The Attrition: The Great War on the Western Front - 1916
There is no single-volume, popular military history of 1916. Curious, because 1916 was the pivotal year of the First World War, a year of ... Show synopsis There is no single-volume, popular military history of 1916. Curious, because 1916 was the pivotal year of the First World War, a year of unparalleled disaster for the British, French and German Armies, yet the year in which the balance of advantage swung in favour of the Allies. This was largely due to the introduction of the tank, a weapon which would finally overcome the deadly combination of barbed wire, trenches and artillery. However, 1916 offers much more than a study in technical innovation v 1916 was mainly a year of slaughter, a year of attrition. The story begins in December 1915 with the long-overdue sacking of Field Marshal Sir John French and the appointment of General Sir Douglas Haig to command the British Armies in France and moves on swiftly to the Allied Conference at Chantilly on December 29, 1915, at which Joffre, the French C-in-C, proposed that the main Allied effort in 1916, should take the form of a massive, combined offensive on a sixty-mile front astride the river Somme.The story of 1916 is packed with controversy, and in the course of its telling many ingrained myths are explored v that Haig was a monster, that the planning was faulty, that the battle achieved nothing.