2. The British had bombarded the German lines for some five days. They shelled the German Divisions with hundreds of thousands of shells. It was the heaviest artillery barrage in history until that battle. The British believed that the artillery shelling would destroy the German lines but this was to prove incorrect.
3. The Germans had dug new trench networks and had established a third line of defense in preparation for the expected British offensive. These defenses proved very effective at delaying and repulsing the British and French attacks.
4. The British Generals ordered that the British soldiers walk across no man’s land. This allowed the Germans to mow down many with their machine guns.
5. Adolf Hitler fought at the Somme. He was nearly killed here and he suffered a serious leg wound. He later recalled that the Somme ‘was not war, but hell’.
6. The son of the British Prime Minister Asquith was killed on the first day of the Battle. Several British MPs also were killed at this battle. The future British Prime Minister MacMillian was also wounded during the battle.
7. The Battle of the Somme was the first major battle where tanks and aeroplanes played a significant part in the fighting. The British developed the tank and they expected it to help them to defeat the Germans. However, the tanks proved mechanically unreliable. They enemy also employed artillery to destroy the tanks. In general, the tanks did not really help the British to achieve their aims.