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- Pen and Sword Books: The French Army on the Somme - Paperback
- Battle of the Somme centenary: the best new history books
The Somme offensive opened with a massive artillery bombardment, which lasted five days and did little to knock out enemy troops and artillery guns. The Germans simply hid in their deep and reinforced dugouts until the barrage ended, emerging largely unscathed to face the oncoming attackers. The British lost more than 57, men killed or wounded on only the first day of the battle, with little to show for their sacrifice.
They were part of a third wave of troops to attack German lines. At a.
The Newfoundlanders pressed forward into this firestorm. Some were hit before they even reached the front of the existing British lines. Others died upon reaching the base of the Danger Tree, a prominent tree halfway between the British and German lines, where enemy bullets soon found them. Less than 30 minutes after leaving their trench, it was all over for the Newfoundlanders. Small groups of survivors attempted in vain to fight on. Hundreds of injured men were left to fend for themselves on the battlefield through the night, where they died of their wounds or were killed by German snipers.
The battlefield of Beaumont-Hamel is now a park. The Canadians entered the battle on 30 August, taking part in a number of bloody attacks from September through November, supported by the first tanks used in action on the Western Front see Armaments. During the attack, Canadian soldiers used a new military tactic that would eventually solve the riddle of the trenches in later engagements.
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Known as the creeping barrage , Canadians walked behind an artillery assault that steadily advanced across German lines — keeping enemy soldiers in their dugouts — until the Canadians were on top of enemy lines and ready to fight. Although slow, plodding and difficult to move, the large and imposing tanks were an effective psychological weapon against the Germans. Courcelette was captured by the Canadian Corps on the first day of the assault, a rare Allied victory on the Somme, at the cost of several thousand Canadians casualties.
Only one tank met its objectives, the rest failed because of mechanical issues, becoming stuck or being hit by shellfire. Canadian officer C.
You had to circle and come in behind them. Well, 75 per cent of your men are knocked down before you can get in there. Rain and snow finally brought the Battle of the Somme to an end. After five months of fighting, the Allies had only penetrated about 13 km along a 25 km front. Allied losses were estimated at ,, of whom more than 24, were Canadians and Newfoundlanders. German losses were estimated at , The seemingly pointless slaughter on the Somme led to questions and severe criticism of the Allied leadership, especially General Douglas Haig, commander of the British Expeditionary Force, of which both the Canadian Corps and the First Newfoundland Regiment were a part.
Some of these ideas were already being experimented with among the Canadian Corps in the final months of fighting on the Somme. Eloi Passchendaele From the website for The Rooms, a major cultural facility located in St.
A Heritage Minute from Historica Canada. See also related lesson plans. Search The Canadian Encyclopedia. Remember me. I forgot my password. Why sign up? Yet perhaps one aspect has not received the attention it deserves — the French sector in the south of the battlefield which is often overshadowed by events in the British sector further north. That is why Ian Sumner's photographic history of the French army on the Somme is so interesting and valuable. Using a selection of over wartime photographs, many of which have not been published before, he follows the entire course of the battle from the French point of view.
The photographs show the build-up to the Somme offensive, the logistics involved, the key commanders, the soldiers as they prepared to go into action and the landscape over which the battle took place. Equally close coverage is given to the fighting during each phase of the offensive — the initial French advances, the mounting German resistance and the terrible casualties the French incurred. The photographs are especially important in that they record the equipment and weapons that were used, the clothing the men wore and the conditions in which they fought, and they provide us with a visual insight into the realities of battle over a hundred years ago.
I would highly recommend it for anyone wanting to get the full picture of this iconic battle, or for anyone interested in learning more about the French Army in the First World War. Read the full review here. With so much attention directed at the British and German troops, a strong visual matching presentation of the French Army in action is long overdue.
Pen and Sword Books: The French Army on the Somme - Paperback
The images are of high quality and well lit. They show how the French soldiers lived, and also those civilians who decided not to leave the area. The uniforms are shown, together with equipment in common use. This is a nicely executed book and important to any enthusiasts library of WWI history.
Battle of the Somme centenary: the best new history books
In the photos throughout the book we get to see the conditions in which the French soldiers lived and some fine references on their uniforms, weaponry and equipment. No tanks at this stage of course, but plenty of artillery, including railway guns, do feature. In terms of other equipment we do see narrow gauge railways, aircraft and observation balloons.
All this will be interesting to the WW1 historian, while the detailed references for French uniforms and equipment, along with unusual elements such as a hospital barge, so the military figure modeller and re-enactors will find it very useful. Another good WW1 reference. Ian Sumner is a prolific writer and researcher who specializes in local and military history. Those that have are scarcely illustrated.
This book aims to provide a highly readable and succinct account of the work of the French Army on the Western Front, as well as provide the reader with a wealth of photographs that show the daily life of the French soldier both in and out of the trenches. All of the images are contemporary, many coming from war-time and post-war magazines, interspersed with many previously unpublished images.