somme

SOMME
1er JUILLET AU 18 NOVEMBRE 1916 / 1st JULY TO 18th NOVEMBER 1916

 

 

 

 

 

La bataille de la Somme désigne une confrontation opposant les Britanniques et les Français aux Allemands en 1916 lors de la Première Guerre mondiale, dont ce fut l'une des batailles les plus sanglantes.

Les forces britanniques et françaises tentèrent de percer à travers les lignes allemandes fortifiées sur une ligne nord-sud de 45 km proche de la Somme, au nord de la France, dans un triangle entre les villes d'Albert du côté britannique, Péronne et Bapaume.

Il s'agit de l'une des batailles les plus meurtrières de l'histoire humaine (hors victimes civiles), avec parmi les belligérants environ 1 060 000 victimes, dont environ 442 000 morts ou disparus.

La première journée de cette bataille, le 1er juillet 1916, détient le triste record de la journée la plus sanglante pour l'armée britannique, avec58 000 victimes dont 19 240 morts. La bataille prit fin le 18 novembre 1916.

Pour la première fois, un film de propagande, La Bataille de la Somme, a saisi une grande partie des horreurs de la guerre moderne en incluant des images issues des premiers jours de la bataille. Ces événements furent couverts par des photographes et peintres, dont François Flameng peintre officiel des armées dont les nombreux croquis et dessins de ces événements parurent dans la revue L'Illustration.

 

 

Préalable

Le front est stabilisé depuis décembre 1914, à la suite de la course à la mer. Les combats de 1915 n'ont pas fait bouger les lignes.

La conférence interalliée de l'Entente de Chantilly le 6 décembre 1915 débouche sur la décision d'attaquer les Empires centraux sur tous les fronts en 1916, en Russie, en Italie, et sur le Front de l'Ouest. Seulement aucune date n'est fixée, et il faudrait attendre juin ou juillet pour espérer une participation russe. Joffre, nommé commandant en chef de l'armée française début décembre 1915 obtient lors de négociations bilatérales une offensive conjointe franco-britannique. Les lignes françaises rejoignent les lignes britanniques sur la Somme, c'est donc ce secteur qui est désigné.

En 1916, l’armée britannique en France manque d’expérience, sa partie professionnelle, six divisions, ayant été éliminée en 1914-15. La plus grande partie de ses effectifs est composée de volontaires des forces territoriales et de la nouvelle armée de Kitchener. Les officiers ont été promus rapidement et manquent à la fois de formation et d’expérience. Le général en chef John French est remplacé en décembre 1915 par Douglas Haig, lui-même promu rapidement. Haig collabore volontiers avec Joffre, mais il souligne l'indépendance du corps expéditionnaire anglais, le commandement n'est donc pas unifié. Joffre monte donc cette offensive avec l'armée française comme acteur principal au sud de la Somme, qui sera appuyée par le corps britannique moins aguerri entre la Somme et Arras. Il nomme Foch responsable sur le terrain, lui qui est déjà commandant du Groupe d'Armées Nord. Une autre conférence à Chantilly le 14 février 1916 fixe le début de l'opération pour le 1er juillet 1916.

Lorsque l'armée allemande lance son offensive sur Verdun, le 21 février 1916, le commandant en chef britannique propose de venir aider son allié. Joffre décide que l'armée française peut faire face sans cet appui tout en pressant Haig de mettre en place l'offensive sur la Somme le plus tôt possible. Le printemps voit les plans de la bataille changer, car l'engagement français à Verdun ponctionne les troupes prévues pour l'offensive. Fin mai le dispositif français est réduit au point que l'armée britannique est désormais l'élément principal sur la Somme. Finalement la date du 24 juin est adoptée pour le début de la préparation d'artillerie, et le 1er juillet pour l'assaut.

Côté allemand Falkenhayn ne prend pas de dispositions particulières, l'état-major attendant une offensive alliée sur l'Artois ou en Alsace, les préparatifs alliés lui semblent un bluff. Le terrain de la bataille est le plateau picard, terrain crayeux propice au creusement de tranchées. Le maillage des villages, distants de deux à quatre kilomètres, permet une défense en profondeur, ce qu'ont organisé les troupes de Von Bülow depuis 1914.

Le terrain

Troupes anglaises du 2nd Battalion(Gordon Highlanders, 20th Brigade, British7th Division) traversant le « no man's land », près de Mametz le 1er juillet 1916, au début de la bataille de la Somme.
Route de Pozières, août 1916

Les Allemands occupent presque partout des hauteurs. Leur front se compose :

  • d'une forte première position, avec des tranchées de première ligne, d'appui et de réserve, ainsi qu'un labyrinthe d'abris profonds comportant d'ailleurs tout le confort moderne ;
  • d'une deuxième ligne intermédiaire, moins forte, protégeant des batteries de campagne ;
  • enfin, un peu en arrière, d'une deuxième position presque aussi forte que la première.

À l'arrière, se trouvent des bois et des villages « fortifiés » reliés par des boyaux, de façon à former une troisième et même une quatrième ligne de défense, le tout largement bétonné et bénéficiant des qualités de la roche crayeuse qui se coupait facilement et durcissait en séchant.

Transformation de l’arrière

Chargement d'un canon britannique de15 pouces.

L'arrière avait été transformé en un gigantesque entrepôt avec ce qui se faisait de mieux pour les routes, le ferroviaire et l'aviation. L'artillerie, y compris des monstres sur voie ferrée de 380 et 400 mm, atteignait des sommets de puissance destructrice.

Ordre de bataille

Les Alliés

Les Français :

  • La 6e armée (Fayolle) avec trois corps d'armées (1er20e et 35e CA) ;
  • La 10e armée (Micheler) avec cinq corps d'armées.

Elles totalisent quatorze divisions en ligne, quatre de réserve et quatre de cavalerie sur un front de 15 kilomètres. L'artillerie aligne 696 pièces de campagne,732 pièces lourdes, 122 pièces ALGP (artillerie lourde à grande puissance) et 1 100 mortiers de tranchée (avec un approvisionnement de six millions d'obus de75 mm, deux millions de munitions pour l'artillerie lourde et 400 000 pour l'artillerie de tranchée).

Les Britanniques :

Le groupe d'armées Haig qui comprend :

  • La IVe armée (Rawlinson) avec cinq corps (8e10e3e15e et 13e CA) ;
  • La IIIe armée (Allenby) avec un corps d'armée (le 7e) ;
  • L'armée de Réserve (Gough).

