Tanks on the Somme 13 November 1916


Map Code: Ax00186

The last battle of the Somme took place on 13–18 November 1916. The British had advanced northwards to the River Ancre, determined to push the Germans back and take three of their trench lines. The 39th Division had been holding Ancre since October and despite constant artillery barrage and aircraft fire, the British were having only small successes. This final offensive used a combination of tanks, creeping artillery barrage and infantry to neutralize the Germans in their dugouts. The artillery barrage inched forward in small increments, every few minutes, with fire passing from one line to the next. This shielded the infantry who advanced 50 yards behind. The tanks were only being deployed for the second time and were used to ‘mop up’ after the infantry. Some enemy lines were taken, but so many lives were lost that the Somme offensives were temporarily terminated.

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