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THE DAY WE WON THE WAR

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    Posted: 27 Mar 2009 at 19:48
THE DAY WE WON THE WAR: Turning Point at Amiens August 1918
by Charles Messenger
The Day We Won The War
Click on the cover to buy from Amazon!
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, The Orion Publishing Group Ltd, Orion House, 5 Upper St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2H 9EA.
279 pp 160×240 mm, hardback. ISBN 9780297852810.  £20 UK only
 
This is a well written highly detailed account of the Battle of Amiens, starting on 8 August 1918, and then of the following 95 days that led to the defeat of the Germany Army and the Armistice on 11 November. On the Allied side, the brunt of the fighting was borne by the British Fourth Army and III Corps, with some US soldiers attached; the Australian Corps; the Canadian Corps all of which were supported by British tanks. Fighting in parallel was the French First Army also supported by British and French tanks. Facing them were the German Second Army; the LI Corps and the LIV Corps. As can be expected, the vast majority of the action described is on the ground with tanks, artillery and infantry playing the major roles.
 
There is one brief chapter ‘In the Air’ and this raises some interesting questions. The role of 9 Sqn in dropping ammunition to forward infantry positions is well known (see our Vol 27, pages 13-20) but when and how did 9 and 5 Squadrons lay smoke?  This is mentioned in a table on page 146 but nothing further is said in the text. Also mentioned in this chapter is the ‘fact’ that aircraft cooperating with the advancing infantry, tanks and cavalry carried markings defining their roles under their tail-planes. I have seen no previous mention of this practice and am not aware of any photographic evidence.  Both areas to be followed up in a future visit to Kew… Other references to the war in the air do occur elsewhere in the text and particularly to the determination of the pilots of the German air force.
 
With eight excellent maps, a diagram and 29 well-reproduced photographs, this is a worthwhile book describing as it does the total defeat of the German Army on the Western Front and the professionalism of the staff, British, Australian, Canadian and French. It is also a tribute to the aggressive spirit of (in particular) the Australian and Canadian soldiers. Whilst, in describing details of the action, this book does call for great concentration, I recommend it to any of our members with an interest in the reality of the final days of the war.
 
PSL, Volume 40 Number 1


Edited by AndyK - 22 Jun 2009 at 15:38
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