9/8/1916 The Somme: Haig and Rawlinson show signs of strain

Haig recently wrote to the Cabinet War Committee telling them that the Battle of the Somme is going very well. Those doing the fighting might see things a bit differently. True, the Australians have managed to push on and take the higher ground beyond the village of Pozières, but the general rule is that British Commonwealth troops are taking heavy casualties and making little gains.

Yesterday British troops had another crack at taking the village of Guillemont. Once again the British swept through the village but were then forced back by flanking fire from machine guns and snipers hiding in the village’s cellars. Haig insists that the attacks be renewed today, but the British are repulsed with more heavy casualties.

The repeated failures are beginning to grate with the British commanders. Rawlinson, the local Some commander, blames the attacking troops for the lack of success: they just do not seem to have the necessary offensive spirit.

Haig, however, is starting to blame Rawlinson. He sends a message to Rawlinson demanding that future assaults be more carefully planned. Yet Haig’s instructions are contradictory. He wants careful planning, which suggests that there should be a wait before the next attacks. However he also wants the Germans to be kept under pressure by continuous assaults, which means that the British should be attacking without careful preparation.

Rawlinson begins preparations for another assault on Guillemont in the next few days, this time to take place on a broader front with more troops.

image source: (Wikipedia)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.