Somme (department)

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Somme
Amiens, hotel de prefecture (7).JPG
Prefecture building of the Somme department, in Amiens
Drapeau fr departement Somme.svg
Flag
Blason departement fr Somme.svg
Coat of arms
Somme-Position.svg
Location of Somme in France
Coordinates: 49°53′N02°25′E / 49.883°N 2.417°E / 49.883; 2.417 Coordinates: 49°53′N02°25′E / 49.883°N 2.417°E / 49.883; 2.417
Country France
Region Hauts-de-France
Prefecture Amiens
Subprefectures Abbeville
Montdidier
Péronne
Government
   President of the General Council Laurent Somon
Area
1
  Total6,170 km2 (2,380 sq mi)
Population
 (2017)
  Total572,443
  Rank 44th
  Density93/km2 (240/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Department number 80
Arrondissements 4
Cantons 23
Communes 772
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Somme (French pronunciation:  [sɔm] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )) is a department of France, located in the north of the country and named after the Somme river. It is part of the Hauts-de-France region.

Contents

The north central area of the Somme was the site of a series of battles during World War I. including the particularly significant Battle of the Somme in 1916. As a result of this and other battles fought in the area the department is home to many military cemeteries and several major monuments commemorating the many soldiers from various countries who died on its battlefields. The 1346 Battle of Crécy, a major English victory early in the Hundred Years' War, also took place in this department.

Geography

The Somme department is in the current region of Hauts-de-France and is surrounded by the departments of Pas-de-Calais, Nord, Aisne, Oise and Seine-Maritime. In the northwest, it has a coast on the English Channel. The main rivers are the Somme and its tributaries (Avre, Ancre and Noye, the Authie) as well as the Bresle.

Principal towns

Most Populous Somme communes [1]
RankCommuneCantonArrondissementPopulation (2017)
1 Amiens Amiens-1, Amiens-2,
Amiens-3, Amiens-4,
Amiens-5, Amiens-6,
Amiens-7
Amiens 134,057
2 Abbeville Abbeville-1
Abbeville-2
Abbeville 22,946
3 Albert Albert Péronne 9,928
4 Péronne Péronne Péronne 7,579
5 Corbie Corbie Amiens 6,283

Battles of the Somme

At the beginning of the First World War, during the Race to the Sea of September and November 1914, the Somme became the site of the Battle of Albert. The battle was a five-day engagement between 25 and 29 September, with the French Tenth Army attacking at Albert and pushing toward Bapaume, and the German Sixth Army counter-attacking back towards Albert. The line settled around the town of Thiepval and remained there until July 1916, when the Battle of the Somme was fought on and around the same ground.

The Battle of the Somme was one of the most costly battles of World War I, by the number of troop casualties, as Allied forces attempted to break through the German lines along a 40 kilometres (25 mi) front north and south of the River Somme. The Allies had originally intended the Somme to be the site of one of several simultaneous major offensives by Allied powers against the Central Powers in 1916. However, before these offensives could begin, the Germans attacked first, engaging the Allies at the Battle of Verdun. As this battle dragged on, the purpose of the Somme campaign (which was still in the planning stage) shifted from striking a decisive blow against Germany to drawing German forces away from Verdun and relieving the Allied forces there. By its end the losses on the Somme had exceeded those at Verdun.

While Verdun would bite deep in the national consciousness of France for generations, the Somme would have the same effect on generations of Britons. The battle is best remembered for its first day, 1 July 1916, on which the British suffered 57,420 casualties, including 19,240 dead—the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army to this day. As terrible as the battle was for the British Empire troops who suffered there, it naturally affected the other nationalities as well. One German officer, General D. Swaha, famously described it as "the muddy grave of the German field army". His assisant, Nathan W. Left, also described it as being "a land of death and horror caused by a british victory." By the end of the battle, the British had learned many lessons in modern warfare while the Germans had suffered irreplaceable losses. British historian Sir James Edmonds stated, "It is not too much to claim that the foundations of the final victory on the Western Front were laid by the Somme offensive of 1916".

For the first time the home front in Britain was exposed to the horrors of modern war with the release of the propaganda film The Battle of the Somme , which used actual footage from the first days of the battle.

The Somme experienced war twice more in the First and Second Battles of the Somme of 1918.

