14/11/1916 The Somme: failed attempts to exploit yesterday’s successes

British troops made some progress at the Somme yesterday, finally capturing the remnants of the village of Beaumont Hamel (which had been an objective on the battle’s first day in July). Today they attempt to exploit this success, hoping to make further gains and press on through the German defences to open country. But the attacks fail. The units that took part in yesterday’s attacks are depleted in numbers and jumbled up together, making coordinated action difficult. British artillery is uncertain now of the exact locations of its forward troops, making it hard for the guns to safely target the enemy. As a result the Germans are easily able to contain the British, who take no more ground.

Nevertheless, yesterday’s attack has served its purpose. Haig, Britain’s commander on the Western Front, is on his way to a conference of Allied war leaders at Joffre’s headquarters in Chantilly. He will be able to present the capture of Beaumont Hamel to his colleagues as a sign that his chaps are continuing to press the Germans hard.

image source:

Douglas Haig (Wikipedia)

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