This article summarizes the lead up to start of the Battle of the Somme which took place at Beaumont Hamel on July 1, 1916. The news was at least two days behind as you can tell from this article as it was reported from London on July 1 however it was not printed in the paper until July 3. This article goes to show again that news was not able to be reported as quickly back then as it is today. While things took place live back then as they do today it was not possible to do live broadcasting or get news sent by telegraph to be printed in the daily paper as quick as it can be completed today.


Terrific British Bombardment

London, July 1- Through raids covered by a continuous bombardment the British this week have taken many prisoners and have identified every German battalion opposite their lines. Some prisoners say the British fire has been so heavy that communication trenches were destroyed and the Germans have been unable to bring up food to their front line trenches for three days. It is also stated that the Germans have withdrawn from their Verdun front, the 11th Bavarian Division and 22nd Reserve Corps and from the Champagne front the 10th Corps for Reinforcements for Field Marshal Von Hindenburg on the Russian front. It is further stated it is probable also that three additional divisions were sent to Russia from the British front recently. One report has it that the 11th Bavarian Division refused to attack Verdun again, whereupon an order was issued  that every 10th man should be shot, but that the King of Bavaria intervened. Emperor William then decided that the 11th Division should go to the eastern front. There has been no cessation of the British bombardment along the whole line from Ypres salient to the River Somme in the last 24 hours. The weather continues overcast with now and then rain squalls. Wherever the correspondent has gone along the line the British appeared to be firing two shells to the German one. At some points in, the face of the British concentration the German guns have seemed strangely silent as if awaiting events. The fourth day of the British bombardment of the German positions sees no diminution in the volume of fire which continues along the whole line without cessation day and night, cutting the barbed wire entanglements, demolishing first and second line trenches placing curtains of fire on roads and communicating trenches. Considerably over a million shells a day are being expended and there seems to be no limit to the supply of them. British infantry actions have been limited thus far to raids under cover of artillery and trench mortar fire which ascertain the state of the German trenches. Last night the sky from twenty to thirty miles to the rear towards the cast was brilliant as through with the glare of the aurora borealis. From dusk to dawn this was the only illumination along the roads for the movement of trucks and automobiles, none of which carried lights. From a point near the group of batteries the correspondent witnessed a scene of grandeur under the canopy of a coldness and moonless night, lit up with broad sheets of flame, ugly flashes and darts of fire. Over the area of action today the sun breaking through the over cast sky for the first time in three days is welcome to the artillery as good light is necessary to level trenches and destroy the concrete shelters and machine guns and make the damages far more extensive.

Source: The Daily News, July 3, 1916


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