In a war know for its futility, the Battle of the Somme, which began on July 1, 1916, stands out. On the first day 19,000 British Empire and 7,000 French soldiers were killed. When the battle officially ended in mid-November there were nearly one million casualties among the British, French, and German armies.
The battle, which was fought in northwestern France, achieved nothing, other than killing and maiming.
J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, was an officer at the battle. He developed trench fever and was sent back to England where he spent the rest of the Great War. The Dead Marshes that Frodo, Sam, and Gollum traveled through were inspired by the Somme horrors.