The Battle of Fromelles: 1916

Big Sky Publishing
2
Free sample

The Battle of Fromelles - until recently largely forgotten in the accounts of Australia’s experiences in World War One- remains the single bloodiest day in terms of numbers of soldiers killed, wounded or missing, in Australia’s military history. The battle now is also one of the most controversial military episodes in Australian history.

The battle for Fromelles was undoubtedly a tragedy – in the midst of a war which produced many such tragedies. Should anyone be blamed? Does finger pointing from the safety of 95 years distance add much to our understanding of the battle, the Western Front or the war itself? This book attempts to look at the battle, free from emotion, and place the course of events and the unfurling of the tragedy into its tactical, operational and strategic setting. This book is part of the Australian Army History Unit's Campaigns Series; well-researched, comprehensive and easy-to-read books on Australia's military campaigns.

What readers are saying, " I have received Roger Lee's book and I'm thrilled to have it! Thank you so much! It is so very carefully documented, extremely clear, and most helpful on what are in fact fuzzy areas such as : "Casualty Figures" or "The Trench". As for the information on the size and composition of : regiments, platoons, brigades, battalions, etc, the mind boggles! I had no idea it was so varied and complicated! In other words, the book opens up vast avenues of reflection and information, and I am learning heaps of things on every page. It's wonderfully pedagogical, and the lay-out is brilliant. It makes my experience in La Somme a hundred times richer. Hearty congratulations to Roger Lee!"


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Additional Information

Publisher
Big Sky Publishing
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Published on
Dec 31, 2010
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Pages
301
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ISBN
9781921941672
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Language
English
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The five and a half month long Somme campaign in the summer and autumn of 1916 was a defining moment in the history of the British Army. From the disastrous opening day on 1 July to the final attacks in November, each large battle and minor action is given equal treatment inside these pages.?The book concentrates on the British Army's repeated efforts to first break through the enemy lines,and then to wear down the German in a bloody war of attrition. By compiling information from the Official History and the printed histories we get a balanced view of the most talked about side of the campaign, the British side.?You will find plenty of information on the reasoning behind each battle and the objectives. There is discussion on artillery bombardments, tactics, zero hours, the terrain and insights into the successes and failures of each attack. Over ninety new maps chart the day by day progress of Fourth and the Reserve Armyacross the rolling chalk downs of the Somme.?Together the narrative and mapsprovide an insight into the British Army's learning curve during that fateful summer; a learning curve which set the scene for future battles on the Western Front. We can see the hard lessons learnt and the solutions used to solve a multitude of problems, from communication and all arms co-operation, to the inclusion of tanks and the growing role of the Royal Flying Corps.?Where possible the men who made a difference are mentioned; the men who lead the assault companies and bombing teams, those who cut the wire and led the survivors into the German trenches, those who stopped the counterattacks and those awarded the Victoria Cross.?Discover the real Somme campaign fought by the British Army and learn how its brave soldiers fought hard to achieve their objectives.
It's early 1918, and after four brutal years, the fate of the Great War hangs in the balance.

On the one hand, the fact that Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks have seized power in Russia - immediately suing for peace with Germany - means that no fewer than one million of the Kaiser's soldiers can now be transferred from there to the Western Front.

On the other, now that America has entered the war, it means that two million American soldiers are also on their way, to tip the scales of war to the Allies.

The Germans, realising that their only hope is striking at the Allied lines first, do exactly that, and on the morning of 21 March 1918, the Kaiserschlacht, the Kaiser's battle, is launched - the biggest set-piece battle the world has ever seen.

Across a 45-mile front, no fewer than two million German soldiers hurl themselves at the Allied lines, with the specific intention of splitting the British and French forces, and driving all the way through to the town of Villers-Bretonneux, at which point their artillery will be able to rain down shells on the key train-hub town of Amiens, thus throttling the Allied supply lines.

For nigh on two weeks, the plan works brilliantly, and the Germans are able to advance without check, as the exhausted British troops flee before them, together with tens of thousands of French refugees.

In desperation, the British commander, General Douglas Haig, calls upon the Australian soldiers to stop the German advance, and save Villers-Bretonneux. If the Australians can hold this, the very gate to Amiens, then the Germans will not win the war.

'It's up to us, then,' one of the Diggers writes in his diary.

Arriving at Villers-Bretonneux just in time, the Australians are indeed able to hold off the Germans, launching a vicious counterattack that hurls the Germans back the first time.

And then, on Anzac Day 1918, when the town falls after all to the British defenders, it is again the Australians who are called on to save the day, the town, and the entire battle . . .

Not for nothing does the primary school at Villers-Bretonneux have above every blackboard, to this day, 'N'oublions jamais, l'Australie.' Never forget Australia.

And they never have.
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