Soit un effectif de 26 divisions en ligne et trois de cavalerie sur un front de 25 kilomètres, avec l'appui de 868 pièces de campagne et 467 pièces lourdes (respectivement approvisionnées à 2 600 000 et 1 163 000 coups).

Les Allemands

Jeune soldat allemand engagé dans la bataille de la Somme, photo de 1916

La IIe armée (Fritz von Below) avec trois groupements (von Stein, von Gosler et von Quast) soit huit divisions en ligne et treize de réserve. Ils disposent de 454 canons de campagne et 390 lourds, ce qui représente à peine le tiers de la puissance de feu des alliés, ainsi que de 129 appareils face aux 300 Franco-Britanniques.

Préparation d'artillerie

Artillerie lourde britannique en action

La préparation d'artillerie, initialement prévue pour cinq jours, débute le 24 juin par des tirs de réglage et de destruction. Elle s'intensifie à partir du 26 par un bombardement général et continu des lignes allemandes. Le 28, l'offensive est reportée de 48 heures à cause du mauvais temps. En une semaine, l'artillerie britannique tire 1 732 873 coups.

Il tombe les premiers jours une moyenne de cinq obus pour chaque soldat allemand.

Les premiers jours

Un soldat britannique à Ovillers-la-Boisselle, juillet 1916.

Le 1er juillet au matin, c'est par un beau temps et clair que commence le bombardement final des alliés. À partir de h 25, les tirs d'artillerie atteignent une cadence de 3 500 coups par minute, produisant un bruit si intense qu'il est perçu jusqu'en Angleterre.

Soldats britanniques dans les tranchées le 1er juillet 1916.

À h 30, au coup de sifflet, l'infanterie britannique franchit les parapets baïonnette au canon et part à l'assaut des tranchées adverses. Les hommes sont lourdement chargés avec plus de 30 kg d'équipement.

Les Allemands les accueillent avec des tirs de mitrailleuses qui les fauchent en masse. Les officiers sont facilement repérables et sont particulièrement visés. On estime à 30 000 le nombre des victimes (tués et blessés) dans les six premières minutes de la bataille 4. Le 1er juillet 1916 est le jour le plus meurtrier de toute l'histoire militaire britannique. Les Allemands sont stupéfaits de voir les soldats britanniques venir au pas. En fait, le commandement anglais craignait que les troupes perdent le contact en courant et en se dispersant. Persuadé que les défenses allemandes avaient été anéanties par les bombardements, ils ont exigé que les hommes avancent au pas5. À midi, l’état-major britannique annule cet ordre, et retient les vagues d’assaut suivantes. Lorsque les Britanniques parviennent aux tranchées allemandes, ils sont trop peu nombreux pour résister à une contre-attaque.

Dans la première journée, on dénombre 20 000 morts et 40 000 blessés ou disparus britanniques pour 320 000 soldats engagés. Certaines unités, comme celle deTerre-Neuve, perdent jusqu'à 91 % de leurs effectifs. Du côté allemand, les pertes sont estimées à 6 000 hommes6.

Le 3 juillet, ils consolident leurs positions en s'emparant des bois de Mametz, au sud de Contalmaison : c'est là que plus de 1 000 prisonniers sont cueillis dans un seul fourré.

Bilan français

En dix jours, la VIe armée française, sur un front de près de vingt kilomètres, a progressé sur une profondeur qui atteint en certains points dix kilomètres. Elle est entièrement maîtresse du plateau de Flaucourt qui lui avait été assigné comme objectif et qui constitue la principale défense de Péronne. Elle a fait12 000 prisonniers, presque sans pertes, pris 85 canons26 minenwerfer100 mitrailleuses, un matériel considérable. C'est le plus beau succès obtenu depuis labataille de la Marne.

Transfert des divisions allemandes

Trente-cinq divisions sont retirées du secteur de Verdun pour renforcer le front devant Bapaume.

Du 20 juillet à la fin août

Articles détaillés : Bataille de la crête de Bazentin et Bataille du bois Delville.
Un détail du camp retranché allemand dePéronne. On y distingue un réseau de voies du chemin de fer de campagne, l'équivalent allemand du système Péchot français, un cimetière…

La dernière semaine de juillet est d'une chaleur lourde et poussiéreuse. Au cours de cette semaine, l'armée Gough, réserve britannique, prend pied dans la forte position de Pozières et reprend aux Allemands, une deuxième fois, le bois Delville et Longueval. Elle échoue, par contre, au cours de combats féroces qui durent pendant plus d'une semaine, sur Guillemont.

De septembre à la mi-novembre

Articles détaillés : Bataille de Ginchy, Bataille de la crête de Thiepval et Bataille de Morval.

La pluie commence à tomber, rendant le champ de bataille boueux.

Le 3 septembre, dès les premières heures de l'attaque, Guillemont est pris.
Le 4, au sud, la Xe armée enlève toute la première position entre Deniécourt et Vermandovillers. Soyécourt et Chilly sont pris, avec 2 700 prisonniers ; Chaulnes est directement menacé à partir de Lihons.
Le 6 septembre, la Ire Armée française s'empare d'une grande partie de Berny-en-Santerre.

Les chars

Char britannique Mark I.

Le 15 septembre apparaissent les premiers chars d'assaut alliés qui interviennent avec succès. Ils aident à prendre Courcelette, Martinpuich, le bois des Fourcaux, le village de Flers avec 4 000 prisonniers.

Le 17, la Ire Armée prend Vermandovillers et Berny.

Le 26 enfin, « journée glorieuse » : les deux alliés prennent ensemble Combles, la « clé » entre Bapaume et Péronne. D'autre part, tout à fait au nord, les Britanniques enlèvent Thiepval après l'utilisation de mines. L'offensive cesse.

18 novembre : fin de la bataille de la Somme3.

Conséquences

photo aérienne des tranchées versThiepval le 25 septembre 1916.

Malgré les très faibles gains territoriaux, les Allemands ont été très impressionnés par le bombardement de préparation des alliés. C’est à la suite de la bataille de la Somme que le haut-commandement allemand décide la guerre sous-marine à outrance, ce qui a pour effet incident — non nécessairement souhaité — de provoquer l’entrée en guerre des États-Unis (à la suite du naufrage du Lusitania) et ainsi le basculement du rapport de forces7.

