Montauban was the first success on the very first day on the Somme battle which opened on July 1st 1916. This book covers all the actions by the 30th and 18th Divisions in that area. It has often been considered as a lost opportunity by many historians who have researched the battle over many years. General Haig wanted to push on beyond the Montauban Ridge towards the Guillemont Ridge with supporting troops pushing on towards the Bazentin Ridges as well. However, the cautious Rawlinson, GOC of 4th Army denied an advance due to his *bite and hold* policy. We will never know what the outcome might have been. Nevertheless, this book covers all the details of the actions as it was on that first day. There are good chapters on recommended tours and information on Memorials and Commonwealth War Graves which makes this book a valuable addition the the entire series.
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I have recently visited the village of Montauban to renew the link between Maidstone who after WW1 "adopted" Montauban to help rebuild and to raise funds for a water tower [ which still stands ] and replant apple trees. This book helps bring the tragedy and triumph of the battle there to life. It is an excellent guide for those visiting the Montauban battle field and other sites on the Somme. David Pickett
A worthy and informative companion as I walked up the slope from Carnoy to Montauban on 1st July 2016, exactly 100 years after my great uncle AGW Wright dd with the Essex Regiment on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. A wonderful series of books.
Having bought and used several books in this excellent series I have to say it isn't quite as good as the neighbouring books on Mametz or La Boiselle. This is not entirely the fault of the author as the battle in this area was successful and action was effectively limited to one day. Perhaps success also resulted in less stories and anecdotes when compared to other areas. There are also less memorials and the area lacks the atmospheric comrades and battlefield cemeteries other areas have. This means the book has to be some what padded with a detailed description of the history of each battalion and a series of walks which feel somewhat contrived, ie artificially close together when a slightly longer walk would encompass a larger area more effectively.
The book could perhaps have been expanded to cover Trones Wood which was fought over in both 1916 and 1918 and would make an obvious extension and I don't think it is covered in other volumes.
If new to the area I would firstly recommend the Walking the Somme book which is now in a second edition and only buy this one if you have a specific and detailed interest in the area.
That said, the photos are excellent and the use of trench maps is very well done and if you are interested in any of the units which were involved on 1st July in the area then it is probably worthwhile.