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Abstract

This paper focuses on the unique ability of the British 18th Division to attain all of its allocated goals on July 1, 1916, the first day at the Battle of the Somme. The history of that day is burdened by the dismal failure of the British Army and ashocking 60,000 British casualties. Although recent scholars have breathed new life into discussion concerning the Battle of the Somme, they have largely ignored the story of the 18th Division and its commanding general, Sir Ivor Maxse. Historians tend to neglect two crucial elements which heavily influenced the 18th’s success—the superb training and initiative in command fostered by General Maxse, factors crucial to the British Army’s victory in 1918.

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