Le 24 février 1917, l'armée allemande effectue une retraite stratégique, en détruisant tout derrière elle, afin de raccourcir sa ligne de défense sur la ligne Hindenburg.

Bilan

En cinq mois, les alliés ont progressé de 12 kilomètres au nord de la Somme entre Maricourt et Sailly-Saillisel et 8 kilomètres au sud. La percée tant attendue par laquelle Joffre espérait revenir à une guerre de mouvement s'est transformée une fois de plus en une bataille d'usure, comme à Verdun. Aucun des objectifs principaux — que sont Bapaume et Péronne — n'est atteint.

Les Britanniques ont capturé 31 076 Allemands, pris 102 canons de campagne, 29 canons lourds, 111 mortiers et 453 mitrailleuses. Les Français ont fait prisonniers 41 605 Allemands (dont 809 officiers) et se sont emparés de 71]pièces de campagne, 101 pièces lourdes, 104 mortiers et 535 mitrailleuses.

Pour de tels résultats, les pertes admises chez les Britanniques s'élèvent à un total de 419 654 hommes mis hors de combat (213 372 blessés et206 282 morts ou disparusNote 1) et, chez les Français, à 202 567 combattants (135 879 blessés et 66 688 morts ou disparusNote 2). Ainsi, pour des résultats similaires, la tactique des Français s'est avérée moins coûteuse que celle des Britanniques dont les hommes de l'armée Kitchener manquaient d'expérience.

Les Allemands ont quant à eux perdu au moins 437 322 hommes (dont 170 000 tués).

Pour limiter les pertes, Foch demandait à ses commandants de faire courir les hommes d'obstacle en obstacle, « il est donc d'une importance primordiale de l'employer [le soldat] avec une stricte économie… »8.

The Battle of the Somme (French: Bataille de la Somme, German: Schlacht an der Somme), also known as the Somme Offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British and French empires against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on either side of the River Somme in France. The battle was one of the largest of World War I, in which more than 1,000,000 men were wounded or killed, making it one of humanity's bloodiest battles. A Franco-British commitment to an offensive on the Somme had been made during Allied discussions at Chantilly, Oise in December 1915. The Allies agreed upon a strategy of combined offensives against the Central Powers in 1916, by the French, Russian, British and Italian armies, with the Somme offensive as the Franco-British contribution. The main part of the offensive was to be made by the French Army, supported on the northern flank by the Fourth Army of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF).

When the German Army began the Battle of Verdun on the Meuse in February 1916, many French divisions intended for the Somme were diverted and the supporting attack by the British became the principal effort. The First day on the Somme was a serious defeat for the German Second Army, which was forced out of its first line of defence by the French Sixth Army, from Foucaucourt-en-Santerre south of the Somme to Maricourt on the north bank and by the British Fourth Army from Maricourt to the vicinity of the Albert–Bapaume road. 1 July 1916 was also the worst day in the history of British Army, which had c. 60,000 casualties, mainly on the front between the Albert–Bapaume road and Gommecourt, where the attack failed disastrously, few British troops reaching the German front line. The British Army on the Somme was a mixture of the remains of the pre-war regular army, Territorial Force and the Kitchener Army which was composed of Pals battalions, recruited from the same places and occupations, whose losses had a profound social impact in Britain.

The battle is notable for the importance of air power and the first use of the tank. At the end of the battle, British and French forces had penetrated 6 miles (9.7 km) into German-occupied territory, taking more ground than any offensive since the Battle of the Marne in 1914. The Anglo-French armies had failed to capture Péronne and were still 3 miles (4.8 km) from Bapaume, where the German armies maintained their positions over the winter. British attacks in the Ancre valley resumed in January 1917 and forced the Germans into local withdrawals to reserve lines in February before the scheduled retirement to the Siegfriedstellung (Hindenburg Line) began in March.

General Sir Douglas Haig, the commander of the BEF and General Henry Rawlinson commander of the Fourth Army, have been criticised ever since, for the human cost of the battle and for failing to achieve their territorial objectives. On 1 August 1916 Winston Churchill criticised the British Army's conduct of the offensive to the British Cabinet, claiming that though the battle had forced the Germans to end their offensive at Verdun, attrition was damaging the British armies more than the German. Though Churchill was unable to suggest an alternative, a critical view of the British on the Somme has been influential in English-language writing ever since.

A rival conclusion by Terraine, Sheffield, Duffy, Chickering, Herwig and Philpott among others, is that there was no strategic alternative for the British in 1916 and that an understandable horror at British losses is insular, given the millions of casualties borne by the French and Russian armies since 1914. This school of thought sets the battle in a context of a general Allied offensive in 1916 and notes that German and French writing on the battle puts it in a continental perspective, which is inaccessible to anglophone monoglots because much of the writing has yet to be translated. The Battle of the Somme has been called the beginning of modern all-arms warfare, during which Kitchener's Army learned to fight the mass-industrial war, which the continental armies had been engaged in for two years. This view sees the British contribution to the battle as part of a coalition war and part of a process, which took the strategic initiative from the German Army and caused it irreparable damage, leading to its collapse in late 1918.

 

Background

Strategic developments

The Western Front 1915–1916.

Allied war strategy for 1916 was decided at the Chantilly Conference 6–8 December 1915. Simultaneous offensives on the Eastern Front by the Russian army, on the Italian Front by the Italian army, and on the Western Front by the Franco-British armies, were to be carried out to deny time for the Central Powers to move troops between fronts during lulls. In December 1915, General Sir Douglas Haig replaced General Sir John French as Commander-in-Chief of the BEF. Haig favoured a British offensive in Flanders, close to BEF supply routes to drive the Germans from the Belgian coast and end the U-boat threat from Belgian waters.[1] Haig was not formally subordinate to Joffre but the British played a lesser role on the Western Front and complied with French strategy. In January 1916, Joffre had agreed to the BEF making its main effort in Flanders but in February 1916 it was decided to mount a combined offensive where the French and British armies met, astride the Somme River in Picardy before the British offensive in Flanders.[2] A week later the Germans began an offensive against the French at Verdun. The costly defence of Verdun forced the French army to commit divisions intended for the Somme offensive, eventually reducing the French contribution to 13 divisions in the Sixth Armyagainst 20 British divisions.[3] By 31 May the ambitious Franco-British plan for a decisive victory had been reduced to a limited offensive to relieve pressure on the French army at Verdun by a battle of attrition.[4]

