Somme Intelligence - Fourth Army HQ 1916, William Langford

Somme Intelligence - Fourth Army HQ 1916, William Langford

This book reproduces the hand-written journal of Harry Platt, a soldier working in the Intelligence staff at the Fourth Army HQ during the Battle of the Somme. In his journal Platt recorded many of the German documents that were available to the British on the Somme, including letters to and from the front, diaries, official communications and other captured material. These sources provided an insight into the morale of the German army on the Somme and the German home front, and would have played a part in the British high command's attitude on the Somme.

As you read these materials it becomes clear why the Allied high command believed that a major victory was possible on the Somme. The sources are full of complaints. The most common (both at the front and in Germany) was of a shortage of food, with resulting food riots in German cities. The troops also complained about the long periods they were being forced to spend at the front, even after suffering heavy losses, the damage inflicted by Allied artillery bombardments, the apparent domination of the skies by the Allied air forces and the absence of German aircraft. There was also evidence of wide-scale friction between Prussian and Bavarian units.

Sadly it is now clear that most of these complaints were rather overblown. As events proved the morale of the German army was not as bad as these sources suggested, and it took another two years of fighting before its morale finally broke under the pressure of the Allied offensives of 1918. This work tells us what material was available to the commanders making decisions in 1916, and helps to explain why the battle went on for so long.

1 - An Der Somme
2 - The Allied Attack - July 1916
3 - Fighting in August 1916
4 - The Month of September 1916
5 - Drawing to a Close, October 1916

Author: William Langfdord
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 160
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2013

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