Friday, February 7, 2014
My third activity was a ABC's children books. This is a book where there is a small phrase describing each letter that correlates to the topic. I had a bit of difficulty with this because they were some letters like W, Y, Z, and X that I had a hard time finding a word for. At the end, I did all of the letters except for X which there was no word in war that described it. For A, I did Asquith (the government head of Britain at the time), for B, I did Barbed wire which played a part in defending the Germans from the artillery bombing, for C, I did Creeping Barrage, which was a battlefield technique used in the battle, etc. In this way, I created a small book with pictures and captions (some of the pictures did not have captions because they might scare little children, and after all they are meant for children). Also, I used a lot of critical thinking when I had to come-up with all of the words for each letter. It was not an easy task, as anyone can see. At the very end, I cited the sources that I used for the picture and for the information. Overall, I had a lot of fun with the project, though it was a little time-taking, but that's okay when the product turns out the way you expected it to be.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
I have been learning a lot by reading the book The Three Armies on the Somme and reading online databases. The thing that I learned that the offensive was planned late in 1915 and was intended as a joint French-British attack. The French Commander in Chief, Joffre, conceived the idea as a battle of attrition, the aim being to drain the German forces of reserves, although territorial gain was a secondary aim.
The plan was agreed upon by the new British Commander in Chief, Sir Douglas Haig, although Haig would have preferred an offensive among the open ground of Flanders. Haig, who took up his appointment as Commander in Chief of the BEF on 19 December 1915, had been granted authorisation by the British government, led by Asquith, to conduct a major offensive in 1916.
Although in actuality British forces comprised by far the bulk of the offensive forces, Joffre and Haig originally intended for the attack to be a predominantly French offensive. However the German onslaught at Verdun at the start of 1916, where the German Army Chief of Staff, Von Falkenhayn promised to 'bleed France white', resulted in the diversion of virtually all French manpower and efforts.
The German Verdun offensive transformed the intent of the Somme attack; the French demanded that the planned date of the attack, 1 August 1916, be brought forward to 1 July, the aim chiefly being to divert German resources from Verdun in the defence of the Somme.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
My second project was a webpage on the Battle of Somme. In this project, I made a webpage in which I explained everything in the Battle of Somme. The first paragraph is introducing what the battle of somme, the second paragraph was introducing the idea of why the battle was fought, the third paragraph is explaining the second success, and the last paragraph is wrapping up everything that happened and summarizing the Battle of Somme. While doing this project, I have learned that General Haig killed himself after he was made fun of in the whole department. I have learned a lot in this project.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Why was this battle fought? Was it originally supposed to be pointless? This is something that I have been learning by reading many books and looking at different research databases. For a number of months the French had been taking severe losses at Verdun – to the east of Paris. To relieve the French, the Allied High Command decided to attack the Germans to the north of Verdun therefore requiring the Germans to move some of their men away from the Verdun battlefield thus relieving the French. After the war, Sir William Robertson, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, explained what this strategy was: "Remembering the dissatisfaction by ministers at the end of 1915, because the operations had not come up to their expectations, the General Staff took the precaution to make quite clear beforehand the nature of success which the Somme campaign might yield. The necessity of relieving pressure on the French Army at Verdun remains, and is more urgent than ever. This is, therefore, the first objective to be obtained by the combined British and French offensive. The second objective is to inflict as heavy losses as possible upon the German armies." Ironically, the head of the French Army, General Foch, believed that the attack in the Somme would achieve little - this view was shared by some leading British commanders such as General Henry Rawlinson. However, orders from the army's political masters in London and Paris ensured that the battle would take place.
I am also learning that the British had two main victories in the Battle of Somme. The second success for the British was not too later. On September 15, the British attack was renewed in the north-east with the Battle of Flers-Courcelette fought by Rawlinson’s Fourth Army. On this assault, tanks were used for the first time in the war. Although they attained a large measure of shocked surprise when they rolled on the German oppositions, these early tanks proved unwieldy and highly unreliable. The British troops were to break through the remaining enemy trench system while the French Sixth Army would attempt to clear the enemy from the British right flank. Meanwhile the Canadians were northwest of the Albert-Bapaume road and outpaced their seven tanks to capture Courcelette. Immediately south of them, the 15th Scottish Division, helped by a single tank, captured Martinpuich. To the southeast, however, German forces on high ground halted a number of tanks, pounding them with artillery and machine gun fire. Others found themselves lost, while yet others fired on their own infantry. British advances were small but were consolidated on as other attacks were launched by the British at the Battles of Transloy Ridges from 1 to October 20.
Friday, January 24, 2014
For my first weekly non-fiction project, I did a soldier's diary who was supposed to be in the Battle of Somme. In my project, I only did four diary entries, but they were very emotional and portrayed the person's thoughts clearly and effectively. In the first entry, it is the first day of the battle and the soldier is scared to fire the artillery bombs. He is worried about his wife and child and how they will survive if they heard that he died. In the second blog, the soldier is going through hard times and he has seen something that will always remain in his mind. The dead people are really starting to unfaze him and break his strong attitude. The third one is about the soldier talking about the British failing and the French coming to help them, but they are still failing. The last blog talks about the soldier getting called to fight with the French and he is saying his farewells. I have learned by this project because it has helped me understand most of the soldier's actual feelings. It has also required more research which has helped me gain more insight on the battle. This project has helped me in many ways and I enjoyed writing it.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
The Somme war was the bloodiest
war in all of history and many casualties lost their lives. As I read the book Three Armies on the Somme, I slowly understand that this was a meaningless war for almost everyone. It was just being fought for the satisfaction of the higher generals and governments, as was the whole World War I. I am also learning that even though the British were losing in the beginning, they ended up doing really well. New inventions were made by them such as flamethrowers, also they came up with many tactics which helped them in future wars. Even though the British are only known for their failure the first day, on July 14th the intense, broad-front attack returned to the British. Five divisions went forward at night on a front of 9,000 yards. In its immediate purpose the attack was a complete success. The success, as Rawlinson (who commanded the operation) noted, was due less to the device of attacking at night than to the crushing intensity of the bombardment, which eliminated most of the German defenders before the infantry went in. The last thing that I am learning is that the main reason that the artillery bombing didn't go well was because some of the British soldiers betrayed their army to help the Germans. They were in charge of pointing where the artillery bombs were supposed to land and they pointed it towards the British camps and barracks. Some of these men were discovered, but three-fourths of them went unknown and continued to fight for the British military. The Battle of Somme was not just an ordinary battle and I hope to unearth more secrets of the battle in the future.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
The battle of Somme was indeed a bloody battle, but it was not the Germans that made it so. As we look back, we see only one idol that represents foolishness, that caused 60,000 causality deaths in one day : General Haig. There still are a lot of different controversies on him; did he help the British army or did he sabotage there hopes of winning? It surprises me how a well known general would make a plan that would destroy his forces and also destroy the French's. His orders were to first fire artillery shells all across the German army which was the worst decision he could have made. It gave away when the British were going to attack and the Germans could easily doge the threat by hiding underground. The second mistake General Haig made was when he did not consider the Germans' surroundings. They had a nice, comfy place to fight where the ground was high, there was undulating tract of ground, and bomb proof shelters (deep trenches). Overall, the way the war was fought on the British's side was not satisfactory at all and ended up in the British's downfall.