campaign background

Somme campaign (July to November 1916) was launched by Xiafei (then commander in chief of the French Army). His aim was to force Germany to withdraw its troops from the Russian front, deal a fatal blow to the German army and reduce the pressure on Verdun. Since there were no strategic objectives in Somme, sir Douglas Hague, the British commander, preferred to choose a defense area such as Flanders that was more convenient for attack when he was first told of the battle. Although he is not under Xiafei’s jurisdiction, his policy is that if he doesn’t feel any disaster coming, it’s appropriate to obey the wishes of the French commander in France. Soon, Haig was completely won over by Xiafei’s plan. He forgot that there was no tactical consideration in choosing SOM defense area, and declared that this front was the way to victory. The battle of

began on June 24, 1916 and ended in mid November. Its purpose is to break through the German defense in order to turn into mobile warfare and reduce the pressure of the German army on the French army in Verdun. At that time, the front line crossed the SOM River from south to north, more than 50 kilometers east of Amiens. The German army built the so-called “strongest” defense line in the area, including three positions and some intermediate positions. The main positions have tunnels and fortifications, and there are multiple layers of barbed wire in front of the positions. The garrison is the 2nd group army of the German army. The defense front is 58 kilometers wide. Its first line is 9 divisions and the reserve team is 4 divisions. The number of troops increased to 67. The British and French sides originally planned to use the French army as the main attack, but because the battle of Verdun used a large number of French troops, they changed to the British army. The initial input force was 39 divisions (increased to 86 divisions during the campaign), of which 25 divisions of the British army, mainly the 4th group army and supplemented by the 3rd group army, attacked in the area north of Karno on the North Bank of SOM River, with a frontal distance of 25 kilometers; The 14th division of the 6th group army of the French army crossed the Somme River and attacked on the right side of the British army, 15 kilometers in front. The British and French artillery and air force are dominant. Adopt the tactics of attacking limited targets one after another, and try to achieve the purpose of breakthrough by consuming German troops. In order to coordinate the actions of the two armies, it is stipulated that the arrival line of each attack cannot be exceeded by itself. The battle of

passed through

. On July 1, 1916, the British 4th group army (under the command of general Rawlinson) carried out a major assault in the direction of babom from marikul to ebiteen, with the 7th army of the British 3rd group army covering on its left wing; The 6th French group army (under the command of general Fayol) carried out an auxiliary assault in the direction of perone from both banks of Somme river north of rosier. On the same day, the right wing of the French and British forces broke through the first German position, but the left wing of the British army was blocked by the German trench position. The British army attacked in a dense formation and was killed by the powerful firepower of German markqin machine gun, losing nearly 60000 people.

tanks used in the Somme River Campaign

from July 2 to 3, the British right wing and French army occupied the second German position, and the French army once occupied the German defense areas such as Valle and biash. In the next few days, due to the serious shortcomings of the German army’s input into the reserve force and the British and French coalition forces themselves in breaking through tactics and command and dispatching (cumbersome regulations on assault in various regions, limiting the army’s initiative, etc.), the progress was slow.

on July 19, the German command put in a new wave of reserve forces. In order to facilitate command, the second group army was divided into the first group army under the command of general belo and the second group army under the command of general GalVI C í. It also lengthened the depth of defense and built a supplementary defense area.

in mid July, the British and French allied forces only pushed forward for several kilometers and failed to achieve the expected goal of the operation.

from the end of July to the middle of August, the British and French coalition forces increased their troops to 51 divisions and aircraft to 500; The German army increased to 31 divisions and 300 aircraft. Due to the slowness and adhesion of the operation, it turned into a war of attrition.

from September 3, the 10th group army of French general Michelle and the 5th group army of British general gaff went into battle respectively, and the frontal range of the battlefield was expanded to a front 50 kilometers wide. The German army increased to 40 divisions and kept strengthening the fortifications of the position. Therefore, the average propulsion speed of the British and French forces is only 150 to 200 meters per day and night.

on September 15, the British Army used a new weapon for the first time – tanks (a total of 49 tanks, only 18 actually participated in the war), and advanced 4 to 5 kilometers in cooperation with the infantry attack. This was the first time in the history of war that tanks were used, which had a psychological shock to the German infantry on the defensive side and made them give up their positions and retreat without fighting. However, due to the imperfect technology and equipment of tanks and the wide front (10 kilometers wide), the operational goal of opening a breakthrough has not been achieved. The successful application of tactical level did not lead to victory. Although the British Army later used tanks twice, with little effect, the German army began to learn how to deal with the huge enemy. After




entered the autumn, the climate began to deteriorate. Due to continuous rain and muddy roads, the fighting gradually subsided. It was completely stopped in November, and the battle plans of Britain and France failed.


Somme River battle lasted for four months. It was a typical positional battle in World War I with heavy casualties on both sides. The troops and weapons invested by both sides are the biggest battle in this war.

from the perspective of weapons, this campaign not only prompted other powerful countries to start to equip tanks and other types of positions, break through heavy equipment and develop counter weapons, but also led to and inspired the vigorous development of military industries of various countries during World War I and World War II.

from the perspective of the war situation, although the British and French coalition forces failed to break through the defense of the German army, the victory of this battle and the attack of the southwest front army ensured the transfer of strategic initiative from Germany to the allies to a certain extent. Like the German army in the battle of Verdun, the British and French forces, as one side of the attack, did not achieve their own offensive purpose. The German army was led by the battle of VerdunControlled the strength of the British and French forces in the Somme River battle, while the British and French forces used the Somme River battle to contain the strength of the German forces in the Verdun battle.

in addition, this campaign prompted other powerful countries to start to equip tanks and other types of positions, break through heavy equipment, and develop counter weapons, which led to and inspired the vigorous development of military industry in various countries during the wartime and World War II.