The Battle of the Somme: The first day, 1 July 1916
The Battle was to be the British Army's major offensive on the Western Front. Starting at 7:30am on the 1st of July 1916, the battle raged for another 148 days. There were 57,470 casualties on the first day alone of whom 19,240 died of their wounds.
On the 29th August 1914 the German army arrived on the Somme brushing aside the few French troops in the area. Over the winter of 1914/15 a stable front line was established between the two sides that changed little over the following year and a half. Following their costly offensives during the first six months of 1915 the French looked to the expanding British force to take over part of their front line. A new formation – the British Third Army, formed out of four divisions on 18 July 1915 and took control of a seventeen-mile stretch of the front line north of the River Somme.
British troops and units steadily flowed into this quiet sector over the next months and enjoyed the relatively comfortable conditions, although the British Army did loose over 7,700 casualties on the Somme in 1915.
In March 1916 General Sir Henry Rawlinson’s Fourth Army replaced the Third Army and plans began to be formulated for a new offensive in the area. The main line of assault ran for 25,000 yards, nearly 14 miles. At 7.30am, on a clear midsummer's morning, the British infantry emerged from their trenches and advanced in extended lines across the grassy expanse of No Man's Land. There they met a hail of machine-gun and rifle fire from the surviving German defenders. Accurate German barrages, immediately added to the pandemonium, as shells engulfed the attackers and wrecked the crowded British assembly trenches. The advancing infantry suffered enormous casualties. The only permanent gains were made at the southernmost end of the battlefield, where in conjunction with the well-conducted French assault, Montauban and Mametz were captured. By evening it gradually became apparent that the day had been a disaster for the British Army.
Pocket Tours brings history to life by using the full suite of functionality available on the Apple mobile platform. For over a year visitors have used this app to help them interpret history’s most significant battles.
Users can visit historical sites from the comfort of their armchair whilst hearing from world-renowned historians about exactly what happened, who was involved and how history was shaped.
It is also possible to use the app to visit the area and be guided around whilst listening to the commentary and seeing where historic events took place through the live camera.
Users can view photographs, hear original sound clips and see film footage to further bring the scene to life.
Pocket Tours is the world’s first battlefield tour app, which is able to use all of the pioneering capability of the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
“Imagine walking over the ground that shaped history and having an expert explain the events as they unfolded. The GPS feature guides users from point to point, utilising the knowledge of local historians to go to the best vantage points – making a tour of the battlefields accessible to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Once downloaded, users don’t need internet access to use the app. They can just plug in their headphones and immerse themselves in the history. If you can’t get to the battlefield that’s fine – the app is still a fantastic story in its own right.”
NO INTERNET/3G CONNECTION REQUIRED - Designed for offline use so you don't need to pay for high overseas data charges. There is a lot of mapping information, audio files and videos so please be patient as it downloads.
EXPERIENCED GUIDE – Our guides are experts. They bring to life what took place and describe what it was like on the ground when it was happening. It is much easier to understand how things happened when you see where they took place
UP - TO - DATE – Obviously the historic tours don’t change as time passes. We are however always updating things and looking for more information to make the tours more interesting.
AUGMENTED REALITY –Turn the phone on its side and look at the screen. The camera will show you a view with superimposed images showing where things took place and what they looked like at the time.
1. Continued use of GPS running in the background can dramatically decrease battery life.
2. The GPS signal is very weak in areas with overhead cover.
3. The GPS signal is often weak inside a car.
4. Take a real map to make sure you know where you are. Don’t rely on the GPS alone.
5. Download a compass to help you to orientate yourself
Be part of the experience… Pocket Tours is now available – download it and help us bring history to life.
Pocket Tours is brand new. The developments are ongoing and updates will be issued frequently. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you think of any improvements or if you want anything explaining.