This is an account of the British Expeditionary Force s defensive battle on the Somme in March and April of 1918\. It starts with the huge German offensive along a 60 mile front on 21 March. Third and Fifth Armies then had to make a series of fighting withdrawals in which some battalions had to fight their way out while others were overrun. Over the days that followed, men were called upon to fight all day against overwhelming numbers and then march all night to escape. After three years in the trenches, men had to battle in the open without tanks and often without artillery support. As communications failed, battalion and company commanders found themselves having to command in what was essentially a desperate infantry struggle. Each stage of the two week battle is given the same treatment, covering details about the most talked about side of the campaign, the British side. It explains how the British soldier time and again stood and fought. Over fifty new maps chart the day by day progress of each corps on each day. Together the narrative and the maps explain the British Army s experience during a fraught battle for survival.
The men who made a difference are mentioned; those who led the advances, those who stopped the counter-attacks and those who were awarded the Victoria Cross. Discover the Somme 1918 campaign and learn how the British Army s brave soldiers fought and died trying to stop the onslaught.
ANDREW RAWSON is a freelance writer who has written over thirty books on many conflicts. He has written eight books for Pen and Sword s Battleground Europe series and three reference books for The History Press Handbook series. He has edited Eyes Only: The Top Secret Correspondence between Marshall and Eisenhower and Organizing Victory: The War Conferences 1941 1945 . This is his seventh book in a series on the British Army s battles on the Western Front in World War I. He has a master s history degree with Birmingham University.