30/7/1916 The Somme: new German tactics

British troops at the Somme are attacking again. Their target now is the village of Guillemont. The attack appears to start off well. After an artillery bombardment the infantry move forward. The British are aided by misty weather conditions, which hide them from the enemy. They manage to overrun the village. But then when the mist lifts, things go wrong. German machine-guns open up on their flanks. German troops emerge from the cellars of the village to attack them. The British are driven back with heavy casualties.

The strength of the German machine guns is an unpleasant surprise for the British, especially after the German trenches had been given a good pounding by their artillery. But the Germans have developed new tactics. Instead of placing machine guns in their trenches, where they will be a target for British artillery, they have started to locate them in shell holes in No-Man’s-Land. When British troops advance, they are not attacking a line but entering a zone of death.

image source (Royal Dublin Fusiliers)

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