The Battle of the Somme epitomizes the harsh realities of trench warfare for the Allies and represents the negligent battle planning and technological advancements that are associated with the stalemate of World War One. Trench warfare was common across the Western Front, with similar strategies being employed by both opposing sides. Sir Douglas Haig, one of the British coordinators for the Somme offensive is blamed with an offensive strategy destined for failure. The British offensive, an utter failure, resulted in a stalemate, which was common throughout World War One. The British development of the tank, while it eventually ended the horrendous stalemate, was ineffectively used during the Somme.
Trench warfare became a common practice in World War One, leading to a war of attrition. Both the Allies as well as the Germans enacted similar basic defense strategies and dealt with many of the same debilitating trench conditions. Trenches were built in an elaborate networking system, with three major sections, the front lines, the support, and the reserves. There was a rotation schedule for soldiers in the trenches, so that each regiment served time at the front lines. Trench conditions were horrendous including rodent infestation as well as unsanitary living spaces; many were infected with diseases such as trench foot with most trenches were filled with dead corpses for weeks after they were first killed. Defense mechanisms included creating dense fields of barbed wire in No Man’s Land, between the enemy trenches, in order to prevent an attack on the trench. Trench sanitation and defense were not the only reasons for the stalemate connected with World War One. The weather played
“On the first day of the battle of the Somme, the brainchild of Field Marshal Haig, the British lost more men than on any other single day in the history of the empire, more than in acquiring Canada and India combined.”(Raico). The British went into the Somme with a mixed attack plan, which led to an unsuccessful first assault resulting in a battle of attrition. The opening day of The Battle of the Somme resulted in near 60,000 casualties for the British, the largest in British military history for a single day. Originally the Somme was supposed to be a French dominated offensive, however the Germans attacked to the South in Verdun occupying the majority of French troops. The British were then thrust into control of the offensive, leaving Sir Douglas Haig and General Rawlinson to arrange an offensive strike against the Germans. Haig advocated for the use of infantry including foot soldiers as well as cavalry to lead the offensive. Rawlinson countered with a bite and hold strategy, which involved fortifying a strong defense and warding off German counter attacks. Rather than committing to one strategy, the two were combined in order to create a week-long bombardment followed by an offensive attack on foot.
The offensive was planned on a strict time table, as Haig...