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The First Day on the Somme

The First Day on the Somme

by Martin Middlebrook


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On July 1, 1916, a continous line of British soldiers climbed out from the trenches of the Somme into No Man's Land and began to walk towards dug-in German troops armed with machine-guns. By the end of the day there were more than 60,000 British casualties—a third of them fatal. Martin Middlebrook's now-classic account of the blackest day in the history of the British army draws on official sources from the time, and on the words of hundreds of survivors: normal men, many of them volunteers, who found themselves thrown into a scene of unparalleled tragedy and horror.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780141981604
Publisher: Penguin UK
Publication date: 04/01/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Martin Middlebrook is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the author of The Battle of Hamburg: The Firestorm Raid, The Berlin Raids, and Convoy: The Greatest U-Boat Battle of the War.

Table of Contents

List of Maps vi

List of Plates vii

Abbreviations ix

The Men xi

Author's Preface to Replica Edition xiii

Introduction xv

1 The Men 1

2 The Western Front 29

3 The Somme and the Germans 53

4 The Plan 67

5 The Preparations 80

6 The Last Few Hours 107

7 Zero Hour 122

8 Review at 8.30 A.M. 146

9 The Morning 159

10 Review at Noon 193

11 The Afternoon 205

12 Review at Dusk 226

13 The Night 236

14 The Aftermath 244

15 The Cost 262

16 An Analysis 272

17 The Years that Followed 293

Appendix 1 Order of Battle of British Infantry Units 317

Appendix 2 Order of Battle of German Divisions Facing the British Attack 325

Appendix 3 Senior Officer Casualties 326

Appendix 4 Victoria Cross Winners of 1 July 1916 329

Appendix 5 Battalions Suffering More than 500 Casualties 330

Appendix 6 A Tour of the Somme Battlefield 332

Acknowledgements 342

Bibliography 356

Index 357

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