Battle Lines, The Western Front by Car by Bike and on Foot, The Battles of French Flanders, Neuve Chapelle, Aubers Ridge, Festubert, Loos and Fromelles

B2245

The publisher has been building an unrivalled series of battlefield guides, written by a selection of authors who are authorities in their specific field. As with other titles in the range, the text is crisp and supported by many ‘then’ and ‘now’ photographs. What makes these guides particularly useful is that they cater for all the forms of access and provide much detail on the conditions to be experienced, in addition to the basic navigational advice. One interesting aspect is that many buying the guides do not actually make it to the fields, but use the guide as part of a framework of books to illuminate the history of WWI. Of those readers who do make the pilgrimage to France and Belgium, the guides perform two important functions, firstly in preparing for the visit, and secondly as a pocket book to be carried around the battlefields. Much recommended.

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NAME: Battle Lines, The Western Front by Car by Bike and on Foot, The Battles of French Flanders, Neuve Chapelle, Aubers Ridge, Festubert, Loos and Fromelles
FILE: R2245
AUTHOR: Jon Cooksey, Jerry Murland
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: soft back
PAGES: 232
PRICE: £14.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: The Great War, WWI, World War One, First World War, technology, tactics, trench warfare, machine guns, barbed wire, battlefield tours, Western Front, French Flanders, 1915
ISBN: 978-1-47382-403-4
IMAGE: B2245.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/jdlxygv
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The publisher has been building an unrivalled series of battlefield guides, written by a selection of authors who are authorities in their specific field. As with other titles in the range, the text is crisp and supported by many ‘then’ and ‘now’ photographs. What makes these guides particularly useful is that they cater for all the forms of access and provide much detail on the conditions to be experienced, in addition to the basic navigational advice. One interesting aspect is that many buying the guides do not actually make it to the fields, but use the guide as part of a framework of books to illuminate the history of WWI. Of those readers who do make the pilgrimage to France and Belgium, the guides perform two important functions, firstly in preparing for the visit, and secondly as a pocket book to be carried around the battlefields. Much recommended.

It might be expected that the WWI battlefields guides would gradually become a thing of the past as memories dimmed, old soldiers died, and more recent events become the focus of interests. In fact this is not the case. The soldiers who fought on these fields have now all passed into history, and in many cases, so too have their children and grandchildren, but this has not been reflected in any reduction in the numbers of those visiting the battlefields. If anything, the numbers increase year by year.

WWI continues to hold a fascination. The terrors of trench warfare may be difficult to envisage now in a very different world, but that does not dim the interest of enthusiasts and those coming to this interest. The battlefields are relatively accessible. There have been changes to the landscape as the agricultural areas that became bloody battlefields are developed for industry and housing, but much has been preserved and the vast cemeteries are themselves a moving sight. There are also ceremonies that have now been practised for a hundred years by French and Belgians who are determined to remember the battles that changed their history and scared their world.

This guide is essential reading and covers the battles fought in the second year of the war. This is a period that has received less attention than the first battles of 1914 and the battles of 1916. In the beginning it was still a war of movement and, for the British, a great pride that the small British Expeditionary Force was to perform a series of epic rearguard actions against significantly greater German numbers. These actions frustrated the German attempt at the first Lightning War that intended to sweep around the French forces and take Paris to quickly win the war. The story of what followed is much under-told, with British and French commanders in a new alliance managing to communicate so effectively and work together. In making one more supreme effort, the exhausted BEF formed the centre in exploiting a German vulnerability to swept the much larger German armies back towards their start line. However, exhaustion eventually told and the BEF were unable to provide the force required to defeat the Germans on the field or to force them into a rout back into Germany. As the BEF counter attack slowed, the Germans had the time to build the first trench lines and the BEF and their gallant French allies had little option but to follow with counter trench lines that were to sweep across from the Channel Coast to the Swiss border, and be dug ever deeper, with great sophistication.

To understand the process, the battlefields of 1915 are important and set the scene for a bloody war of attrition that has no equivalent land war before or since.

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