Battles of the Somme 1915

German Position Strengthened

During 1915 the German Second Army carried out an intensive programme of construction on its Front Line and Second Line from its northern right flank at Monchy-au-Bois, south across the Ancre river valley and over the gently rolling chalk hills to the Somme river. An intermediate line of defence was established between the Front Line and the Second Position. A Third Line was begun some ** miles (kms) beyond the Second Position that consisting of strategically placed strong-points. Several large, deep bunkers were mined in the chalk landscape in the Front Line and Second Position to provide unseen, protective accommodation for headquarters, medical facilities, bodies of troops and supplies. In the Front Line sector cellars underneath houses were reinforced as underground shelters and joined together by tunnels and trenches to create fortified strong-points such as at Serre and Beaumont Hamel. Barbed wire entanglements and deep, well-drained, solidly constructed trenches connected the village strong-points in the forward areas.

The rear area for the German divisons in the Somme sector was based at Bapaume. The town was a railhead for the sector. In order to supply the men in the line and in reserve the German Army spent 1915 establishing bakeries, slaughterhouses, laundries, canteens, libraries, supply dumps, a hospital and forward medical stations in and around Bapaume. A photographer's studio was established in Miraumont. Parcels and post arrived at Bapaume station from Germany, bringing regular supplies of home comforts to the men.

Battle of Hébuterne

The British Army Arrives

From August 1915 the British Third Army, commanded by General Sir Edmund Allenby, began to take over a sector of the Front Line north of the river Somme from the French Army.

In December 1915 the new British front stretched from Ransart to Curlu on the Somme river. At this time the British Third Army was sandwiched between the French Tenth Army holding 20 miles of Front Line in the Arras sector and the French Sixth Army holding the Front Line south of the Somme river.

Winter 1915

The Somme sector remained quiet over the winter of 1915 into 1916. The German troops busied themselves securing their defences. On both sides of the wire the troops carried on the daily routines of trench life and training.

Next >> Somme Battles 1916


(1) Archives Pas de Calais: La Bataille d'Hébuterne

Website: La-bataille-d-Hebuterne