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Word Count: 846
The Battle of the Somme Haig was ultimately responsible for the planning and direction of the series of battles known collectively as the Battle of the Somme Despite his awareness of what had gone wrong at Neuve Chappelle and again at Loos and the failure of these battles Haig still repeated the same principles of attack although on a vastly greater scale Yet again he made no allowance for the failure of the artillery to cut the wire and completely misjudged the capacity of the Germans to survive his artillery bombardments despite the tremendous bombardments they were still able to fire their machine guns and cause immense carnage on his unprotected men One important reason why the bombardments were not successful was because about one in three of the British shells failed to explode Haig was aware of the deficiencies in his ammunition but failed to realise how seriously this affected the effects of the shelling The Germans had built a complex system of defence in depth involving a strongly fortified front line with deep dugouts where the defenders could shelter safe from all but a direct hit from a very large shell When the barrage eventually ceased they were able to emerge and set up machine guns before their attackers could reach them On the first day of the battle of the Somme The British soldiers were actually ordered to advance in line abreast into their fire9 The unavoidable result was 61816 casualties on the first day of the Somme July the 1st 191510 and even Terraine admits that there was a great tactical blunder 11 Yet on the first day of the battle Haig was quite unaware of the magnitude of the disaster Terraine wrote What is difficult to grasp from the vantage of today is how a disaster of such proportions could fail to be instantly apparent Yet such was the case It is perfectly clear from Haigs Diary that
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