Ref: WW509, 1920, Harmsworth
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Original map first published c.1920. Republished July 2016.
World war one map (1914 - 1918) depicting the Battle of the Somme on the Western Front, France, 1916. The German, British & French lines are illustrated, alongside the various dates that troops reached the battle lines. The inset map features the natural trenches of the Somme & Ancre Rivers.
Published as at the time of this map, c.1920:
The Battle of the Somme was undertaken, July - November, 1916, as the best available means of answering the increasing German menace to Verdun. The state of affairs in the Italian & Russian theatres was another consideration which urged an immediate attack. The general idea of the operations was that of alternate British and French hammer-strokes to distract and wear down the German armies. The battle was not intended as a breakthrough, though the gain of certain objectives - Bapaume, Peronne, and further east, Cambrai and St Quentin - would have had far reaching strategic results. The expenditure of ammunition was maintained on an immense scale day after day, so that in the first four weeks of July, 1916, five million rounds of shells were discharged. In this battle, for the first time, the device known as the "creeping barrage", invented by General Horne. Great numbers of airmen were employed, who drove the German air scouts away, destroyed German observation balloons ("Sausages") so as to blind the German artillery, and carried back wonderfully clear photographs of German trenches. The Allies also used poisonous gas with good effect, and the new armored cars, known as "tanks" were here first employed by the British.
The attack was a combined British and French one, launched from Gommecourt to the south of Peronne, the former front covering about 13 miles, the latter 7, one mile of which was held on the northern bank of the river. The immediate objective of the Allies was the ridge, or range of low hills, just beyond the German lines north of the Somme, a line drawn west and east through Thiepval, Pozieres, Bazentin-le-Petit, Longueval, Guillemont, Ginchy, and Morval. Once established on the Thiepval-Morval watershed, our guns could command the lower hillocks to the northward, and the advance towards Bapaume would be easy, and the German salient lying across the Albert-Arras railway would be menaced, if not withdrawn.
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