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Pillars of Fire By Ian Passingham

Pillars of Fire
by Ian Passingham

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Drawing material from a wide range of primary sources in England, Germany and Australia, the author looks at the action in this battle from all levels of command during the preparatory, battle and post-battle phases. The attack is also examined from the viewpoint of the defending German troops on the other side of the wire.
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Pillars of Fire Summary

Pillars of Fire: The Battle of Messines Ridge, June 1917 by Ian Passingham

On June 7the 1917, General Sir Herbert Plumer's Second Army smashed the "impregnable" German defences along the Messines-Wytschaete Ridge in an assault where technology and innovative thinking were combined to produce an extraordinary success. Until 1918, Messines was the only clear-cut Allied victory on the Western Front. The victory came at a time when Britain and her allies needed it most; it boosted Allied morale and shattered that of the Germans. It was also a battle which brought together a commonwealth of nations, including Irishmen and Ulstermen, fighting alongside each other to defeat a common enemy. Plumer planned the battle as a composer might write the score of a symphony and assembled an "orchestra of war", with each "instrument" - artillery, engineers, infantry, tanks, aircraft and administrative units - playing its part at the right time to overwhelm the enemy. Messines became the first true all-arms modern battle. This detailed account of the battle for the Messines-Wytschaete Ridge examines it from the British/ANZAC and German perspectives. It explores why the name of Messines is not as familiar as The Somme, Passchendaele or Verdun, and why General Sir Herbert Plumer is not as widely known as Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig or even General Sir Hubert Gough. The author reassesses the reasons for General Plumer's success on the day, the implications of Haig's failure to exploit the success, and finally the legacy of the battle for the maturing of the BEF in 1918.

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Table of Contents

Prelude; an orchestra of war; instruments of war; across the wire - towards "soldatendammerung"; overture - 1-6 June; "The Messines Symphony" - first movement and phase one - "soldatendammerung" am 7 June; second movement and phase two - "strike the chord" - pm 7 June; third movement - "not a retreat, merely a withdrawal" - 8-14 June; fourth movement - "opportunity gained... and lost"; finale - repercussions - third Ypres, Cambrai and crisis; coda - the legacy of Messines; postscript - "to my chum".

Additional information

Pillars of Fire: The Battle of Messines Ridge, June 1917 by Ian Passingham
Ian Passingham
Used - Like New
The History Press Ltd
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
The book has been read, but looks new. The book cover has no visible wear, and the dust jacket is included if applicable. No missing or damaged pages, no tears, possible very minimal creasing, no underlining or highlighting of text, and no writing in the margins.