Loos is a small mining town between Lens and La Bassee in northern France. But on 25th September 1915, and for a few days after, it was the centre of one of the most intense and bloody battles of the First World War. The casualties were appalling - about 60,000 of which the majority died on the first day. The main objective - a large-scale breakthrough - was not achieved although some 8,000 yards of enemy trench were captured and in some places their defences were penetrated up to two miles. Yet if the initial gains had been exploited the course of the war might have been different. If courage and determination could have won the day by themselves. Loos would have been a success. It is these qualities which Philip Warner's narrative reveals above all. For a large part of this story of Loos consists of survivors' own accounts and diaries of the time, including that of Sir John French. The author has traced survivors from all parts of the line, infantry, gunners and officers, and through their words has revealed one of the most horrific tales of war yet to be published as well as the determination and heroism that in the end turned the scales to victory.
This is an important book on the Battle of Loos which in detail sheds further light on the story of one of the most intense and bloody battles of the First World War... The author builds up detail on the book focusing on the stories from the survivors from various parts of the line, the infantry, gunner and officers and draws on the accounts of the diaries of the time. The structure and format of the book is excellent for anyone with an interest on the progression of the battle, alongside the military detailed practicalities.Jon Sandison, Freelance
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