The Hindenburg Line

The Hindenburg Line

Author: Peter Oldham

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 9780850525687

Category: History

Page: 209

View: 680

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The Hindenburg Line, or Siegfriedstellung, achieved almost mythical status in the minds of the British public: the strongest defence system the world had then seen, scientifically designed by fortification experts with only one aim, to keep at bay the British Army. So pleased and delighted were the British that church bells were rung when the Line was pierced at Cambrai in November 1917. The new wonder-weapon, the Tank, had shown itself to be capable of great deeds and British Generals were seen to be capable of showing the Germans what Tommy could do when properly organised. The initial elation was followed by disappointment as the Germans fought back and the Hindenburg defences were retaken when the Germans used "defence-in-depth" and "elastic-defence", both new concepts to the British who were to learn from their mistakes. The British were to witness triumph and joy again, when, towards the end of the Great War, the Hindenburg Line was to be broken by men from the Midlands. This book examines the reasons for the German's decision to fall back to a strong defence line while their Navy starved Britain into submission, and the "burnt earth" policy of devastation in the area evacuated. The design and layout of the Hindenburg Line, and the Battles for its possession in 1917 and 1918, are given: with numerous maps covering different sectors and the struggles for each village and farm, together with the part played by many British Regiments. The maps contain information on how to find all remaining vestiges of both German and British defences in the region, most of which are rarely visited and many of which have not been seen by British eyes for many years. No book since the Great War has examined this area in such detail, nor has any single account contained so much for the battlefield visitor to see. The sites of individual acts of bravery, including the winning of many Victoria Crosses are featured, and existing locations of battle lines, headquarters, artillery observation and machine gun posts are also included, together with an absorbing narrative which also guides the armchair reader.

British Expeditionary Force: Advance to Victory

British Expeditionary Force: Advance to Victory

Author: Andrew Rawson

Publisher: Casemate Publishers

ISBN: 9781526723413

Category: History

Page: 240

View: 495

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This is the story of the British Expeditionary Forces part in the opening days of the Advance to Victory. It starts with the contribution to the Battle of Fre-en-Tardenois in July; the counter-offensive which pushed the Germans back to the River Marne.Fourth Armys attack on 8 August was called the Black Day of the German Army, but it was only the beginning of 100 days of campaigning. The narrative follows the advance as it expands across the Somme, the Artois and the Flanders regions. Time and again the British and Empire troops used well-developed combined arms tactics to break through successive lines of defence. By the end of September, all five of the BEFs armies had reached the Hindenburg Line and were poised for the final advance.Each stage of the two month battle is given the same treatment, covering the details of the most talked about side of the campaign; the BEFs side. Over fifty new maps chart the day by day progress of the five armies and together with the narrative, explain the British Armys experience during the opening stages of the Advance to Victory. The men who made a difference are mentioned; those who led the advances, those who stopped the counter-attacks and those who were awarded the Victoria Cross. Discover the beginning of the Advance to Victory and learn how the British Army had mastered the art of attack.

Frankforce and the Defence of Arras 1940

Frankforce and the Defence of Arras 1940

Author: Jerry Murland

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 9781473852709

Category: History

Page: 192

View: 129

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There is no other city in France that has the same associations in time of conflict that the British have with Arras. Since the campaigns of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, in the early 18th century, British soldiers have fought in and around Arras, occasionally as an enemy but, more often, as defenders of French and Allied democracy. Battlefield visitors to the area will immediately recognize the names of towns and villages that were as significant to the men of Marlboroughs army as they were to those who fought in the First and Second World Wars.This book serves both as guide to the Second World War battlefields that surround the city and its environs as well as detailing the actions of the British armored attack of 21 May 1940. The book looks at the strategic situation that led up to the famous Arras counterstroke and, using material that has not been published before, examines the British and German actions between 20 and 23 May. The only Victoria Cross action that took place during this time is looked at in detail; as is the fighting that took place in Arras and during the breakout.Despite its shortcomings, the counterstroke achieved the essential element of surprise and caused widespread alarm amongst the German command and hit Rommels 7th Panzer Division at precisely the moment when his armored units were ahead of the infantry and gunners. The British infantry fought well and both the Durham battalions were fortunate that their commanding officers and senior NCOs were men who had already fought in one conflict and possessed the determination to rally their less experienced junior ranks and fight on regardless. Such was the case with the two tank battalions, although sadly they lost both their commanding officers and over half the tanks that went into the engagement. The attack did enable the British to tighten their hold on Arras albeit temporarily and, as is often cited, built doubts in the minds of German High Command as to the speed of their advance and contributed to the subsequent Hitler halt order of 24-27 May.The author has gone to some lengths to track down accounts from those individuals who served in the area during May 1940 and fought the enveloping tide of the German advanceThe book is supported by three car tours, one of which takes the visitor along the tragic path taken by the Tyneside Scottish on 20 May and two walking routes, which concentrate on Arras.137 black and white photographs (integrated) and a number of maps derived from regimental histories; and six tour maps provide the battlefield visitor with illustrations of the battlefields as they were in 1940 and as they are today.

