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A Visitor's Guide: The Battles of Arras North (Kindle)

Vimy Ridge to Oppy Wood and Gavrelle

WWI Arras Battlefield Guidebooks 1917 Military

By Jon Cooksey, Jerry Murland
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 16.7 MB (.mobi)
Pages: 180
Illustrations: 100
ISBN: 9781473893047
eBook Released: 21st June 2019


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The First World War battlefields to the north of Arras – including Vimy Ridge – are among the most famous and most visited sites on the Western Front, rivalled only by those around Ypres and the Somme, and this clearly written, highly illustrated guide is the ideal introduction to them.

Visitors can trace for themselves the course of each battle across the modern landscape and gain a fascinating insight into the nature of the fighting in the area – and the wider conflict across the Western Front – throughout the war. The book covers the key battles fought in the northern sector of the Arras front, including the 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge and battles at Villers au Bois, Oppy Wood and Gavrelle.

Expert guides Jon Cooksey and Jerry Murland have devised a series of routes that can be walked, biked or driven, explaining the fighting that occurred at each place in vivid detail. They record what happened, where it happened and why, and point out the sights that remain for the visitor to see. Their guidebook is essential reading for visitors who wish to enhance their understanding of the war on the Western Front.

This should be viewed as a sibling of the authors’ ‘Battles of Arras South’ book. Together they provide a good overview of the area and are slim enough to both be taken in a pocket, glove box, or rucksack. I will definitely be taking both when I finally get to head back out to the battlefields.

Read the full review here

WW1 Geek

Given the guiding reputation of the authors, the quality of the text is, as one might expect, high.

Battlefields Trust

Featured in

Stand To! Western Front Association, October 2019

Jon Cooksey and Jerry Murland have been energetic contributors to this field providing a host of excellent guides. Most recently, they have developed the multi-access approach in guidebooks that provide advice on how to explore by car, on foot or by bicycle. This provides wonderful flexibility for the visitor, but also encourages that most valuable quality of immersion in a site. Their approach emphasizes slowing things down and absorbing a landscape by moving through a host of points creating a thick history. By encouraging cycling, they also bring to life a sense of contour and relief that can be imperceptible in a car, barely noticeable on foot, especially if not carrying any weight, but is immediately noticeable when it requires the additional muscle-power to push pedal and crank the chain. Additionally, seeing as most of us will probably not ride the battlefield a la Richard Holmes, bicycle height is the closest many of us will ever get to the way a staff officer would have understood landscape i.e. from the elevation of the saddle.

The guide bears the hallmark of all Cooksey and Murland works: clear, concise, and insightful. It is the work of two authors who both know and feel the textures of the Western Front. As with their other guides, definitely one for the saddle bag.

Stand To! Journal of the Western Front Association

A well written, thoroughly researched book that will make any trip to this area rewarding and informative.

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Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

The authors include enough historical context to the battles of Arras during the Great War that even the novice First War enthusiast armed with photographs, maps and detailed directions will find this guide is an excellent field companion.

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Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections, John D Reid

A really good accessible Battlefield Guide to the northern Arras sector, with great information and good maps. Highly recommend!

Paul Reed via Twitter

This new guide is nicely written by two expert guides. It contains a wealth of detail, enhanced by a well chosen selection of illustrations. It is a handy pocketable sized book that will fit easily into a jacket pocket for those going beyond planning to making the tour. It covers the famous battles that took place on the North Arras front, including the Vimy Ridge. These are amongst the most popular visited sites.

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The volume of information in this book, for those who want to enjoy it by planning a trip to those places is enormous. The pocket format combined with the large amount of data, make it a mandatory purchase for those who want to know that sector of the front that was located north of the town of Arras.

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Old Barbed Wire Blog

Each tour details where to go and what you will find along your route plus significant events that happened at these locations. Easy to follow and interesting to provide the context of what you see along the way. Though I didn't have this guide with me at the time, I have visited a number of the sites included in this guide, particularly the Vimy Ridge Memorial, the German Cemetery at Neuville-St-Vast and the centre of Arras city itself. There is so much to see even today, and with the extra information provided in this new guide, I shall certainly take this one with me next time we are visiting the area, as clearly there is a lot I missed.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

As featured 'On The Book Shelf'

Wargames Illustrated, March 2019

An excellent guide of the area which when read in conjunction with the many accounts of the actions that took place there sets the locations and geography for the visitor. It offers a few gems that I did not know about, so back to the Arras front for me for more research!
Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide.

Michael McCarthy

About Jon Cooksey

Jon Cooksey was a leading military historian with a special interest in the history of the world wars. He was the editor of Stand To!, the journal of the Western Front Association, and an experienced battlefield guide. His books include The Barnsley Pals, Calais, Harry’s War and, as editor, Blood and Iron.


Jon Cooksey passed away in June 2020.

About Jerry Murland

Jerry Murland followed a successful career as a teacher and since retirement he has devoted his time to researching and writing about the two world wars. His books include Retreat and Rearguard 1914, The Battle on the Aisne 1914, Aristocrats Go to War, Retreat and Rearguard: Somme 1918 and Retreat and Rearguard: Dunkirk 1940.

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