Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Somme Then And Now

The assault phase of the Battle of the Somme commenced 10 minutes after the blowing of the Hawthorne mine. The original black and white footage is from a full-length, silent documentary film, The Battle Of The Somme (1916).  That film has been digitized and set back to the original camera speed (something I worried about back here). Watch the original film here. It's lengthy, but worth it.

A couple years ago, two amateur filmmakers skilfully blended past and present cinematography. You won't realize what they've done for a minute or so but then it's incredible! The film is poignant too: Most of these men would be dead 40 minutes after this film was made.


  1. 60,000 casualties in one day.

    No wonder the British Army was haunted by it.

    And, contrary to the Lefty media, most commanders did everything in their power to minimize casualties, but, until something came along to get past the barbed wire and knock out the machine guns - which were practically artillery - there was very little that could be done.

  2. A major problem with higher command was communication. I read that it took hours to get the news that the wire had not been breached. Successive planned wave attacks could not be countermanded. The absolute chaos in the trenches must have been horrific: the wounded moving back in the same channels as the troops going forward.

  3. The film is beautiful, sad, and moving all at once. I'm sort of stunned by it...

  4. The same filmmakers put together a full length version of this work: link