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4.2 out of 5 stars10
4.2 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 February 2008
Writing on WWI battles on the Western Front is not easy - although totally horrible for their participants, they make usually for a rather dull read (like for ex. "Chateau Thierry & Belleau Wood 1918", another Osprey Campaign title). Soldiers go out of their positions, get scythed by machine guns and artillery and capture a small parcel of positions, which they mostly lose to counter attacks. Period.

Now, in this battle there was one new element - a massive use of tanks, which made this battle different, but not totally different from others. So this is a testimony to the performance of Alexander Turner, that he managed to make a quite interesting book, rather easy to read and explaining clearly and in good order the events. Even more impressive - he did it for the second time, after an also very interesting "Vimy Ridge 1917".

I particularly well aprreciated the explanation of the tactics of tank attacks against trenches in 1917 - it was the first comprehensive tank tactics in the history and it is a really interesting read. Black and white illustrations are very good and maps are clear and precise. There are three colour plates (thank you Osprey!) made by Peter Dennis, and they are VERY good!

The first one, which is the less precise, shows the attack of the German trenches by British tanks and it illustrates very well the tactics. It also gives a good idea of the concentration of armour used to pierce German lines in this battle!

Second plate illustrates well the difficulty of anti tank fighting for German infantry - but also the terrible danger in which would find themselves tanks isolated from their own infantry and other vehicles.

Finally the third plate shows the counter-attack by German storm-troopers and a trench fight.

The fight at Cambrai saw a massive participation of regular infantry, storm troopers, armour, field and heavy artillery, cavalry and aviation (fighters and bombers) in a small parcel of front, all in the same time. It was a highly complex and terrifying battle and this book tells the story really well. If Osprey can keep the same level of quality for its incoming "Amiens 1918" it could be a masterpiece...
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on 29 February 2008
Good little book on subject.
Following the units across battlefield in the text did get a bit tedious, did need the maps to keep up with events.
Overpriced as all Osprey books.
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on 12 December 2010
I found this gave some valuable background to the battle in which my Grandfather was lost. His death cert says 'died from illness as a POW in Germany'. I got hold of his army records and my suspicions were probably proved right. My mother said he died by a bayonet in the trenches...that is all she knew, but who told her that? I find he started 'up the line' on 23rd November and his Company 'C' Company 6th Royal West Kents went into the front line late as the relieving and still-advancing force around Pam Pam. They were stopped close to this point and then came the big counter attack which left few survivors. A note from the field on his personal notes says 'killed and buried at Les Rues des Vignes'. Crucially, it also gives a Row and Lair number - Lair is a Scottish word for a grave......

I've written, without response, to the Mairie of Les Rues and sometime I will go there to see if there was a temporary grave/pit or whatever in or close to Les Rues. Maybe at the Monastery.

So, what on earth was he doing right at the front, in fact a mile or so beyond the known limit of the advance? So few men survived that we will probably never know what happened. I suspect something rather nasty went on and 'died as a POW in Germany' was a cover-up.
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on 16 October 2014
This book gives a good account of the british tank attack at Cambrain and continues this right up until the British forces were driven back by the German counter attack. This is unfortunante since the infantry tactics, anti armour tactics used by the German forces and their employment of massed formations of ground attack aircraft was every bit as innovative as the British tank tactics. This book really needs a couple of extra chapters which is why I gave it three star for telling only 70% of the story.
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on 9 October 2012
Bought this book to try to find out where another great uncle (a brother of one from Paschendale) had been killed at Cambrai. One mystery was solved as to why his army number had changed so worth buying the book just for that. Also found the loacation of the trench where he could possibly have died when the Germans counter attacked. Have visited and it was a very emotional day
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on 23 August 2009
A very handy and detailed overview of the Cambrai battle, which includes several beautiful paintings by Peter Dennis and also clear colour 'birds' eye' view maps of the various battles. The narrative is fairly condensed, as is to be expected, but the photos help to break it up and make it more interesting. A most useful book which can be kept close at hand for constant reference.
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on 19 May 2009
Absolutely brilliant ! The striking accuracy the author gives us and the beautiful pictures make this book extremely vivid . Just like in his former book "Vimy Ridge 1917", Alexander Turner spoils us with a vibrant page of History written in a very beautiful way !
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on 19 November 2009
A picture book rather than a study of the battle, lots of 'then' and 'now' pictures and very little text and story of the battle, more text would have improved the book.
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on 22 December 2014
all ok
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on 2 April 2014
My Granddad was wounded at Bourlon Wood in 1917 as a member of The Machine Gun Corps.

He survived the war.
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