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The Second Battle of Somme
Transcript of The Second Battle of Somme
battle of somme
In 1918, during the First World War, the Second Battle of Somme was fought on the Western Front in the basin of the Somme River. It was part of a series of counter offenses in response to the German spring offensive. It also served as a pause for German resupplying. Allied Field Marshall Douglas Haig refused demands from German Marshal Ferdinand Foch to continue the Amiens offensive. Haig planned for an offensive attack at the French commune, Albert. The main attack was launched by the British Third Army with the U.S. Second Corps attached.
The Second Battle of Somme began on August 21, 1918 with the opening of the Second Battle of Bapaume to the North of the Somme River. It developed into an advance that pushed the German Second Army back 55 kilometers. The French commune of Albert was captured on August 22nd. On the 26th, the British First Army widened their attack and Bapaume fell on August 29th. The Australian Corps crossed the Somme River on the night of the 31st and broke through the German lines. These advances were described by a British General as "the greatest achievements of the war."
In late September/early October, at the Battle of Saint Quentin Canal, the British, Australian, and American troops breached the Hindenburg Line. Soon after that, the Canadians breached the Line during the Battle of Cambrai.
There were several issues at stake in the Second Battle of Somme, including the German progression to Paris, France and German control of the war. In this battle, the British Empire, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, and United Stated were fighting against the German Empire (Central Powers). The British wanted to assist our allies in the other theaters of war by stopping any further transfer of German troops from the Western Front. They also wanted to wear down the strength of the forces opposed to us and to relieve pressure on Verdun. The Germans wanted to get to Paris, France and take control of the war.
On the morning of September 2nd, the Canadian Corps seized control of the west edge of the Hindenburg Line (this line was directly on the Front of the war). Heavy German casualties were inflicted and 6,000 unwounded German soldiers were taken prisoner by the Canadians, who themselves had received 5,600 casualties. By noon, the German commander, Erich Ludendorff, decided to withdraw behind the Canal du Nord (North Canal).
After the Battle, the Germans retreated behind the Hindenburg Line back into Belgium. They argued that they had never lost the war because Germany was never actually invaded. If the Germans had not been pushed back behind the Hindenburg Line, they would have advanced to Paris where they would've gained a lot of territory and major control of the war.