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Remembered Today:

Beaten Down By Blood - The Battle of Mont St Quentin-Peronne 1918


Robert Dunlop

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By Michele Bomford. This is a superbly written book that covers the capture of Mont St Quentin and the nearby town of Péronne by the Australian Corps in 1918. At the time, these events were rightly regarded as a superb feat of arms. There was an earlier pointer to the difficulties involved with the French failed to achieve this in late 1916. Having visited the area more recently, the open nature of the terrain with the dominating height of Mont St Quentin only served to underline how extraordinary the Australian Corps' achievement was. Michele Bomford explains how it was done. She unlocks the sequence of the battle, aided by the well drawn maps. Although a lot of the details relate to the work of the infantry, the author has provided a thorough analysis of the supporting arms too, including the artillery, engineers, air force, medical services, and signallers for example. The higher levels of command are also dealt with too. There are numerous anecdotal accounts, interspersed amongst the official accounts and extracts from war diaries. Chris Roberts (aka Crunchy) provided some valuable insights into the battle, which Michele acknowledges. Jack Sheldon also provided some details from the German perspective. Michele has woven all of this together into a compelling account that delivers a balanced view not only of the battle itself but also of the Australian Corps as it neared the end of its operational effectiveness on the Western Front. Highly recommended.

Robert

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Hi Robert.....

Did you read this via Kindle or did you manage to get a hard copy? If the latter then please can you tell me / us from where did you purchase it? Amazon only has a Kindle version advertised.

Thank you

Andrew

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This sounds like an essential addition to the bookshelf. I look forward to reading it. Thank you for the review.

WHSmith don't have it listed and Waterstones only have the e-book version.

I have now found it on the publisher's website but it seems the only way to find out the shipping cost from Australia is to buy it.

http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au/Books/Military/Beaten-Down-By-Blood/978/productview.aspx

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I picked up a hard copy version when travelling in Australia recently. The maps should be good enough for Kindle. Certainly an option worth considering.

Robert

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Robert,

I will have to find the book and buy it. Does Michelle discuss GHQ BEF's staff planning on the fortifications? I bounced across some material in my travels indicating they (GSO Int) were collecting material on the infrastructure and defensive works for Mont St Quentin and Peronne back in 1916. I have seen plans drawn from that period of the tunnels and defensive works (But can't recall where at the moment).

Regards,

Hendo

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Robert,

Thank you. Still should be a good buy though.

Hendo

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Absolutely fantastic - many thanks. My husband has a relative who fought there. I've just ordered the book from ....

http://www.fishpond....n Down by Blood

I recently used this site for 'The Price of Valour' and find the prices are excellent - especially as they include postage (which can be quite significant for a book from Oz).

Judy

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Judy

Thank you.... that looks like an excellent site

Andrew

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Was given a copy by the author. It is a sound and meticulously researched study of the battle - well written and balanced in its approach. This was probably the Australian Corps's and Monash's finest achievement - a rare example of the quick attack and a battle of manoeuvre in the Great War.

Cheers

Chris

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I now have a copy on order. As soon as it arrives I will be using it to spend some time on the ground there. It is one of those areas that seems to get scant coverage from those visiting the Australian battlefields in favour of Pozieres, Bullecourt, Fromelles, etc. so hopefully this is beginning to change.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Robert,

The publication I saw was "Notes on the area between the river Somme, the St. Quentin and La Sensee Canals, and the river Scarpe" 47 pages published in 1916, which is at the AWM and NLA. I no doubt have imaged it as it was an Ia document, but I am yet to get to those images. From memory it had quite detailed drawings of the tunnel systems. I would imagine it would have been given to Monash's SO2 Int Major Hunn as part of the planning package.

Cheers,

Hendo

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