What went wrong for British forces in 1917? Relive the key battles through first-hand accounts and little-known incidents of World War I.
This book offers a fresh, critical history of the 1917 campaign in Flanders. Alan Warren traces the three major battles fought by the British Expeditionary Force in the final months of 1917, from the mines of Messines to the mud of Passchendaele and the tanks at Cambrai. Drawing on a rich array of sources, Warren provides a vivid account of two tragically mismanaged battles, showing that Cambrai further underlined what went wrong for British forces at Passchendaele and thus more fully explains the course of events on the Western front. His compelling narrative history features first-hand accounts, little-known dramatic incidents, and portraits and assessments of the main generals. All readers interested in World War I and the tragic mistakes that led, in the words of Winston Churchill, to “a forlorn expenditure of valour and life without equal in futility” will find this an invaluable military history.
Alan Warren teaches politics and international relations at Monash University. He is the author of Burma 1942, World War II: A Military History, Singapore 1942 and Waziristan, The Faqir of Ipi, and the Indian Army.
List of Photographs
List of Maps
1 Stalemate on the Western Front
2 The Road to Flanders
3 Interregnum in Flanders
4 The Opening Stanza
5 Stormy Weather
6 Menin Road
7 Polygon Wood to Broodseinde
8 Final Steps to Passchendaele
9 The Switch to Cambrai
10 The Tank Corps and the Hindenburg Line
11 Bring Forward the Cavalry
12 The Drive for Bourlon
13 The Tide Turns at Cambrai
A powerful account of British campaigning on the Western Front in 1917–1918 that clarifies the operational consequences of deficiencies, including those of weapons and command.
Alan Warren has written a deeply engaging account of the sweep of battle on the Western Front in 1917. It humanizes the massively complex battles that were Messines Ridge, Third Ypres, and Cambrai and makes them accessible to a wide readership without sacrificing depth.