The Battle of the Somme epitomised the cruelty of the Western Front. 1 July 1916 witnessed the opening round of the British Army's attempt to break through an eighteen-mile front of heavily defended German lines straddling the River Somme in northern France. Preceded by an artillery bombardment of over 1,500 big guns that lasted a week, the inexperienced members of Lord Kitchener's New Army went `over the top' and suffered the deadliest day in British military history.
On the first day, British losses alone totalled nearly 20,000 dead. In the next four and a half months of combat, over 350,000 British soldiers would become casualties to one of the most intense, lethal, and futile engagements in history.
Robert J. Parker has been a school teacher for over thirty years. He has Bachelors &Masters degrees in history & combines his passion for the history of WW1 & WW2 with frequent travel to the battlefield sites. He has spent several months based in France studying the remains of the D-Day landings. He has visited six continents and over fifty countries, making more than forty separate trips to the United Kingdom alone. He lives in Indiana, USA.