This is a reprint by Pen & Sword in what appears to be a concerted effort to make freshly available a number of the 'classics' despite the fact that 'The ironclads of Cambrai' is one of those books on the Great War that you still see often in second hand book shops, notably the paperback versions of the 1967 original.
Bryan Cooper's work is fluent and to the point, and remains a good place to start for anyone wishing to learn about Cambrai, increasingly being seen as a turning point in British tactical development during the war. It is a readable account and good value.
'Ironclads' was written at a time when historians and authors did not enjoy the same access to operational records and personal service records that we have today. As such, it draws largely on official and regimental accounts (principally British ones) and is inevitably shaped and limited by what they have to say. Even so, the author makes the account lively if a little impersonal. It also covers well the limited but gallant role of the tanks in stemming the German counter attack of 30 November 1917. As an assessment of the battle it has been overtaken by modern scholarship, perhaps best represented by Bryn Hammond's "Cambrai 1917: the myth of the first great tank battle" and Jack Sheldon's "The German Army at Cambrai". Both offer a more balanced and informed account and in particular do much to add weight to the effect of the new British artillery tactics in assisting the tanks to achieve so much on 20 November 1917. Even so, this is a nicely produced and welcome reprint.
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