Somme Campaign [Rawson]
A concise, account of each stage of the Somme battles, whether a set piece attack or a minor action. The emphasis of the book would be to explain the art of waging trench warfare during the Somme campaign.
This book concentrates on the British Army’s experience during the five and a half month long campaign on the Somme during July and November 1916. This book does have large sections on 1 July and 15 September because they were large battles. But it also has large sections on the other large battles, such as the 14 July, 25 September and 13 November. It also covers all the medium sized actions to clear tactical points such as the woods and villages down to the small actions to capture individual trenches.
The information contained in the book has been gathered from a variety of sources. The backbone of the narrative was created from the Official History, the two Somme volumes forming part of the twenty-eight volume series complied by Brigadier General Sir James Edmonds. The first volume was printed in 1932 and it covers the background of the battle, including the politics, planning and preparations. It also narrates the fateful first day of the campaign. The second volume was printed six months later and it covers the rest of the campaign, ending on 19 November. It also includes a series of controversial conclusions on the conduct of the campaign and the casualties.
You will find plenty of information on the reasoning behind each battle and the objectives. There is discussion on artillery bombardments, tactics, zero hours, the terrain and an attempt to understand the successes and failures of each attack. Where possible the men who made a difference are mentioned, the men who lead the assault companies and bombing teams, those who cut the wire and led the survivors into the German trenches, those who stopped the counterattacks and those awarded the Victoria Cross.