The Chief of the German General Staff, Erich von Falkenhayn intended to end the war by splitting the Anglo-French Entente in 1916, before its material superiority became unbeatable. Falkenhayn planned to defeat the large number of reserves, which the Entente could move into the path of a breakthrough by provoking the French into counter-attacking German positions, by threatening a sensitive point close to the existing front line. Falkenhayn chose to attack towards Verdun and take the Meuse heights making the city untenable. The French would have to conduct a counter-offensive, from ground dominated by the German army and ringed with masses of heavy artillery, leading to huge losses and bring the French army close to collapse. The British would then have to begin a hasty relief-offensive and would also suffer huge losses. Falkenhayn expected the relief offensive to fall south of Arras against the Sixth Army and be destroyed.[Note 1] If such Franco-British defeats were not enough, Germany would attack both armies and end the western alliance for good.[6] The unexpected length of the Verdun offensive and the need to replace many exhausted units at Verdun, depleted the German strategic reserve placed behind the Sixth Army (from Hannescamps 18 kilometres (11 mi) south-west of Arras and St. Eloi, south of Ypres) and reduced the German counter-offensive strategy north of the Somme to one of passive and unyielding defence.[7]

Battle of Verdun

The Battle of Verdun (21 February – 18 December 1916) began a week after Joffre and Haig agreed to mount an offensive on the Somme. The German offensive at Verdun was intended to threaten the capture of the city and induce the French to fight an attritional battle, in which German advantages of terrain and firepower would cause the French disproportionate casualties. The battle changed the nature of the offensive on the Somme, as French divisions were diverted to Verdun and the main effort by the French diminished to a supporting attack for the British. German overestimation of the cost of Verdun to the French contributed to the concentration of German infantry and guns on the north bank of the Somme.[8] By May Joffre and Haig had changed their expectations of an offensive on the Somme, from a decisive battle to a hope that it would relieve Verdun and keep German divisions in France, which would assist the Russian armies conducting the Brusilov Offensive. The German offensive at Verdun was suspended in July and troops, guns and ammunition were transferred to Picardy, leading to a similar transfer of the French Tenth Army to the Somme front. Later in the year the Franco-British were able to attack on the Somme and at Verdun sequentially and the French recovered much of the ground lost on the east bank of the Meuse, with counter-offensives in October and December.[9]

Brusilov Offensive

The Brusilov Offensive (4 June – 20 September) absorbed the extra forces which had been requested on 2 June, by General von Below the Second Army commander, for a spoiling attack on the Somme. On 4 June 1916 Russian armies attacked on a 200 miles (320 km) front, from the Rumanian frontier to Pinsk and eventually advanced 150 kilometres (93 mi), reaching the foothills of the Carpathian mountains, against German and Austro-Hungarian troops of Armeegruppe von Linsingen and Armeegruppe Archduke Joseph. During the offensive the Russians inflicted c. 1,500,000 losses including overc. 407,000 prisoners.[10] Three divisions were ordered from France to the Eastern Front on 9 June and the spoiling attack on the Somme was abandoned. Only four more divisions were sent to the Somme front before the Anglo-French offensive began, bringing the total to 10½ divisions. Falkenhayn and then Hindenburg and Ludendorff were forced to send divisions to Russia throughout the summer, to prevent a collapse of the Austro-Hungarian army and then to conduct a counter-offensive against Rumania, which declared war against the Central Powers on 27 August.[11] In July there were 112 German divisions on the Western Front and 52 divisions in Russia and in November there were 121 divisions in the west and 76 divisions in the east.[12]

Tactical developments

The original British Expeditionary Force (BEF) of six divisions and a Cavalry Division, had lost most of the army's pre-war regular soldiers in the battles of 1914 and 1915. The bulk of the army was made up of volunteers of the Territorial Force and Kitchener's New Army, which had begun forming in August 1914. Rapid expansion created many vacancies for senior commands and specialist functions, which led to many appointments of retired officers and inexperienced newcomers. In 1914, Haig had been a Lieutenant-General in command of I Corps and was promoted to command the First Army and then the BEF in December 1915, which eventually comprised five armies with sixty divisions. The swift increase in the size of the army reduced the average level of experience within it and created an acute equipment shortage. Many officers resorted to directive command to avoid delegating to novice subordinates, although divisional commanders were given great latitude in training and planning for the attack of 1 July, since the heterogeneous nature of the 1916 army made it impossible for corps and army commanders to know the capacity of each division.[13]

Despite considerable debate among German staff officers, Falkenhayn continued the policy of unyielding defence in 1916.[Note 2] On the Somme front Falkenhayn's construction plan of January 1915 had been completed. Barbed wire obstacles had been enlarged from one belt 5–10 yards (4.6–9.1 m) wide to two, 30 yards (27 m) wide and about 15 yards (14 m) apart. Double and triple thickness wire was used and laid 3–5 feet (0.91–1.5 m) high. The front line had been increased from one trench line to three, 150–200 yards (140–180 m) apart, the first trench occupied by sentry groups, the second (Wohngraben) for the bulk of the front-trench garrison and the third trench for local reserves. The trenches were traversed and had sentry-posts in concrete recesses built into the parapet. Dugouts had been deepened from 6–9 feet (1.8–2.7 m) to 20–30 feet (6.1–9.1 m), 50 yards (46 m) apart and large enough for 25 men. An intermediate line of strongpoints (the Stutzpunktlinie) about 1,000 yards (910 m) behind the front line was also built. Communication trenches ran back to the reserve line, renamed the second line, which was as well-built and wired as the first line. The second line was beyond the range of Allied field artillery, to force an attacker to stop and move field artillery forward before assaulting the line.[15]

Prelude

Anglo-French plan of attack

British intentions evolved as the military situation changed after the Chantilly Conference. French losses at Verdun reduced the contribution available for the offensive on the Somme and increased the urgency for the commencement of operations on the Somme. The principal role in the offensive devolved to the British and on 16 June Haig had ordered that the objectives were to relieve pressure on the French at Verdun and inflict loss on the enemy.[16] After a five-day artillery bombardment the British Fourth Army was to capture 27,000 yards (25,000 m) of the German first line from Montauban to Serre and the Third Army was to mount a diversion at Gommecourt. In a second phase the Fourth Army was to take the German second position, from Pozières to the Ancre and then the second position south of the Albert–Bapaume road, ready for an attack on the German third position south of the road towards Flers, when the Reserve Army which included three cavalry divisions, would exploit the success to advance east and then north towards Arras. The French Sixth Army, with one corps on the north bank from Maricourt to the Somme and two corps on the south bank to Foucaucourt would make a subsidiary attack to guard the right flank of the main attack made by the British.[17]

