SOMME 1 JULY 1916 - Tragedy and Triumph

The first day of the battle of the Somme has always been perceived as a day of tragedy for the British Army, with the slaughter of 60,000 men on the battlefield. What seemed to be poor planning on the part of the British command meant that soldiers were sent into no man's land to face the horrors of uncut barbed wire and waves of German machine gun fire. However, there were triumphs amongst the tragedy. This book discusses the successes and failures of the British and the German forces along the frontline. It also offers a detailed account of the battle itself, following the actions of individual units throughout the day.


THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME

Published to coincide with the centenary commemoration of the battle of the Somme, this new study comprises 12 separate articles written by some of the foremost military historians, each of whom looks at a specific aspect of the battle. Focusing on key aspects of the British, French and German forces, overall strategic and tactical impacts of the battle and with an introduction by renowned World War I scholar Professor Sir Hew Strachan, The Battle of the Somme is a timely collection of the latest research and analysis of the battle. The terrors of the Somme have largely come to embody trench warfare on the Western Front in the modern imagination, but this new book looks beyond the horrendous conditions and staggering casualty rates to provide new, insightful research on one of the most pivotal battles of the war.


BRITISH INFANTRYMAN VS GERMAN INFANTRYMAN - SOMME 1916

The mighty struggle for the Somme sector of the Western Front in the second half of 1916 has come to be remembered for the dreadful toll of casualties inflicted on Britain's ‘New Armies' by the German defenders on the first day of the offensive, 1 July. The battle continued, however, throughout the autumn and only came to a close in the bitter cold of mid-November. The British plan relied on the power of artillery to suppress and destroy the German defences; the infantry were tasked with taking and holding the German trenches, but minimal resistance was anticipated. Both sides incurred major losses, however; German doctrine emphasised that the first line had to be held or retaken at all costs, a rigid defensive policy that led to very high casualties as the Germans threw survivors into ad hoc, piecemeal counterattacks all along the line. Featuring specially commissioned full-colour artwork and based on meticulous reassessment of the sources, this engaging study pits the volunteers of Kitchener's ‘New Armies' against the German veterans who defended the Somme sector in the bloody battles of July-November 1916.


GERMAN MACHINE GUNS OF WORLD WAR I

World War I's defining weapon for many, Germany's MG 08 machine gun won a formidable reputation on battlefields from Tannenberg to the Somme. Although it was a lethally effective weapon when used from static positions, the MG 08 was far too heavy to perform a mobile role on the battlefield. As the British and French began to deploy lighter machine guns alongside their heavier weapons, the Germans fielded the Danish Madsen and British Lewis as stopgaps, but chose to adapt the MG 08 into a compromise weapon - the MG 08/15 - which would play a central role in the revolutionary developments in infantry tactics that characterized the last months of the conflict. In the 1940s, the two weapons were still in service with German forces fighting in a new world war. Drawing upon eyewitness battlefield reports, this absorbing study assesses the technical performance and combat record of these redoubtable and influential German machine guns, and their strengths and limitations in a variety of battlefield roles.


TRENCH - A HISTORY OF TRENCH WARFARE ON THE WESTERN FRONT

Even now, 100 years on from the conflict, the image of trenches stretching across Western Europe - packed with young men clinging to life in horrendous conditions - remains a powerful reminder of one of the darkest moments in human history. In this excellent study of trench warfare on the Western Front, expert Dr Stephen Bull reveals the experience of life in the trenches, from length of service and coping with death and disease, to the uniforms and equipment given to soldiers on both sides of the conflict. He reveals how the trenches were constructed, the weaponry which was developed specifically for this new form of warfare, the tactics employed in mass attacks and the increasingly adept defensive methods designed to hold ground at all cost. Packed with photographs, illustrations, annotated trench maps, documents and first-hand accounts, this compelling narrative provides a richly detailed account of World War I, providing a soldier's-eye-view of life in the ominous trenches that scarred the land.