3/9/1916 The Somme: British troops finally seize Guillemont

Fighting continues at the Somme. The British have continued to enjoy little success on their left flank, where piecemeal assaults have made little gains and taken heavy casualties. Meanwhile a German counter-attack has reversed many previous gains in the Delville Wood area.

On his right flank, Rawlinson has been preparing a large-scale assault on the village of Guillemont. The plan was for the British and French to attack simultaneously. Bad weather forced the attack’s delay but now at last the assault begins. However, it gets off to an immediate bad start. The artillery bombardment turns out to have missed its targets and a planned creeping barrage fails to materialise. As a result, the French drop out, but the British infantry attack anyway.

Despite the failures of the artillery, the British infantry are able to advance much further than has typically been the case in Somme fighting. The Germans appear to have been surprised by the scale of the assault and also the direction from which the British attack. Losses are heavy but the British manage to surround and secure Guillemont. Now they hope to press on and achieve further successes.

image source:

High Street, Guillemont (Wikipedia)

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