The Battle of the Somme lasted five months along a 15-mile (24-km) front in northern France. Its objective was to relieve pressure on the French fighting at Verdun and to weaken the German army. It was a mainly British offensive, despite an earlier intention to make it predominantly French. However, the French were being pounded in Verdun and the attack was brought forward by one month. On 1 July, after bombarding the German trenches with artillery fire for seven days, 100,000 men were sent over the top to attack the German line. Mines were exploded under German lines immediately before the general attack. Neither the mines or artillery fire, which did not sufficiently penetrate the deep German trenches, were effective and the advancing British soldiers were mown down by machine gun and rifle fire, costing 19,240 British lives. By 2 July, the British had advanced 3 miles (5 km).
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