Osprey's The Hindenberg Line 1918

Author:

Alistair McCluskey

Publisher/Distributor

Osprey Publishing

Price

$24.00 MSRP

Reviewer:

Scott Van Aken

Notes: 96 pages, 7 x 9 inches, softcover
ISBN: 978-1-4728-2030-3

After some relatively rapid movement by the Germans at the start of WWI, things quickly settled down to relatively immobile trench warfare, a situation that stayed the same for most of the next four years.

In the spring and early summer of 1918 things in Germany were getting a bit desperate. Sure, they were able to transfer those units that were fighting the Russians to the Western Front, but manpower was limited and they were using steadily older and younger men to fill in the gaps. The British and French were also pretty well tapped out and so the Germans wanted to make a major push before the Americans came into the fight. Their big pushes almost succeeded, but they were held back.

Now it was time to regroup and this time the Germans were very much on the defensive. So in the late summer and through the fall, it was time for the two sides to regroup and while there were plenty of battles, little actually changed.

It was in the fall of 1918 when British general Haig came up with a plan to assault the area known as the Hindenburg Line. This was an area with defense in depth with most German troops and artillery held back beyond the easy reach of the British and French. By this time the Entente was bolstered by American troops, providing the additional manpower needed.

To cut to the chase, the operations against the Hindenburg Line were quite successful and made a major dent in the German lines. It so depleted the German Army that, combined with issues back in Germany, it set the stage for the Armistice in November of 1918. It is often considered the major breakthrough that led to the end of the war a lot earlier than the Entente had thought. Yet the mastermind of this effort is rarely credited for the job his campaign did in ending the war and saving thousands of lives on both sides

In this book, the author provides the background of the war up until this time. This includes a look at the military leaders involved in this campaign and insight as to how the armies of both sides were positioned in terms of plans for both the assault and for defense against it. The majority of the book covers what is a rather long campaign, providing insights as to how each of the various battles were fought and the end result of these individual actions.

It makes for a superb read and thanks to the great period photos and the excellent illustrations of Peter  Dennis is a book that is easy to read and deserves to be on the shelves of any with an interest in the 'Great War'.

December 2017

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