The Battle of the Somme (1 July - 18 November 1916) was one of the most bitterly contested and costly battles of the First World War, lasting nearly five months. The offensive began on 1 July 1916 after a week-long artillery bombardment of the German lines. There were over a million casualties on both sides and by the end of the campaign the British had only advanced seven miles. This infographic gives some key facts about the battle.

How many British casualties and German casualties were there on the first day of the battle?
Total German and British casualties on the first day of the battle infographic
Total German and British casualties on the first day of the battle infographic. © IWM.
Where did the Commonwealth and Empire troops who took part come from?
Troops involved infographic
Troops Involved infographic. © IWM
How do casualties on the first day compare to the whole campaign?
First day casualties infographic
First Day Casualties infographic. © IWM.
How many shells were produced for the campaign?
shells fired infographic
Shells Fired infographic. © IWM.
What did a British soldier take into battle?
typical british soldier infographic
Typical British Soldier infographic. © IWM.

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Still from the British film "The Battle of the Somme". The image is part of a sequence introduced by a caption reading "British Tommies rescuing a comrade under shell fire. (This man died 30 minutes after reaching the trenches)". The scene is generally accepted as having been filmed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916.
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A view of a large, sunlit crater blasted into white chalky soil. The remains of German barbed-wire defences in the distance are a dark rust-coloured pink. A German and a British steel helmet and the remains of a uniform lie on the edge of the crater in the foreground. The sky is covered in dense white cloud with blue patches visible at the top of the composition.
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Soldiers of 'A' Company, 11th Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment, occupy a captured German trench at Ovillers-la-Boisselle on the Somme.
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