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The British Army in World War I: The History and Legacy of the Army Across All Theaters of the Great War

Narrated by: Colin Fluxman
Length: 2 hrs
Regular price: £6.39
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World War I, also known in its time as the “Great War” or the “War to End All Wars”, was an unprecedented holocaust in terms of its sheer scale. Fought by men who hailed from all corners of the globe, it saw millions of soldiers do battle in brutal assaults of attrition that dragged on for months with little to no respite. Tens of millions of artillery shells and untold hundreds of millions of rifle and machine gun bullets were fired in a conflict that demonstrated man’s capacity to kill each other on a heretofore unprecedented scale.

The enduring image of World War I is of men stuck in muddy trenches and of vast armies deadlocked in a fight neither could win. It was a war of barbed wire, poison gas, and horrific losses as officers led their troops on mass charges across no-man’s-land and into a hail of bullets. While these impressions are all too true, they hide the fact that trench warfare was dynamic and constantly evolving throughout the war as all armies struggled to find a way to break through the opposing lines.

Needless to say, the First World War came at an unfortunate time for those who would fight in it. After an initial period of relatively rapid maneuver during which the German forces pushing through Belgium and the French and British forces attempting to stymie them made an endless series of abortive flanking movements that extended the lines to the sea, a stalemate naturally tended to develop. The infamous trench lines soon snaked across the French and Belgian countryside, creating an essentially futile static slaughterhouse whose sinister memory remains to this day.

As with the other nations involved, the war came as a shock to the British Army. For the past century, it had mostly been engaged in colonial conflicts against opponents with far more limited resources and technology, and this created a sense of superiority. Put simply, the British Army was used to defeating any opponent it faced, and even against more challenging opponents, such as the Russians in the Crimea and the Boers in South Africa, Britain came out on top, suffering only a few embarrassments along the way.

However, World War I, especially on the Western Front, was unlike anything the British had faced before. As the trenches were dug and the major armies settled in, the British faced armies like their own for the first time in 60 years, and they found victory was far from easy. Along the way, the British army adapted and confronted new tactics, new weapons, and new horrors, sometimes coming up with bold innovations like the tank but occasionally finding itself unable to break the habit of conventional thinking.

The British Army in World War I: The History and Legacy of the Army Across All Theaters of the Great War comprehensively analyzes Britain’s experience in the field, the results, and the traumatic aftermath. You will learn about the British Army in World War I like never before.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

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