—  Department  —

Coat of arms
Location of Somme in France
Coordinates: 49°53′N 02°25′E / 49.883°N 2.417°E / 49.883; 2.417Coordinates: 49°53′N 02°25′E / 49.883°N 2.417°E / 49.883; 2.417
Country France
Region Picardie
Prefecture Amiens
Subprefectures Abbeville
 – President of the General Council Daniel Dubois
 – Total 6,170 km2 (2,382.3 sq mi)
Population (1999)
 – Total 555,551
 – Rank 46th
 – Density 90/km2 (233.2/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 – Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Department number 80
Arrondissements 4
Cantons 46
Communes 783
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Somme is a department of France, located in the north of the country and named after the Somme river. It is part of the Picardy region of France.

The north central area of the Somme département was the site of a series of battles through the Great War. Particularly significant was the 1916 Battle of the Somme. 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.


Battles of the Somme

At the beginning of the First World War, during the September of 1914 Race to the Sea, the Somme became the site of the Battle of Albert. The battle was a five day engagement between the 25th 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 would be fought on and around the same ground.

That 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 25-mile (40 km) 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." 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.

External Tourism Resource

The English community of the Somme is represented online by the website Information on many of the sites and attractions as well as historical accountings, reviews and forums can be found here.

See also

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • somme — 1. (so m ) s. f. 1°   Terme de mathématiques. Résultat des quantités additionnées. La somme des unités. La somme des termes d une équation.    Dans le calcul aux différences finies, la différence prise en sens inverse. 2°   Particulièrement, une… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Somme — Verlauf der Somme Daten Gewässerkennzahl FR:  …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • sommé — sommé, ée 1. (so mé, mée) part. passé de sommer1. À qui on a déclaré qu il ait à faire telle ou telle chose. La place sommée de se rendre. •   Il se voyait pressé de tous côtés, sommé de sa parole, obligé de combattre contre les étrangers, ANQUET …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Somme —   [sɔm],    1) Département in Nordfrankreich, in der Picardie, am Mittel und Unterlauf der Somme, 6 170 km2, 556 000 Einwohner; Verwaltungssitz: Amiens.    2) die, Fluss in der Picardie, Frankreich, 245 km lang; entspringt 12 km nordöstlich von …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Somme — the Somme a river in northeast France, or the area close to this river where several important battles were fought during World War I. The biggest of these began in July 1916, when 60,000 British soldiers were killed or injured on the first day… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Somme [2] — Somme (spr. ßomm ), Departement im nördlichen Frankreich, nach dem Fluß Somme benannt, wird aus den ehemals zur Picardie gehörigen Landschaften Santerre, Amiénois, Vimeux, Ponthieu, Vermandois und Marquenterre gebildet, grenzt nördlich an das… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Somme — Somme, 1) (sonst Samara), Fluß im nordöstlichen Frankreich; entspringt bei Font S. in der Nähe von St. Quentin im Departement Aisne, wird bei Bray schiffbar, durchschneidet das gleichnamige Departement u. fällt nach einem Lauf von 27 Meilen in… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Somme [1] — Somme (spr. ßomm , im Altertum Samara), Küstenfluß im nördlichen Frankreich, entspringt bei Fonsomme, 10 km nordöstlich von St. Quentin im Depart. Aisne, fließt südwestlich, wendet sich dann nordwestlich, tritt in das Depart. S. ein, nimmt links… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Somme — (spr. ßomm), Fluß in Nordfrankreich, entspringt im Dep. Aisne bei Fonsomme, mündet nach 245 km unterhalb Saint Valery in den Kanal, durch den Saint Quentinkanal mit der Schelde, den Crozatkanal mit der Oise verbunden und von einem 156 km langen… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Somme — Somme, franz. Fluß, entspringt unweit St. Quentin, wird bei Bray schiffbar, mündet nach 27 Meil. unterhalb Abbeville in den Kanal, ist mit der Schelde und Oise durch einen Kanal verbunden. Das Depart. S., 112 QM. groß, mit 570000 E., ist… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Somme — Somme, batallas del ► Departamento del N de Francia, en Picardía, junto al canal de la Mancha; 6 170 km2 y 548 300 h. Cap., Amiens …   Enciclopedia Universal