Tuesday 13 December 2016

New Reflections on the Battle of the Somme

Wednesday 13th December 1916: From our Correspondent in the Field

The heavy fall of snow yesterday ay Berles-au-Bois has put to rest any thoughts of resumed offensives on the Somme. A number of correspondents, still based near Albert, have been musing about this battle and have come up with a decidedly macabre statistic.

We were set to our musing by receipt of figures which show that the number of soldiers who died as a result of the battle has been calculated at 95,676 from Britain and the Empire and 50,756 from France and her overseas colonies(1). This makes a total of 146,432 allied soldiers died. Enemy deaths, of course, are unknown.

The battle saw an advance of six miles on a front of 26 miles – near enough 96 square miles of ground thus having been retaken from the enemy. This means that some 1,525 men were killed, on average, for every square mile of land taken from the enemy.

(1) Figures from the Official History by J E Edmonds – 1932.

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