The Daily Mirror publishes details of the British and French offensive against German forces at the Somme.
The Daily Mirror publishes details of the British and French offensive against German forces at the Somme.
Great Offensive Continues - 9,500 Prisoners.
French pierce for second line - British capture Fricourt and make progress east of village and near La Boisselle.
Mightiest battle of British army - Our Ally also takes two villages, strong German positions, guns and captives.
General Headquarters, Sunday 10.15pm: Heavy fighting has taken place today in the area between the Ancre and the Somme, especially about Fricourt and La Boisselle. Fricourt, which was captured by our troops about 2pm, remains in our hands, and some progress has been made east of the village.
In the neighbourhood of La Boisselle the enemy is offering a stubborn resistance, but our troops are making satisfactory progress. A considerable quantity of war material has fallen into our hands, but details are not at present available.
On the other side of the valley, on the Ancre, the situation is unchanged. The general situation may be regarded as favourable.
Later information of the enemy's losses show that our first estimates were too low.
Yesterday our aeroplanes were very active in co-operation with our attack north of the Somme and afforded valuable assistance to our operations. Numerous enemy headquarters and railway centres were attacked with bombs.
In one of these raids our escorting aeroplanes were attacked by 20 Fokkers, which were driven off. Two enemy machines were seen to crash to the earth and were destroyed. Some long-distance reconnaissances were carried out in spite of numerous attempts by enemy machines to frustrate the enterprises.
Three of our aeroplanes are missing. Our kite balloons were in the air the whole day.
General Headquarters, 5.30pm: Substantial progress has been made in the vicinity of Fricourt, which was captured by our troops by 2pm today. Up to noon today some 800 more prisoners have been taken in the operations between the Ancre and the Somme, bringing the total up to 3,500 including those captured on other parts of the front last night.
Paris, Sunday: The following official communiqué was issued tonight: North of the Somme fighting continued all day in our favour in the region of Hardcourt and Curlu. To the east of the latter village in particular we carried a quarry which had been strongly fortified by the enemy. To the south of the Somme we gained a footing at numerous points in the second German position between the river and Asservillers.
The village of Frise fell into our hands as well as the Mereaucourt Wood, situated farther to the east.
The able-bodied prisoners captured by the French troops during July 1 and July 2 at present exceed 6,000 in number, including at least 150 officers. Guns and a great quantity of material also fell into our hands.
Thanks to the very complete and effective artillery preparation and thanks also to the dash of our infantry, our losses have been very slight. (Reuters)
Paris, Sunday: The following communiqueé was issued this afternoon: To the north of the Somme fighting was furious during the night. The Germans launched violent counter-attacks against our new positions on the outskirts of Heudicourt. Our curtain fire and our rifle fire inflicted serious losses on the enemy, who had to fall back in disorder, leaving 200 prisoners in our hands, of whom six were officers. Pursuing our advantage on the right bank of the river, we gained possession after a sharp fight of the village of Curlu, which we occupied completely.
South of the Somme we have maintained all the positions captured by us yesterday, and have made some progress in the course of the night between Herbecourt and Asservilliers.
According to further information to hand, the total figure of unwounded German prisoners captured by the French troops yesterday exceeds 6,000.
Between the Oise and the Aisne, we captured a German patrol which tried to approach our lines near Bailly. (Reuters)
Germans Admit Front Line was Penetrated: 'Allies Heavy Losses'
Amsterdam, Sunday: Today's German official communiqué says: Yesterday a great Anglo-French attack, which had been prepared during several months with unlimited resources, began on a front of about 25 miles. After a most violent artillery and gas preparation on both banks of the Somme and the Ancre, which lasted for seven days, the enemy gained no appreciable advantages between Gommecourt and the vicinity of La Boisselle, but sustained very heavy losses.
British, North of Somme: We break into German forward defences on front of 16 miles. Serre, Montauban, La Boiselle and Fricourt taken: German labyrinth of trenches on seven-mile front to depth 1,000 yards captured. Prisoners: 3,500.
French, South of Somme: Dompieres, Becquincourt, Bussu, Fay and Curlu and Frise taken. Prisoners: 6,000.
Italian: Italians still rolling back the Austrians to the Trentino.
Russian: Russians still moving ahead in Galiela and Bukowina. Total haul of prisoners: 219,000.
