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Walking Verdun

Author: Christina Holstein
Publisher: Casemate Publishers
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On 21 February 1916 the German Fifth Army launched a devastating offensive against French forces at Verdun and set in motion one of the most harrowing and prolonged battles of the Great War. By the time the struggle finished ten months later, over 650,000 men had been killed or wounded or were missing, and the terrible memory of the battle had been etched into the histories of France and Germany. This epic trial of military and national strength cannot be properly understood without visiting, and walking, the battlefield, and this is the purpose of Christina Holstein's invaluable guide. In a series of walks she takes the reader to all the key points on the battlefield, many of which have attained almost legendary status - the spot where Colonel Driant was killed, the forts of Douaumont, Vaux and Souville, the Mort Homme ridge, and Verdun itself.REVIEWS A new guide book from one of the most knowledgeable Western Front historians and guides. A New work by long-time battlefield guide and WFA member who also wrote an earlier Pen & Sword book on Ft. Douaumont.e: WWI Historical Association


Walking D Day

Author: Paul Reed
Publisher: Pen and Sword
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Paul Reeds latest battlefield walking guide covers the site of the largest amphibious invasion of all time, the first step in the Allied liberation of France and the rest of northwest Europe. The places associated with the landings on the Normandy coast on 6 June 1944 are among the most memorable that a battlefield visitor can explore. They give a fascinating insight into the scale and complexity of the Allied undertaking and the extent of the German defenses and into the critical episodes in the fighting that determined whether the Allies would gain a foothold or be thrown back into the sea. All the most important sites are featured, from Pegasus Bridge, Merville Battery, Ouistrehem and Longues Battery to Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah Beaches, Pointe du Hoc and Sainte-Mre-glise. There are twelve walks, and each one is prefaced by a historical section describing in vivid detail what happened in each location and what remains to be seen. Information on the many battlefield monuments and the military cemeteries is included, and there are over 120 illustrations. Walking D-Day introduces the visitor not only to the places where the Allies landed and first clashed with the Germans defenders but to the Normandy landscape over which the critical battles that decided the course of the war were fought.


Verdun The Left Bank

Author: Christina Holstein
Publisher: Pen and Sword
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This new and enthralling study is the first detailed work in English of a largely unknown period of the Battle of Verdun. It considers the background to the battle and casts light on the first three critical months of fighting there. It explains the decision to change the original German plan for the Verdun offensive and extend the action to the Left Bank of the River Meuse. Using only original French and German sources the author describes the fighting on the Left Bank and follows the German offensive as it slowly pushed forward, taking three terrible months to reach its objectives, the two hills known as Cote 304 and the Mort-Homme, or Dead Man. The reasons why the German offensive did not go as planned, and the problems that they had to overcome in order to reach their objectives, are fully explained. The French defence of the Left Bank hills, described by Germans themselves as outstanding, is also covered in great detail. Having spent 20 years walking the battlefield of Verdun, the author is able to describe the events in detail on the basis of a unique and intimate knowledge of the ground. The French defences, described by the Germans as outstanding, are thoroughly explained. The book contains over 150 photographs, most of which have never been published before and which show the startling traces that remain of the longest battle of the First World War. The three walking tours take visitors through areas of the Left Bank that few visitors will ever visit.


Walking in the Footsteps of the Fallen

Author: Christina Holstein
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
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A visit to the battlefield of Verdun is usually dominated by the forts of Douamont and Vaux, the museum at Fleury and the striking, huge Ossuary, Although this gives a flavour of the horrific fighting that took place in the area, particularly in 1916, the visitor will be hard pressed to get much more than an impression from such places.This book seeks to guide the battlefield pilgrim into parts of the battlefield that get rarely visited by means of a series of walks, a number of which include the major sites.The four tours have been carefully walked. All are practicable for a reasonably healthy adult; the tours vary in length, most taking a half day to complete and the longest (the last) a day.In a twist to the usual walks to be found in the Battleground series, Christina makes full use of the numerous field graves and isolated memorials that are to be found on the Verdun battlefield, a number of which will bring visitors to the most visited sites. In the course of these walks many physical remnants will be found, such as gun positions, bunkers and trench systems, the significance of which is fully explained. The walks have not been chosen at random: by following these the tourer will get a far greater understanding of why the fighting at Verdun developed as it did and why such places as Fort Vaux were so significant to both sides.The field graves and memorials to the combatants, very often of individuals, provide an opportunity to give their story and the unit action in which they were fighting when they were killed.Verdun is a battlefield where the story of units and individuals can easily become lost in the horror of the incessant fighting that raged over ten months; and over ground which is extremely difficult to read because of the post war forestation programme. Profusely illustrated and with excellent mapping, a hallmark of Christina Holstein's books, a visitor who follows the walks in this book will be left with a far clearer idea of the men who fought and died here and of the features of the battlefield and their significance in this battle that so challenged the endurance of the armies of two nations.


