Messines 1917, The ANZACs in the Battle of Messines

The author has ably presented the story of the first real victory for the AIF. After two years of disasters, the ANZACs were placed in a position where their courage and determination could surmount the challenges to deliver a convincing triumph in a bloody battle. Highly Recommended.


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NAME: Messines 1917, The ANZACs in the Battle of Messines
FILE: R2712
AUTHOR: Craig Deayton
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: soft back 
PAGES: 332
PRICE: £16.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Western Front, Commonwealth soldiers, ANZACs, French Sector, 
German Army, British Army, BEF, Second Army, New Zealand Division, Ypres, 
Great War, WW1, WWI, First World War, World War One, World War 1, trench war

ISBN: 1-52674-014-1

IMAGE: B2712.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyur.com/yagakhek
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION:  The author has ably presented the story of the first real victory 
for the AIF. After two years of disasters, the ANZACs were placed in a position 
where their courage and determination could surmount the challenges to deliver
 a convincing triumph in a bloody battle. Highly Recommended.

In 1914, the British Empire spanned the world and inspired a level of loyalty from the most diverse 
mixture of people that any Empire had ever brought together. The Commonwealth sent armies to 
support Britain in the fight against German expansion. In all the coverage of this epic struggle, historians 
have focused most on the disasters these brave soldiers suffered. The disaster of Gallipoli cost a great 
many Australian and New Zealand lives but it was a reverse that should never reflect badly on the 
soldiers. The ANZACs endured and survived to fight another day. The failure was in a gamble that was 
worth the attempt but failed because intelligence was incomplete and resources were not available to 
counter the home advantage of any army defending its coast against an amphibious landing. The failure 
was compounded because the senior officers and politicians persisted in fighting on when a withdrawal 
should have been undertaken as soon as the weakness of the British position was clear. Had an early
 evacuation been ordered, a great many lives would have been saved and, although it could not have 
been described as a victory, it would have been far from the disaster it turned into.

Gallipoli was the most visible of a string of disasters for the ANZACs and encouraged historians to pick 
over disaster. The Australian and New Zealand soldiers were unfortunate that they arrived at a time when 
Britain needed to become more active against the Turks. In strictly British and Commonwealth interests, 
the first priority was to hold and protect the Suez Canal to maintain that vital sea route connecting Empire. 
Beyond that, a modest support for Arabs wishing to break free from Ottoman rule was a very cost 
effective way of dealing with the Turks. At remarkably little cost, the Arab armies focussed by Lawrence 
of Arabia were creating havoc for the Turks and ensuring that they did not provide effective support for 
their German allies. Using ANZAC troops in the area was logical because it saved sending troops from 
the Western front and roughly halved the distance of shipping soldiers from Australia to battle. Gallipoli 
was both an opportunist campaign after the success of British naval forces, and a need to open a new 
route to support the Russians who were not fairing well against the Germans.

In 1917, the ANZAC fortunes changed. They were needed to fill the manpower requirements for a very 
well planned assault on German trenches in Ypres sector of the Western Front. The assault deserved to 
be victorious as a combination of good intelligence, careful planning, provision of adequate resources 
and total secrecy. The ANZACs were to form one third of the victorious Second Army and the British 
and Australian mining companies were critical to the success, placing a million pounds of explosive in 
19 giant mines under the German positions. Messines was of great importance not only to Anzac morale 
and reputation, but it was a key point in the trench war, paving the route to eventual victory over Germany. 
It became a bloody battle of savagery and vicious hand to hand fighting. It was the ultimate test for the 
ANZACs which they passed with flying colours.

There are a great many images in the form of maps and photographs embedded in the compelling text. A 
very suitable memorial in the 100 year Commemorations of the Great War.