A German General on the Eastern Front, The Letters and Diaries of Gotthard Heinrici 1941-1942

B2108

General Heinrici is not a well-know German commander of WWII, at least in terms of others such as Rommel, but he was a very able officer. He was a professional soldier who commanded a Corps during the first two years of the War on the Eastern Front. He therefore provides a very valuable insight into the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the initial lightning successes, the first shock of a Russian winter and the blunting of the German thrusts in a vast territory. The author/editor has made a selection of the General’s papers and diary records that provide a very candid insight into the war on that front, together with Hurter’s perceptive introduction. A fascinating view and rewarding for the reader.

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Facing Fearful Odds, My Father’s Story of Captivity, Escape & Resistance 1940-45

B2107

This is one WWII study that is part of a growing trend with sons writing their fathers’ stories. This book is based on a father’s start on writing down his experiences in war. To this original material is added further research by the author, and his sensitive editing of his father’s work. The result is a book that tells a little told part of the war in Europe, but not an unusual story. There is humour and courage, comradeship, determination, danger and eventual triumph. It is the type of story writers of fiction are keen to plot and enthral. The writing style flows and holds the attention. The story is inspiring and will be much enjoyed by a broad readership.

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Hitler’s Last Offensive

B2106

A very readable and carefully researched full story of the Battle of the Ardennes. This is one of those WWII battles that has many claims and counter claims. The author unfolds the whole story of the battle which was to prove one of the bloodiest of the war in Europe. He offers fresh insight and looks at some of the errors of judgement by US General Patton. This is a book that those following the story of the Allied liberation of Occupied Europe will enjoy and find most informative.

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No Surrender In Burma, Operations Behind Japanese Lines, Captivity and Torture

B2105

The author was a member of the Special Service Detachment II assigned to train Chinese guerilla units. He was then tasked with destroying airfields and taking bullion to India, Betrayed to the Japanese 20 miles short of the Indian border, he suffered prolonged torture. This is a very graphic account of endurance and survival against brutal odds. The story may be difficult to read in parts but that level of brutal treatment usually is. A story that had to be told and deserves to be read.

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Underground Warfare 1914-1918

B2103

Of all the duties soldiers performed on the Western Front, mining was probably the most terrifying and lethal. The author has brought to life this subterranean existence. The text is very descriptive and captures the dangers and terrors underground, aided by a photo plate section with rare photographs, and a host of detailed drawings that explain the technology and methods employed to construct the networks of tunnels, bunkers and explosive mines. This is an area of combat in France during WWI that has previously received very little coverage despite its growing importance to trench warfare. The author has corrected this deficiency with what may prove the definitive book on the subject. Highly commended!!!

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Book Review – The Battle Book of Ypres, A Reference to Military Operations in the Ypres Salient 1914-1918

B2102

The author died in 1957, a poet, author, supporter of the Ypres League, and dedicated to remembering the efforts of the ‘Tommy’. She wrote first a shorter work, ‘The Imortal Salient’ in 1925 and followed with this book in 1927. It is a remarkably complete study of military action in the Ypres salient through the length of WWI, and the publisher is to be commended for returning this work to print. The author, perhaps with the poet’s eye has brought to life what might have been a very dry but comprehensive study. This is one of those essential books of life and death in WWI on the Western Front. Without it, it is difficult to achieve a firm understanding of the super human efforts of those caught up in the actions.

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Retreat of I Corps 1914, Battleground Early Battles 1914

B2101

This addition to the best selling Battleground Series from Pen & Sword follows the well- established format of a pocketable book that is lavishly illustrated and seems somehow to pack in more information than there is page space. Intended to assist those making the trip to the battlefields, the book also provides descriptive review for the reader at home and provides a wealth of detail that is very helpful to enthusiasts making an extensive study of the conduct of war on the Western Front. Impossible to praise the book too highly!!

As with the other books in this exemplary series, the illustrations are first class and in monochrome. The photographs include both archive images from the time and modern images of cemeteries and, buildings and terrain. There are also some very informative maps and battle plans. The appendices provide Daily March statistics and Order of Battle for the German Army.

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A Wood Called Bourlon, The Cover-up After Cambrai 1917

B2100

Considering the importance of the tank as a potential method of breaking the stalemate of trench warfare, surprisingly little has been written about the early years of the tank and its deployment in battle on the Western Front. This book provides many insights into the development and deployment of the tank, covers the failure to exploit the first major tank battle at Cambrai in 1917 and the cover-up of the battle for Bourlon Wood. This is a very important addition to the pool of knowledge about WWI on land.

The author has considered many factors to reveal the nature and outcome of the fight for Bourlon Wood. The book is well-written and supported by a useful photo plate section. Fresh light is thrown on a dark episode in British military history. A rewarding read.

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The Gunners of August 1914, Baptism of Fire

B2099

The author has assembled graphic eyewitness accounts of gunner’s experience in the first months of the Great War in 1914. This includes previously unpublished first-hand accounts from the Royal Artillery Museum. Using this source information, the author has charted the progress of artillery tactics and strategy. In the process, he corrects the misconceptions that result from a general belief that the machine gun was king of battle.

The author has provided a graphic and effective description of how the artillery tactics and strategy rapidly evolved to meet the needs of a new form of intensive fire competition across the trenches. A very informative work that will help enthusiast and new-comer alike to gain a better understanding of how artillery shaped the battles on the Western Front.

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Rise of the Tank, Armoured Vehicles and Their Use in the First World War

B2098

There have been many books covering aspects of armoured fighting vehicles, their origins, development and application, but this new book is the best available that adequately covers the origins and the work during WWI to produce an armoured all-terrain vehicle that could break the trench warfare that was so costly and prevented a conclusion to a very costly war. The writing style is very easy to follow, but packs in a considerable amount of technical information. Whether or not it will prove to be the definitive work, only time will tell, but it will be a very hard act to follow, achieving a completeness as a comprehensive review of the introduction and rise of the tank as a battle winning weapon system.

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