This Week: Battle of the Somme - The Wrong Strategic Calculations in the Western Offensive, July 16, 1916

Ettlingen's newspaper, the "Badischer Landsmann" reports on July 16, 1916, on the Battle at the Somme and the problems of the English-French Offensive.
This article is shared with our partner blog: The Somme Reports.

The Wrong Strategic Calculations in the Western Offensive

Copenhagen, July 5

Some of the newspapers here are stating openly that the English are the victims of completely wrong strategic calculations in the Battle at the Somme. The military critic of the newspaper "Exstrabladet", for example, is emphasizing that the Germans had two years' time to fortify their lines and to construct their defense positions at least 15 kilometers deep. The German system which has now come to light is posing an extremely sobering surprise for the English, whose long calculated plan of attack was based on former types of combat and was reckoning on a relatively easy game. These misguided calculations are now obvious from the stagnation of the loudly praised offensive.

In conjunction with the latest news on the deadlock in the English offensive, our Express Correspondence's war reporter related the contents of an interview held with Dr. Egan, the American ambassador in Copenhagen. Dr. Egan's remarks, which the reporter relates to the English and French offensive, were to the effect that it appeared that total decisions regarding the war do not lie in the hands of the military. Only once the belligerents realize that a definitive decision cannot be forced through mass violence would diplomatic negotiations finally become more amenable.

According to a telegram in the newspaper "Politiken", the view is held among decisive circles in London that the Battle at the Somme will proceed in a similar manner to the Battles of Verdun and will be protracted. After several days of heavy storming attacks, pauses must be introduced, in order to pull troops together and to prepare new attacks. At the moment, the terrain won by the English-French troops during the first days of the offensive is being fortified.

A bicycle company breaks up to storm attack
during the battles of the English-French offensive
(Illustrierte Geschichte des Weltkrieges 1914/16)

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