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British Infantryman vs German Infantryman: Somme 1916 (Combat) Paperback – January 21, 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
Book 5 of 7 in the Combat Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The book is superbly written and has some very compelling period photos and superb art work that only enhance what is a pretty gruesome story that was so typical of the First World War. It is a book that draws in the reader and gives him a sense of what it was like [to experience war]. A book I fully enjoyed reading and can quite easily recommend to you.” ―Scott Van Aken, www.modelingmadness.com

“A nice primer for anyone interested in the makeup of British and German units on the Western Front during this period. The opening pages cover the origins and recruitment of the British and German units, along with training, weapons, and tactics. There are some nice period photos that compliment equally nice drawings and paintings showing standard uniforms, weapons, etc. The leadership characteristics of the opposing officers are covered, as well as a section on Morale, Motivation and Logistics. I recommend it highly for anyone wishing to understand what soldiers on both sides had to endure during World War I.” ―IPM/USA Reviews

“[this book] pits the volunteers of Kitchener's 'New Armies' against the German veterans who defended the Somme sector in the battles of July to November 1916. The book features innovative split-screen artwork, expert analysis combined with firsthand accounts and strategic and tactical maps.” ―Model Retailer

About the Author

Dr Stephen Bull is Curator of Military History and Archaeology for Lancashire Museums, with particular responsibility for local regimental collections. Currently he is engaged in the redisplay of the Museum of Lancashire, including a new gallery on World War I. He has previously worked at the National Army Museum and BBC in London. A Member of the Institute of Archaeologists, he has also appeared in the TV series Battlefield Detectives. He has written numerous articles for specialist journals, including a number on the weapons and tactics of World War I. His other books include several Osprey titles on the tactics of World War I and World War II. The author lives in Lancs, UK.
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Product Details

  • Series: Combat (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (January 21, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782009140
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782009146
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #815,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This work is attempting to describe the lives and experienes of the combatants in the Somme battles of 1916. It has a lot of intersting and familiar information and is a credible account of th battle. One drawback is the sparse description of the uniforms and equipage of the two armies. Altogether, a worthy reference on the subject.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent analysis of the warfare of the period, it is at its best describing the equipment of the troops. I wish more attention had been paid to training, and the exact way that the tactical doctrine changes.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book on the trench warfare of the Western Front. Dr. Stephen Bull is an outstanding writer, very descriptive and thorough in his descriptions and techniques of the fighting situations on both sides of the lines. Book has excellent pictures and illustrations, in addition to the great writing!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Any review of this author would have to start out with a few words on the author, Stephen Bull. He has written many books on the First World War, with an emphasis on the Western Front. These include some especially good books, in particular his book on trench warfare (entitled Trench Warfare and published in various iterations by a variety of publishers). Hence the author is quite knowledgeable. A second point that needs to be made is that the book is part of Osprey’s “Combat” series. As such it is quite short only 80 pages. In addition, many of these pages (roughly a third) are taken up by illustrations such as maps, contemporaneous photographs, etc. Thus this is not an academic tome. Those looking for such a book would be sorely disappointed.

Hence the relevant question to ask is, how well does this book do in terms of the limitations imposed on it by its format? That answer depends on what the reader is expecting. If the reader is expecting a succinct and good overview of the battle this would be a four to five-star book. How the battle developed is well described as are weapons, tactics, personal narratives of combat and gains and losses (on the operational level). This is done well from both sides, it is not an Anglo-sided account. However, the purpose of Osprey’s “Combat” series is to describe, in detail, how the two sides’ relevant troops (in this case infantry) compared relative to each other in terms of their interaction with each other. This includes morale, training, troop quality, officer quality, initiative, etc. Mr. Bull discusses these factors but the problem is that they are not analyzed in terms of a nexus between German and English troops. They are described independent of each other, as if there was no interaction between the troops.
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