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The Flank Guard Action and the First Cavalry Charge of the Great War, 24 August 1914

Author:Philip Watson
Dimensions:6.75" x 9.75"
Photos:43 b/w photos, 15 color photos, 10 b/w ills, 18 b/w maps
Publisher:Helion and Company
Item No. 9781911628972

The book starts at the point the Germany army crosses the Belgium border and follows the individual stories of the key characters, Field Marshals and soldiers alike, military and civilian, German, Belgique and French of those who were to be intimately involved in the ‘flank guard action at Élouges and the cavalry action of the 2nd Cavalry Brigade. The author has mixed the minutiae of the thoughts and details of those who played key roles and introduces them before the role become significant. The book benefits from a series of high-quality maps which help to explain the complexity of the action at Audregnies and Élouges, and is profusely illustrated, with pictures of those who were there, which brings the story to life and humanizes an action which has become known as a faceless casualty list for its perceived success or failure.The author has drawn together many unpublished diary accounts from all the regiment’s involved in an attempt to show the interactions all between the units concerned and has avoided telling the story from a single-unit perspective. It also draws together article from the UK press illustrating the story as it unfolded back in England. For the first time the author has integrated the German story from German regimental histories and diaries to give the story a holistic picture, which sees the German Imperial Army, put into practice with success their prewar training and doctrine. The analysis and critique is solely based around the actions of the units involved and has avoided some of the much repeated ‘sound bites’ which are not relevant to his story. The analysis is based around the instructions given to Field Marshal French by Lord Kitchener before he left and how the commanders implemented the tactics which had been articulated in their own specific to arms publications and the Field Service Manual 1909.

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