|Battle of the Somme
The Battle of the Somme started in July 1st 1916. It lasted until November 1916. For many people, the Battle of the Somme was the battle that symbolised the horrors of warfare in World War One.
The battle of the Somme began with a week long artillery bombardment of the German lines, where 1,738,000 shells were fired at the Germans. The method behind this was to destroy the German trenches and barbed wire in front of the trenches. Once the bombardment stopped, the Germans signalled and infantry advance, allowing them to move to safety and turn their machine guns to face the British and French. The battle ended in November 1916.
The British had lost 420,000, the French had lost nearly 200, 00 men and the Germans 500,000. The allied forces had also advanced along a thirty mile long strip.
During the war many people were against this battle as they found it hard to justify the death of 88,000 allied men for every 1 mile gained along the strip. Also during the battle, media coverage was highly inaccurate, to comfort the allies public.
The Battle of Verdun
The Battle of Verdun started on February 21st 1916 and ended on December 16th in 1916.
140,000 German troops started the attack. They were supported by 1,200 artillery guns that targeted 2,500,000 shells at the Verdun region. The Germans also had complete air supremacy with 168 planes located in the area.
To start with, the French only had 30,000 troops to oppose the Germans. On the day the battle started February 21st, 1000 German artillery guns fired on a six mile line along the French front.
The German attack and the subsequent battle was to last over 300 days and by February 25th, the Germans had captured 10,000 French prisoners.
However, the Germans also suffered huge losses. By the end of April, the Germans had lost 120,000 men and the French 133,000 men
The Battle of Verdun in 1916 was the longest single battle of World War One. It is said that the French lost over 360,000 and the Germans nearly 340,000. The casualties from Verdun and the impact the battle had on the French Army was a primary reason for the British starting the Battle of the Somme in July 1916 in an effort to take German pressure off of the French at Verdun.
The battle of Ypres
British troops entered Ypres in October 1914. They were unaware of the size of the German force advancing on the town. Eyewitnesses claim to have seen the German troops, with just 6 weeks training, with arms linked singing patriotic songs as they advanced towards the British. 1,500 Germans were killed and 600 taken prisoner.
The Germans used deadly chlorine gas against defending French troops. Having never experienced this before, terrified French soldiers fled. The situation was saved by Canadian troops who used handkerchiefs soaked in water as gas masks and launched a counter-attack on the Germans. It was successful and the Germans lost the gains they had made.
The arrival of the Americans into the war in 1917, hastened the defeat of the Germans and the last shell fell on Ypres on the 14th of October 1918.
In the area around Ypres over 1,700,000 soldiers on both sides were killed or wounded and an uncounted number of civilians.
The battle of Gallipoli
Gallipoli was one of the Allies great disasters in World War One. Gallipoli was the plan thought up by Winston Churchill to end the war early by creating a new war front that the Central Powers could not cope with.
On November 25th 1914, Winston Churchill suggested his plan for a new war front in the Dardanelles to the British government’s War Council.
On January 15th 1915, the War Council gave its agreement and British troops in Egypt were put on alert. The Central Powers were fighting primarily on two fronts – the Western and Eastern Fronts. Fighting against such he armies as the Russian and French armies put a great deal of strain on the German military.
The input of the smaller Austrian army into the major battles had been small when compared to the German army’s input.
However, the overall campaign was a disaster of the first order. Over 200,000 Allied casualties occurred with many deaths coming from disease. The number of Turkish deaths is not clear but it is generally accepted that they were over 200,000.