Fort Douaumont

Author: Christina Holstein
Publisher: Casemate Publishers
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This fully revised second edition of Christina Holsteins acclaimed Battleground guide to Fort Douaumont will be essential reading for students of the Battle of Verdun, for visitors to the battlefield, and for anyone who is interested in the history of twentieth-century fortifications.The battle, which lasted from 21 February to 15 December 1916, was a turning point in the First World War, and Fort Douaumont was at the heart of it. In 1914 the fort was the strongest and most modern of the fortifications around Verdun and it formed the keystone of the French defense in the area.Using both French and German sources, Christina Holstein introduces the reader to the fortress system around Verdun, explains the construction, reinforcement and armament of Fort Douaumont and describes its surprise capture by the Germans in February 1916. Its loss was a terrible blow to French morale and their repeated attempts to retake the fort are portrayed in graphic detail. As the months ground on and the Battle of Verdun turned into stalemate, the desire to keep or to recapture Fort Douaumont, whatever the cost, became the reason for both sides to go on fighting.This invaluable, and now fully up-to-date, Battleground guide gives a compelling insight into the brutal nature of the struggle and into the soldiers, French and German, who took part in it.


Wilfred Owen

Author: Philip Guest
Publisher: Pen and Sword
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This is a guide to the battlefields that inspired the young and sensitive poet, whose poems are probably the twentieth century's best-known literary expressions of experience of war. Detailed maps, military diaries, photographs and modern roads guide the visitor through the battlefields. Owen's letters are used extensively, together with his poetry, linking specific places events, vividly describing the suffering of the trench.


Hitler s Atlantic Wall Normandy

Author: Paul Williams
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This highly informative book begins with an examination of the background to Germany's primary military objectives in relation to the western end of their self-styled 'Fortress Europe' including the early foundation of shore defences in northern France.In 1941, there was a switch in emphasis of the Atlantic Wall's role from attack to defence. Beach defences became more elaborate and the Nazi-controlled Todt Organisation began a massive building programme constructing new bunkers and reinforcing existing sites, using forced labour.Hitler appointed Rommel to formulate Germany's anti-invasion plans in early 1944. At the same time the Allies were making extensive studies of the fortifications and preparing for the challenge of overcoming this most formidable of obstacles.Using, in many cases, previously unpublished accounts of the soldiers on the ground this book follows Britain's 79th Armoured Division, Sir Percy Hobart's 'Funnies', as they utilised their unique weaponry in support of Allied efforts to ensure the success of the invasion. The author draws on British, American, Canadian and German sources.Hitler's Atlantic Wall Normandy also includes information on war cemeteries along with travel information and accommodation suggestions and a guide to the relevant museums.


Messines Ridge

Author: Peter Oldham
Publisher: Pen and Sword
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The battle for the possession of the villages of Messines Ridge, Messines, Wytchaete, St. Eloi, took place in 1914-17, and the final battle for Messines in 1918. The 1917 Battle of Messines was preceded by 19 giant mine explosions and was the biggest military mining effort in history. This book gives comprehensive details of what happened where and when, together with what can be seen today, including maps of all the remnants and sites.


Fricourt Mametz

Author: Michael Stedman
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This is the latest book in the Battleground Europe series focusing on the Somme sector. Full of stories of both endeavour and heartbreak, it deals with action around the Triple Tambour Mine Craters, Bois Francais, Mansell Copse, Danzig Alley and the approaches to Mametz Wood.


Ladysmith

Author: Lewis Childs
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In 1899 the Boers, armed with the latest European rifles and artillery, drove through Natal to help themselves to a seaport - Durban - only to spend their energies in laying siege to the market and railway town of Ladysmith.