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First Ypres, 1914 (Osprey Military Campaign) Paperback – 18 Dec 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing; 1st Edition edition (18 Dec 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185532573X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1855325739
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 0.6 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 296,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. F. Hockin on 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By pete1000 on 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 By Mr A. Goulden on 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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1 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Barry J. Hanson on 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
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
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
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
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.
A good introduction but could have been better 27 Feb 2011
By Yoda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book provides a good introduction for those seeking to get up to speed on the battle in an hour to an hour and a half. The book, written in the typical Osprey format, covers opposing commanders, the opposing armies, the opposing side's plans and goals and how the battle fitted into the overall strategic picture on the Western front, how the battle evolved and consequences. With respect to its coverage of how the battle evolved and each side's plans and goals the book is quite good (four stars here). Unfortunately the other sections (i.e., commanders, opposing armies and consequences of the battle) are weak. The main reason for this, in this reviewer's opinion, is that these particular sections are far too short (only about 2 pages, if even that). These are short by even the standards of the Osprey Campaign series. This problem could have been overcome if more pages (or even a few more paragraphs) were dedicated to these topics. This could very easily have been done by reducing the coverage pages dedicated to the Order of Battle (which provides a detailed breakdown of the specific divisions and corps involved) and the section dedicated to "war gaming" the battle. These two sections used 15 valuable pages (out of about 100). Not that these topics are not interesting but for a short book serving as a survey (about 100 pages, a good third to half of which consisted of maps, illustrations and photographs) this is overkill. The pages could have been far better used to expand on the sections covering the armies, for example. That section, only about 2 pages long, does not even go into officer and troop quality or weapons.

All and all, not a bad introduction but could have been far better had fewer pages been dedicated to the Order of Battle and to war gaming and more to the more important issues of the opposing armies, commanders and the resulting aftermath.
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