The Setting
 

By 1916, both sides were locked in a stalemateA situation where neither side makes any significant progress.. The Allies planned a major offensive to break the deadlock. However, before they launched their offensive, the Germans attacked Verdun, causing the French to reduce their efforts elsewhere. As a consequence, the British revised their plan, deciding to concentrate their forces along a forty kilometre portion of the front in the Somme valley. 

The advance at Beaumont-Hamel on July 1, 1916 was part of the opening day of the Battle of the Somme. Initially, the Allied powers had hoped for a quick and decisive victory in the attack. However, the Battle of the Somme dragged on until November 18.*

* The Battle of the Somme consisted of twelve separate battles fought between July 1 and November 18, 1916. The Battle of Albert refers to the first two weeks of fighting on the Somme.