By Martin Middlebrook

Martin Middlebrook's "The First Day at the Somme" is a compelling and very relocating account of the blackest day within the heritage of the British military. On 1 July, 1916, a continual line of British infantrymen climbed out from the trenches of the Somme into No Man's Land and started to stroll slowly in the direction of dug-in German troops armed with machine-guns and defended by means of thick barbed twine. through the top of that day, as previous strategies have been met via the truth of recent war, there have been greater than 60,000 British casualties - a 3rd of them fatalities. in addition to drawing on reliable assets, neighborhood newspapers, autobiographies, novels and poems from the time, most significantly "The First Day at the Somme" additionally takes within the bills of thousands of survivors: common males, lots of them volunteers, who chanced on themselves thrown right into a scene of extraordinary tragedy and horror. "The First Day at the Somme" describes the genuine occasions in the back of one of many greatest battles of the 1st international battle, and the sacrifice of a iteration of younger males - killed as a lot by means of the folly in their commanders as through the bullets in their enemies. "The squaddies obtain the easiest carrier a historian grants: their tale is advised of their personal words". ("Guardian"). "A really shiny and private narrative". ("The occasions Literary Supplement"). Martin Middlebrook is a Fellow of the Royal ancient Society and the writer of many very important books on army heritage together with "The Kaiser's conflict - March 1918", "The Falklands warfare - 1982".

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Had the Germans had the spirit for a counter-attack, they would certainly have found a considerable gap in the line. The Arras Front These events were in the northern area of the Seventeenth Corps. In the southern portion, at about eleven o'clock, the reserve division came forward, and, passing through the weary ranks of the Ninth, pushed on along the northern bank of the river. The advance had already been a splendid one, the Ninth Division having 2000 prisoners to its credit, but this movement of the Fourth Division against an enemy who was already badly shaken was a very fruitful one.

Chart of Order of Battle, Arras, April 9, 1917 III. C. at Gavrelle — Operations of May 3—The Gavrelle Windmill—Loss of Fresnoy— Capture of Roeux—The long fight at Bullecourt Upon April 16 the great French offensive had broken out upon the Aisne, directed against the line of Chalk Downs which the British had learned to know so well in 1914, and aiming at that ancient road, the Chemin des Dames, which some of the First Division had actually reached in that year. The attack was very successful in the outset, a haul of prisoners and guns being secured which brought their factory to a level with that at Arras.

The total German losses during the day must have been very heavy, and they had nothing to show for it, though the British casualties amounted to some 4000, chiefly in the Twenty-ninth Division. It must be admitted that the Germans, who had been strongly reinforced in men and in guns, were fighting with great resolution on this front, and their defence and counter-attacks were equally gallant. From this date onwards until April 22, there was no particular forward movement, and every effort was concentrated upon the improvement of defences and communications.

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