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LOST OPPORTUNITY: The Battle Of The Ardennes 22 August 1914

LOST OPPORTUNITY: The Battle Of The Ardennes 22 August 1914
by House, Simon

1-214850

On 22 August 1914, on a battlefield 100 kilometers wide stretching from Luxembourg to the River Meuse, two French and two German armies clashed in a series of encounters known collectively as the Battle of the Ardennes. On that day, 27,000 young French soldiers died - the bloodiest day in the military history of France (most of them in the Ardennes) - and yet it is almost unknown to English-speaking readers.

This book offers an operational study of the WWI Battles of the Frontiers. At the center of this book lies a mystery: in a key encounter battle, one French Army corps led by a future Minister of War - General Pierre Roques - outnumbered its immediate opposition by nearly six to one and yet dismally failed to capitalize on that superiority. The question is how, and why.

Intriguingly, there is a six-hour gap in the war diaries of all General Roques' units; it smacks of a cover-up. By a thorough investigation of German sources, and through the discovery of three vital messages buried in the French archives, it is now possible to piece together what happened during those missing hours and show how Roques threw away an opportunity to break the German line and advance unopposed deep into the hinterland beyond.

The chimera of a clean break and exploitation that was to haunt the Allied High Command for the next four years in the trenches of the Western Front, was a brief and tantalizing opportunity for General Roques. The final part of this book seeks to answer the question 'why?' The history of both French and German prewar preparation reveals the political, economic and cultural differences that shaped the two opposing national armies.

Those differences, in turn, predicated the behavior of General Roques and his men, as well as that of his German opponent. With a clear understanding of those differences, the reader may now understand how the French lost their best opportunity not only to stymie the Schlieffen Plan, but to change the course of the rest of the war. The author's text is supported by a separate map book containing 50 newly commissioned color maps.

1 vol, 256 pgs 2017 UK, HELION AND COMPANY
NEW-dj, available early September 2017 ......$80.00

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Updated as of 5/19/2022

ABBREVIATIONS: dj-dust jacket, biblio-bibliography, b/w-black and white, illust-illustrations, b/c-book club addition.
rct - recent arrival or pending publication, spc - OMM Special Price