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This review is from: The German Army on the Somme 1914-1916 (Hardcover)
Jack Sheldon proves himself once again to be a master educator on the subject of the first world war . There are hundreds of well researched accounts from the British and Commonwealth side of the conflict , but writing as he does from German archive sources we gain a much fuller picture .
I read the German Army on The Somme in tandem with Peter Burtons The Somme the unseen panoramas , and was often able to co-ordinate dates and times of various actions from both sides .Sheldons regimental archive material is brought to life by the regular introduction of eye witness statements and letters written by the combatants themselves to paint an apocalyptic picture of , misery and human suffering on both sides .
In one chapter he relates how a German trench was reduced back to little more than ground level .The surviving German garrison having to lie motionless in shallow scrapes often not even deep enough to offer full body cover , and unable through the sheer weight of incoming fire to move into and link shell holes together into a defensive line , a common practice at the time . At the end of reading the passage turn to page 252 of Bartons book to look at the 3 pictures of the gradual obliteration of the German Monquet Farm defences and Sheldons account becomes even more graphic .
And thats the thing with his work , as well as standing in its own right as a superb work of academic history , it further enhances accounts of those previously published from the British side .Mr Sheldon has made a huge contribution to the further understanding of this horrendous conflict .