Attack On The Somme (Tressell) Review | The Micro User - Everygamegoing

The Micro User

Attack On The Somme
By Tressell
BBC B/B+/Master 128

Published in The Micro User 2.11

Relive carnage of the Somme

Attack On The Somme is another thought-provoking educational package from Tressell Publications.

"Package" is the correct term for their work as the programs are carefully integrated with the documents and together they provide an in-depth study.

In the package are a user guide, teachers' notes, two booklets (The Somme 1914-18 and Contemporary Accounts of the First World War), and the two programs.

As with other written materials produced by this teachers' cooperative, they are well designed and printed.

The two programs consist of an introduction made up of six sub-programs, and the main attack. In general these work very well despite some colour combinations that are not impressive on an ordinary colour television.

The introduction sets the various scenes and uses effec tive, if not particularly sophisticated, animation to illustrate such things as air and ground observation, creeping barrage, and the trenches.

Throughout, the students are encouraged to cross reference the booklets, answer questions and comment on observations. It is most instructive for students to see animations of the strategies as this allows them to see more clearly the implications of the decisions made.

All this leads up to the battle itself. Thankfully this is not of the "zap 'em as fast as you can" type but allows a battle plan to be laid out and followed through to its conclusion.

Decisions have to be taken about five things - the preliminary bombardment, mines, infantry, when to attack and how to attack.

A map of the battle area is used to assist decisions and reports are given at different stages.

At the conclusion of the battle a set of detailed comments and criticisms are given on the performance and a comparison made with Haig's plan.

Overall this is a very effective and sympathetic attempt to deal with this complex and emotional event. The authors have attained a high degree of realism and have certainly added another very useful learning aid for historians to use.

Norman Parr

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