Demographics

Population development since 1801:

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1801459,453    
1806494,642+1.49%
1821508,710+0.19%
1831543,924+0.67%
1841559,680+0.29%
1851570,641+0.19%
1861572,646+0.04%
1872557,015−0.25%
1881550,837−0.12%
1891546,495−0.08%
1901537,848−0.16%
1911520,161−0.33%
1921452,624−1.38%
1931466,626+0.31%
1936467,479+0.04%
1946441,368−0.57%
1954464,153+0.63%
1962488,225+0.63%
1968512,113+0.80%
1975538,462+0.72%
1982544,570+0.16%
1990547,825+0.07%
1999555,551+0.16%
2006564,319+0.22%
2011571,211+0.24%
2016572,744+0.05%
source: [2]

Politics

Current National Assembly Representatives

ConstituencyMember [3] Party
Somme's 1st constituency François Ruffin La France Insoumise
Somme's 2nd constituency Barbara Pompili La République En Marche!
Somme's 3rd constituency Emmanuel Maquet The Republicans
Somme's 4th constituency Jean-Claude Leclabart La République En Marche!
Somme's 5th constituency Stéphane Demilly Union of Democrats and Independents



Tourism

See also

Related Research Articles

Battle of Verdun Battle on the Western Front during the First World War

The Battle of Verdun was fought from 21 February to 18 December 1916 on the Western Front in France. The battle was the longest of the First World War and took place on the hills north of Verdun-sur-Meuse. The German 5th Army attacked the defences of the Fortified Region of Verdun and those of the French Second Army on the right (east) bank of the Meuse. Using the experience of the Second Battle of Champagne in 1915, the Germans planned to capture the Meuse Heights, an excellent defensive position with good observation for artillery-fire on Verdun. The Germans hoped that the French would commit their strategic reserve to recapture the position and suffer catastrophic losses at little cost to the Germans.

Western Front (World War I) Main theatre of war during the First World War

The Western Front was the main theatre of war during the First World War. Following the outbreak of war in August 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The German advance was halted with the Battle of the Marne. Following the Race to the Sea, both sides dug in along a meandering line of fortified trenches, stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier with France, which changed little except during early 1916 and in 1918.

Battle of the Somme WWI battle between France and Britain against Germany

The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British Empire and French Third Republic against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the upper reaches of the Somme, a river in France. The battle was intended to hasten a victory for the Allies. More than three million men fought in the battle and one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the deadliest battles in human history.

Verdun Subprefecture and commune in Grand Est, France

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First Battle of the Marne First World War battle

The First Battle of the Marne was a battle of the First World War fought from 6 to 12 September 1914. It resulted in an Allied victory against the German armies in the west. The battle was the culmination of the Retreat from Mons and pursuit of the Franco–British armies which followed the Battle of the Frontiers in August and reached the eastern outskirts of Paris.

German spring offensive 1918 German military offensive along the Western Front during WWI

The German spring offensive, or Kaiserschlacht, also known as the Ludendorff offensive, was a series of German attacks along the Western Front during the First World War, beginning on 21 March 1918. The Germans had realised that their only remaining chance of victory was to defeat the Allies before the United States could fully deploy its resources. The German Army had gained a temporary advantage in numbers as nearly 50 divisions had been freed by the Russian withdrawal from the war with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

Hindenburg Line Battle of World War I

The Hindenburg Line was a German defensive position built during the winter of 1916–1917 on the Western Front during the First World War. The line ran from Arras to Laffaux, near Soissons on the Aisne. In 1916, the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of the Somme left the German western armies exhausted and on the Eastern Front, the Brusilov Offensive had inflicted huge losses on the Austro-Hungarian armies and forced the Germans to take over more of the front. The declaration of war by Romania had placed additional strain on the German army and war economy.

Bloody April British air support operation during the Battle of Arras

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First day on the Somme Start of the Battle of Albert

The first day on the Somme, 1 July 1916, was the beginning of the Battle of Albert (1–13 July), the name given by the British to the first two weeks of the 141 days of the Battle of the Somme in the First World War. Nine corps of the French Sixth Army and the British Fourth and Third armies attacked the German 2nd Army from Foucaucourt to the south of the Somme, northwards across the Somme and the Ancre to Serre and at Gommecourt, 2 mi (3 km) beyond, in the Third Army area. The objective of the attack was to capture the German first and second defensive positions from Serre south to the Albert–Bapaume road and the first position from the road south to Foucaucourt.

