DECISIVE VICTORY The Battle of Sambre, 4th November 1918

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The Battle of Sambre was the last of the large scale “set piece” actions on the Western Front. By that time, the German Armies had been under attacks since late July; had lost ground and huge numbers of men; and were heading towards defeat. But there was as yet no room for British complacency as their own losses had been enormous; their supply lines were becoming stretched; and the enemy had a maddening habit of continuing to fight despite everything. The book reveals how planning and preparations were still underway when the battle began, and that, while it was a clear success, things did not all go smoothly for the attacking side. Clayton argues – convincingly – that the British had reached an operational and tactical zenith in the offensives of August and September, and that by the Sambre the weather, ground and logistics worked against the all-arms technological warfare that had proven so successful. He concludes that the victory stemmed from the capability and experience of British command and well trained small units. Good maps help the reader and overall a very worthwhile book.

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