The History Book Club discussion


Comments (showing 1-10)    post a comment »
dateUp_arrow    newest »

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Here is a book covering the German counter-offensive after the British Battle at Cambrai in 1917 and the effects of that German victory.

A Wood Called Bourlon  The Cover-Up After Cambrai, 1917 by William Moore A Wood Called Bourlon The Cover-Up After Cambrai, 1917 by William Moore
Publishers blurb:
The distinguished First World War historian attempts to explain what went wrong and why all the advantages gained were thrown away; thousands of British troops were captured and hundreds of guns lost.

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Another account offering the German perspective of Cambrai:

THE GERMAN ARMY AT CAMBRAI by Jack Sheldon by Jack Sheldon
Publishers blurb;
Jack Sheldon's latest book in his acclaimed `German Army' series concentrates on German aspects of the bitter battle of Cambrai November/December 1917. Making full use of primary source material he first covers the defensive battle 20 - 29 November followed by the counter-attack which saw the German Army regain not only most of the ground lost and more besides. Flesquières Ridge and other battles for key terrain, including Bourlon Wood, are described in detail as are the controversial interventions of Ludendorf, criticised by Crown Prince Rupprecht. But the experiences of the fighting man will be of most interest to many.

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Below is a link to some information on the Battle of St Quentin Canal:

Battle of St Quentin Canal

message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24006 comments Thank you for these Aussie Rick.

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Here are two suggestions for books covering the Battle of Cambrai, one recent one published in 1992:

Cambrai: The First Great Tank Battle 1917 (no cover) by A.J. Smithers (read)

Cambrai 1917  The Myth of the First Great Tank Battle by Bryn Hammond by Bryn Hammond (not read)
Publishers blurb:
Cambrai was the last battle fought by the British on the Western Front in 1917. With Russia out of the war, Italy on the brink of collapse, and the French still reeling from the effects of widespread mutiny, Britain was the only member of the Western Allies still capable of holding the mighty German Army at bay. They did so by taking the fight to the Germans in one of the greatest turning point battles of twentieth-century warfare. At dawn on 20 November 1917, the British attacked the German lines with almost 400 tanks - the first ever mass use of this brand new weapon of war. The Germans were taken completely by surprise and crumpled beneath the blow. For a brief moment it looked as though a stunning breakthrough had been achieved, and church bells rang out across England in celebration. But the Germans were not defeated. Indeed, they used their counterattack as an opportunity to pioneer their own new 'stormtroop' tactics, and suddenly the British were in disarray. In a series of bloody and terrifying reverses the British were driven right back to their start lines. Over the decades many myths have grown up about this iconic battle. For one thing, it was not the tanks that most shocked the Germans at Cambrai at all, but brilliant British innovations in artillery techniques. But such was the potency of the tank myth that after the war it seduced generals and historians on both sides, until the myth was finally brought to reality in the mobile battles that engulfed Europe just thirty years later. In this new look at one of the century's most important battles, Bryn Hammond tells the story of what exactly happened at the end of 1917, and how the myths that were created in those tragic two weeks were to change the face of warfare forever.

message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24006 comments Thank you for the adds and the additional information in message 4. There seemed to be enough problems in command and leadership to go around. Their beliefs (even those unsubstantiated) may be correct.

message 4: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited Apr 05, 2010 09:21PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) My pleasure Bentley,

Many Australians believe that their troops were sacrificed at First Bullecourt due to bad and hasty planning by the High Command and an unsubstantiated belief in the Tank by the High Command as a new wonder weapon.

message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24006 comments Thank you Aussie Rick.

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Here are a few links to the First and Second Battles of Bullecourt:

First Bullecourt

Second Bullecourt

message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 24006 comments The Hindenburg Line (also known as the Siegfried Line) was a vast system of defences in northeastern France during World War I. It was constructed by the Germans during the winter of 1916–17. The line stretched from Lens to beyond Verdun.

The decision to build the line was made by Field-Marshal Paul von Hindenburg and General Erich Ludendorff, who had taken over command of Germany's war effort in August 1916, during the final stages of the First Battle of the Somme. The Hindenburg Line was built across a salient in the German front, so that by withdrawing to these fortifications the German army was shortening its front. The length of the front was reduced by 50 km (30 miles) and enabled the Germans to release 13 divisions for service in reserve.

The withdrawal to the line began in February 1917 and the territory between the old front and the new line was devastated by the German arm

Associated battles:

Battle of Cambrai - for the first (temporarily) successful attack of the Wotan Stellung in November 1917

Second Battle of Bullecourt - Where the British 5th Army (using Australian and British troops, of the 2nd and 62nd Divisions.) nearly penetrated the Siegfried Stellung in May 1917

Battle of the Drocourt-Quéant Switch - breaking a switch line of the Siegfried Stellung in front of the Wotan Line in September 1918

Battle of St Quentin Canal - a 30 mile break (by British, Australian and American troops) in the Siegfried Stellung around the village of Bellicourt in late September 1918

Battle of Cambrai (1918) - Canadian troops (continuing after breaking the Siegfried Stellung at the Battle of the Drocourt-Quéant Switch) breaking the Wotan Stellung at the 2nd Battle of Cambrai in October 1918

Meuse-Argonne Offensive - American troops breaking the Kriemhilde Stellung in late October 1918

back to top