The Battle of the Somme took place from July to November 1916 and was originally an Allied offensive against German troops near the French Somme on the Western Front of World War I. The battle became one of the fiercest, deadliest and most expensive in human history, with more than 57,000 British casualties – including more than 19,000 soldiers killed – on its first day alone.
When the Battle of the Somme (sometimes called the First Battle of the Somme) ended nearly five months later, more than 3 million soldiers on both sides fought and more than 1 million were killed or wounded.
Many British soldiers who fought on the Somme volunteered for military service in 1914 and 1915 and saw combat for the first time. Many are members of so-called friend camps, or units made up of friends, relatives, and neighbors in the same community.
Although the exact figures are disputed, by the end of the Battle of the Somme, German losses may have surpassed that of the British, with some 450,000 soldiers lost to the British side’s 420,000. The surviving British troops also gained valuable experience that would help them achieve their final victory on the Western Front.
PIC: history.com, national army museum, The Week UK, DK Find Out