The Somme River is the site of one of the bloodiest battles of World War I. It is not the battle itself but the resulting casualties that influence events in the Classic World of Darkness.
The British planned and began a push on July 1, 1916, into the no-man's land near the Somme, hoping to easily uproot the German forces and push them back. Instead, they met with a hail of bullets and artillery; within the first 10 minutes of battle, 14,000 men lay dead along the 30-mile front of battle. In the end, the Germans lost 6,000 men, but no territory. The British lost over 60,000 in one day of battle and gained nothing.
The siege continued into November, during which 800,000 British, American, and other Allied men were lost. The Germans did not fare much better, losing over 500,000 soldiers themselves. A whole six miles of ground was gained by the British before weather conditions forced the British army to call it quits. Before the end of the war, the Germans regained most of what they had lost.
On that very first day of the fateful battle, the Fourth Great Maelstrom erupted across Europe, triggered by the bloodshed. Because of the massive amount of death in such a short period of time, the largest of the nihils opened at the Somme and did not close until the storm died away.
- -26, 33-34