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British Butchers & Bunglers of World War One…

British Butchers & Bunglers of World War One

by John Laffin

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Wow! Someone sure doesn't like the British Generals from the First World War; particularly Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig. That 'someone' is John Laffin. In this book he brings out every bad decision, major blunder and dumb thing Haig, et al. did during the war. If you study WWI you know Haig and his lot made some incredibly dumb decisions leading to unimaginable casualties. That said, he also won the war when the Allies were on the verge of losing (March, 21, 1918 German offensive); Ludendorff of course helped with the war losing decisions on the German side.

The reason I gave this book only 2 1/2 stars is that it is way out of balance in my opinion. Yes, there were time when I thought Haig should have been executed for his handling of the Somme in July, 1916 or Passchendaele in July, 1917, among others. However there should be some balance relative to judging Haig and the others by the standards and methods of their time. Also, their use of technology as it became available.

If you are interested in a vey biased negative look a WWI generalship on the British side read this book. I would then suggest reading something like Terraine's "Douglas Haig: The Educated Soldier" for a bias in the positive direction. As usual, I am sure some truth lies in the middle. ( )
  douboy50 | Nov 4, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0750901799, Paperback)

For too long, Dr John Laffin maintains, the military reputation of British Generals in World War I has not been examined critically enough, and he asks how those responsible for catastrophic defeats were able to retain their commands. Haig, whose army suffered 60,000 casualties on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, was still in command after five months more fighting and another 400,000 casualties. By the war's end the numbers of dead ran into millions - doggedly brave British Empire soldiers who, Laffin believes, were killed, wounded or broken by commanders who were vain, egocentric and incompetent. But the generals, who blamed the dead and junior in rank, cannot be excused on the grounds that there was "nothing else that they could do". Even now, more than 75 years after that "Great War for Civilization", this book raises questions that are uncomfortable. Laffin draws on the memories and writings of those who took part and quotes the judgements of other military historians to provide an analysis of just what went wrong in the generals' leadership, and how it resulted in such appalling and tragic losses - and concludes that they were not merely incompetent but uncaring.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:20 -0400)

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