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The German Army on Vimy Ridge 1914-1917 Hardcover – 20 Mar 2008

5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Military; 1st Ed. (U.K.) edition (20 Mar. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184415680X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844156801
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 587,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Jack Sheldon is now firmly established as the leading authority on the German Army in the First World War. A retired soldier he lives in France and is fully engaged researching and writing. His German Army on the Somme has been a great success and he now has three books to his credit --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Format: Hardcover
This excellent volume commences with the capture of Vimy Ridge and Notre Dame de Lorette in October 1914 and concludes in 1917. In writing it, Jack Sheldon has once again triumphed in producing yet another outstanding and fascinating volume which I am certain will be sought after and will be sure to grace many military historian's and enthusiast's bookshelves in the years to come, as it is the type of publication that can be read over and over again! Those who have read this author's previous volumes will of course already be familiar with the quality of Jack's work and like me, praise his excellent style and ability to write both flowing and accurate narrative on what many consider to be fairly complex subjects! He has certainly gone to great lengths in his research to complete this splendid title and should be commended on that point alone, as his sources of information must have been numerous, widespread and often fragmented at times.

I am led to believe that the majority of the information contained in this publication may have been previously unpublished and therefore of immense interest to a widespread audience of readers. In my view, it will certainly challenge many previously held ideas and theories and therefore, may well prove controversial at times, however, having said that, in my opinion, that makes excellent and refreshing reading!

For anyone interested in the tunneling during the Great War, they will find this one aspect of the book alone, compelling reading. However I was personally engrossed with the tremendous amount of detail covering the fighting for Vimy Ridge and this along with German accounts covering interrogations of British and Canadian Prisoners of War made absorbing reading too!
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Format: Hardcover
The word "Sheldonian" should now enter the lexicon of Great War historiography.

With THE GERMAN ARMY ON VIMY RIDGE, Jack Sheldon completes a superb trilogy, following his chronicles of the German experience on the Somme and at Passchendaele. Here we have meticulous research into Bavarian archives, a properly arranged narrative and a most cogent analysis of the German ordeal in this deadly sector of The Western Front.

Sheldon corrects the widely held view that Vimy Ridge was nearly impregnable. The narrow ridge, he explains, hindered deployment of artillery, and infantrymen, deprived of thoroughly constructed zones of support to the rear, were excessively crammed into the first line of defence.

The narrative is informative but dramatic. This was warfare of a particular intensity : on the ground, above it, and, most notoriously, below it. Never favouring the Anglo-centric view of the war, Sheldon reminds us that in Artois the French, in 1915, fought " a series of battles of extraordinary savagery." The first 130 pages deal mainly with this Franco-German fighting, which yielded lessons that the Germans used to such effect in their defence against the Entente on the Somme a year later. Sheldon concludes his survey of the 1915 fighting, observing that
" One of the ironies of Vimy Ridge is that local geographical factors, lack of depth and diversion of effort to more pressing priorities elsewhere, meant that few of these lessons could be applied here."

The following chapter deals with the trench warfare of 1916. Here we learn that the Germans, despite their predominantly defensive role on the Western Front, were remarkably aggressive and conducted many local attacks, consolidating their superiority and upsetting enemy plans.
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Format: Hardcover
Author Jack Sheldon has performed a real service to readers in providing a rare glimpse into the first-hand accounts, thoughts and actions of German soldiers of the Great War. For the first time the authentic voice of German veterans can be read by non-German speakers.

Expertly combining first-hand accounts, archival material, as well as large numbers of narratives from German regimental histories, the author weaves together the story of soldiers in combat using their own words.

The value of his writing transcends those interested in the German Army, to those, who reading about their own countries troops, would like to learn more about the men who fought, and often died, "on the other side of the hill."

One of the primary sources left to those researching the German Army of the Great War is the extensive series of regimental histories. With the destruction of the Heeresarchives in 1945, along with almost all official operations and unit files, these histories take on an importance which cannot be overstated. Author Jack Sheldon displays his expert knowledge of the sources with a comprehensive explanation of the use and limitations of the regimental histories. By careful cross checking of facts contained in archival files with those detailed in the regimental histories he demonstrates the fidelity of the regimental accounts.

The primary purpose of the German regimental histories was for the veterans of the units themselves, and to maintain the traditions of units disbanded after the war. The actual writing of the regimental histories was undertaken by single authors or in some cases by regimental associations. With this in mind the author reminds us of the natural (and understandable) human tendency to put endeavors in their best light.
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