The First Day on the Somme

The First Day on the Somme After an immense but useless bombardment at am On July the British Army went over the top and attacked the German trenches It was the first day of the battle of the Somme and on that day

  • Title: The First Day on the Somme
  • Author: Martin Middlebrook
  • ISBN: 9781844154654
  • Page: 182
  • Format: Hardcover
  • After an immense but useless bombardment, at 7.30 am On 1 July 1916 the British Army went over the top and attacked the German trenches It was the first day of the battle of the Somme, and on that day the British suffered nearly 60,000 casualties, two for every yard of their front With than fifty times the daily losses at El Alamein and fifteen times the British caAfter an immense but useless bombardment, at 7.30 am On 1 July 1916 the British Army went over the top and attacked the German trenches It was the first day of the battle of the Somme, and on that day the British suffered nearly 60,000 casualties, two for every yard of their front With than fifty times the daily losses at El Alamein and fifteen times the British casualties on D day, 1 July 1916 was the blackest day in the history of the British Army But, than that, it was a watershed in the history of the First World War The Army that attacked on that day was the volunteer Army that had answered Kitchener s call It had gone into action confident of a decisive victory But by sunset on the first day on the Somme, no one could any longer think of a war that might be won After that it was a struggle that had simply to be endured Martin Middlebrook s research has covered not just official and regimental histories and tours of the battlefields, but interviews with hundreds of survivors, both British and German As to the action itself, he conveys the overall strategic view and the terrifying reality of an new kind of war for front line soldiers.

    • The First Day on the Somme : Martin Middlebrook
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      Published :2019-02-04T08:02:45+00:00

    About " Martin Middlebrook "

  • Martin Middlebrook

    Martin Middlebrook born 1932 is a British military historian and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society Appointed Knight of the Order of the Belgian Crown in 2004.

  • 285 Comments

  • Simply brilliant. Martin Middlebrook explains the build-up, first day, and aftermath of the Battle of the Somme in a clear and accessible style, using numerous first hand accounts which put you right in middle of the action. Although he focuses on the first day (the clue's in the title) the author somehow manages to use it as a microcosm of the entire war - so this would probably be a good place to start for someone new to WW1. I especially like the way he frames the story by following ten soldi [...]


  • This book was the catalyst for my enduring fascination for books covering the Western Front. I use to despair in trying to read books about the Great War, as they were mind numbing with the numbers of dead, I was too young to appreciate what I was reading. Martin Middlebrook’s “The First Day on the Somme” changed all that and gave me a love for this period of history and a better appreciation of what these poor soldiers went through. If anyone wants to better understand the Great War or th [...]


  • This was, I think, the first "serious" book I read about the First World War, way back in 1991. And it's still, probably, the best I've ever read. Mr Middlebrook takes a "just the facts" approach to the events of 1st July 1916, presenting the events of the day through the experiences of ten of the participants, with some emphasis on other major actions taking place throughout the day. The lead in to the attack is well covered, and a background to the formation of the New Army, the location of th [...]


  • A signed copy, I read this just before taking a battlefield tour of the Somme. The book was excellent preparation to walking the battlefield. Highly recommended, book and tour.WWI remains at the forefront of the British memory. This book illustrates why. It has many tales of personal courage, tragedy and various experiences of the battle. Standing on the battlefield, I was struck at how brave these men were in that terrifying place. The carnage was unimaginable, no protection from the machine gu [...]


  • WowSimply mind blowing at the level hubris and gall on the part of the British General staff, to murder so many of your own men solely to relieve the French, and then to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory because of your unwillingness to change your strategy when presented with information that does not conform to what your preconceived notions said should happen is just adding more insult to injury. Well, that would be the case if you then did not blame the troops for failing to do their jo [...]


  • I love Martin Middlebrooke's method of getting at the detail. In The First Day on the Somme he follows twelve individuals and their military careers before the battle as well as an overview of the day itself. The only drawback to this is that some might think that what was actually a four month long battle only lasted a single day. Other Middlebrooke books worth reading are three or four he did on RAF raids in WW2 on Hamburg, Berlin and Schweinfurt-Regensburg.


  • Based on hundreds of interviews with survivors, Martin Middlebrook's seminal work stands as a valuable oral history of one of the worst days of the First World War. A harrowing and fitting tribute to a now mostly vanished generation.


  • The First Day on the Somme, Martin Middlebrook, 1971, Penguin Books, ISBN 0-14-139071-9The Great War of 1914-1918 included many battles that have become legendary, perhaps none more so than that of Verdun. A separate effort, aimed at alleviating the pressure the French were experiencing at Verdun, became known as the Battle of the Somme, July 1, 1916. The story of this bloodiest of all British battles has been admirably told by Martin Middlebrook.This book is the tale of human courage of the men [...]


  • Martin Middlebrook's narrative and analysis of the worst day in British military history was published in 1972. Thus, it may be outdated by the past four decades of scholarship on the folly of the First World War. Still, this book has some strengths, even if Middlebrook's prose fails to fully convey the human drama of what happened on July 1st, 1916. In one day the British 3rd and 4th Armies lost more than 50,000 casualties -- dead, wounded, captured and missing. At times his narrative was gripp [...]


  • The truth is that I enjoy reading history. Military history in particular. But the death-strategies (manslaughter on an epic scale) of WW I leave me cold. Middlebrook's "Somme" is page after page of carnage without any military or even political achievement. Rather it was a template for both sides to fight the last war with waves and waves of humans trying to ignore rapid fire weapons and the ever increasing technology in killing without a clue as to how to gain victory. Line after line of numbe [...]


