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zero Hour z Day


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Just received my copy of "Zero Hour Z Day" by Jonathan Porter (of Chavasse Ferme). This is an incredibly detailed review of the attack on 1st July 1916 by XIII Corps.

 

It is amazingly detailed and runs to some 512 A4 sized pages. It is available in a quality hardback edition for £30.00 or a softback version at a slightly lower price. i would strongly recommend this title to anyone interested in the First Day of the Somme (particularly the area where things went comparatively better than elsewhere).

 

More information on the website: http://zerohourzday.com/. I have found that ordering the book using Windows 10 with Chrome did did not work for me but IE seems to be fine.

 

Highly recommended!

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My copy is in the post. Looking forward to it.

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Just reading it myself. A quick skip through reveals some remarkable annotated maps, diagrams and aerial photographs. Jonathan's experience as a Royal Marine permeates everything I've read so far. His section on the topography of this part of the front stands out for me. He sees the area with a soldier's eye, which few so-called academic historians can manage.  His explanation of how the Germans exploited the landscape is very clear. And, I hadn't realised before how the local geology affected the way trenches and dug outs were constructed. I'm learning such a lot, as is always the case when I talk to either of the Porter brothers.

Richard

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Just received my copy today - have yet to read it but it looks like the detail on this is something special.

 

fantastic aerial colour photos (annotated with the trenches) combined with personal recollections/detailed account of the attack etc 

 

well done Jonathan and I look forward to your next tome

 

highly recommended and essential for anyone with an interest in 1st July 1916/The Somme

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It does look very good, though I've only had a chance to skim through. Mr Porter advises that he is working on a further volume on VII Corps, due in around 18 months time.

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My copy arrived today. First impressions are of a high-quality book, lavishly illustrated as described above. Just finishing Steel & Hart's 'Passchendaele' and then I intend to savour this.

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John_Hartley

It's enormous - and quite small print, so goodness knows how many words Jonathan has got in there.

 

He tells me Volume 2 is already underway.

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keithfazzani

Mine arrived a couple of days ago. First look is impressive, an amazing amount of work has gone into this.

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David Filsell

Definitely go hard back on this book it's a book you will want to keep - a paperback of this size will always be under strain at the seams. In this case cheaper really is likely to be dearer.

Edited by David Filsell
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David Filsell

Just reading it for review. One hell of a task - it's a huge tome. I cheated a bit today and turned to the book's conclusions. I think it offers a superbly cogent analysis of XIII Corps leadership, planning, all round expertise and achievement. Whatever happened elsewhere on July 1st, In essence the XIII corps performance that day, and during the planning phase, offers clear evidence of the start of genuine improvement in the BEF capability and performance -  perhaps even the first real indication of a wavering learning curve.

Edited by David Filsell
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Hi David - having proof-read the text for Jonathan I can sympathise with the mammoth task of reviewing! But, very glad that after ten years of Jonathan working on this, the book appears to be so warmly received. IMHO, the drone shots with overlaid annotations are excellent too.

I look forward to your review in due course. BTW, Jon is working on XV Corps area now...

All best,

JB  

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David Filsell

Review will be finished tomorrow (or so!) and  I will put it up on the forum. Since the book is not on Amazon, sadly I cannot put my review up there as is deserved. I havn't spotted any proofing errors so far and, as an acknowledgedly poor proof reader, I know it must have been a total badger of a job to do.

That said, worryingly, if XIII Corps took ten years - which I quite believe - sadly,  I could be dead before he gets to the much maligned Hunter Bunter!

Regards

David

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David Filsell

Zero Hour Z Day1st July: XII Corps Operations between Maricourt and Mametz,

Starting a book review with superlatives is bad practice, it indicates the work of an, over impressed reviewer or, perhaps, one on a promotional mission for the author. That said, it is impossible write anything other than outstanding in commenting on Jonathan Porter’s unique 500 page long Zero Hour Z Day, a singular analysis of Congreve’s XIII Corps (3rd, 9th, 18th, 50th and 35th Divisions) on the first day of the Somme. (To balance my hyperbole I can add little other than that this is not a book sufficiently manageable to read in bed without assistance. (It weighs in at six and a half pounds and measures twelve inch long, eight inches wide and one and three quarter inches thick)

Author and publisher Jonathan Porter brings a clear soldier’s eye, perceptions and long study of the battle and the ground of the Somme. He served for 20 years with the Royal Marines, first with 42 and 45 Commando and then with the SBS. Since leaving the military in 2005 he has lived on the Somme for 18 years, studied it and those who served there. His authorial approach is comprehensive, thorough, clear and logical. In seven discrete sections he analyses the formulation of the XIII Corps offensive plan and the ground from Maricourt to Mametz. He evaluates the opposing forces, offers a highly detailed analysis of the preparation and build up to July 1st and evaluates the actions of 30th and 18th Divisions and the days-end effort to consolidate. He concludes with the butcher’s bill - removing the wounded, clearing the dead, and closes with a sound and sharp analysis of XXII corps performance.

