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The First World War

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The Battle of the Somme (1916), which was a strategic Allied forces attempt to infiltrate through German lines along the Somme river of Northern France. It is considered to be one of the most, if not the most gruesome battles waged in the First World War. The reason behind this was that the Allied forces believed a tactical attack along this river would draw German forces from another heavily waged battle (Battle of Verdun), but alas, not only did the campaign become one of the biggest blunders it also accounted for one of greatest loss of lives in WWI. The Battle of Somme may be one of the saddest accounts, but it also entails the horror and tactical advancements of the First of World Wars.

The British had initially thought that this battle would be an easy decisive victory, they adopted the plan of heavy bombardment of artillery shells on the defensive German bunkers and trenches; this in turn would be followed by an easy raid of the ground troops into "no mans land" and that would be the end of that. But that wasn't the case, the British not only failed on that front, but they also sustained a massive loss in casualties: 20,000 men died as well as 40,000 being taken captive as prisoners of war. This was in part due to the brilliance of strength of the German bunkers, built out of concrete and 10 meters underground artillery shells just bounced off it. The British, maimed, didn't give up as they had an alternative weapon up their sleeve.

The tank, which I see as a more modern version of the Roman phalanx (shields), but instead a machine in armor, was first introduced by the British as well as being the first time used in a combat. Although they were a marvel and provided the much needed offense for the British, it lacked in testing as it was only in its infant stage. Only 18 of the 36 available tanks operated, as they struggled and often got stuck in the terrain. Even though the tanks weren't reliable, they were quite a sight to the German's as they had never seen such a machine. Although the German's didn't have a weapon as spectacular as the tank, they had something else the British struggled to break through, and that was their art of trench warfare.

The German trenches were dug deep and were wired across in barbed wire to protect their men from a rush, besides that, they also had heavily reinforced concrete bunkers which were manned by the machine gun. Although majority of the casualties were dealt by the bombardments of artillery shells, the machine gun was still a force to be reckoned with. So what made it difficult for the British? Well, as was stated earlier the British's plan of assault was to hail the line with artillery shells in hopes of destroying bunkers, disorientating their men as well as cutting the barbed wire. All of this failed in part to faulty shells not exploding properly, not only that, but the shells also made the barbed wire more entangled and harder to penetrate, and most of the shells just "bounced" off these concrete bunkers. This resulted in massive deaths when the British army darted towards "no mans land" and to be shocked to find that the bunkers were still intact, but also to run into the line of heavy machine guns firing. Even though the trenches were built to better defend, it also became a place of hell.

The First World War's main scheme of fighting was mostly dealing with trenches, with a depth of 1.8m to 2.5m;5 the trenches were very hard to take over. It was a turtle like defensive offense;



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