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Great Britain. War Office. General Staff. Geographical Section

Area of Martinpuich.

Additional Title(s):

Trench map, area of Martinpuich

[London] : [Geographical Section, General Staff], 1916.
Physical Description:
1 map ; 37 x 64 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Folio B 2014 16c
Yale Center for British Art, Gift of William S. Reese, Yale BA 1977
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Maps & Atlas (printed)
Scale 1:20000.
"Trenches corrected to 6-7-16."
"Part of sheets 57D S.E. & 57C S.W."
"Ordnance survey 1916."
In addition to roads and railways, the map delineates (in red ink): enemy trenches, including those "apparently organised for fire"; British front line trenches; entanglements or other obstacles; ground cut up by artillery fire; mine craters; and mine craters fortified. In black ink, it shows: hedges, fences, and ditches; and "conspicuous points."
The Battle of the Somme was the main Allied offensive on the Western Front in 1916, lasting five months from July to November. It produced no strategic gain, caused 420,000 casualties, and destroyed the new volunteer army that had come forward in 1914-1915. French troops had been expected to bear the main burden of the operation, but the German Army's mass assault on Verdun in 1916 turned the Somme operation into a large-scale British diversionary attack. An 8-day preliminary bombardment, which was expected to completely destroy German forward defenses, in fact failed either to destroy either barbed wire or the protective concrete bunkers beneath German trenches. The Germans took full advantage of excellent positions on higher ground when the British infantry attacked at 7:30 am on 1 July, signaled by an explosion of an enormous mine under German positions near Beaumont-Hamel in the northern sector of the Front. The attack that followed was one of the bloodiest failures of the British army. Forced back to its own trenches along the line, the infantry suffered more casualties (60,000, a third of them killed) than on any other day in its history.
The poet Robert Graves was wounded in the British assault on High Wood (present on this map) during the Battle of the Somme on 20 July 1916.
Selected exhibitions: "Doomed youth: the poetry and the pity of the First World War" (Yale Center for British Art, June 22-September 26, 1999.
BAC: British Art Center copy previously owned by Arnold Whitridge, Yale class of 1913. Whitridge was doing graduate work at Oxford when the war broke out in August 1914 and early the next year he joined the British Army. He was wounded at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The same year, as a young second lieutenant, Whitridge was awarded the British Military Cross, which authorities had created in December 1914 to recognize the contributions of junior officers holding the rank of captain or lower. Whitridge was the only American serving with the British to be thus recognized.
Subject Terms:
Graves, Robert, 1895-1985.
Martinpuich (Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France) -- Maps.
Somme, 1st Battle of the, France, 1916 -- Maps.
Whitridge, Arnold, 1891-1989 -- Provenance.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Trench warfare -- France -- Maps.
Maps -- France -- 1914-1918.

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