The Blood Tub, General Gough and the Battle of Bullecourt 1917

B2234

The author is known for his careful and detailed research and these qualities again stand out from the nicely paced text. There is illustration in the form of photo plates and maps. This is the story of a battle that was costly and, arguably, should never have been fought as it was. It caused friction between the British and the Australians, but the war of attrition that was the story of the Western Front made few concessions to damage limitation. This book provides a clear and unbiased account of the action with fresh insight and thorough study of available British and Australian primary source material. No reader with an interest in the war on the Western Front can avoid reading this well-written account because it also provides some information and insights that fit well with other accounts of the fight along the line of opposing trenches. Recommended reading.

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NAME: The Blood Tub, General Gough and the Battle of Bullecourt 1917
DATE: 150915
FILE: R2234
AUTHOR: Jonathan Walker
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 220
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Western Front, trench warfare, Bullecourt, 1917, 1914-1918, The Great War, WWI, World War One, First World War.
ISBN: 1-47382-754-X
IMAGE: B2234.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/hshbs9n
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The author is known for his careful and detailed research and these qualities again stand out from the nicely paced text. There is illustration in the form of photo plates and maps. This is the story of a battle that was costly and, arguably, should never have been fought as it was. It caused friction between the British and the Australians, but the war of attrition that was the story of the Western Front made few concessions to damage limitation. This book provides a clear and unbiased account of the action with fresh insight and thorough study of available British and Australian primary source material. No reader with an interest in the war on the Western Front can avoid reading this well-written account because it also provides some information and insights that fit well with other accounts of the fight along the line of opposing trenches. Recommended reading.

The Great War was a truly global conflict and the first of its kind. It is also unique with Britain and Germany fighting what was almost a civil war and Britain allied to its old enemy France. For a thousand years, England, and then Britain, was allied in some way with the Germanic nations against France. No one twenty years earlier would have credited that a war of these changed alliances could be fought on European soil. The military planners would have been equally convinced that any future war would be a war of movement in the fashion of the centuries before where armies marched back and forth through the low countries, the cockpit of Europe. If the Great War proves anything, it is that the next war is never what the planners have prepared for.

Germany was a very young country that was allied with Austria, facing Britain and France, but Britain was not a single nation. A significant percentage of manpower was provided by the British Empire. Young men came from across the world to stand with what most saw as the Mother Country in its hour of need. Australians who had seen little of their own vast country found their way to the docks and travelled to Europe to a country they had no previous direct experience of. After a short opening stage of a war of movement, the Western Front settled down to a war of attrition where movement seemed impossible. The Generals on both sides continued to feed their troops into the meat grinder of frontal assault across a No Man’s Land of barbed wire, swept by machine gun fire and pocketed with artillery shells. The use of poison gas added further horror to what was already a faithful illustration of the popular concepts of hell.

Looking back, across almost a hundred years, it is very difficult to visualise the full nature of trench warfare and the difficulty of achieving a breakthrough. In 1917 the British faced not only the challenge of breaking the enemy line, but holding their own line against the best regiments in the German Army, and the German hope that the Russian Revolution would allow them to concentrate all of their resources on the Western Front. The tank was a new addition to the inventory of the British Expeditionary Force and was available at Bullecourt, but the British were still learning to exploit this battle changer and the traditions of the new trench warfare encouraged Gough to throw in the seven British and Australian Divisions in a frontal assault following the traditional rolling barrage that kept German heads down and hoped to break the units so that the infantry could pick off the survivors.

Whatever the necessities and hopes, the first assault failed expensively and miserably. A second assault was then mounted and two weeks of bloody fighting with vicious hand-to-hand combat gave Bullecourt the deserved name of ‘The Blood Tub’