Much controversy has surrounded the Somme offensive relating to its justification and its impact upon the course of the war. General Sir Douglas Haig's policies have been the subject of considerable debate about whether the heavy losses sustained were worth the small gains that were achieved which appeared to have little strategic value. That was certainly the case on many sectors on 1 July 1916, where British soldiers were unable to cross No Man's Land and failed to reach, or penetrate into, the German trenches. In other sectors, however, breaches were made in the German lines culminating in the capture that day of Leipzig Redoubt, Mametz and Montauban. This book aims to highlight the failures and successes on that day and for the first time evaluate those factors that caused some divisions to succeed in capturing their objectives whilst others failed. An important new study, this book is certain to answer these questions as well as challenging the many myths and misconceptions surrounding the battle that have been propagated for the last 100 years.
Paul Kendall is a military historian from Kent specialising in the First World War. He is the author of the bestselling books, Bullecourt 1917: Breaching the Hindenburg Line; Aisne 1914: The Dawn of Trench Warfare' and The Zeebrugge Raid 1918.'