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Description

The Battle of the Somme is probably one of the most controversial and bloody moments in British military history. In 1916, British and French commanders dreamt of one great offensive, a ‘big push’ that would break through the German lines and give the Allies the advantage in the war. They rained down 20,000 tonnes of shells on the German lines near the River Somme before the British infantry went over the top.

The attack failed disastrously, and at massive human cost; the British suffered 60,000 casualties in just the first day. However, the military commanders continued to order fresh attacks for three month, long after it was clear that a breakthrough was impossible.
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First broadcast:
11 January 2008

Classroom Ideas

This clip could be used as an introduction to work on the Battle of the Somme or the role of aircraft in the First World War. Students could be asked to research the contribution of the air force in other battles.

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