Like the late Trevor Pigeon, author of the renowned Tanks at Flers, Jonathan Porter decided on self publishing to avoid the dictates and the inevitable penny pinching profit imperative of most publishers. His personal approach also allows the author space to analyse and judge people, places and events the detail others writing on the Somme are generally denied by publishing costs and constraints. His freedom enabled the deployment of many colour illustrations - photographs, contemporary and modern maps and line drawings – and many monochrome illustrations. It must be added that that printing, design, typography and paper of Zero Hour Z Day1st July are of an uncommonly high quality. It is a serious bibliophile’s delight

The book’s final analysis is outstanding. It briskly underlines and defines the success of Congreve’s XIII Corps and the contribution of his divisional commanders, Maxse, 18th Division, and Shea, 30th Division, and notes:

“Their achievements were at the polar opposite of what British folklore would have us believe regarding the supposedly futile and blundering events of 1 July.

Why? Because, of a highly complex combination of sound command, planning, training, and rehearsals, through effective preparation, artillery superiority, special weapons, mines, and because of exceptional battle leaders ship.

Zero Hour Z day is not simply a cogent analysis of XIII Corps leadership, planning, all round expertise and achievement. Whatever happened elsewhere on July 1st, it seems clear that XIII Corps’ performance that day, and in the planning, there is clear evidence of the birth of genuine improvement in the BEF capability and performance  -  perhaps the first real indication of the fuzzy and a wavering learning curve to come. 

Not, at the time of reviewing, available on Amazon, the book is available from Porter’s own website zerohourzday.com Courier delivery, £4,50, is subsidised by the author. Take note: By the hardback for like Tanks at Flers Porter’s book will become a jealously collected work judged essential by anyone with a serious interest in the Battle of the Somme. It is also the first in Jonathan Porters projected series of works on BEF Army Corps on the Somme on July 1st 1916 and I can barely wait for the author’s his analysis of Hunter Bunter’s VIII Corps.

David Filsell

 

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Steven Broomfield

Thanks for that, David. Looks like I'll have to get a copy.

 

Incidentally, you might like to consider your statement that " ... since leaving the military in 2005 he has lived on the Somme for 18 years ..." - and it's still only 2017 ;)

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David Filsell

Seven,

As man to whom the mathematical equivelant of dyslexia has been a life long problem yo u may well be correct. However I think, but will check, that they were the author's his words not mine. But I simply cannot count on it.

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About a hundred pages into this superb book. The level of research is staggering but despite the detail it is an easy read. Definitely one for the collection. Second recommendation to buy hardback.

Just as I thought I had 'done' the Somme I now find I have lots of reasons to return with renewed enthusiasm. Lovely.

Len

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keithfazzani

I took delivery of this shortly before a trip to the Somme. Now returned and having spent some time with the group looking closely at Carnoy/Montauban I shall probably wish I had read it before I left. As an aside in all the time we spent on the "southern section" we saw hardly another soul, once we crossed the Bapaume/Albert road it was a different story with loads of coaches etc. Perhaps and hopefully this book will encourage others to visit the "succesful" end of the battlefield.

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Have my copy for about a week.  Really good read and the maps are  wonderful. 

 

Joe 

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Steven Broomfield
On 5/15/2017 at 11:52, keithfazzani said:

. Perhaps and hopefully this book will encourage others to visit the "succesful" end of the battlefield.

 

Why would anyone want to do that? Not enough bodies, not enough failure, not enough butchers.

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charlesmessenger

I have received my copy. It really is a most impressive work. The detail is extraordinary, the maps and photos excellent. As others have said, I hope that it will encourage people to visit the southern part of the British front on 1 July. I was there last September and only wish that I had had this book with me (apart from its weight!).

 

Charles M. 

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Steven Broomfield

Well, I've just bought a copy of the hardback on line. It should arrive in time for Mrs Broomfield's birthday. I do hope she appreciates it.

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