Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/42

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The War and the Future

front line 8 strongholds which the enemy boasted were impregnable.

The Battle of the Somme was the first real measuring of strength between the enemy and the English. In the early battles, the picked men of our race had met their picked men and held them. But the picked men were now dead, and the armies which fought on the Somme were the average mass of the race.

I must describe the Battle of the Somme. On the right, where the ground is flat and there is no real defensive position, the French caught the enemy by surprise, officers shaving in their dugouts, men at breakfast, gun teams going down to water. The French made a royal and victorious advance at once.

Our men attacking the strongholds where the enemy expected us, lost 50,000 men in the first day's fighting and took in that day, the first of the 8 impregnable forts.

I don't think you realize what the Battle of the Somme became. It went on for 8+12 months of intense, bloody and bitter battles for small pieces of hill, for the sites of vanished villages,