The German Army at Passchedaele by Jack Sheldon. Pen & Sword Military, Barnsley 2007 352 p.
The 31st July 2007, the 90th anniversary of the commencement of the Third Battle of Ypres, seems the most appropriate day to post this review.
English language accounts of the German forces in the First World War are fairly rare, a situation Jack Sheldon seems determined to change. This companion volume to his The German Army on the Somme 1914-1916 focuses on the entire battle of Third Ypres, not just the closing stages including the fighting around Passchendaele. Using a wide range of sources the author brings home the experience offrontline service from the other side of the wire.
A couple of key themes stand out, the crushing, numbing, paralysing effect of the British artillery and the determination of the fighting soldier. There are numerous accounts of German units being fragmented but drawing together into adhoc formations for both defensive and offensive[counterattack] operations. Reading the book as an Englishman it is also easy to fill pride in the steadfast effort of the Commonwealth troops fighting forward. German defensive tactics are considered and it is interesting to note the difficulties the Germans found in countering the evolving British tactics.
All in all, an excellent read in itself and a much needed insight into the German armies workings.
I read the hardcover edition ISBN 184415564-1