Artillery and heavy guns used by the British forces during the First Battle of the Somme in 1916
British artillery and heavy guns at the Battle of the Somme in 1916
This graph shows the total number of artillery and heavy guns used by the British forces during the First Battle of the Somme in 1916. The Battle of the Somme took place from July 1, until November 18, 1916 with most of the bombardments coming in the week leading up to the July 1, attack. The front line during the battle was over 22km long, and the German forces were so well entrenched (up to 15m deep) and protected that the week-long bombardment did not have its desired effect. This meant that when the soldiers rushed the German lines on the morning of July 1, they suffered massive casualties, with 19,240 British fatalities on the first day alone (making it the bloodiest day in British military history).

The most commonly used gun was by far the 18PDR field gun,of which 808 were deployed during the Battle of the Somme. This gun was the most frequently used field gun used by the British Royal Field Artillery in the First World War. After these were the 4.5- and 6-inch Howitzers, and the 60 pounder guns. There was also a smaller number of naval railway-guns used to provide heavier fire and strategically targeted enemy roads and railways in order to disrupt their supply chain. The smaller guns and Howitzers were used not only to bombard the enemy, but also to destroy the masses of barbed wire that occupied no-mans-land and to clear a path for the soldiers (although this was not always very effective).
Artillery and heavy guns used by the British forces during the First Battle of the Somme in 1916
Weapon typeNumber of guns
QF 18 pounder gun808
QF 4.5 inch Howitzer202
BL 60 pounder gun128
BL 6 inch Howitzer104
BL 9.2-inch Howitzer60
QF 4.7-inch naval gun Mk I32
BL 6-inch naval gun Mk VII20
BL 12-inch Howitzer11
BL 15-inch Howitzer6
BL 9.2-inch naval gun Mk IX1
BL 12-inch naval gun Mk X1
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Source

Release date

2019

Region

United Kingdom

Survey time period

1916

British artillery and heavy guns at the Battle of the Somme in 1916
This graph shows the total number of artillery and heavy guns used by the British forces during the First Battle of the Somme in 1916. The Battle of the Somme took place from July 1, until November 18, 1916 with most of the bombardments coming in the week leading up to the July 1, attack. The front line during the battle was over 22km long, and the German forces were so well entrenched (up to 15m deep) and protected that the week-long bombardment did not have its desired effect. This meant that when the soldiers rushed the German lines on the morning of July 1, they suffered massive casualties, with 19,240 British fatalities on the first day alone (making it the bloodiest day in British military history).

The most commonly used gun was by far the 18PDR field gun,of which 808 were deployed during the Battle of the Somme. This gun was the most frequently used field gun used by the British Royal Field Artillery in the First World War. After these were the 4.5- and 6-inch Howitzers, and the 60 pounder guns. There was also a smaller number of naval railway-guns used to provide heavier fire and strategically targeted enemy roads and railways in order to disrupt their supply chain. The smaller guns and Howitzers were used not only to bombard the enemy, but also to destroy the masses of barbed wire that occupied no-mans-land and to clear a path for the soldiers (although this was not always very effective).
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