File Size: 4000 KB
Print Length: 432 pages
Publisher: Pen and Sword (October 19, 2005)
Publication Date: October 19, 2005
The German Army on the Somme 1914-1916 is organized into nine chapters, two of which deal with the fighting in this sector in 1914-1915, then the one which deals with activity in this area during January-June 1916, one section for 1 July 1916 alone, and then each succeeding chapter covers one month of 1916. Overall, this chronological organization works well for a campaign narrative of this size. The author also provides two short appendices on the German Army and sources used, as well as a detailed order of battle for all German divisions that fought on the Somme. This work rests on eyewitness accounts, the majority of which come from junior officers although there are a fair number of NCOs and common soldiers displayed. The majority of the accounts are from infantry soldiers, but there are a few from artillerymen and aviators. Many of these accounts are vivid and gripping, depicting trench warfare in all its facets. Some of the more interesting accounts cover night trench raids, escape and forestalling from behind enemy outlines, several desperate last-ditch holds and capture/escape. From the German point of view, we see the effects of Allied superiority in artillery and airpower that limit the German capacity to move troops and supplies up to the front that sounds much like 1944. The The german language troops were also more pleased with French troops at this stage of the war than British, who have been generally regarded as unsophisticated amateurs. Throughout the publication, the omni-presence of Sibling artillery fire and the weakness of German artillery to respond is motivated home again and again. Additionally it is clear that the German infantryman had become a bomber rather than a rifleman by this reason for the war; in one counterattack each jewellry in a company is given ten hand grenades. The translations are generally very good and the author is to be applauded for assembling this vast assortment of accounts into a cogent format., From a historian's perspective it might even be a 5 - I tend towards that. I am a whole devoté e of that section of the war..., The thing that struck me is both side repeated the same futile attempts to attack and counterattack for almost half a year with the same catastrophic results. Why did these soldiers do what they did?
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