Challenge of Battle: The British Army's Baptism of Fire in the First World War

Posted on centenarynews.com on 08 March 2016
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Author: Adrian Gilbert
Publication Date: 20 May 2015

Publisher's Description:

'In this timely new book, Adrian Gilbert clears away the layers of sentiment that have obscured a true historical understanding of the 1914 campaign to provide a full, unvarnished picture of the British Expeditionary Force at war. Previous assessments of the BEF have held to an unshakeable belief in its exceptional performance during the battles of 1914. But closer examination of the historical record reveals a force possessing some key strengths yet undermined by other, significant failings. Within an authoritative and well-paced campaign narrative, Challenge of Battle re-evaluates the army's leadership, organization and tactics. 

It describes the problems faced by commanders, grappling with the brutal realities of 20th-century warfare, and explains how the British infantry's famed marksmanship has to be set against the inexperience and tactical shortcomings of the BEF as a whole. Making full use of diaries, letters and other contemporary accounts, Adrian Gilbert builds a compelling picture of what it was like to fight in the battles of Mons, Le Cateau, the Aisne and Ypres.'

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