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4.6 out of 5 stars27
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 22 July 2001
Neuve Chapelle is one of the few Western Front battles where the compact geographical area in which it was fought can still be clearly and easily seen. This book shows with great clarity all of the places and features in the battlefield and you can follow the movements of the various units very easily. You can walk the battlefield in around 2-3 hours and with this book, some preparation reading and your 1915 imagination, you can fully understand the failures and frustrations of the amazing men who fought there. The layout of the roads is virtually as they were in 1915. Compare them with the ariel photographs. Stand at the site of the Layes Bridge or Nameless Cottage redoubts and understand why the advance stalled. Follow the trench lines and see why even a 3 ft rise in the ground could be so vital. A great book for anybody wanting to put Neuve Chapelle into context.
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on 7 September 2013
explains the battle, the build up and the serious mistakes made, only problem with reading on a Kindle is that the illustrations are too small, have particular interest as Grandad was there with the 2nd batt The Rifle Brigade, he survived this to go on to the the battle of Roug Bancs on the 9th May 1915 where he got part of his hand blown off after throwing back three German bombs, the fourth got him, he was awarded the DCM for this act of valour, there were so many brave acts in this war, most would have got VC's nowdays
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on 29 December 2014
TODAY Neuve Chapelle is peaceful. Just a handful of hidden military cemeteries and a memorial at a nearby crossroads gives away the village's violent history.
But 100 years ago during the First World War the village was a stones throw inside the German front line, which bulged westwards towards British trenches just yards away.
On March 10, 1915, Neuve Chapelle would be the site of one of the largest military operations in British military history to date.
It is an offensive which historian Geoff Bridger has pieced together for an edition of the excellent Battleground Europe series from publishers Pen and Sword.
Using regimental histories, diaries and an impressive selection of rare photographs Bridger has provided the only single-volume account of this battle in English.
Before this account, the significance of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle has been overlooked, downplayed even, by some historians.
But at just over 100 pages Bridger's account is as succinct as it is informative.
An acute shortage of artillery ammunition meant the British used a short but intensive preliminary bombardment before the infantry attack.
The initial attack was, relatively speaking, successful - the German frontline had been pierced for the first time and the village fell into Allied hands.
But the fog of war soon paralysed the assault. Poor communication between the infantry and headquarters meant the window of opportunity to exploit the breakthrough closed almost as soon as it opened.
By the time the offensive was renewed the next day German reinforcements steadied the line. Fresh positions fortified with barbed wire were dug overnight as the attacking British and Indian units soon discovered to their cost.
What impressed me with Bridger's account was the use of maps and photographs - the landscape is almost identical today as in 1915. These allowed the reader to keep abreast of what was happening and where, a rare feat in books describing events at a tactical level.
For anyone with relatives who fought at Neuve Chapelle, they could do worse than to read this book to understand the origins, course and aftermath of that battle.
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on 25 September 2013
I have found this book well written, with a lot of interesting maps and photographs.
MR Bridger has certainly done his research on this book.
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on 29 December 2013
Buy this book on Kindle, at 99p you would be silly not to as it is an excellent account of an early battle during the Great War. I know the area and it covers the main points and places very well indeed; and the involvement of those valiant, but forgotten by many, men from British India - modern Pakistan and India - who sacrificed so much to earn their 'salt' - pay as soldiers.
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on 19 March 2014
Useful and interesting book but a great pity that the maps could not be enlarged on my computer the lack of a facility for enlarging the detail detracts from the usefulness of the book.
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on 28 April 2015
Good, concise review of an important but under-studied engagement. The real strength of the Battleground Europe series is that they are ideally suited for their primary purpose, namely as guidebooks for walking the actual ground. Having read the book beforehand along with other material on the subject, I was well prepared for my visit upon which this book and a good map were the perfect accompaniment. With this information in my hand, I was able to retrace the footsteps of my grandfather, exactly a hundred years earlier.
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on 11 June 2014
Again, I have no criticism of the text. My very slight but nevertheless significant, concern is the difficulty of following maps in this format,
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on 9 March 2015
A super introduction and indepth description of this battle which was so costly to the BEF. My great uncle fought in this battle with the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, and lost his life 2 months later in the same area at Aubers Ridge. I learned so much from this book which has helped me plan a trip to the site in May this year 100 years to the day that my great uncle was killed.
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on 31 January 2015
If one was really interested in the in-depth background to a specific WWI battle, then this is for you. Unless you do have quite a good grounding in aspects of WWI Military History, and are an enthusiast, then possibly a little too involved?
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