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Remembered Today:

German retreat to the Hindenburg line


swizz
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Can anyone recommend anything on this subject? I'm particularly interested in the damage the retreating German army did to the areas they left behind.

Swizz

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One of the most detailed reviews, from the Allied perspective, is Spears' book 'Prelude to Victory'. It is likely to be available second-hand. A very profound book, on several levels. The descriptions of the Anglo-French advance are very interesting, and deeply poignant.

Robert

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Plenty available via Abe Books, Amazon & Ebay (1 only).

35 GBP upwards.

A bit outside my own price range.

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Robert and Burlington

Thanks - I wasn't aware of that one and I will definitely look into getting a copy (maybe via the library if possible!)

Swizz

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Swizz, the library would be the best way to get hold of it. The book is worth owning though. Spears deals with the psycho-social 'damage' as well as the environmental. He has a wonderful writing style. As a bonus, there are some lovely vignettes of various commanders, mostly French. Spears also provides a terrific perspective on the military versus politicians debate.

Robert

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Thanks Robert. I've been looking around for the book and I think I'll have to go down the route of ordering it from the British Library as there don't seem to be any local copies. But thanks for bringing it to my attention - I wouldn't have come across it otherwise.

Swizz

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Hi Swizz,

Whilst not recommending books on the subject I have word transcripts of all sections of Hammerton’s ‘The Great War… ‘I Was There!’, Undying Memories of 1914-1918’ which deal with the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line. Feel free to PM me with your email address if you want these.

Captain Graham Greenwell’s account from his book ‘An Infant in Arms’ is very good as is Paul Maze’s (as ever – he really was a superb writer).

Regards

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Hi

There is also quite a bit of material in the Official History 1917 Vol. 1 by Capt. Cyril Falls. It has pretty lucid descriptions of the many small actions that resulted from the withdrawal with interesting comments on the ability of the British and Commonwealth forces to cope with the sudden open warfare they found themselves in.

Available from Naval & Military Press.

Jim

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Thanks Jim and J Banning, I will add these to my list. I have read a few of of Cyril Falls other publications and found them quite readable.

Swizz

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Swizz, less relevant to your original question, but of great interest nonetheless, is Jack Sheldon's latest book on Cambrai. The first chapter provides one of the most detailed reviews of the German perspective on the development of the Hindenburg Line and the decision to withdraw to it.

Robert

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