3660 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.
guns kept up a tremendous fire over the
heads of their infantry.
The French, being better trained and
also less strongly opposed, carried the
German front line everywhere, dug themselves in, and steadily smashed their way
forward. In the course of ten days, they
captured twelve thousand prisoners, eighty-five guns, and considerable other booty.
On the British right similar success was
won, but on their left the works were so
strong that initial successes gained at some
points could not be sustained. By the
6th of July, however, the British had
captured nearly six thousand prisoners,
had taken numerous heavily fortified
villages and other strong points, French
and British combined had established
themselves in the German works on a
front of about twenty miles and continued
to push onward, the former toward Peronne,
the latter toward Baupaume.
For months, the great battle thus begun
continued. To meet the Allied attack
the Germans brought up hundreds of
thousands of men and thousands of guns,
and, day and night, the cannon poured
back and forth an unending stream of
death. To pound ceaselessly was the
Allied policy, and their offensive reminded
the observer of the mighty blows of a
gigantic steam hammer. Though the Germans would counter-attack, and sometimes
recapture positions they had lost, they were
slowly but irresistibly pushed back. With
each success won, the Allies would bring forward their artillery and proceed to bombard
the next strong point or line of trenches
they desired to take. Scores and scores
of times defenders met attackers in close
personal combat, and hundreds of thousands of men fell dead and wounded,
yet the conflict seemed more like a great
enterprise in engineering than a battle.