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Aubers Ridge (Paperback)

WWI Battlefield Guidebooks

By Nigel Cave, Edward Hancock
Imprint: Battleground
Series: Battleground Books: WWI
Pages: 192
ISBN: 9781844150939
Published: 1st May 2005
Last Released: 1st August 2007



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This book describes the action of 9 May 1915 when the battalions of the 1st Division, 7th Division and the Indian Army attacked Aubers Ridge. Their objective was to break the German line and cut the supply route to the enemy troops fighting to the south against a French Offensive at Vimy Ridge. In true Battleground style, the dramatic story is told through the actions of those involved in the fighting. Places and points of interest are highlighted and for those fortunate enough to visit the area there are excellent directions and hints on how to best capture the atmosphere.

The story of Aubers Ridge is very important. The Battle was one of the small set-piece battles which the British Expeditionary Force launched in the late winter and spring of 1915.  These included Neuve Chapelle in March, Aubers in early May, to be followed by Festubert. With very few British troops on the continent, these battles along with Second Ypres were tough desperate times for the BEF.  As stated by Nigel Cave in the introduction, ‘Given the size of the French casualties, a decision to halt an attack after a setback would not have been regarded in an understanding manner by the French staff – o popular opinion. Aubers Ridge had to be seen bearing these considerations in mind if there is to be any hope of understanding what transpired to be the sheer futility of it all”... Each area of the attack is brought out in extensive detail. Describing the 1st Division attack from Rue du Bois on the southern front, it is mentioned that  after capturing and securing the German front line trenches and overwhelming the fortified positions at Ferme Courd Avoue and Ferme du Bois, the battalions would regroup and hold the line, linking with the Meerut Division on its left. This is an example of how the individual Divisional detail is always intertwined with the wider contextualized detail so well in these books.  

Jon Sandison, Freelance

About Nigel Cave

Nigel Cave is the editor of the WW1 books in the Battleground Europe series.

He is a member of the Durand Group and has been involved in its underground investigations from its origins. He also has worked for some years with Veterans Affairs Canada.

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