German defences on the Somme

After the Herbstschlacht ("Autumn Battle") in 1915, a third defence line another 3,000 yards (2,700 m) back from the Stutzpunktlinie was begun in February and was nearly complete on the Somme front when the battle began. German artillery was organised in a series of sperrfeuerstreifen (barrage sectors); each officer was expected to know the batteries covering his section of the front line and the batteries ready to engage fleeting targets. A telephone system was built, with lines buried 6 feet (1.8 m) deep for 5 miles (8.0 km) behind the front line, to connect the front line to the artillery. The Somme defences had two inherent weaknesses which the rebuilding had not remedied. The front trenches were on a forward slope, lined by white chalk from the subsoil and easily seen by ground observers. The defences were crowded towards the front trench, with a regiment having two battalions near the front-trench system and the reserve battalion divided between the Stutzpunktlinie and the second line, all within 2,000 yards (1,800 m) and most troops within 1,000 yards (910 m) of the front line, accommodated in the new deep dugouts. The concentration of troops at the front line on a forward slope guaranteed that it would face the bulk of an artillery bombardment, directed by ground observers on clearly marked lines.[18]

Battles of the Somme campaign

First phase: 1–17 July 1916

First day on the Somme, 1 July

British objectives, 1 July 1916

The first day on the Somme was the first of 141 days of the Battle of the Somme and the opening day of the Battle of Albert. The attack was made by five divisions of the French Sixth Army either side of the Somme, eleven British divisions of the Fourth Army north of the Somme to Serre and two divisions of the Third Army opposite Gommecourt, against the German Second Army of General Fritz von Below. The German defence south of the Albert–Bapaume road mostly collapsed and the French had "complete success" on both banks of the Somme, as did the British from the army boundary at Maricourt to the Albert–Bapaume road. On the south bank the German defence was made incapable of resisting another attack and a substantial retreat began; on the north bank the abandonment of Fricourt was ordered. The defenders on the commanding ground north of the road inflicted a huge defeat on the British infantry, who had an unprecedented number of casualties. Several truces were negotiated, to recover wounded from no man's land north of the road. The Fourth Army lost 57,470 casualties, of which 19,240 menwere killed, the French Sixth Army had 1,590 casualties and the German 2nd Army had 10,000–12,000 losses.[19]

Battle of Albert, 1–13 July

The Battle of Albert comprised the first two weeks of Anglo-French offensive operations in the Battle of the Somme. The Allied preparatory artillery bombardment commenced on 24 June and the Anglo-French infantry attacked on 1 July, on the south bank from Foucaucourt to the Somme and from the Somme north to Gommecourt 2 miles (3.2 km) beyond Serre. The French Sixth Army and the right wing of the British Fourth Army inflicted a considerable defeat on the German Second Army but from the Albert–Bapaume road to Gommecourt, the British attack was a disaster where most of the c. 60,000 British casualties were incurred. Against Joffre's wishes Haig abandoned the offensive north of the road, to reinforce the success in the south, where the Anglo-French forces pressed forward towards the German second line, preparatory to a general attack on 14 July.[20]

Battle of Bazentin Ridge, 14–17 July

The British 21st Division attack on Bazentin le Petit, 14 July 1916.

The Fourth Army attacked the German second defensive position from the Somme past Guillemont and Ginchy, north-west along the crest of the ridge to Pozièreson the Albert–Bapaume road. The objectives of the attack were the villages of Bazentin le Petit, Bazentin le Grand and Longueval which was adjacent to Delville Wood, with High Wood on the ridge beyond. The attack was made by four divisions on a front of 6,000 yards (5.5 km) at 3:25 a.m. after a five-minute hurricane artillery bombardment. Field artillery fired a creeping barrage and the attacking waves pushed up close behind it in no man's land, leaving them only a short distance to cross when the barrage lifted from the German front trench. Most of the objective was captured and the German defence south of the Albert–Bapaume road put under great strain but the attack was not followed up due to British communication failures, casualties and disorganisation.[21]

Battle of Fromelles, 19–20 July

The Battle of Fromelles was a subsidiary attack to support the Fourth Army on the Somme 80 kilometres (50 mi) to the south, to exploit any weakening of the German defences opposite. Preparations for the attack were rushed, the troops involved lacked experience in trench warfare and the power of the German defence was "gravely" underestimated, the attackers being outnumbered 2:1. On 19 July, von Falkenhayn had judged the British attack to be the anticipated offensive against the 6th Army. Next day Falkenhayn ordered the Guard Reserve Corps to be withdrawn to reinforce the Somme front. The Battle of Fromelles had inflicted some losses on the German defenders but gained no ground and deflected few German troops bound for the Somme. The attack was the début of the Australian Imperial Force on the Western Front and "the worst 24 hours in Australia's entire history".[22] Of 7,080 BEF casualties5,533 losseswere incurred by the 5th Australian Division; German losses were 1,600–2,000, with 150 taken prisoner.[23]

Second phase: July – September 1916

Battle of Delville Wood, 14 July – 15 September

Map 1: Positions on 14 July 1916

The Battle of Delville Wood was an operation to secure the British right flank, while the centre advanced to capture the higher lying areas of High Wood and Pozières. After the Battle of Albert the offensive had evolved to the capture of fortified villages, woods and other terrain which offered observation for artillery fire, jumping-off points for more attacks and other tactical advantages. The mutually costly fighting at Delville Wood eventually secured the British right flank and marked the Western Front début of the South African 1st Infantry Brigade (incorporating a Southern Rhodesian contingent), which held the wood from 15–20 July. When relieved the brigade had lost 2,536 men, similar to the casualties of many brigades on 1 July.[24]

Battle of Pozières Ridge, 23 July – 7 August

The Battle of Pozières began with the capture of the village by the 1st Australian Division (Australian Imperial Force) of the Reserve Army, the only British success in the Allied fiasco of 22/23 July, when a general attack combined with the French further south, degenerated into a series of separate attacks due to communication failures, supply failures and poor weather.[25] German bombardments and counter-attacks began on 23 July and continued until 7 August. The fighting ended with the Reserve Army taking the plateau north and east of the village, overlooking the fortified village of Thiepval from the rear.[26]

