Description

Published date: 16 August 2012

This clip gives us a detailed view of preparations for the attack at the Somme. We see vast ammunition dumps followed by busy scenes of trucks moving shells and other equipment and men busily loading and unloading vehicles. The final scene shows trench mortars (plum pudding bombs) being used.

Context

This film gives us a detailed view of preparations for the attack at the Somme. This clip shows unusually heavy activity, which fits with the fact that the British Army was going into the largest battle in its history. On average, a British soldier spent about 4-5 days per month in the firing line, in shifts of 2-3 days. For much of the rest of the time, soldiers were in reserve, waiting to be called up if they were needed. When they were not on front line duty, soldiers had relatively light duties.

Interesting or important points about the film

This clip gives us some interesting insights into what a massive task it took to organise an action like the attack at the Somme in 1916. To supply an army of hundreds of thousands with food, weapons, ammunition and all the other equipment needed was a huge job. This is why many troops spent much time transporting equipment and ammunition. We also see trench mortars in action. The Somme attack in July 1916 was disastrous, but these scenes show that not every aspect of the war effort was badly managed even at that time.

Please note that this video is silent.

Author: The National Archives

Duration: 2:34

Release date: 11th August 1916

Producer: British Topical Committee for War Films

Source: IWM 191

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