The vast majority of English language accounts of the fighting on the Somme focus on the battle of 1916, viewed from the British side of no man's land. In contrast this volume focuses on the German side of the picture, from their arrival on the Somme in 1914 to their final retreat to the Hindenburg line towards the end of the war.
The book is equally balanced between the photographs and a narrative account of the fighting on the Somme from the German point of view. This gives a very different view of the fighting on the Somme to the normal view from the British and French perspective, most notably during the battle of the Somme of 1916, and during the period before the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line in the following year.
The first is normally portrayed as a major British defeat, and the second as a well planned and deliberate German move. Here the battle emerges as a terrible defeat for Germany that ripped part of the heart out of the army, especially as it took place alongside the bloodbath at Verdun, while it becomes clear that the retreat to the Hindenburg Line was forced on the Germans by an ever-increasingly level of worry about the ability of the army to hold the existing front line.
The pictures provide an equally fresh view of the fighting, not least because the familiar uniform of the British Tommy is replaced by the distinctive German uniform of the period, while British prisoners of war and groups of smiling German soldiers provide unfamiliar images. One of the most poignant features of the book are the pictorial memorials to fallen soldiers, a grim reminder that the Germans suffered their own heavy losses on the Somme.
1 - 1914
2 - 1915
3 - 1916
4 - 1917
5 - 1918
Day-by-Day chronology of the Somme Front 1914
Day-by-Day chronology of the Somme Front 1915
Day-by-Day chronology of the Somme Front 1916
Day-by-Day chronology of the Somme Front 1917
Day-by-Day chronology of the Somme Front 1918
Author: David Bilton
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military