It will cost us dearly and we shall not get far
General Rawlinson, commander-in-chief, IV Corps, British Army.
This British offensive was to be in support of the French, who were keen to have a quick and successful offensive before winter, and to help the beleaguered Russians, bearing the brunt of the German attacks in the east.
British General, Douglas Haig was well aware of the difficulties facing his men: the battlefield was full of slag heaps and mine works, affording the Germans excellent defensive positions. Despite their reluctance French commander General Joffre was adamant that the British attack. Forced to act before his New Army was ready, Haig still optimistically thought a breakthrough possible. The Allies had a five to one advantage in troop numbers.
The attack of 75,000 troops made some progress; however, it slowed due to lack…
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