The Somme Offensive I — The Plan and the First Day
The allied strategic plan for 1916, agreed by the allies’ military leaders at Joffre’s headquarters at Chantilly in December 1915, called for coordinated offensives on all allied fronts. The Anglo-French contribution on the western front was to be a combined offensive astride the river Somme. Britain would commit her volunteer New Armies for the first time, to muster an Anglo-French attacking force of 65 divisions, 40 French and 25 British. By the time the offensive commenced on 1 July 1916 events elsewhere had reduced the campaign’s size and scope — attrition had replaced decision as the strategic objective for 1916.