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Campaign 058 - First Ypres, 1914 (Campaign Ser.) [Unknown Binding]

3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing, Limited (1 Jan 1999)
  • ISBN-10: 185532573X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1855325739
  • ASIN: B001W0UDO0
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,606,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
On 29 September 1914, Sir John French, the British commander in chief, wrote to Marshal Joffre, his French counterpart, stating that he wished 'to regain my original position on the left flank of the French Armies.' Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FIRST YPRES 17 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not a bad background to the campaign. This was enough background before I go on a battlefield tour. Maps OK but not as good as oyther Osprey books. Good ilustrations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Factual and interesting 15 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback
I'm interested in events that took place in and around the Ypres salient in WW1. I bought this book to assist me in research before going to Ypres and whilst there (in a camper). We stayed for 3 days and realised that it wasn't enough.
The book made it clear what happened during the 1st battle and we used it to do a cycle tour of the historic places of interest.
Since our visit I have bought Major Holt's book and map, during 2010 we will re-visit Ypres for our second visit to dig a bit deeper into the area.
If you are going to Ypres and are interested in WW1 I recommend this book, it contains many photos, battle maps and essential information.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 9 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent reference work . . . Very useful for Great War Centenary projects. Art work somewhat naive.
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0 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit lame 11 May 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Goes into a lot of detail and good if you want to know all about the battle, but useless if using the guide to travel to the region which we did and explore the area. Local maps are far better.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I was disappointed 20 April 2005
By Richard Peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Perhaps my expectations have been raised too high by the many excellent Osprey campaign books I have read recently, but this book fell short for me. It is told almost entirely from the British point of view and can be easily summarized: the gallant Tommies hold off the German hordes despite terrible casualties. There is very little discussion of the German point of view and even less about the French, who played a key role in the battle. I give it three stars because the story is told competently, but that is all. Being a relatively early book in the series (they are now up to about 150), it does not meet the standard of the later books.

The book also suffers from having to devote a section to wargaming the battle (something dropped in the later books). The author wastes six pages on this -- wastes, as his ideas on wargaming are useless. He would have done much better to keep this section to a minimum and use the pages elsewhere -- either in more descriptions of small unit actions or to flesh out the sections on leaders and the opposing forces, which are terse to the point of being virtually useless. He does include a very detailed order of battle -- for the British. The orders of battle for the French and Germans are skimpy by comparison. In particular, the German heavy artillery, which he repeatedly mentions as having a big impact on actions, is left out completely.

The occasional detailed description of small unit actions are the high point of the book; the rest of the battle is told at such a high level (and in such a dry style) that I was not engaged. I would have happily given up some of the high level narrative for more small unit 'vignettes'. I was particularly intrigued by the author's mention of some of the more experienced German units using 'infiltration'. Since infiltration tactics are not normally considered to have been used until 1917, I would have liked to learn just what these units were doing. But to do that would have detracted from the relentlessly British focus of the book and so, apparently, would not do.