Battle of Guillemont, 3–6 September

The Battle of Guillemont was an attack on the village which was captured by the Fourth Army on the first day. Guillemont was on the right flank of the British sector, near the boundary with the French Sixth Army. German defences ringed the British salient at Delville Wood to the north and had observation over the French Sixth Army area to the south towards the Somme river. The German defence in the area was based on the second line and numerous fortified villages and farms north from Maurepas at Combles, Guillemont, Falfemont Farm, Delville Wood and High Wood, which were mutually supporting. The battle for Guillemont was considered by some observers to be the supreme effort of the German army during the battle. Numerous meetings were held by Joffre, Haig, Foch, Rawlinson and Fayolle to co-ordinate joint attacks by the four armies, all of which broke down. A pause in Anglo-French attacks at the end of August, coincided with the largest counter-attack by the German army in the Battle of the Somme.[27]

Battle of Ginchy, 9 September

A young German Sommekämpfer in 1916

In the Battle of Ginchy the 16th Division captured the German-held village. Ginchy was 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) north-east of Guillemont, at the junction of six roads on a rise overlooking Combles, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) to the south-east. After the end of the Battle of Guillemont, British troops were required to advance to positions which would give observation over the German third position, ready for a general attack in mid-September. British attacks from Leuze Wood north to Ginchy had begun on 3 September, when the 7th Division captured the village and was then forced out by a German counter-attack. The capture of Ginchy and the success of the French Sixth Army on 12 September, in its biggest attack of the battle of the Somme, enabled both armies to make much bigger attacks, sequenced with the Tenth and Reserve armies, which captured much more ground and inflicted c. 130,000 casualties on the German defenders during the month.[28]

Third phase: September – November 1916

Battle of Flers–Courcelette, 15–22 September

The Battle of Flers–Courcelette was the third and final general offensive mounted by the British Army, which attacked an intermediate line and the German third line to take Morval, Lesboeufs and Gueudecourt, which was combined with a French attack on Frégicourt and Rancourt to encircle Combles and a supporting attack on the south bank of the Somme. The strategic objective of a breakthrough was not achieved but the tactical gains were considerable, the front line being advanced by over 2,500–3,500 yards (2,300–3,200 m) and many German casualties being inflicted. The battle was the début of the Canadian Corps, New Zealand Division and tanks of the Heavy Branch of the Machine Gun Corpson the Somme.[29]

Battle of Morval, 25–28 September

The Battle of Morval was an attack by the Fourth Army on Morval, Gueudecourt and Lesboeufs held by the German 1st Army, which had been the final objectives of the Battle of Flers-Courcelette (15–22 September). The attack was postponed to combine with attacks by the French Sixth Army on Combles, south of Morval and because of rain. The combined attack was also intended to deprive the German defenders further west, near Thiepval of reinforcements, before an attack by the Reserve Army, due on 26 September. Combles, Morval, Lesboeufs and Gueudecourt were captured and a small number of tanks joined in the battle later in the afternoon. Many casualties inflicted on the Germans but the French made slower progress. The Fourth Army advance on 25 September was its deepest since 14 July and left the Germans in severe difficulties, particularly in a salient near Combles. The Reserve Army attack began on 26 September in the Battle of Thiepval Ridge.[30]

Battle of the Transloy Ridges, 1 October – 11 November

The Battle of Le Transloy began in good weather and Le Sars was captured on 7 October. Pauses were made from 8–11 October due to rain and 13–18 October to allow time for a methodical bombardment, when it became clear that the German defence had recovered from earlier defeats. Haig consulted with the army commanders and on 17 October reduced the scope of operations by cancelling the Third Army plans and reducing the Reserve Army and Fourth Army attacks to limited operations in co-operation with the French Sixth Army.[31] Another pause followed before operations resumed on 23 October on the northern flank of the Fourth Army, with a delay during more bad weather on the right flank of the Fourth Army and on the French Sixth Army front, until 5 November. Next day the Fourth Army ceased offensive operations except for small attacks intended to improve positions and divert German attention from attacks being made by the Reserve/Fifth Army. Large operations resumed in January 1917.[32]

Battle of Thiepval Ridge, 26–28 September

The Battle of Thiepval Ridge was the first large offensive mounted by the Reserve Army of Lieutenant General Hubert Gough and was intended to benefit from the Fourth Army attack at Morval by starting24 hours afterwards. Thiepval Ridge was well fortified and the German defenders fought with great determination, while the British co-ordination of infantry and artillery declined after the first day, due to confused fighting in the maze of trenches, dug-outs and shell-craters. The final British objectives were not reached until the Battle of the Ancre Heights (1 October – 11 November). Organisational difficulties and deteriorating weather frustrated Joffre's intention to proceed by vigorous co-ordinated attacks by the Anglo-French armies, which became disjointed and declined in effectiveness during late September, at the same time as a revival occurred in the German defence. The British experimented with new techniques in gas warfare, machine-gun bombardment and tank–infantry co-operation, as the Germans struggled to withstand the preponderance of men and material fielded by the Anglo-French, despite reorganisation and substantial reinforcements of troops, artillery and aircraft from Verdun. September became the worst month for casualties for the Germans.[33]

Battle of the Ancre Heights, 1 October – 11 November

Main article: Battle of the Ancre Heights

The Battle of the Ancre Heights was fought after Haig made plans for the Third Army to take the area east of Gommecourt, the Reserve Army to attack north from Thiepval Ridge and east from Beaumont Hamel–Hébuterne and for the Fourth Army to reach the Péronne–Bapaume road around Le Transloy and Beaulencourt–Thilloy–Loupart Wood, north of the Albert–Bapaume road. The Reserve Army attacked to complete the capture of Regina Trench/Stuff Trench, north of Courcelette to the west end of Bazentin Ridge around Schwaben and Stuff Redoubts, during which bad weather caused great hardship and delay. The Marine Brigade from Flanders and fresh German divisions brought from quiet fronts counter-attacked frequently and the British objectives were not secured until 11 November.[34]

