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The Somme: 100 Years Later

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#1 jackdiddley


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Posted 01 July 2016 - 02:46 AM

At 07:28 this morning, 100 years ago. The ground shook with the detonation of the Lochnagar mine at La Boiselle. 2 minutes later, whistles sounded and 40 British and French divisions went over the top. The Battle of the Somme had begun.

The next 141 days were some of the bloodiest in the war. Nearly 1,250,000 British, French and German soldiers were casualties during those dark days. The first day alone, the deadliest in British military history, saw losses of almost 60,000. Almost 20,000 of those were killed. There is still debate over whether the offensive was worth it.

Yesterday and today saw commemorations in both Britain and France. We are incredibly lucky - our governments may not always see eye-to-eye, but at least they are not guilty of allowing such a catastrophe to happen.

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning
We will remember them.

#2 stone


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Posted 01 July 2016 - 12:38 PM

And it still blows my mind how incredibly stupid the British high command was during WWI. Forcing soldiers to launch a frontal attack against heavily fortified machine gun positions? What did they think was going to happen?


Reading about General Haig's stubbornness and all around incompetence is infuriating even 100 years on. 

#3 jackdiddley


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Posted 01 July 2016 - 04:38 PM

The Great War was a series of godawful decisions made by both sides for four years. I think, from very much a layman point of view, that a lot of the problem was that military technology had progressed at a pace that far outstripped the development of military tactics. Resulting, for example, in the order to slow walk into the hail of machine gun fire, rather than run, dodge and hide.

The Triple Entante won, in the end, because German ran out of men faster than we did.

#4 aus


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Posted 01 July 2016 - 09:08 PM

Jack I agree that tacties in the WW! caused unessary lost of military lives. Now it is mainly civilian lives.

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