The first day on the Somme, 1 July 1916, was the opening day of the Battle of Albert , the name given by the British to the first two weeks of the Battle of the Somme. Nine corps of the French Sixth Army the British Fourth and the Third armies, attacked the German 2nd Army of General Fritz von Below, from Foucaucourt south of the Somme northwards to Serre, north of the Ancre and at Gommecourt, which was 2 mi beyond, in the Third Army area. The objective of the attack was to capture the German first and second positions from Serre south to the Albert–Bapaume road and the first position from the road south to Foucaucourt.
The German defence south of the road mostly collapsed and the French had "complete success" on both banks of the Somme, as did the British from Maricourt on the army boundary, where XIII Corps took Montauban and reached all its objectives and XV Corps captured Mametz and isolated Fricourt. The III Corps attack on both sides of the Albert–Bapaume road was a disaster, making only a short advance south of La Boisselle, where the 34th Division had the largest number of casualties of any Allied division on 1 July. Further north, the X Corps attack captured the Leipzig Redoubt, failed opposite Thiepval and had a great but temporary success on the left flank, where the German front line was overrun by the 36th Ulster Division, which then captured Schwaben and Stuff redoubts.
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