Brilliant Detective Work at 4D Somme
Cartographers use the scarred landscape of France, World War I maps, and satellite imagery to plot the battlefield in stunning detail
The website 4D Somme is dedicated to the British units raised in Ireland and Ulster, who saw considerable action during the battle of the Somme, which began on July 1, 1916, and ended nearly 5 months later, on November 18th.
But the overall imagery provided covers the entire battlefield.
Above, the British lines at the start and end of the battle.
Hundreds of thousands died to move the front about 7 miles – over one million casualties in total among the British, French, and German forces fated to take part in arguably the most savage and costly battle in human history.
The satellite maps and the overlays taken from actual WWI strategic mapping can be zoomed into down to the individual village, trench, or observation post.
Above, actual reconnaissance photographs lined up perfectly where they were actually taken from aircraft similar to those operated by my maternal grandfather, who flew for the American forces father south near the end of the Great War.
While other sites go into greater detail about the people who fought and died along the River Somme in 1916, this site is entirely engrossing and highly recommended.
The 4D Somme full url is
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the ending of the Battle of the Somme
World War I veteran memories reveal the horror and humanity, and lessons that need relearned, however painful
Forty years ago, author Martin Middlebrook collected eye-witness accounts for his seminal work on the most horrific battle known in human history. But most of them remained hidden until only a few months ago, when they were turned over the Imperial War Museum, in London.
Many of them have now been made available to the public.
Please check out these podcasts and interesting short articles at the museum’s website.
And this article about them at the BBC’s website.
The battle began on July 1, 1916, when over 58,000 British soldiers were lost, with a third of them killed outright. Compare that to the American loses on D-Day (4,697,) at Gettysburg (23,049 over three days) and it will help put things into perspective.
The Somme lasted nearly five months, resulting in over 1 million causalities.
At a time when a new and popular video game, Battlefield 1, is focusing on the combat that took place during the First World War, it is sobering to learn of the real life experiences of actual veterans, many of whom could not bring themselves to speak of their combat experiences until near the end of their lives.
But it is even more important that such stark reality be exhibited before the minds of anyone advocating the use of military force and sending the young men and women of today into harm’s way in the name of “our national interests” or “national defense.”
source: 4D Somme