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Verk av Nick Lloyd


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This is the second Nick Lloyd work I have read--I reviewed his 2021 "The Western Front" a few weeks ago, and wanted to see if Lloyd's scholarship stands up in one of his more detailed studies of a World War I battle.

Passchendaele was (and still is) one of Great Britain's historical traumas. Controversy about the need for and costs of this battle that raged off and on from July to November 1917 began almost before it ended, and emotion about the battle still runs high as exemplified by the Last Post ceremony observed every evening at Ypre's Menin Gate. I was certainly touched during my visit to the city's "In Flanders Fields" museum, the Canadian memorial in Passchendaele itself, and the vast Tyne Cot cemetary. I was very interested in reading the newer scholarship on this legendary battle.

Nick Lloyd's work shows no surprises in outline and format. At 464 pages, the book is long enough to make its case. Lloyd begins his analysis with an introduction and a prologue, the latter dedicated to telling the story of the abortive French Nivelle offensive conducted in the spring of 1917. A British offensive in Flanders (towards which BEF Commander in Chief Douglas Haig was already inclined) was seen as necessary after the failure of the French offensive and the subsequent crisis in morale in the tired French Army. Lloyd unfolds his telling of Third Ypres, another name given this battle, in 15 chapters, arranged chronologically. Chapters 1 and 2 lay out the background for the battle and the why of Haig's decision to chose such a battlefield. The remaining 13 chapters focus on the battle that progressed in fits and spurts for the latter half of 1917. There is also an epilogue that ties things together, along with a bibliography, endnotes (called references here), a glossary, and an index. There is a small but excellent selection of photographs depicting personalities and events, while the author provides suitable maps interspersed with his text.

What really sets this work apart is Lloyd's use of German archival sources, long the bane of English language military histories. For the longest time English language authors satisfied their research needs on the German side with secondary sources that had been translated into English. Unsurprisingly, the results of such limited research led to unrealistic appraisals of both British and German actions and results. This led to a portrayal of Third Ypres as a lopsided British defeat. Lloyd's more complete research shows that the British were on the right track to defeat Germany had they been open to the idea of attritional warfare as opposed to seeking territorial gains, a fixation that drove Haig for his entire term as Commander in Chief. When the job was given to the best British army commander, Second Army's Plumer, an attritional victory that could have altered the trajectory of the war was possible. Hence the appropriate subtitle to this book: "The Lost Victory of World War I". Alas for Great Britain and its Commonwealth allies, Douglas Haig did not have the vision to take advantage of this hard won evidence of German vulnerability.

I highly recommend this well-written and researched volume, especially for those First World War historians out there.
… (mer)
Adakian | 1 annan recension | Jul 16, 2022 |
Excellent command level coverage of the Western Front.
MarkHarden | 2 andra recensioner | Jun 23, 2022 |
It has been a while since I have read a First World War account, so I downloaded Nick Lloyd's work with much anticipation to see what modern scholarship could produce. Lloyd's work differs from other WWI histories I have read in that he focuses solely on the key theater of the war and the title of his book--the Western Front. Other theaters are mentioned only as they influenced events and policies on the Western Front.

Lloyd divides his book into three parts, each representing a key period of the war and ending at a distinct transition event. Part 1, "War is not like maneuvers", Liege to the Second Battle of Champagne, August 1914-November 1915, spans Chapters 1-7. This part naturally covers the war's initial battles of movement as the combatants transitioned to the trench warfare that was to dominate the war's middle years. Part 2, "Scales of Fate", Verdun to the Second Battle of the Aisne, December 1915-May 1917, includes Chapters 8-15 and depicts the war as most people (mostly historians) today would envision the First World War--a stalemated trench war. Part 3, "A matter of command", Messines Ridge to Compiegne, June 1917-November 1918, contains Chapters 16-24 and shows the conflict regaining its mobility through the German Spring Offensive and the British breakthrough at Amiens. Lloyd finishes his book with an epilogue, a cast of characters (significant personalities of the war), a useful list of abbreviations, a list of references, a select bibliography, and an index. Lloyd also includes a short but nice selection of photographs at the end of the book in my Kindle edition.

Most WWI histories I have read quickly get into the standard themes of chateau generals, intolerable weather, atrocious conditions in the trenches, and the domination of artillery on these battlefields. Most English language histories I have read also emphasize the British aspects of the war at the expense of French participation, which is usually limited to the Marne, Verdun, and the Nieville Offensive. Lloyd takes a different tack with his book by equalizing the coverage of the armies and leaders and placing a spotlight on the political aspects of the war on both sides. He notes the changes in leadership during different phases of the war, along with the policy changes that go with new leaders. The author deftly works in details of the personalities of the various military leaders and how those personalities aided or hindered their army's effectiveness (I know I would not liked to have worked for French, Haig, Nieville, von Hindenburg, or Ludendorff).

I think Lloyd did a great job in focusing solely on the Western Front. Most WWI histories are diluted by the inclusion of the wide-ranging naval war, the Mediterranean theater, and the Eastern Front. By concentrating on the key theater in which the war could be won or lost, Lloyd gets his readers quickly to what matters in the story of this archetype of Industrial Age warfare.

Give it a try!
… (mer)
Adakian | 2 andra recensioner | Feb 11, 2022 |
Productcode (EAN): 9789048858798
Verschijningsdatum: 7/05/2021
Aantal bladzijden: 791
Uitgeverij: Hollands Diep
Auteur(s): Nick Lloyd
Afmetingen: 136 mm x 212 mm
DirkLemmens | 2 andra recensioner | Dec 25, 2021 |


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