General Ferdinand Foch and the French Contribution to the Battle of the Somme


  • Elizabeth Greenhalgh University of New South Wales


As commander of the Northern Army Group, General Ferdinand Foch was responsible for the major French contribution to the Battle of the Somme. Using lesser known archival sources this article illuminates the tensions both between the allies and within the French army, looking at the planning, the prosecution of the battle and the aftermath. Although frustrated by having to fight on a battlefield he considered to be unfavourable, the lack of what he considered sufficient resources and the general slowness of operations, Foch learned much about alliance warfare and worked hard to build a relationship with Haig that benefited him as Generalissimo in 1918.

Author Biography

Elizabeth Greenhalgh, University of New South Wales

DR ELIZABETH GREENHALGH is based in the University of New South Wales Australia at the Australian Defence Force Academy. She is the author of Foch in Command (Cambridge, 2011) and The French Army and the First World War (Cambridge, 2014). Currently she is working on an analysis of the last months of the First World War.