if u was a ww1 soldier at the battle of the somme. would u of ran or walked?
- the cLv 61 decade agoFavourite answer
Despite what is taught to most UK year 9 pupils the decision to run, walk, advance in short rushes with supporting fire or in waves was made at a much lower level than the orders of the day would have you think. Although the armies standing orders stated that soldiers should walk (it was falsely believed the new recruits were not trained enough for more complicated manoeuvres under fire) most officers looked at the tactical situation that faced them and instructed their men accordingly. So as stated you would have followed orders.
In some of the battalions the troops may well have been so inexperienced under fire that if they had tried the more complex tactics the British developed later in the war they would likely have lost all control of the men and cohesion as units.
Running and walking were not the real reasons for the casualties however, the ineffectual artillery bombardment and too great a gap to when the attacking waves followed the lifting of the bombardment on the defenders allowed them to get to their posts and bring a large amount of machine gun and artillery (this killed more than machine guns) fire on the attackers. The British realised that to keep close the barrage was key and had improved in the next set of attacks in few weeks after the first day.
- LaredoLv 71 decade ago
Most of the soldiers during World War 1 were young men, who were patriotic and would have walked when ordered to, and ran when ordered to. If I had been a soldier at the Battle of the Somme I would have done the same thing.
- LaurenceLv 71 decade ago
I would probably have been so convinced by the War Office's over-confidence that I would have walked, as ordered, and quickly become one of the 60,000 casualties on the first day.
Had I had any doubts, I would never have joined up in the first place: conscription only came in March 2, 1917.
Fortunately, my father had witnessed, as a teenager, the mad celebration of the relief of Mafeking, May 17, 1900. The ridiculous puerility of the adult population cured him for ever of Jingoism, what the Germans call "Hurrapatriotismus," and left him immune to the war enthusiasm of 1914. This prevented him from volunteering, resulted his being drafted in 1917 into a munitions factory instead of into the army and so brought him safely through WW1. This probably explains why I was ever born at all (in 1929).
- Guru HankLv 71 decade ago
Most infantry advanced at walking pace under the machine gun fire, which was initially aimed at the front line trenches and passed over the heads of those moving behind a barrage in no mans land. Advancing troops carried a lot of ammunition and equipment, and ran at objectives only in the last charge to overrun them.
- What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
- paul sLv 61 decade ago
you would have been carrying 60lb worth of kit, a large rifle with bayonet attached (which would have been 5+ foot in length), heavy boots, a heavy woollen uniform, (much of the somme was fought in the heat of a french summer, in heavy wool you would sweat like a pig, you would have bad heat rash all over your body, especially your groin area, (making walking painful) a metal helmet, gas mask strapped to chest, etc, etc
one in 3 would have had a full size shovel strapped to their back, (making it impossible for you to bend over or duck) some men had to carry a full sandbag on their backs, others would be carrying boxes of spare ammo, satchels of grenades, some carried large drums of telephone wire that they had to unwind as they advanced, others carried heavy military telephones, some carried messenger flags (so they could send semaphore messages back) some carried heavy flashlights (morse code) some were even carrying cages with messenger pigeons in them. on the back of some men's jacket was a bright shiny triangle made of metal (that reflected in the sunlight, the idea was the observers watching back in the british trenches would see the flash's and know were the troops were)
forget running, the fact men were able to walk carrying such heavy loads is impressive enough!
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Hell, Cromwell, your English sure isn't the Queen's English! ;-)
If you were a soldier at the battle of the Somme, you would have done what you were ordered to do.
- Warren DLv 71 decade ago
If a common soldier I would have obeyed my orders. If I were an officer or NCO I would have looked for ways to protect my men if I could find any such ways. If I were a commanding general I would have desperately looked for a different strategy. I probably would not have found one and would likely have faced court martial and possible execution.
- Tim DLv 71 decade ago
To add to Paul’s excellent answer, think about the ground they were crossing, it had been churned and cratered by tens of thousands of artillery rounds, was carpeted by barbed wire – not easy to cross even without the load. And the aim was to attack a series of trenches in concert and probably fight hand-to-hand, if you and your comrades are arriving piecemeal and out of breath the chances of success and survival are reduced.
- AndyLv 41 decade ago
You would have walked as instructed by the NCO`s and Officers in an orderly manner.
- woodyLv 61 decade ago
You did what you were told or you were letting down your unit and the man next to you, moreover if you didn't follow orders you were shot for treason anyway.