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The First Day on the Somme (Revised Edition)

The First Day on the Somme (Revised Edition)

by Martin Middlebrook

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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, as Lloyd George recognised, 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.

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 that it was for front-line soldiers.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781473877160
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 05/24/2016
Edition description: Revised Edition
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 1,003,740
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Martin Middlebrook has written many other books that deal with important turning-points in the two world wars, including The First Day on the Somme, Kaiser's Battle, The Peenemünde Raid, The Somme Battlefields (with Mary Middlebrook) and The Nuremberg Raid 30-31st March 1944 (all republished and in print with Pen and Sword).

Martin Middlebrook is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and lives near Boston, Lincolnshire

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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