The Battles of St Albans

The Battles of St Albans

Author: Peter Burley

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 9781473819030

Category: History

Page: 160

View: 204

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St Albans is unique in having been the site of two pivotal battles during the Wars of the Roses, yet this is the first book-length account to have been published. It offers a gripping account of the fighting, and of the politics and intrigue that led to it, and it incorporates the results of the latest research. The authors also plot the events of over 500 years ago onto the twenty-first century landscape of St Albans so that the visitor can retrace the course of each battle on the present-day ground.

Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen

Author: Philip Guest

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 9781473820784

Category: History

Page: 160

View: 266

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This is a guide to the battlefields that inspired the young and sensitive poet, whose poems are probably the twentieth century's best-known literary expressions of experience of war. Detailed maps, military diaries, photographs and modern roads guide the visitor through the battlefields. Owen's letters are used extensively, together with his poetry, linking specific places events, vividly describing the suffering of the trench.

Pegasus Bridge and Horsa Bridge

Pegasus Bridge and Horsa Bridge

Author: Carl Shilleto

Publisher: Casemate Publishers

ISBN: 9781783830206

Category: History

Page: 144

View: 720

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This battlefield guide is the companion work to Merville Battery & The Dives Bridges. Together, these two books form the fully revised and updated edition of the previous best selling Battleground Europe Series book Pegasus Bridge & Merville Battery.This book examines, in great detail, the attack by 2 Oxf Bucks and engineers of the British 6th Airborne Division, in six gliders, on the Caen Canal and River Orne bridges in the early hours of D-Day, 6 June 1944. It also describes part of the battle for the village of Bnouville by 7 Para and Ranville by 13 Para. It was the combination of these actions that allowed the link-up between the commandos and airborne troops on D-Day. Thereby, forming a bridgehead to help secure the eastern flank of the greatest combined military operation in history; Operation OVERLORD.In addition to explaining how these objectives were achieved, this battlefield guide relates the battles to the area as it is today. The book contains details of the museums, memorials, cemeteries and associated organizations. All of which will unravel the history of the area to the visitor and armchair traveler alike.To further aid the battlefield tourist, GPS data is also provided for either satellite navigation by vehicle or for viewing on Google Earth.

Hitler's Atlantic Wall

Hitler's Atlantic Wall

Author: Paul Williams

Publisher: Casemate Publishers

ISBN: 9781783036660

Category: History

Page: 176

View: 395

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This well-illustrated book describes the massive effort that the occupying Nazi forces put into the construction of the Eastern section of the Atlantic Wall. While the D-Day invasion was unaffected by the fortifications in this area, they still posed a significant threat. This came from the mighty gun batteries (such as Batteries Todt and Lindemann) that threatened Channel shipping and the South Coast of England, and, while isolated from the main Allied advance, the Festung ports of Calais, Boulogne and Dunkirk were denied to Allied use. This was of major strategic significance as the lines of supply were becoming ever longer and more vulnerable.Using rare archive material, this book takes the reader on a fascinating journey along the coast that Hitler was wrongly convinced would be the site of the Allied landings. Hitlers Atlantic Wall Pas de Calais tells the history of how and why the giant batteries were built, the origins of their weaponry and the ingenious engineering and military operations that defeated them finally.

The Peninsular War: A Battlefield Guide

The Peninsular War: A Battlefield Guide

Author: Andrew Rawson

Publisher: Casemate Publishers

ISBN: 9781783830213

Category: History

Page: 352

View: 982

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A new battlefield guide to the Peninsular War is long overdue. Modern development in Spain and Portugal has encroached on many of the battlefields, new research has questioned established interpretations of events, and there is a broader appreciation of the parts played by all the armies involved - the French on one side and the Spanish, Portuguese and British on the other. Andrew Rawson, in this highly illustrated and practical guide, offers a wide-ranging, up-to-date and balanced account of this prolonged conflict, and he guides the reader and the visitor across the terrain over which the armies marched and fought. He reconstructs the major battles in graphic detail, and provides practical tours of the major battlefields and campaigns. Also included are sections examining the armies, the military organization and tactics of the time and the role of the Spanish guerrillas. This guide to the Peninsular War will be essential reading for anyone who wants a concise and accessible introduction to the conflict, and it will serve as an invaluable reference guide for visitors who want to explore the sites of the fighting two centuries ago.

