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Experiences of the Great War

The Somme

Douglas Haig's name will always be linked to the Battle of the Somme — the huge five-month battle which he initiated in an attempt to relieve pressure on the French at Verdun by smashing the German defences along a 25-mile stretch of the river Somme.

It turned into a bloodbath of enormous proportions, with the British army losing more men in their first assault than on any other day of battle before or since.

By the end of the battle, the British troops had advanced only a few miles at a cost of some 400,000 casualties. Overview of the Battle of the Somme

The General's diary

2 July 1916

' … the wounded were in wonderful spirits. Reported today that total casualties are estimated at over 40,000'

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