Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.
What is included with this book?
In this timely new book, Adrian Gilbert clears away the layers of sentiment that have obscured a true historical understanding of the 1914 campaign to provide a full, unvarnished picture of the British Expeditionary Force at war. Previous assessments of the BEF have held to an unshakeable belief in its exceptional performance during the battles of 1914. But closer examination of the historical record reveals a force possessing some key strengths yet undermined by other, significant failings.
Within an authoritative and well-paced campaign narrative, Challenge of Battle re-evaluates the army's leadership, organization and tactics. It describes the problems faced by commanders, grappling with the brutal realities of 20th-century warfare, and explains how the British infantry's famed marksmanship has to be set against the inexperience and tactical shortcomings of the BEF as a whole. However, it also demonstrates the progress made by the British during 1914, concluding with the successful defence of Ypres against superior enemy forces. The author examines the fateful decisions made by senior officers and how they affected the men under their command. Making full use of diaries, letters and other contemporary accounts, Adrian Gilbert builds a compelling picture of what it was like to fight in the battles of Mons, Le Cateau, the Aisne and Ypres.
List of Maps
list of Images
Prologue: First Blood
PART ONE: ADVANCE TO BATTLE
1 Opening the War Book
2 Across the Channel
3 The March to Mons
4 The Kaiser's Army
5 Encounter at Mons
PART TWO: THE GREAT RETREAT
7 Le Cateau: the Decision to Fight
8 Le Cateau: the Defeat
9 Failures of Command
10 The Retreat Continues
PART THREE: FROM THE MARNE TO THE AISNE
11 Turn of the Tide
12 Battle on the Aisne: Assault
13 Battle on the Aisne: Entrenchment
PART FOUR: DECISION AT YPRES
14 The Opening Moves
15 Storm over Ypres
16 Battle in the South
17 Ypres: the Test
Epilogue: Death of the Old Army
Appendix A: BEF Order of Battle 1914
Appendix B: British Army Organization