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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old uniforms - brave men.
A fascinating insight into a brief campaign which bought France a vital few days at the beginning of WW1. Not much on this topic in English and therefore a worthy record. Recommended.
Published on 2 Sept. 2009 by Amazon Customer

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A very superficial, unimpressive overview of the topic, without maps and with HORRIBLY BAD color plates!
This is not a very good Osprey book - with some effort it is readable, but barely. The valiant fight of Belgian Army between 1914 and 1918 deserves to be more known than it is and I was very happy that Osprey made a book on this topic - but it was poorly done.

This is a great pity that this book is of such low quality, because the courageous fight of "plucky...
Published 19 months ago by Darth Maciek


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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A very superficial, unimpressive overview of the topic, without maps and with HORRIBLY BAD color plates!, 3 Sept. 2013
By 
Darth Maciek "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Belgian Army in World War I (Men-at-arms) (Paperback)
This is not a very good Osprey book - with some effort it is readable, but barely. The valiant fight of Belgian Army between 1914 and 1918 deserves to be more known than it is and I was very happy that Osprey made a book on this topic - but it was poorly done.

This is a great pity that this book is of such low quality, because the courageous fight of "plucky little Belgium" in WWI deserved better! Of all beligerant countries in World War I Belgium was the ONLY ONE to be a VICTIM, without any responsibility in the starting of this conflict and without having declared a war to anybody by its own decision - to the contrary, although having respected its obligation of neutrality, it was brutally INVADED by Germany. The Kaiser and his generals expected Belgians to surrender without resistance - but boy, were they wrong! In the 1914 defensive campaign Belgians fought with skill and heroism, hurting cruelly the great strategic plan of German leaders. Infuriated by this unexpected resistance, Kaiser and his generals unleashed an orgy of reprisals again Belgian civilians. Those crimes, which made thousands of dead, became quickly known around the world as the "Rape of Belgium" and when reading the details, it becomes clearly obvious that this name is NOT an exaggeration.

Belgian army avoided total destruction during the campaign of 1914 and took position on the front of Yser, defending the last small parcel of national territory remaining free of German occupation. It suffered greatly in the great battle of Yser in the end of 1914 - but held its positions. After that however it had to be rebuilt - but luckily for the Belgians, from 1915 to the end of 1917 Germans didn't try anything too fancy on this sector of the front (even if raiding, skirmishing, shelling and sniping went on almost daily). That gave Belgians time to prepare for the great battles of 1918 - which were to be the bloodiest yet!

It is worth noticing (as author does it) that from 1915 to 1917 many THOUSANDS of Belgians living under German occupation fled the country through neutral Netherlands to reach Great Britain and then join their king and his army on the line of Yser - and that notwithstanding the danger of being executed if taken prisoner by Germans. Even worse - Germans actually went as far as executing family members of such fugitives if they could identify them... and yet the flow of volunteers was constant and strong!

Belgian units fought also in Africa, mostly against German troops of general von Lettow-Vorbeck in Tanganyika and a Belgian detachment of 13 armored cars and 350 soldiers fought also on the side of Russian Army on the Eastern Front from 1915 until the Bolshevik coup d'etat in October 1917. There was also a Belgian Air Force fighting along French and British units over the Western Front and it produced its share of aces.

Returning now to the book, let's first say, that the description of events is superficial. Of course it had to be, because Osprey MAM books are only 48 pages long - but it was still possible to write more on the battles waged by Belgians. Author however mostly wasted pages 3 to 8, describing XIX century European politics and a general history of beginning of World War I - something it was not necessary to do. Those six pages could have been put to a better use.

The description of organisation, weaponry and equipment of Belgian Army at the beginning of 1914 is extremely superficial, close to non existant! There is not even a one page battle order with names of great units and their commanders! As for the weaponry, we have to dig deep in descriptions of color plates to find some information about it - and even there it is very fragmentary. Same thing for the army existing in 1918...

The campaign of 1914 is described in some detail, on pages from 8 to 20, and it is a very honest description, but after that the whole period January 1915-December 1917 is expedited on six pages, with mostly the generalities like "Belgium purchased guns, rifles and machine guns to make up the shortfalls" - but what kind of weapons and from whom? Mystery... Also the description of Belgian front from 1915 to 1917 is made of copies of press articles written by a journalist in 1916 and 1917...

There is only one little and poorly made map, explaining virtually nothing and NOT even covering the whole Belgian held sector of the front!!

But the WORST thing are the color plates by Patrice Courcelle - or should I rather say "no color" plates, as there is hardly any color in most of them! Drawings of men, their uniforms and their weapons are poor and lack in detail and the one plate which tries to show a real trench fight is simply BEYOND PATHETIC! For the life of me I cannot understand who in Osprey team actually agreed to pay for those plates!? Only two plates show some details - the rest is completely useless.

Honestly, I think that by looking the things up on internet and especially in relevant articles of wikipedia, you can easily find more information and even more good pictures on the topic than in this thing - and it will be for free. This book is really a wasted occasion - and it is a great pity!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old uniforms - brave men., 2 Sept. 2009
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This review is from: The Belgian Army in World War I (Men-at-arms) (Paperback)
A fascinating insight into a brief campaign which bought France a vital few days at the beginning of WW1. Not much on this topic in English and therefore a worthy record. Recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Overview, 6 Aug. 2009
By 
C. Edwards (London : UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Belgian Army in World War I (Men-at-arms) (Paperback)
Good overview of a subject not normally covered in popular print. Typical Osprey with all the basic facts you could want
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A small almost forgotten army., 5 Jan. 2010
This review is from: The Belgian Army in World War I (Men-at-arms) (Paperback)
Very usefull information about a small army that held the northen end of the western front. Too much about uniforms and not enough about the weaponry. I could not find any reference to the Belgian designed Lewis gun! The germans called it the 'belgian rattlesnake'. All things considered a good starting point for anyone looking for information on Belgiums part in WW1.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very readable outline of the Belgian army in WW1, 26 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: The Belgian Army in World War I (Men-at-arms) (Paperback)
I thought that this was a very good introduction to the role of the Belgian army in WW1. It provides a short historical background (useful and appropriate) and then immediately gets into WW1 and the role of the Belgian army (from the first fighting in August 1914 up to the end of the war in 1918) . For anyone without prior knowledge of Belgium's contribution, this provides a very good outline and introduction, For many readers this will be more than adequate but others may use it as a springboard for other, more indepth, study. The book's text is supported by a good range of photos and the usual excellent colour plates. Finally, there is a short section on the Belgian airforce and then an examination of Belgian uniforms and equipment (including detailed commentaries on the colour plates). All in all, a very readable, interesting and useful guide. Highly recommended as an easily accessible introduction to the subject. A great little book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Competent Summary, 29 Mar. 2014
By 
P. J. Connolly "Caractacus" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Belgian Army in World War I (Men-at-arms) (Paperback)
Like all large conflicts the First World War is full of hidden corners that have received little attention. The invasion of Belgium propelled Britain into the war and the early German atrocities there stoked indignation in the UK. Belgium's resistance provoked much admiration and it was to be the scene of bitter fighting for the British and German armies over the next four years. The actual fate of the Belgian Army pretty much dropped from sight after 1914 so this book shines a welcome light on what actually happened. I found it a very clear read and a good summary of its subject by people who clearly know what they are talking about.
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The Belgian Army in World War I (Men-at-arms)
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