We have taken the opportunity with our 2021 editions of the OFFICIAL HISTORY OF THE GREAT WAR – FRANCE AND BELGIUM series to redesign the covers and print on 140g silk paper. This official history was the grandest ever produced in Britain, and its purpose was to provide “within reasonable compass an authoritative account, suitable for general readers and for students at military schools”. Due to the number of full-colour maps bound in each volume, previous attempts to reprint this valuable reference either floundered, or were produced with the maps in monochrome. At last, the acclaimed work of the official cartographers who had 90,000 maps at their command can be examined as they intended – in full colour.
France and Belgium 1915.Vol II:Battles of Aubers Ridge, Festubert, and Loos. OFFICIAL HISTORY OF THE GREAT WAR.
This volume completes the unhappy (for the BEF) year of 1915, one described with good reason as a year of disappointment. Its special interest is that it records the first employment of the Territorial and New Army divisions as complete formations in a major offensive and the first British employment of gas. It describes the Battles of Aubers Ridge, a disaster that cost 11,500 casualties in a day; Festubert in which initial success could not be exploited; and Loos (including the Hohenzollern Redoubt) in which we first used gas, with mixed results, and in which we failed to make progress. Our casualties in the battle (25 September-16 October) amounted to nearly 50,400. Total battle losses for 1915 were 285,000 compared with 90,000 for the five months of 1914.