Great War Tommy, The British soldier 1914-18 (all models), Owners’ Workshop Manual

B1898

 

Improbable though the workshop manual treatment of soldiers may seem, this book works very well and will allow a large readership to understand how the British Tommy became such and effective combatant in a new and terrible form of warfare. In an age of fully automatic rifles, carbines and pistols, it can be difficult to understand how effective a bolt action rifle can be in the hands of a well trained user. When the Germans first came under fire from Enfield rifle-armed Tommies, they though they were under machine gun fire

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NAME: Great War Tommy, The British soldier 1914-18 (all models), Owners’ Workshop Manual
CATEGORY: Book Reviews
DATE: 021213
FILE: R1898
AUTHOR: Peter Doyle
PUBLISHER: Haynes
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 156
PRICE: £21.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWI, World War One, First World War, Great War, 1914-1918, technology, tactics, organization, soldiers, British soldiers, British Tommy, Western Front
ISBN: 1-78159-268-3
IMAGE: B1898.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/neow2sp
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The Haynes Owners’ Workshop Manual became world famous as a family of practical workshop manuals for vehicle owners to enable them to understand their vehicles and to carry out maintenance and repairs. When the principles of these fine manuals were adapted to provide an innovative coverage of war planes and ships, it was no great stretch. Perhaps very few readers would ever be able to actually own these rare heritage survivors, but the workshop manual approach provided a very effective way of explaining to a large readership how these vehicles worked, how small teams of enthusiasts had taken surviving examples and returned them to full operational capability or restored them as static exhibits. From that starting point, the publisher has continued to push the boundaries and succeeded in some improbable areas. This new book pushes the boundaries but works remarkably well. With the last surviving WWI soldiers having passed into history, it is important to remember and to understand their world, achievements, sacrifices and courage.

When a small military force was sent to France to help resist German European ambitions, the Germans largely discounted it as a “Contemptible” little force of soldiers with little experience of anything beyond a few small colonial actions in largely asymmetric warfare. The Germans soon discovered the uncomfortable consequences of their error. The British soldier may not have fought a formal large battle since Waterloo, or the campaigns in the Crimea where British and French troops fought against the Russian Army. Even the Crimea was a much reduced experience when compared with a major European War that spilled out into the Middle East and Africa.

However, the British Army had learned some important lessons during confined wars in the Sudan and South Africa. They had replaced the colourful uniforms that had been a major identifier in previous wars. In place of heavy and extravagant helmets and red uniforms with white pipe clayed belts, the British soldier was equipped with khaki trousers and belts, leather equipment, khaki puttees, leather laced boots, comfortable caps and an outstanding bolt action rifle. As war experience refined the uniform, kaki webbing and a set of bags replaced the earlier leather equipment and haversacks. The Enfield rifle continued on in service and only began to be replaced in the late 1940s. That was the visual indication of field lessons well-learned, but the effectiveness of the British troops in halting the German lightning advance was to create a stalemate that continued through the war on the Western Front. No army had previously experienced trench warfare on the scale that was established in 1914.

The manual logically divides the key areas, but concentrates on the Western Front from the Belgian coast to Switzerland. It does not cover the trench warfare in Northern Italy, or the different and important campaigns in East Africa and the Middle East, although much of the training and equipment for the Western Front applies to those British soldiers engaged in campaigns elsewhere.

In the trenches, special techniques were learned. Mining and counter-mining of trenches was a terrible underground existence. The machine guns in opposing trenches made it impossible for either side to make any significant advances and what gains were made came at a terrible cost. It was only when the first armoured fighting vehicles appeared that there was any prospect of significant advances.

The manual covers training, organization, equipment, drills, clothing, food and medical, weapons and warfare, set against the trench warfare of the Western Front. As with all Haynes manuals, there is lavish illustration that helps to convey complex and technical topics to the reader. Full colour and b&w photographs are used through the manual, together with drawings.

Improbable though the workshop manual treatment of soldiers may seem, this book works very well and will allow a large readership to understand how the British Tommy became such and effective combatant in a new and terrible form of warfare. In an age of fully automatic rifles, carbines and pistols, it can be difficult to understand how effective a bolt action rifle can be in the hands of a well trained user. When the Germans first came under fire from Enfield rifle-armed Tommies, they though they were under machine gun fire

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