The Battle of the Somme also known as the Somme Offensive, took place during the First World War between 1 July and 18 November 1916 in the Somme department of France, on both banks of the river of the same name. The battle consisted of an offensive by the British and French armies against the German Army, which since invading France in August 1914 had occupied large areas of that country. The Battle of the Somme was one of the largest battles of the First World War: by the time fighting had petered out in late autumn 1916 the forces involved had suffered more than 1.5 million casualties, making it one of the bloodiest military operations ever recorded.
German Colonel Heinrich Jäger had fought at the Battle of the Somme where he saw the first tanks in action. From then on, he knew that tanks were the future of warfare, and it was this thought that promoted him to joined the armor divisions after Hitler began to rearm Germany.