The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, was one of the largest battles of the First World War. Fought between July 1 and November 1, 1916 near the Somme River in France, it was also one of the bloodiest military battles in history. On the first day alone, the British suffered more than 57,000 casualties, and by the end of the campaign the Allies and Central Powers would lose more than 1.5 million men. The Somme campaign in 1916 was the first great offensive of World War I for the British, and it produced a more critical British attitude toward the war. During and after the Somme, the British army started a real improvement in tactics. Also, the French attacked at the Somme and achieved greater advances on July 1 than the British did, with far fewer casualties.
Fromelles was the first major battle fought by Australian troops on the Western Front. Directed against a strong German position known as the Sugar Loaf salient, the attack was intended primarily as a feint to draw German troops away from the Somme offensive then being pursued further to the south. A seven-hour preparatory bombardment deprived the attack of any hope of surprise, and ultimately proved ineffective in subduing the well-entrenched defenders. When the troops of the 5th Australian and 61st British Divisions attacked at 6 pm on 19 July 1916, they suffered heavily at the hands of German machine-gunners. Small parts of the German trenches were captured by the 8th and 14th Australian Brigades, but, devoid of flanking support and subjected to fierce counter-attacks, they were forced to withdraw. By 8am on 20 July 1916, the battle was over.
On July 26, 1916, during the epic Battle of the Somme, Australian troops taking part in their first offensive action on the Western Front battle the Germans at Pozieres, near the Somme River in France.After the initial Allied bombardment, Australian troops moved forward under heavy fire, but were able to press ahead and capture the village of Pozieres itself within an hour. The attack’s main objective, Pozieres Ridge, was heavily defended by the Germans, who had used the week preceding the attack to reinforce their positions with a network of machine guns placed in shell holes in front of their lines.
The capture of the town of Hamel and its surrounding areas was thought to be a significant and strategic boon to the Allied cause in 1918.The Hamel operation was under the command of Lieutenant General John Monash. Monash prepared by:* training troops to work with the tanks* colour-coding tank and infantry units* banning troops from moving in daylight * using planes to cover the noise of the moving tanks* ordering high explosive and smoke bombs to be dropped regularly on the town at around 3.00a.m
Eight hundred Australians and 170 Americans were killed in action; more were injured. About 1400 Germans were captured and approximately 2000 were killed.The war continued until November and the style of Allied attacks was altered to follow Monash's blueprint.