  • Fascinating stories of the utmost heroism and also the worst military decision making ever in the history of the British army. I couldn't put it down.



  • An outstanding read! Having recently visited The Somme battlefield it was amazing to read the experiences first hand.


  • The first person to ever look at the First World War through individual accounts of the men. Has been a great resource both academically & personally.



  • An outstanding book, all the more so for being under-stated and lacking grandstanding.Very simple premise, some 50 years after the Battle of the Somme, an amateur sets out to research how the first day was experienced by and affected the soldiers that took part. He did this by interviewing the - by then ageing - survivors and by trawling the archives, and then by writing an immensely readable book. Of course, given the subject matter, I can't call it enjoyable, but it was fulfilling and ticked j [...]


  • I rarely give 5 stars to books here on and I debated doing so here. The fact that I did so is probably more to do with my particular interests in this conflict, and the awful day of July 1st 1916 than any particular outstanding merits of the book itself in terms of writing or particular literary style (although I found that style to be somber, informative but also very readable). Any Brit with any level of interest in WW1 will be familiar with the awful events of July 1st 1916 and that 50-60000 [...]


  • THE ORIGINS OF MODERN DISSILLUSIONMENT: Can anyone really understand this most classic of WWI battles, with its numbing calculus of bodies? The total inanity of it? The massive amounts of technology involved and the sheer amount of human wastage 20,000 dead and 40,000 wounded withing 5 hours of fighting? Martin Middlebrook has done a great job at bringing the evocative spirit of the Army to light and its sacrifice on the Somme. It is a small tragedy that people all over the British Commonwealth [...]


  • The book was quite a 'heavy' read for me personally and there was a lot to take in. I thought this was a general book about 'The First Day on the Somme', but as this was only a single day of the Battle, a LOT had happened. Lots of information was written about it, and it was quite detailed. So many regiments and battalions were mentioned, the tactics, how many died, who died and where, who was not worthy of command anymore, etc. It was not the most interesting book to read, but I did learn a fai [...]


  • I came to this from the bibliography of Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest and because family lore has it that my grandfather was on the Somme; I pledged to read it before the 100th anniversary this July.So I am no historian, military or otherwise, but I found the book beautifully balances academic distance with care and concern for the men who fought that day. And it is about that single first day of fighting. That gives Middlebrook ample space to look at the a [...]


  • This book recounts the events of July 1 1916 from the viewpoint of several soldiers who fought that day. Martin Middlebrook, a layperson to the field of history, took it upon himself to track down the men who survived the Battle of the Somme and interview them. It is both a valuable work of history and an entertaining read. If you are not familiar with the outlines of the battle you may find the book confusing as it moves from regiment to regiment around the field. The average soldier had no ide [...]


  • I deliberately made a point to avoid reading this book until the last part of June 2016- when 100 years ago the artillery was being set up and commencing its long bombardment. I finished the book on the date that the Somme was scheduled to begin. I remember reading an anecdote in The Price of Glory by Aleister Horne where during the official commemoration of Verdun the usually unshakable Charles de Gaulle had to excuse himself for weeping during the remembrance, and even separate a whole century [...]


  • An excellent overview of the first day of the Somme, though it did tail off a little towards the end. I think I would have done better to have read this continuously over one period; because I dipped in and out, I kept getting lost and losing the narrative. Some extremely moving accounts from the men who were there and a very comprehensive dissection of the events. The maps were particularly good.


  • This is a very well laid-out history of what happened on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, July 1, 1916 - how the British troops who fought there were assembled, how they were equipped and led, and the simple mistakes that turned this day into a seminal event in the history of the United Kingdom. Mr. Middlebrook is cautious in laying blame on different leaders, but does carefully explain what worked and what didn't.


  • If there's anything worse than knowing the basic gist of things at the Somme (horrifying loss of life and futility of the attempted advance), then it is knowing the details of the first day. Part of what's fascinating, though, about this account is that Middlebrook spent what must have been many hundreds of hours corresponding with or interviewing survivors, and his account relies as much as on their reminiscences as on official sources.


  • A friend from Scotland gave me a copy of this book after we sat in a pub in Carlisle one evening discussing war and our father's experiences and John Keeghan's "Face of Battle." It is a meticulous, highly detailed book that probably comes as close as anything can to providing and understanding of the fear, terror, and utter drudgery of life in the trenches in WWI.


  • Well written book from an era when authors used footnotes instead of those abominations known 'as 'endnotes' that require you to use two bookmarks when reading. Well researched as well with lots of quotes from the participants. Thoroughly enjoyed this book, other than the very tragic subject matter, of course.


  • A heartbreaking and very direct account of the first day of the Battle of the Somme.I actually read this as I was undertaking a military history tour of the Somme battlefields and it provided a factual and surprisingly personal perspective of the first day.For those who think their school history summary of the Somme is enough, buy this book.


  • A very in-depth analysis of the first day of the Somme from a British perspective. This book goes into detail about most battalions who fought on the First Day of the Somme and who took part in that famous initial charge at zero hour. It's a very informative book that includes everything an amateur historian needs to know.


  • Excellent book. Very well written and thorough. He seems to be reluctant to blame the generals, but Rawlinson comes off worst. Lots of eyewitness comments as he follows troops of the New Army into their first battle. Grim. Very grim to imagine the slaughter and stupidity mixed with bravery.


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