July 1st, 1916 – One Hundred Years Ago Today

One hundred years ago today near the Somme river in France it was 52 degrees and clear in the morning.  British historians call this day the First Day of the Somme or the Battle of Albert which lasted until July 13th.  It was part of a greater battle they refer to as the Battle of the Somme.  The British Fourth Army was one of the participants on the first day of fighting and when night came they had taken 57,470 casualties, 19,240 of which were men killed in action.  It was near 80 degrees when a truce was called to remove the dead from the battlefield.  It was no longer clear, smoke filled the air.  The Battle of the Somme would last until November 1st, 1916.  British losses alone were 481,842.  The are are other periods of bloodshed that compare. Verdun. Stalingrad. Dnieper.  Today does not mark their passing though.  When analyzing the battle of the Somme for a victor military historians consider the results inconclusive.  The 1.2 million causalities over 4 months was not enough to settle the argument.  More would be needed.

Gene G. McLaughlin 2016

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