This book provides an entirely fresh way of looking at the Battle of the Somme 1916. It is not a rehashed narrative history of the battle. Instead, drawing heavily on examples that can be illustrated through exploitation of the primary sources still available in abundance in the archives at Stuttgart and Munich and anecdotal accounts, it explains how and why the German defence was designed and conducted as it was. There are descriptions of the reasons for the dominance of the Great General Staff, the tensions between commanders and staff, the disagreements between the commanders of First and Second Army and the replacement of General von Falkenhayn with the duumvirate of Hindenburg and Ludendorff. Specific case studies will include the loss and recapture of Schwaben Redoubt on 1 July, the British assault on the Second Position of 14 July, the tank attack at Flers 15 September and the autumn battles for Sailly Saissisel and St Pierre Vaast Wood. This ensures that there is plenty to interest the general reader as well as showing how the various levels of command from regiment to army group operated and responded to emergencies and crises. Space is devoted to changes in command philosophy, the introduction of new weapons and equipment and the evolution of tactics to counter the massive Allied superiority in manpower and materiel.
FIGHTING THE SOMMEGerman Challenges, Dilemmas and Solutions
Jack Sheldon expert author examines the Battle of the Somme from the vantage point of the German High Command.
There are still, however, enough vignettes from the front line to testify to the harrowing fighting that took place in trench and shell hole.