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Cambrai 1917: The Myth of the First Great Tank Battle Paperback – March 2, 2010

4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews



About the Author

Dr Bryn Hammond is a member of the Centre for First World War Studies, the British Commission for Military History and the Western Front and Gallipoli Associations. He is also joint convenor of the Imperial War Museum's History Group. He has written numerous articles about the First World War, and is a regular speaker on the subject. Cambrai 1917 is his first book.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix (March 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753826054
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753826058
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,539,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By James Scott on December 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is a very good history of the battle of Cambrai, fought near the end of 1917. It was the first real combined arms attack, mixing artillery, infantry, tanks and cavalry to attack the town of Cambrai. It showed the way forward for armies in fighting in the new era of industrial warfare, showing how a well organised attack could breakthrough the trench stalemate that had bled European armies dry over the previous three years. It also signaled the end of cavalry as an effective fighting force and made war into a science rather than an art. Many of the tactics used, such as ground attack aircraft, artillery science and infantry/tank co-operation, would be refined and developed up to the Second World War.

The author writes a very readable book, rich in diary and letter extracts from both British and German soldiers and officers who fought the battle. Thus, not only does the read gain an understanding of the strategy used by both sides but also an understanding of what it was like for those who fought the battle. This is especially true of those who had fought in the previous battle of Ypres or the Somme, with their bloodsoaked battlefields and sausage machine that they became. The writing flows very well and the chapters are logically set out into the various stages of the battle, from the initial preparation and attack by the British and the couter-attack by the Germans (using their new storm-trooper tactics) and final stalemate.

The battle of Cambrai was both a success and a tragic failure. The British who came so close to achieving a breakthrough and yet were unable to act when required.

A thoroughly recommended book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dr. James J. Good on September 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
First of all I would like to congratulate the author for writing a book on Cambrai. The only other modern text is Jack Sheldon's "The German Army at Cambrai".

Secondly, this is a difficult book about which to make comments. The reason being that the book's content exists on two levels; one is the experience of the individual soldier and the second is the broader tactical and strategic plans produced by Haig and Byng as well as the counter-strategy of the Germans.

I think it is fair to say that the author's research has been spot on when it comes to relating the experiences of those who participated in the battle. I believe the latest reference to a diary or journal entry was in the 1930s.

Now to the second point: I do not believe the author spent sufficient time in the archives. His British sources are meager other than those from the IWM and his German sources are almost nonexistent. He does not have a single citation from the Kreigstagbuchen of Rupprict's Army, Corps or Divisions. The archives at Karlsruhe, Munich, Stuttgart and most importantly Freiburg are never mentioned.

There are other mistakes in the book, e.g., the casualty figures for the Battle of the Somme are taken from Edmonds OH of 1948 and are regarded by most scholars as fictional.

The author also subscribes to the Peter Liddle school of thought that the British Army on the Western Front was participating in a Learning Curve. Based on that assumption, it is safe to assume that if they the British had lost twice as many men, they would have solved the puzzle in half the time.

The author also claims that the Germans retreated to the Hindenburg Line in February, 1917 because of the losses suffered at the Somme.
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By Warstephen on April 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book gave a good review of WW1 on the western front up to 1917. It also gave a good feeling how thw average officer thought about the war. There was so much information about single men that the big picture felt unclear. Therewere too few maps so the reader could follow the action.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert H. Escher on August 27, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After the attack , the war went on it seemed like forever. Much to long. Needs more photos.
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