overall strategic view and the terrifying reality of an new kind of war for front-line soldiers.

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From the Publisher:

On the morning of July 1, 1916, a continuous line of British soldiers climbed out of their trenches and began to walk slowly towards the German lines. Many of them believed that the enemy positions had already been destroyed in the previous artillery bombardment. By the end of the day, the British had suffered 60,000 casualties—one for every eighteen inches of the front. Eminent military historian Martin Middlebrook has drawn on official sources, local newspapers, autobiographies, novels, and poems to write this book and, above all, on the recollections of hundreds of survivors who contribute to a brilliant, horrifying, and intensely moving portrait of war on the front line.

About the Author:

Martin Middlebrook has written numerous works of military history, including the classic The First Day on the Somme (978-1-84415-465-4). He lives in England.

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