The French high command chose the Somme as the chief battlefield for 1916. It was relatively flat country, untouched by the large-scale fighting of the previous two campaigning years. Resting at the point where the French and British forces linked, this sector of the front was the logical location for a joint operation. Even with the demands at Verdun, the French were still able to offer a measure of cooperation. Haig and his commander on the scene. General Herbert Rawlinson, developed a plan based on the customary combination of an artillery barrage and a mass infantry assault. In the previous year, the weight of the gunfire had been insufficient. This time, there would be enough guns, enough shells, and a long bombardment. The enemy's barbed wire was to be cut, and his troops killed or driven from their positions.