Battle of the Ancre, 13–18 November

Mametz, Western Front, a winter scene by Frank Crozier

The Battle of the Ancre was the last major British operation of the year. The Fifth (formerly Reserve) Army attacked into the Ancre valley to exploit German exhaustion after the Battle of the Ancre Heights and gain ground ready for a resumption of the offensive in 1917. Political calculation, concern for Allied morale and Joffre's pressure for a continuation of attacks in France, to prevent German troop transfers to Russia and Italy also influenced Haig.[35] The battle began with anothermine being detonated beneath Hawthorn Ridge Redoubt. The attack on Serre failed, although a brigade of the 31st Division, which had attacked in the disaster of 1 July, took its objectives before being withdrawn later. South of Serre, Beaumont Hamel and Beaucourt-sur-l'Ancre were captured. South of the Ancre, St Pierre Division was captured, the outskirts of Grandcourt reached and the Canadian 4th Division captured Regina Trench north of Courcelette, then took Desire Support Trench on 18 November; large operations ended until January 1917.[36]

Aftermath

Analysis

Progress of the Battle of the Somme between 1 July and 18 November.

At the start of 1916, most of the British Army had been an inexperienced and patchily trained mass of volunteers.[37][38] The Somme was the debut of the Kitchener Army created by Lord Kitchener's call for recruits at the start of the war. The British volunteers were often the fittest, most enthusiastic and best educated citizens but British casualties were also inexperienced soldiers and it has been claimed that their loss was of lesser military significance than the losses of the remaining peace-trained officers and men of the German army.[39] British casualties on the first day were the worst in the history of the British army, with 57,470 Britishcasualties, 19,240 of whom were killed.[40][41] British survivors of the battle gained experience and the BEF learned how to conduct the mass warfare that the continental armies had been fighting since 1914.[39] Germany and the other European powers began the war with a trained force of regulars and reservists, each casualty sapped the experience and effectiveness of the German army. Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria wrote, "What remained of the old first-class peace-trained German infantry had been expended on the battlefield".[42] A war of attrition was a logical strategy for Britain against Germany, which was also at war with France and Russia. A school of thought holds that the Battle of the Somme placed unprecedented strain on the German Army and that after the battle it was unable to replace casualties like-for-like, which reduced the German army to a "militia".[43][42] The destruction of German units in battle was made worse by lack of rest. British aircraft and long-range guns reached well behind the front-line, where trench-digging and other work meant that troops returned to the line exhausted.[44]Despite the strategic predicament of the German Army it survived the battle, withstood the pressure of the Brusilov Offensive and conducted an invasion of Romania. In 1917 the German army in the west, survived large British and French offensives at Arras, the Nivelle Offensive and the Third Battle of Ypres, though at great cost.[45]

Falkenhayn was sacked and replaced by Hindenburg and Ludendorff at the end of August 1916. At a conference at Cambrai on 5 September, a decision was taken to build a new defensive line well behind the Somme front. The Siegfriedstellung was to be built between Arras–St. Quentin–La Fere–Condé, with another new line between Verdun and Pont-à-Mousson. These lines were intended to limit any Allied breakthrough and to allow the German army to withdraw if attacked. Work began on the Siegfriedstellung (Hindenburg Line) at the end of September. Withdrawing to the new line was not an easy decision and the German high command struggled over it during the winter of 1916–1917. Some members wanted to take a shorter step back to a line between Arras and Sailly, while the First and Second army commanders wanted to stay on the Somme. Generalleutnant von Fuchs on 20 January 1917 said that,

Enemy superiority is so great that we are not in a position either to fix their forces in position or to prevent them from launching an offensive elsewhere. We just do not have the troops.... We cannot prevail in a second battle of the Somme with our men; they cannot achieve that any more (Von Kuhl, Diary 20 January 1917)[46]

and that half measures were futile, a retreat to the Siegfriedstellung was unavoidable. After the loss of a considerable amount of ground around the Ancre valley, to the British Fifth Army in February 1917, the German armies on the Somme were ordered on 14 February to withdraw to reserve lines closer to Bapaume. A further retirement to the Hindenburg Line (Siegfriedstellung) in Operation Alberich began on 16 March 1917, despite the new line being unfinished and poorly sited in some places.[47]

The British and French advanced about 6 miles (9.7 km) on the Somme, on a front of 16 miles (26 km) at a cost of 419,654 British and 202,567 French casualties, against 465,181 German casualties.[48] Until the 1930s the dominant view of the battle in English-language writing, was that the battle was a hard-fought victory against a brave, experienced and well-led opponent. Winston Churchill had objected to the way the battle was being fought in August 1916, Lloyd George when Prime Minister criticised attrition warfare frequently and condemned the battle in his post-war memoirs. In the 1930s a new orthodoxy of "mud, blood and futility" emerged and gained more emphasis in the 1960s when the 50th anniversaries of the Great War battles were commemorated.[49] Since the 1960s the "futility" view that the battle was an Anglo-French disaster, has been criticised as a myth. In recent years a nuanced version of the original orthodoxy has arisen, which does not seek to minimise the human cost of the battle but sets it in the context of industrial warfare, compares it to the wars in the United States between 1861–1865 and Europe between 1939–1945 and describes the development of the armies of 1914 into modern all-arms organisations, using the scientific application of fire-power on land and in the air, to defeat comparable opponents in a war of exhaustion. Little German and French writing has been translated, leaving much of the continental perspective and detail of German and French military operations inaccessible to the English-speaking world.[50][51][52][53][54][55]

Casualties[edit]

Nationality Total
casualties
Killed &
missing
Prisoners
United Kingdom 350,000+ - -
Canada 24,029 - -
Australia 23,000   < 200
New Zealand 7,408  - -
South Africa 3,000+ - -
Newfoundland 2,000+ - -
Total British Commonwealth 419,654 95,675 -
French 204,253 50,756 -
Total Allied 623,907 146,431 -
 
Germany 465,000 164,055 38,000[56]

The Battle of the Somme was one of the costliest battles of the First World War. The original Allied estimate of casualties on the Somme, made at the Chantilly conference on 15 November, was 485,000 British and French casualties and 630,000 German. A German officer wrote,

Somme. The whole history of the world cannot contain a more ghastly word.

