Battle of the somme essay

Aetheling actually means 'throneworthy' and was the title given to the most legitimate heir; but a legitimate blood claim was only part of the issue. The crown would go to the claimant who could muster most support amongst the 'great and the good' of England. In January 1066, Edgar Aetheling was a minor, and with the wolves breathing at the door, the English magnates could not afford to risk the kingdom in such inexperienced hands. So they turned to Harold, the obvious power behind the throne, who, as we have seen, had prepared his ground well.

After the ( Herbstschlacht or Autumn Battles) of 1915, a third defence line another 3,000 yards (2,700 m) back from the Stützpunktlinie was begun in February 1916 and was almost complete on the Somme front when the battle began. German artillery was organised in a series of Sperrfeuerstreifen (barrage sectors); each officer was expected to know the batteries covering his section of the front line and the batteries ready to engage fleeting targets. A telephone system was built, with lines buried 6 feet ( m) deep for 5 mi ( km) behind the front line, to connect the front line to the artillery. The Somme defences had two inherent weaknesses that the rebuilding had not remedied. The front trenches were on a forward slope, lined by white chalk from the subsoil and easily seen by ground observers. The defences were crowded towards the front trench, with a regiment having two battalions near the front-trench system and the reserve battalion divided between the Stützpunktlinie and the second line, all within 2,000 yards (1,800 m) and most troops within 1,000 yards (910 m) of the front line, accommodated in the new deep dugouts. The concentration of troops at the front line on a forward slope guaranteed that it would face the bulk of an artillery bombardment, directed by ground observers on clearly marked lines. [26]

Even today, a century after the start of the Great War, the countryside still bears scars. In this image by Irish landscape photographer Michael St. Maur Sheil at the site of the Battle of the Somme, in northern France, you can trace grass-covered trenches and pockmarks from exploded bombshells. More than a million men were wounded or killed in the battle, the first major British offensive of the war. “The Germans had been sitting in a deep dugout excavated into the chalk rock,” Sheil says. “British soldiers advancing across the flat landscape were an easy target.” His exhibition, “Fields of Battle—Lands of Peace,” now on display in Paris along the wrought-iron fence of Luxembourg Gardens and later touring the United Kingdom, includes 79 contemporary photographs of World War I battlefields—the artist’s attempt to document the enduring legacy of the war on the landscape.

Before 1914, inventors had designed armoured fighting vehicles and one had been rejected by the Austro-Hungarian army in 1911. In 1912, L. E. de Mole submitted plans to the War Office for a machine which foreshadowed the tank of 1916, that was also rejected and in Berlin an inventor demonstrated a land cruiser in 1913. By 1908, the British army had adopted vehicles with caterpillar tracks to move heavy artillery and in France, Major E. D. Swinton RE heard of the cross-country, caterpillar-tracked Holt tractor in June 1914. In October, Swinton thought of a machine-gun destroyer , that could cross barbed wire and trenches and at GHQ discussed it with Major-General G. H. Fowke , the army chief engineer, who passed this on to Lieutenant-Colonel Maurice Hankey , the Secretary of the War Council but this had evoked little interest by January 1915. Swinton persuaded the War Office to set up an informal committee, which in February watched a demonstration of a Holt tractor pulling a weight of 5,000 lb (2,300 kg) over trenches and barbed wire, the performance of which was judged unsatisfactory. [15]

Battle of the somme essay

battle of the somme essay

Before 1914, inventors had designed armoured fighting vehicles and one had been rejected by the Austro-Hungarian army in 1911. In 1912, L. E. de Mole submitted plans to the War Office for a machine which foreshadowed the tank of 1916, that was also rejected and in Berlin an inventor demonstrated a land cruiser in 1913. By 1908, the British army had adopted vehicles with caterpillar tracks to move heavy artillery and in France, Major E. D. Swinton RE heard of the cross-country, caterpillar-tracked Holt tractor in June 1914. In October, Swinton thought of a machine-gun destroyer , that could cross barbed wire and trenches and at GHQ discussed it with Major-General G. H. Fowke , the army chief engineer, who passed this on to Lieutenant-Colonel Maurice Hankey , the Secretary of the War Council but this had evoked little interest by January 1915. Swinton persuaded the War Office to set up an informal committee, which in February watched a demonstration of a Holt tractor pulling a weight of 5,000 lb (2,300 kg) over trenches and barbed wire, the performance of which was judged unsatisfactory. [15]

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