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Remembered Today:

Battle of the Somme - Preparatory Bombardment


Hoplophile
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The Official History, which is usually a good source for such information, does not have a breakdown of the types of shells (e.g. 6-inch, 8-inch) fired in the course of the preliminary bombardment that preceded the attack on the Somme (1 July 1916).

Does anyone have such a list or, lacking that, any suggestion as to where I might find one?

Does General Headlam's report, which was recently (2002) republished by the PRO have such a breakdown?

As the French say, Merci d'avance!

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I only have fragmentary bits and pieces about this subject, but the starting point for this kind of information is a War Office publication: Statistics of the Military Effort of the British Empire During the Great War 1914 - 1920 Published, London 1922. Ask your library for it!

Jack

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Many thanks.

Statistics has just been reprinted (by the Naval and Military Press) and I picked up a copy. It is a marvelous work, full of all sorts of information. However, its detailed breakdown on preparatory bombardments (which includes the cost of the shells) begins in 1917, and thus misses the Somme!

As the detailed breakdowns in the Official History end with the Battle of Loos (September 1915), the Battle of the Somme is left out in the cold.

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No need for an apology!

It is, however, curious that two such detailed works - the Official History and Statistics should miss such a big battle.

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Bruce, there is nothing of note in the Appendices to the Official History either. Farndale lists the size of ammunition resupply dumps for the various calibres but no other details.

Robert

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Trawling through the Australian Official History found out that 12,776 tons of artillery ammunition was fired on the first day of the Somme.

Also the French had 900 heavy guns for their 6 miles of effective front whilst the British had only 400 heavy artillery out of 730 heavy artillery pieces then in France, on the Somme.

Not much help, but still interesting stats. :)

Cheers,

Tim

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I remember reading someone's PHD about artillery on the Western Front, and it spent quite some time talking about statistics and logistics. I can't remember the name off the top of my head, but will consult my list of books read later tonight.

Andy M

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Gentlemen!

Thank you all for being so helpful.

Inspired by your assistance, I have been able to find exact figures for 18-pounder and 4.5-inch howitzer shells (from a footnote in the Official History), as well as an approximate figure for 6-inch howitzer shells.

I shall post these shortly.

Many thanks!

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