—Friedrich Steinbrecher

In the first volume of the British Official History (1932) Edmonds wrote that comparisons of casualties were inexact, because of different methods of calculation by the belligerents but that British casualties were 419,654 from total British casualties in France in the period of498,054, French Somme casualties 194,451 and German casualties c. 445,322 to which should be added 27%, for woundings which would have been counted as casualties using British criteria; Anglo-French casualties on the Somme were over 600,000 and German casualties wereunder 600,000.[57] Edmonds's addition of c. 30% to German figures to make them comparable to British criteria was criticised as "spurious" by M. J. Williams (1964). McRandle and Quirk (2006) cast doubt on Edmonds calculations but counted 729,000 German casualties on the Western Front, from July to December against 631,000 by Churchill, concluding that German losses were fewer than Anglo-French but that the ability of the German army to inflict disproportionate losses was eroded by attrition.[58] Sheffield wrote that Edmonds's calculation of Anglo-French casualties was correct but that for German casualtes was "discredited", quoting the official German figure of 500,000 casualties.[59] In the second British Official History volume (1938) Miles wrote that total German casualties in the battle were 660,000–680,000 against Anglo-French casualties of fewer than 630,000 using "fresh data" from the French and German official accounts.[60]

Western Front Casualties
(British monthly)
July–December 1916
Month Casualties
July 196,081
August 75,249
September 115,056
October 66,852
November 46,238
December 13,803
Total British 513,289
French c. 434,000
Total Anglo-French c. 947,289
German c. 719,000
Grand total c. 1,666,289
[Note 3]

In 1938 Churchill wrote that the Germans had 270,000 casualties against the French, between February and June 1916 and 390,000 between July and the end of the year (see statistical tables in Appendix J of Churchill's "World Crisis") and 278,000 casualties at Verdun.[63] Some losses must have been in quieter sectors but many must have been inflicted by the French at the Somme. Churchill wrote that Franco-German losses at the Somme were "much less unequal" than the Anglo-German ratio.[64]Doughty wrote that French losses on the Somme were "surprisingly high" at 202,567 men, 54% of the 377,231 casualties at Verdun.[65] Prior and Wilson used Churchill's research and wrote that the British lost 432,000 soldiers from 1 July – mid-November (c. 3,600 per day) in inflicting c. 230,000 German casualties and offer no figures for French casualties or the losses they inflicted on the Germans.[66] Sheldon wrote that the British lost "over 400,000" casualties[67] Harris wrote that total British losses werec. 420,000, French casualties were over 200,000 men and German losses were c. 500,000, according to the "best" German sources.[68] Sheffield wrote that the losses were "appalling", with 419,000 British casualties, c. 204,000 French and "perhaps" 600,000 German casualties.[69]

In a commentary on the debate about Somme casualties, Philpott used Miles's figures of 419,654 British casualties and the French official figures of 154,446 Sixth Army losses and 48,131 Tenth Army casualties. German losses were described as "disputed", ranging from 400,000–680,000. Churchill's claims were a "snapshot" of July 1916 and not representative of the rest of the battle. Philpott called the "blood test" a crude measure compared to manpower reserves, industrial capacity, farm productivity and financial resources and that intangible factors were more influential on the course of the war. The German army was exhausted in 1916, had a loss of morale and the cumulative effects of attrition and frequent defeats, caused it to collapse in 1918, a process which began on the Somme, echoing Churchill that the German soldiery was never the same again.[70]

Subsequent operations

Ancre, January – March 1917

After the Battle of the Ancre (13–18 November 1916), British attacks on the Somme front were stopped by the weather and military operations by both sides were mostly restricted to survival in the rain, snow, fog, mud fields, waterlogged trenches and shell-holes. As preparations for the offensive at Arras continued, the British attempted to keep German attention on the Somme front. British operations on the Ancre from 10 January – 22 February 1917, forced the Germans back 5 miles (8.0 km) on a 4-mile (6.4 km) front, ahead of the schedule of the Alberich Bewegung ("AlberichManoeuvre"/"Operation Alberich") and eventually took 5,284 prisoners.[71] On 22/23 February the Germans fell back another 3 miles (4.8 km) on a 15-mile (24 km) front. The Germans then withdrew from much of the R. I Stellung to the R. II Stellung on 11 March, forestalling a British attack, which was not noticed by the British until dark on 12 March; the main German withdrawal from the Noyon salient to the Hindenburg Line (Operation Alberich) commenced on schedule on 16 March.[72]

Hindenburg Line

Defensive positions held by the German army on the Somme after November 1916 were in poor condition, the garrisons were exhausted and censors of correspondence from front-line soldiers reported tiredness and low morale. The situation left the German command doubtful that the army could withstand a resumption of the battle. The German defence of the Ancre began to collapse under British attacks, which on 28 January caused Rupprecht to urge that the retirement to the Siegfriedstellung (Hindenburg Line) begin. Ludendorff rejected the proposal next day but British attacks on the First Army, particularly the Action of Miraumont (also known as the Battle of Boom Ravine, 17–18 February) caused Rupprecht on the night of 22 February to order a preliminary withdrawal of c. 4 miles (6.4 km) to the R. I Stellung(R. I Position). On 24 February the Germans withdrew, protected by rear guards, over roads in relatively good condition which were then destroyed. The German withdrawal was helped by a thaw, which turned roads behind the British front into bogs and by disruption to the railways which supplied the Somme front. On the night of 12 March the Germans withdrew from the R. I Stellung between Bapaume and Achiet le Petit and the British reached the R. II Stellung (R. II Position) on 13 March.[73]

Commemoration

The Royal British Legion with the British Embassy in Paris and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, commemorate the battle on 1 July each year at the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. For their efforts on the first day of the battle, The 1st Newfoundland Regiment was given the name "The Royal Newfoundland Regiment" by George V on 28 November 1917.[74] The first day of the Battle of the Somme is commemorated in Newfoundland, remembering the "Best of the Best" at 11:00 a.m. on the Sunday nearest to 1 July.[75] The Somme is remembered in Northern Ireland due to the participation of the 36th (Ulster) Division and commemorated by veterans' groups and by unionist/Protestant groups such as the Orange Order. During the Northern Irish Troubles the date was associated primarily with the Orange Order and regarded by some as part of the 'marching season', with connection to the Somme. The British Legion and others commemorate the battle on 1 July.[76]

TUÉ AU COMBAT / KILLED IN ACTION

LAMABE Joseph Matthew - Algonquin

BLESSÉ / WOUNDED IN ACTION

PEGAHMAGABOW Francis - Ojibwa.

MÉDAILLÉS / AWARD A MEDAL
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