The St. Mihiel Offensive

The St. Mihiel Offensive

Author: Maarten Otte

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 9781526734969

Category: History

Page: 320

View: 148

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An account of the American Expeditionary Force’s attack and “an excellent guide to trace the locations of one of the last great battles of the Great War” (On the Old Barbed Wire). The St. Mihiel Offensive, which took place between the 12th and 16th September 1918, was the first full-scale attack that was under the direct command of the Americans, in the person of General J. Pershing. He combined his command of the First (at the time the only) American Army with that of Commander in Chief of the AEF, a tremendous burden. The American attack (with the assistance of a French Corps) was an outstanding success and the Germans were forced into a rapid withdrawal to the Michel Line, a strongly defended position that formed the Hindenburg Line in this area. On the other hand, the success was in part assisted by the fact that the Germans intended to withdraw from the exposed position of the Salient back to this line, the only question being the timing of such a move. Historians argue about whether the move had actually begun or not; but the reality is that senior German officers knew that it was imminent and certainly some heavier artillery had already been pulled back. It is probable that relatively easy success here led to overconfidence among some that the next offensive, the Meuse-Argonne—to the north and scheduled to begin on the 26th, would have a similar outcome. If so they were in for a rude awakening. This book is profusely illustrated with contemporary photographs and numerous maps, the narrative supplemented by a number of firsthand accounts; the whole is supported by several walking and car tours.

The Battle of the Lys, 1918

The Battle of the Lys, 1918

Author: Chris Baker

Publisher: Casemate Publishers

ISBN: 9781526717023

Category: History

Page: 216

View: 897

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The second of two Battelground Europe titles covering this highly significant battle of spring 1918.The German offensive in Flanders in April 1918 came close to catastrophe for the British Armies, but ultimately ended in strategic defeat for the Kaisers men. Following close on the heels of the devastating Operation Michael attack in March, which had been aimed against the British front on the Somme and Arras, this offensive, Operation Georgette, was aimed at strangling the vital railways and roads that supplied the British at Ypres and threatening the vital logistics links with the Channel Ports.Having assembled an overwhelming numerical advantage, the Germans attacked in thick fog on 9 April 1918. By days end, the Germans had succeeded in gaining a crossing of the River Lys and were well on their way to the railway junctions at Hazebrouck. Next day, they extended the attacked front northwards and advanced to the very gates of Ypres, forcing a British retirement from the bloodily won advances during the Third Battle of Ypres. Messines Ridge, captured so spectacularly by the British in June 1917, was soon in German hands and fighting inched towards Mont Kemmel, which dominated the Ypres front. Once this fell, the way was open for the capture of the main supply roads into Ypres.To find sufficient reserves to counter the German attack, the British took the heart-breaking decision to abandon the ground won so dearly in the Passchendaele offensive in the summer and autumn of 1917. Gradually, fresher British and French reserves arrived and held their ground. With disappointing results, mounting casualties and a diminishing return for their efforts, the Germans paused to regroup. Late in the month they unleashed a rapid, unstoppable attack that captured Kemmel from the French forces that had been rushed north to reinforce the threatened line and which had been holding the summit: one of the finest military feats of the Great War.Behind the scenes, however, the Germans were already calling off a continuation of the offensive and so, by a seeming miracle, the bastion that was Ypres remained in British hands.What the British call The Battle of the Lys 1918 is a fascinating yet curiously neglected period of military history. Chris Baker examines this major battle from the strategic down to the platoon level, highlighting the key events, characters and acts of enormous bravery on both sides, both in historical narrative and in a series of tours of the area.This volume concentrates on the northern half of the battlefield; nearly all of the actions described in this volume took place in Belgium.

Airfields & Airmen: Arras

Airfields & Airmen: Arras

Author: Mike O'Connor

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 9781473811744

Category: History

Page: 144

View: 690

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The latest volume in the Airfields and Airmen series covers the Arras area. It includes a visit to the grave of Albert Ball VC and the graves of Waterfall and Bayly, the first British fliers killed in action. There is a visit to the aerodrome from which Alan McLeod took off from to earn his VC and to the grave of Viscount Glentworth, killed while flying with 32 Squadron. The German side is well covered with visits to their cemeteries and aerodromes. This well researched book relives the deadly thrills of war in the air over the battlefields of the Western Front.