Battle of the Somme
Good morning/afternoon members of the Knox Cadet unit,
Today I am here to talk to you about the overall importance of the Battle of the Somme. The battle was a battle that symbolised the horrors of warfare in World War One; this one battle had an obvious effect on overall casualty figures and it seemingly represents the pointlessness of trench warfare.
The ferocious battle was fought from July 1916 to November 1916, and to this day it is known as one of the largest battles ever fought in the First World War. The battle tragically resulted in more than one million casualties. Sources say that it was one of “the bloodiest battles in human history”. The battle involved the Allied forces attempting to break through the German lines along a 152 km front, north and south of the River Somme in northern France. One of the main intentions of the battle was to draw German forces away from the Battle of Verdun; however, by the time that it came to an end, the losses on the Somme had exceeded those at Verdun anyway.
The battle was the first major offensive of the war against the main enemy, the Germans, in which British troops played the leading part instead of a supporting or diverting role. It was also the first great battle to involve the bulk of Britain’s first-ever mass citizen army. It was rather unique when considering that the armies on the Western Front were composed mainly of volunteers, the British Expeditionary Force of the summer and autumn of 1916 was drawn from all levels of society in Britain and the Dominions and, moreover, had been recruited on a surprisingly narrow-minded basis.
The character of the 1916 army was symbolized by its ‘Pals’ battalions, these were units raised by local civilian committees rather than the War Office and were made up of workmates, friends or men with a shared geographical or social background, who had enlisted together on the understanding that they would be permitted to train and fight...