Robert Nivelle

Robert Georges Nivelle was a French artillery general officer who served in the Boxer Rebellion, and the First World War. Nivelle was a very capable commander and organizer of field artillery at the regimental and divisional levels. In May 1916, he succeeded Philippe Pétain as commander of the French Second Army in the Battle of Verdun, leading counter-offensives that rolled back the German forces in late 1916. During these actions he and General Charles Mangin were already accused of wasting French lives. He gives his name to the Nivelle Offensive.

Hundred Days Offensive Military campaign during World War I

The Hundred Days Offensive was a series of massive Allied offensives which ended the First World War. Beginning with the Battle of Amiens on the Western Front, the Allies pushed the Central Powers back, undoing their gains from the German spring offensive. The Germans retreated to the Hindenburg Line, but the Allies broke through the line with a series of victories, starting with the Battle of St Quentin Canal on 29 September. The offensive, together with a revolution breaking out in Germany, led to the Armistice of 11 November 1918 which ended the war with an Allied victory. The term "Hundred Days Offensive" does not refer to a battle or strategy, but rather the rapid series of Allied victories against which the German Army had no reply.

Beaumont-Hamel Commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Beaumont-Hamel is a commune in the Somme department in Hauts-de-France in northern France.

Battle of Albert (1916) part of the Battle of the Somme

The Battle of Albert is the British name for the first two weeks of British–French offensive operations of the Battle of the Somme. The Allied preparatory artillery bombardment commenced on 24 June and the British–French infantry attacked on 1 July, on the south bank from Foucaucourt to the Somme and from the Somme north to Gommecourt, 2 mi (3.2 km) beyond Serre. The French Sixth Army and the right wing of the British Fourth Army inflicted a considerable defeat on the German 2nd Army but from near the Albert–Bapaume road to Gommecourt, the British attack was a disaster, where most of the c. 57,000 British casualties of the day were incurred. Against the wishes of General Joseph Joffre, General Sir Douglas Haig abandoned the offensive north of the road to reinforce the success in the south, where the British–French forces pressed forward through several intermediate lines closer to the German second position.

History of Germany during World War I Aspect of history

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United States campaigns in World War I

The United States campaigns in World War I began after American entry in the war in early April 1917. The American Expeditionary Force (AEF) served on the Western Front, under General John J. Pershing, and engaged in 13 official military campaigns between 1917 and 1918, for which campaign streamers were designated. The streamer uses the colors of the World War I Victory Medal ribbon which had a red center with a rainbow on each side of the center stripe and a purple edge. The double rainbow symbolizes the dawn of a new era and the calm which follows the storm.

Maurice Sarrail

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Gommecourt, Pas-de-Calais Commune in Hauts-de-France, France

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Bray-sur-Somme Commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Bray-sur-Somme is a commune in the Somme department in Hauts-de-France in northern France.

French Army in World War I

This article is about the French Army in World War I. During World War I, France was one of the Triple Entente powers allied against the Central Powers. Although fighting occurred worldwide, the bulk of the conflict in Europe occurred in Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Alsace-Lorraine along what came to be known as the Western Front, which consisted mainly of trench warfare. Specific operational, tactical, and strategic decisions by the high command on both sides of the conflict led to shifts in organizational capacity, as the French Army tried to respond to day-to-day fighting and long-term strategic and operational agendas. In particular, many problems caused the French high command to re-evaluate standard procedures, revise its command structures, re-equip the army, and to develop different tactical approaches.

Operation Michael German military offensive during WWI

Operation Michael was a major German military offensive during the First World War that began the German Spring Offensive on 21 March 1918. It was launched from the Hindenburg Line, in the vicinity of Saint-Quentin, France. Its goal was to break through the Allied (Entente) lines and advance in a north-westerly direction to seize the Channel Ports, which supplied the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and to drive the BEF into the sea. Two days later General Erich Ludendorff, the chief of the German General Staff, adjusted his plan and pushed for an offensive due west, along the whole of the British front north of the River Somme. This was designed to first separate the French and British Armies before continuing with the original concept of pushing the BEF into the sea. The offensive ended at Villers-Bretonneux, to the east of the Allied communications centre at Amiens, where the Allies managed to halt the German advance; the German Army had suffered many casualties and was unable to maintain supplies to the advancing troops.

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