Beginning in the height of summer, Allied offensive operations on the Somme were brought to an end just over four and half months later by adverse weather conditions: the autumn rains and early winter sleet and snow having turned the battlefield into a barely navigable morass. Attempts merely to exist in such conditions became almost intolerable physical ordeals.
The fighting had led to no significant breakthrough for the Allied forces: the territorial results of over four months of relentless assaults on German defence lines had yielded a meagre harvest of gains: a strip, approximately twenty miles wide by six miles deep, was wrested from German possession and this at an enormous cost in casualties.
British and Commonwealth forces were calculated to have lost 419,654 (dead, wounded and missing); French losses amounted to 204,253. German casualties were estimated to have between 437,000 to 680,000.
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