Somme, Battles of the
The second battle (Mar.–Apr., 1918), or the Somme Offensive, was a German attack led by Gen. Erich Ludendorff against the weakened 60-mi (92-km) British line N of the Somme, which the Germans hoped to breach before American reinforcements arrived. The British lines were soon overrun, and the British forced back some 40 mi (64 km). The French, under Gen. Ferdinand Foch, reinforced the British, and the German advance was halted. The German victory had little effect on the larger war, however, as it further depleted Germany's forces. The British suffered some 163,000 casualties, and the French 77,000; the Germans nearly as many.
See study by M. Middlebrook (2007) on both battles. The first battle is the subject of studies by J. Buchan (1917), A. R. Dugmore (1918), B. Gardner (1961), A. Farrar-Hockley (1964), J. Harris (1966), M. Middlebrook (1971, repr. 2007), C. Martin (1973), L. Macdonald (1983), T. Norman (1984, repr. 2003), P. Liddle (1992), C. McCarthy (1993), M. Chappell (1995), G. Sheffield (2003), P. Hart (2005, repr. 2009), R. Prior and T. Wilson (2005), C. Duffy (2006), D. Youel (2006), M. Gilbert (2006), G. Gliddon (1989 and 2006), and A. Robertshaw (2006). Studies devoted to the second battle include those by R. Cowley (1964), J. Giles (1977), M. Marix Evans (1996), M. Stedman (2001), and S. Ross (2004).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Wars and Battles