Images of War, The British On The Somme 1916, rare photographs from wartime archives

Another new addition to the very popular Images of War series. This book covers the British on the Somme in 1916. The author has provided clear text to accompany the outstanding selection of images. The war artist was still very important during the Great War but photographic output was immense. Much Recommended

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NAME: Images of War, The British On The Somme 1916, rare photographs 
from wartime archives
FILE: R2448
AUTHOR:  Bob Carruthers
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: soft back 
PAGES:  128
PRICE: £14.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWI, World War One, World War 1, First World War, Great War, 
trench warfare, Western Front. BEF, British Expeditionary Force, North 
West France, Belgium
ISBN: 1-47383-781-2
IMAGE: B2448.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/j8bxgr6
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: Another new addition to the very popular Images of War 
series. This book covers the British on the Somme in 1916.  The author 
has provided clear text to accompany the outstanding selection of 
images. The war artist was still very important during the Great War 
but photographic output was immense. Much Recommended 

This book covers the Somme of 1916 in all its visual horror. The 
images are remarkably crisp even though the processing and storage of 
images from this period has not always been the best. Although the 
American Civil War saw the increasing use of photographs, the camera 
had not advanced much in the half century from there. Many images were 
still recorded on glass plates and most cameras had a basic fixed 
lense. This makes the images in this book all the more remarkable for 
their composure and detail.



By 1916, the Western Front had settled into a war of attrition from 
fixed defences that stretched from Switzerland to the Channel Coast. 
Neither side was able to come up with a battle-winning new approach 
and this condemned the troops on this front to the violence and filth 
of trench warfare with the almost continuous artillery exchanges, the 
terror of mining and counter-mining, and the command of the machine 
gun.

The Battle of the Somme in 1916 has come to epitomise the futility 
of war and the horror that was peculiar to the Great War when the 
best of a generation on both sides was shredded, many remains 
sinking into the deep mud, only to emerge in 100 years and maybe for 
many years yet to come. However, it was a turning point even if that 
was not obvious at the time, to be little recognized years later by 
historians.

The battle seemed to go on for ever, as remarked by those who fought 
there. There were three phases. In the beginning, the artillery 
mounted a prolonged and sustained bombardment to soften the German 
troops. The infantry climbed out of the trenches and was promptly 
shredded by machine guns and rifle fire from the German forces that 
had survived the bombardment. The British continued in the face of 
these losses, sustained by men and supplies that were brought up by 
convoys of motor vehicles. Railways were used, including narrow 
gauge trench railways. Gas was deployed and gas sentries were used to 
give alarm. Crude gas hoods were issued and provided a level of 
protection. The many underground rooms along the trenches were 
fitted with gas curtains at the doorways that provided some 
protection.

By the third phase of the battle, tanks were deployed for the first 
time. They were too few in number, still requiring some development 
and less than entirely reliable, but they showed great promise. By 
the end of the battle, British commanders could see the glimmerings 
of hope that they could use new technology to create a break through. 
Much was to be made of the American forces who arrived for the final 
stage of the war, but although they were very welcome and made a 
valuable contribution that was largely to cancel out what would have 
been a German advantage in moving troops from the East, as Russia was 
removed from the war. The final victory owed much to lessons learned 
during the Battle of the Somme which came near the mid point of the 
war.

The rare photographs reproduced in this book speak volumes about all 
aspects of the battle. The horrors of this combat make words like 
'enchanting', 'delightful', and 'fascinating' seem inappropriate to 
describe the images but as works of art and faithful records they 
are all of that. This is an enthralling account in words and images.