1915: The Death of Innocence by Lyn MacDonald

By Lyn MacDonald

From Publishers Weekly in response to letters, journals and memoirs, this 5th quantity of Macdonald's chronicle of the nice conflict as British infantrymen skilled it covers the battles of Neuve Chapelle and lavatories, the second one conflict of Ypres and the Gallipoli crusade. the writer offers a close examine the original trench tradition of the British 1st military and analyzes "lessons learned," similar to the right kind deployment of massed artillery and infantry reserves in the course of that bloody yr. Her evaluation of Allied process and strategies is extraordinary in readability. Her data extra dramatize the demise at the Western entrance in 1915 (Macdonald regards Gallipoli as an extension of the Western Front): Of the 19,500 sq. miles of German-occupied territory fought over, in basic terms 8 have been recovered-an usual of 200,000 casualties in line with mile. Macdonald's vividly rendered historical past conjures up pity and awe on the slaughter. via Christmas 1915, she notes, there has been nonetheless a few wish of finishing the clash speedy, however it used to be now not the desire of blameless optimism. pictures. Copyright 1994 Reed enterprise details, Inc. From Library magazine Macdonald offers a heritage of the second one 12 months of the nice conflict, focusing nearly fullyyt at the impressions and reviews of universal infantrymen amassed from interviews during the last twenty years in addition to from letters, journals, and memoirs. the writer has selected to not learn bathrooms, Ypres, Neuve Chappelle, and the advent of fuel conflict intimately yet relatively to set the scene and allow the determined, patriotic, idealistic squaddies inform of their personal phrases how these characteristics have been expunged and the need only to outlive left of their position. The publication isn't a alternative for a normal historical past, yet Macdonald's massive ability in weaving her narrative makes this an outstanding addition to the literature. besides the fact that, this is often Macdonald's fourth compilations of global struggle I fabric; libraries maintaining the others might think of this yet another than they want. *Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. military TRALINET Ctr., fortress Monroe, Va.* Copyright 1995 Reed company info, Inc.

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The Germans were outnumbered in places by as many as three to one but, thanks to machine-guns liberally sited along their trenches, they could repel attack after attack. Not for nothing was the machine-gun called Queen of the Battlefield. Soon, they would be calling it the Grim Reaper. The machine-gun was hardly a new-fangled ‘wonder-weapon’. It was not even a new invention. The first hand-cranked versions had been used more than half a century earlier during the American Civil War and the pioneers of the expanding British Empire were quick to realise its usefulness.

It was obvious that the Germans were in the same plight and on frosty nights, when the clouds cleared and the light from a hazy moon rippled on lagoons of ice and water spread across the morass, when the machine-guns fell silent and only the occasional smack of a bullet cracked in the frosty air, the Tommies could hear the splosh and thud of boots and spades in front and see the Germans silhouetted fifty yards away engaged on the same dreary task, bailing and digging, and doubtless cursing, just as they were themselves.

The officer made no reply. He said he preferred to wait until the captain arrived on board. But he was perfectly polite. There was nothing domineering about him, but he posted the armed guard around the ship, and they looked none too friendly. Then he wanted to know what provisions we had but when I told them of what straits we were in for tucker ourselves, they didn’t bother. Still, they went over the ship with a fine toothcomb and spent a long time in the engine room, fiddling about with things, which the chief engineer didn’t like at all.

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