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Verdun 1916: 'They Shall Not Pass' (Campaign) Paperback – August 22, 2001


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Paperback, August 22, 2001
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Verdun 1916: 'They Shall Not Pass' (Campaign) + Somme 1 July 1916: Tragedy and triumph (Campaign) + The First Battle of the Marne 1914: The French 'miracle' halts the Germans (Campaign)
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Product Details

  • Series: Campaign (Book 93)
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (August 22, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185532993X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1855329935
  • Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 7.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #473,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Highly visual guides to history's greatest conflicts, detailing the command strategies, tactics, and experiences of the opposing forces throughout each campaign, and concluding with a guide to the battlefields today.

About the Author

William Martin served in Naval Intelligence for many years and now living in Charente, France, where he devotes his time to military history and cognac. A regular contributor to a number of military and current affairs journals, he is now writing a new biography of Marshal Petain. This is his first book for Osprey.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R. A Forczyk VINE VOICE on November 30, 2001
The latest Osprey Campaign Series, Verdun 1916, is a concise and useful summary of the battle of that name. The immensely popular 1960 book by Alistair Horne, The Price of Glory, heavily influences Verdun 1916. Indeed, this Osprey title reflects many of the same strengths and weaknesses of Horne's great book. Historians and those interested in visiting the Verdun battlefield will find this a useful adjunct to Horne, but probably insufficient to stand on its own merit.
This volume follows the standard Osprey campaign format, with sections on the origins of the campaign, the opposing armies, opposing commanders and opposing plans. There are three 3-D "bird's eye view" maps that depict Colonel Driant's Last Stand (22 February 1916), the French attack on Fort Douamont (22 May 1916) and the Battle for Fleury (11 July 1916). Although there are several excellent 2-D maps that depict the layout and action around Fort Douamont and Fort Vaux, there is only one 2-D maps that depicts the entire Verdun battle area. While the maps provided are interesting, they still do not depict the entire Verdun battle area (e.g. Mort Homme). In addition to many interesting photographs, there are three battle scenes: Colonel Driant's Last Stand, the "Sacred Way" and underground fighting in Fort Vaux. Overall, I would rate the graphic appeal of this volume as very high, which is one of the reasons to use this volume as a supplement to Horne.
The author, a retired British sailor, presents an adequate - if not original - summary of the Verdun campaign from February to October 1916. For those readers who have read Horne's Price of Glory, they will notice many similarities in this account, although the author does use some French sources to enhance the narrative.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Graves VINE VOICE on September 23, 2008
The name Verdun has become synonymous with the bloodiest fighting in human history and along with "Somme" evokes the sense of the massive slaughter of the First World War.

That is the commonly held knowledge of the battle and apart from a few names of forts known to scholars not much else comes out. Martin, within the limits set by Osprey has managed to flesh out the battle significantly. He focuses on the key drives by each side while going into very fine detail over a handful of actions that proceeds to give the reader an view of the fighting that is more than just men getting out of trenches, being machine gunned and falling down. Without becoming bogged down in each probe and feint he paints a picture of what the battle was like for the men on the ground without losing site of the overall picture of what it was for.

The book has many pictures. Some period and some by the author of the little changed forts today. If there is a fault with the book it is the lack of maps. There is one strategic map and several close details of some of the forts but I would have found it very helpful to have fewer pictures of fortress tunnels, that all look the same, and one of more helpful maps.

In the 21st century it is common and possibly deserved to have a low opinion of the fighting qualities of the French Army. But Martin harkens back to that time when the French knew how to fight and did it in a manner that no one could question their skill or determination. The German army spent 10 months trying to win a battle of attrition and bleed France white. In the end loses were almost on a par with one another and the front lines had barely moved. Having gone onto the fields of battle in 1914 with uniforms and tactics that were antiquated, the pilou of 1916 showed they could adapt to the new ways of war, and Martin within the severe limits created by Osprey has helped remember their courage their sacrifice and when elan failed, cran.
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By Phil Historian on January 19, 2014
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The battle of Verdun was without a doubt one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War, the bloodiest after the Somme, and one of the bloodiest in the history of the world. the French stand against the Germans is a perfect read who believes the French cannot fight. this was a great Osprey read, as usual.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Fred M. Blum on June 22, 2002
Verdun 1916: They Shall Not Pass is written in the standard Osprey manner and is an example of the linmitations of the series. The book is so full of information and troop movements that it is next to imppossible to follow without a map in front of you. The maps provided by the author are not a substitue. As a result the death and slaughter that was caused by the battle is completly lost on the reader.
When not caught up in the details the book is very good. The chapters on the background, leaders and the armies are good examples of why Osprey is so sucessful. That made the discussion of the battle all the more disappointing.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Bauermeister on June 24, 2008
While, as other reviewers have mentioned, this book provides the usual detail seen in most Osprey "campaign" series books, in the narrative such detail is reserved solely for the French, ultimately leaving us with little insight into the Germans' experience of the battle; while we hear of the exploits of individual French platoons, commanders, and even "poilus", the Germans appear almost exclusively as massed units who are acted upon by the brave frenchmen. Moreover, I wonder why the author felt it necessary to comment upon the later Nazi involvement of those Germens he deigns to mention, except perhaps to continue his apparent bias against them. Finally, in an unrelated matter, the connection between the excellent maps and OB's and the narrative isn't always clear.
A fine introduction and overview, but decidedly one-sided in its analysis.
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