On the other hand, he succeeded in penetrating our foremost lines in both of the sectors contiguous to the Somme.
Consequently at some points we withdrew our divisions from the completely destroyed first-line trenches to positions between the first and second positions. As is usual in such cases, material which had been solidly built in, but had been rendered useless, was lost.
In connection with this fighting on a large scale there were several artillery attacks and many minor attacking enterprises at the adjacent fronts, and also west and south west of Tahure, but these failed everywhere. (Reuters)
Amsterdam, Sunday: The Telegraaf reports from the frontier that unusually violent artillery action was heard from the Yser front, beginning about 2pm yesterday afternoon, and shortly afterwards heavy gunfire from warships off the coast was also heard. It is believed British monitors were firing on the Germans across the dunes to render impossible any advance by the German infantry. (Central News)
Amsterdam, Sunday: The thunder of the guns on the British front was plainly audible at Costburg, Dutch Flanders, all day yesterday from morning to night. (Reuter)
New York, Sunday: The New York Times, in an editorial article devoted to the Franco-British offensive, says that while this may not be the 'great drive' it is certainly the 'great squeeze'. It is not a grip at the throat that Germany is feeling, but a steady squeezing pressure at every part.
The Herald says that the struggle at Verdun has now become merely incidental. The German attacks will not be made hereafter in such force because strength is needed now not for offence but for defence.
The hunter has become the hunted. (Central News)
Eyewitness's Thrilling Story of Start of Great Bombardment
British Headquarters, France, Saturday: The secret has been well kept. The weeks of essential preparation and concentration have passed without attracting the least degree of suspicion that anything beyond the normal was in progress, so unobtrusively and even stealthily has the immense task been carried out.
Down to quite lately I had heard officers seriously discussing the improbability of an offensive of any sort by our Army this year, and I confess that I found some reason for agreeing with them.
The offensive which is now in progress is roughly on a scale about three times the magnitude of the battle of Loos, the previous greatest British efforts.
The concentration of artillery is literally appalling, every species of weapon, from the gigantic 15-inch howitzer to the quick-rattling Stokes' trench mortar, pouring thunderous avalanches upon the enemy positions.
The work of the men at the benches is at last nobly supporting the efforts of their brothers in the trenches.
The opening moves in the terrific drama had been played with great strategic skill. Periodical intense bombardments all along the line, any one of which might have been the preliminary to a great offensive, left the Germans doubtful as to where the real blow would fall.
This morning I stood upon the brow of a ridge, overlooking the much 'strafed' town of Albert. I do not think I exaggerate in the least when I state that the shell bursts often reached 500 in one minute along the length of front commanded from the vantage point upon which I stood. As far as I can gather the German batteries made virtually no reply to this opening bombardment.
To say that I saw this stage of the battle is but a mere figure of speech. What I really beheld was the slow settling away of a dense fog of vapour which, like a waterfall, was always receding without every growing less. Countless scarlet eyes winked mistily out of this waxing and waning shroud.
After about an hour and a half the fury of the bombardment appreciably slackened and by the creeping into view of the battle foreground I knew that the range of our fire had lifted, and that now our infantry were getting to death grips with the foe.
Franco-British offensive begins Sunday 11pm - 9,500 Prisoners Taken
Saturday 7.30am: The British offensive which was launched this morning extends over a front of about 20 miles north of the Somme. While at the moment the situation looks promising, it is well not to carry satisfaction to the point of too great expectations.
The present offensive has a definite objective, and if this is attained - and it is not an unduly sanguine claim to predict that it will be - the British Army on the Western Front will have satisfactorily fulfilled the role expected of it for the present. On the other hand, nothing is certain but the unexpected in warfare, and if under the pressure now being thrown by our Army upon the enemy and by the French on our right the assaulted front crumbles, then great events may follow.
But let us wait for these before clearing our throats preparatory to shouting.
It is an undeniable fact that all those who were taken in the storming of the front line showed a remarkable willingness to surrender, and complained that they had been virtually without food for some days, not because the deadly character of our almost ceaseless barrage during the past week rendered it so difficult to maintain transport.
It seems not improbable that the comparative feebleness of the German artillery response was due to a shortage of available ammunition from a similar cause. (Reuters' Special)
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