Learning Curve, The Great War
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Useful notes: Source6
Map showing the extent of land captured by British, Empire and French forces at the Somme, 1916
(Catalogue ref: WO 153/189)
  • This map was produced to show the British government how much land had been captured by the end of the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The amount of land was very small. However, this was misleading because the main aim of the battle was not to capture territory.
  • There were two main aims. One was to take the pressure off the French army, which was being attacked very heavily by the Germans around Verdun. The other was to wear down the German forces in a campaign of attrition which would kill large numbers of them.
  • There were around 500,000 German casualties at the Somme. However, British and French losses added up to around 620,000.
  • Haig didn't want to attack at the Somme and he didn't want to attack in July 1916, but the German assault on Verdun forced his hand. The Somme attack did relieve pressure on Verdun.
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