The Second Battle of the Somme
80 Days Until Armistice
Opening with a bang, the Second Battle of the Somme represented much more than just an objective for the Allies. The disastrous 1916 offensive had seen the Allied forces at their worst, and was the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army. Two years later saw the Allies poised to smash through the German Army and end the First World War.
The New Zealand Rifle Brigade had opened the battle the day before, capturing the town of Puiseux and 100 prisoners before the British 5th Division took over their positions. A day’s gain of 3.2 kilometres lent some momentum to the next day’s offensive – however, Field Marshal Julian Byng thought it best to consolidate the gains, providing a strong “jump-off” point for further offensives. Though a quiet day overall, probing attacks were carried out by the German 17th Army, setting up engagements for the following day.