Images of War: The Germans in Flanders 1915-1916, David Bilton

Images of War: The Germans in Flanders 1915-1916, David Bilton

This book differs from most in the Images of War series. In most cases the pictures are the main point of the book, and the text consists of captions explaining the pictures. In this entry the text is the main thing - instead of a series of captions we have a connected narrative of the fighting in Flanders as seen from the German side, illustrated by a large number of photographs. The two main chapters begin with the illustrated narrative, and finish with a selection of extra photographs, three to a page. We then get an illustrated chronology of events in Flanders during 1915 and 1916. Finally the book ends with a brief history of each of the German divisions that fought in Flanders during this period (most British units frequently moved around the front - in contract many German divisions remained in the same area for years).

The two years were very different in Flanders. In 1915 the Germans launched a major offensive at Ypres, known in English as the Second Battle of Ypres. This saw the first gas attack on the Western Front and as with the First Battle of Ypres saw the western Allies fighting desperately to retain Ypres and with it a significant foothold on Belgium soil. In contrast 1916 was a fairly quiet year in Flanders. The main battles of the year were fought further south, at Verdun and on the Somme, so in Flanders the year was dominated by smaller scale fighting and raids. This shows in the size of the chapters - the narrative of 1915 takes us to page 54, followed by 22 pages of photos from 1915. The text for 1916 fills 21 pages, followed by a similar photographic section.

For me this is one of the best entries in the series. The photographs are used to support an interesting text, and these views of the German side of the Western Front are fascinating.

Chapter 1 - 1915 The Spring Offensive
Chapter 2 - 1916 The Quietest Year
Day-by-Day chronology - 1915
Day-by-Day chronology - 1916
Histories of the German Divisions that fought in Flanders

Author: David Bilton
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 159
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2012

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