In military terminology the term ‘Zero Hour’ denotes the designated time at which a planned attack is launched; the moment infantry go over the top to begin their assault. ‘Z Day’ is the day selected for the offensive action. There is a specific Zero Hour and Z Day which stands out firmly from all others in the annals of British military history; 7.30 am, 1 July 1916. A century later there are few people who have not heard of the Somme and the catastrophic British losses sustained in the first day’s fighting.
In this book the author, with 10-years of research, sets out to chronicle in greater detail than ever before the story of XIII Corps and the successful assaults by 30th and 18th Divisions. As the only Corps to achieve all of its objectives for Z Day, the book seeks to determine why this success was attained, when so many other units along the front barely crossed No-Man’s-Land. Using previously unseen material and utilising untold accounts he analyses the build-up, preparations, intelligence, weapons, tactics, training, rehearsals and attack undertaken at Zero Hour, Z Day between the villages of Maricourt and Mametz.
© IWM HU 112461 Photograph taken by Lieut. Haggard 7th Queen’s close to the final objective on the Mametz-Montauban Rd 1st July 1916