Well-written and intensively researched, this book provides an indelible picture of the Bullencourt battle of April and May 1917. This is a thoughtful coverage of what became a Pyrrhic victory for the British and Australian troops who suffered heavy losses. Moving tribute to Australians and a gripping read.
NAME: Bullencourt, Breaching the Hindenburg Line 1917 FILE: R2458 AUTHOR: Paul Kendall PUBLISHER: The History Press BINDING: soft back PAGES: 416 PRICE: £20.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWI, World War 1, World War One, The Great War, trench warfare, Western Front, ANZAC, Australian, British, German, tanks, artillery, Flanders ISBN: 978-0-7509-81798-1 IMAGE: B2458.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/j72wk4r LINKS: DESCRIPTION: Well-written and intensively researched, this book provides an indelible picture of the Bullencourt battle of April and May 1917. This is a thoughtful coverage of what became a Pyrrhic victory for the British and Australian troops who suffered heavy losses. Moving tribute to Australians and a gripping read. Of the unrelenting carnage of trench warfare on the Western Front, Bullencourt stands out as a titanic struggle for what became the ruins of a village. Some 17,000 Australians and 10,000 British died in the battle for Bullencourt. Today it is easy to look back and wonder if the casualties were worth it but, at the time, the Allied commanders had no option but to continue attempting to breach the German trench lines. The Hindenburg Line was formidable and a lack of artillery and tank support meant that the Australian and British soldiers had to rely on frontal assault by infantry. Very high casualties were therefore assured. The battle has been described as the worst Australian defeat of WWI but, in relative terms, it was a victory that demonstrated how dependable and formidable the Australian soldiers were. They justly earned the description of “the finest shock troops in the world”. Their extreme courage over a two month period was not only epic, ceding control of the rubble that remained of Bullencourt village, but was the first break through of what had been claimed to be the 'impregnable' Hindenburg Line. Initially, the assault was seen as a way of assisting Allenby's Third Army in breaking out at Arras. However, plans were soon in place to switch the main push to Flanders and that has formed part of the criticism that the Bullencourt assault was a wast of resources. Given the high casualties of trench warfare, where any 'gain' might be a few yards, it is very easy to look at each battle as being a terrible wast of young lives. That ignores the fact that commanders had very little choice. All of them would have much preferred a war of movement, quick and decisive strikes against an enemy and rapid advances, but they had to fight the war they had got. A lack of aggression would have led inevitably to German victories. What was needed was a significant increase in the number of heavy guns, an increase in mining, and large numbers of tanks that could operate en masse as a mobile shield for the infantry. It took time to build up the numbers of guns and tanks and they were ultimately the solution to the terrors of a muddy no-mans land between trench lines that was swept by machine gun fire. It still makes grim reading and even than does not do full justice to the terrors.