Skip to main content
Select Source:

Somme, battle of the

Somme, battle of the, 1916. When he became commander-in-chief, Haig wanted to advance from Ypres to liberate the Belgian coast. However, the allies had already concerted their operations for 1916, so he agreed to take part in an Anglo-French offensive further south, astride the river Somme, where the British and French armies met. This was part of a plan by which each of the allied armies would attack simultaneously and compel the Germans to sue for peace by Christmas 1916. Haig hoped that he would break through the German defences in a single day. But despite a lengthy bombardment, when his infantry advanced on 1 July, they suffered nearly 60,000 casualties and only dented the German line. The battle continued until mid-November, by which time the British had suffered approximately 400,000 casualties and advanced a maximum of only 8 miles.

David French

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Somme, battle of the." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Somme, battle of the." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/somme-battle

"Somme, battle of the." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/somme-battle

Somme, Battle of the

Somme, Battle of the Major World War I engagement along the River Somme, n France. It was launched by the British Commander Douglas Haig on July 1, 1916. On the first day, the British suffered more than 60,000 casualties in a futile attempt to break through the German lines. A desperate trench war of attrition continued until the offensive was abandoned on November 19, 1916. Total casualties were more than one million, and the British advanced a mere 16km (10mi). A second battle around St Quentin (March–April 1918) is sometimes referred to as the Second Battle of the Somme. A German offensive, designed to secure a victory before the arrival of US troops, was halted by Anglo-French forces.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Somme, Battle of the." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Somme, Battle of the." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/somme-battle

"Somme, Battle of the." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/somme-battle