I did gain some interesting insights into this period. Although the standard image of World War 1 is the generals living in chateaus far from the front line, which they never visited, that was not true at this point. In fact, one divisional commander and most of two division's staffs were killed by a single German shell. Haig, in particular, comes across as a hero -- visiting the front lines, scraping together reserves to meet each German breakthrough and generally performing just as a good commander should. Although the author does not make this point, it is obvious that the Germans giving up the attack just when the British line was on the verge of collapse made a strong impression on him. Haig's determination to keep up attacks at (for instance) the Somme was probably based on his intention not to make this mistake; to 'out last' the Germans in the attack, as he had on the defense at First Ypres.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Campaign Narrative 3 Jun 2001
By R. A Forczyk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First Ypres 1914, David Lomas' sequel to his earlier Mons 1914, is a decent summary of the relatively neglected period of October-November 1914 in Belgium. During this period after the Battle of the Marne, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) fought the Germans to a standstill over a fairly small patch of Belgian mud, thereby denying the Germans access to the Channel ports. However in the process, the old pre-war British regular army was virtually destroyed. The BEF of 1914 was an elite force, but not designed for the grinding attrition warfare that was quickly developing on the Western Front.
The weakest part of this volume is the early sections on opposing commanders, opposing armies and opposing leaders. David Lomas seems to feel that he has done his duty in regard to this vital introductory sections by jotting down a few paragraphs and moving on. For example, the section on leaders barely amounts to one page of text and only comments on army-level commanders like Sir John French. Similarly, the section on opposing armies is far too brief. The Indian Corps that was dispatched to the Western Front was significantly different in training from the remainder of the BEF and this should have been highlighted in this section. Although the extensive order of battle partly covers up the deficiencies of this section, it is skimpy on the French. Opposing plans are also covered in far too brief a section.
Clearly the author has put all his effort into the campaign narrative itself, and as in his earlier Mons 1914, the operational summary is quite good. Excellent maps and photos add value to this account of First Ypres.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Campaign Narrative 8 Jun 2001
By R. A Forczyk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First Ypres 1914, David Lomas' sequel to his earlier Mons 1914, is a decent summary of the relatively neglected period of October-November 1914 in Belgium. During this period after the Battle of the Marne, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) fought the Germans to a standstill over a fairly small patch of Belgian mud, thereby denying the Germans access to the Channel ports. However in the process, the old pre-war British regular army was virtually destroyed. The BEF of 1914 was an elite force, but not designed for the grinding attrition warfare that was quickly developing on the Western Front.
The weakest part of this volume is the early sections on opposing commanders, opposing armies and opposing leaders. David Lomas seems to feel that he has done his duty in regard to this vital introductory sections by jotting down a few paragraphs and moving on. For example, the section on leaders barely amounts to one page of text and only comments on army-level commanders like Sir John French. Similarly, the section on opposing armies is far too brief. The Indian Corps that was dispatched to the Western Front was significantly different in training from the remainder of the BEF and this should have been highlighted in this section. Although the extensive order of battle partly covers up the deficiencies of this section, it is skimpy on the French. Opposing plans are also covered in far too brief a section.
Clearly the author has put all his effort into the campaign narrative itself, and as in his earlier Mons 1914, the operational summary is quite good. Excellent maps and photos add value to this account of First Ypres.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good detail for modelers 31 May 2000
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In the usual 96-page format, with excellent 3D maps showing different moments of the battle, and plenty of black and white period photos as well as color drawings of the soldiers and equipment, this book gives a nice overview of the first Ypres battle. If you want detail, check the four pages long "Order of Battle"!
You could also get Osprey's "THE OLD CONTEMPTIBLES" for more information on the BEF.
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Overview of this Brutal Battle 6 July 2013
By Mike Dillemuth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author, David Lomas, does a nice job of presenting a high level overview of this battle. This book was written in the early format of the Osprey Campaign series. As such, it contains sections of marginal interest to the average reader. For example, it has a seven page chapter on war gamming and an eight page chapter on the Order of Battle. These fifteen pages could have been better utilized for additional photographs, a more detailed narrative, or a chronology. Nevertheless, the book does contain numerous photos that definitely add to the text.

The narrative is very well done. Although most of the action is told from the British side, there is some information on the German perspective. First Ypres was a complex battle with action taking place on several fronts. The battle itself lasted from 10 October to 22 November 1914. The author does an effective job of describing each engagement in an easy to follow style.

The author also did a great job of using the maps to clarify the narrative. The book has six 2D tactical maps and three 3D Birds Eye View maps. The 2D maps have numerous markers with the associated note off to the side. In addition, each map note starts with a date. The 3D BEV maps then add additional detail for a particular engagement. By using the maps in concert with the narrative, the reader can clearly follow the action.

Bottom line: This book provides a concise overview of the Campaign. It suffers from the old Osprey format in that several pages are wasted on topics of minimal value. Still, the photos are great and the maps add clarity to what could be a confusing and complex battle. Although not a great book, every reader will come away with a much better understanding of this campaign.
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