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Bloody Lessons Learned at the Somme

Jul 9, 2016 | 13:30 GMT
The Bloody Lessons of the Somme
A German prisoner and British soldiers wounded in the Battle of the Somme make their way to a dressing station near Bernafay Wood following fighting on Bazentin Ridge on July 19, 1916.
(Imperial War Museum)

A tranquil river basin in northern France will forever be associated with some of the most vicious and costly fighting of World War I. The terrain around the Somme River provided the battleground for a confrontation between elements of the German army and an Allied force spearheaded by the French and British. At the beginning of 1916, the Western Front was at a stalemate, blocked by the opposing battlements running from the North Sea to the Swiss border. The Allies sought to break the German defenses and to relieve pressure on the French at Verdun, wearing down the Germans in preparation for a decisive victory expected in 1917. It was hoped the Somme offensive of July 1 would provide that break, as well as set the stage for the closing acts of the war....

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