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concerned about a gap in the line?


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I have a dvd called " the Somme 1916" one of the Line of Fire dvd's by Cromwell Productions.

On the dvd the commentary states that Ralinson was not happy about a " gap" in the line, was there a "gap" on the dvd it states the gap was between Serre and Beaumont Hamel or was it between Gommecourt and Serre??. and why was there a gap anyway?? :unsure:


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I assume that the gap will be that between the diversionary attack at Gommecourt and the "real attack" from Serre southwards.

In a nutshell, as I understand the purpose of the gap, it was to divert fire onto Gommecourt, thereby taking it away from Serre. But there are others with more knowledge of that end of the battlefield that I have.


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The gap was between Serre and Gommecourt. When Rawlinson was asked by Haig to plan the Somme offensive he made it clear that he did not have enough troops and guns to attack Gommecourt. Serre was as far north as he was prepared to go. Haig then asked Allenby (GOC Third Army) to organise a diversion around Gommecourt "to assist in the operations of the Fourth Army by diverting against itself the fire of artillery and infantry which might otherwise be directed against the left flank of the main attack near Serre".

The result of the deliberately obvious preparations by VII Corps was that Gommecourt was the only sector effectively reinforced before 1st July 1916 with a new division brought of of reserve to take over a large selection of the line. The men displaced moved south to reinforce Serre. Two artillery regiments were also brought up and some of these helped defeat the attack at Serre as well as that at Gommecourt.

The whole diversion was a misconceived affair which actually contributed to the defeat of the northern end of the main offensive by drawing troops and artillery to an area that was so close to Serre that the men and guns could be used either there or at Gommecourt. Allenby originally had suggested either Vimy Ridge or the Monchy-au-Bois area as places for an attack. Either of these would have prevented the reserves brought up from interfering at Serre.

The gap was occupied by elements of the 48th South Midland Division which had previously occupied the line opposite Gommecourt and had, in April, been asked to plan an attack on the village. When the plans were changed they occupied the gap and contributed some battalions to the attack on Redan Ridge.

Generally a bit of a cock up.

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