Reading and learning are two of my passions and it is my pleasure to share these books with you.I have read them all and have found them to be both insightful and engaging. I encourage your feedback and I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did.
Maj Chris Buckham
Monday, 21 July 2014
Bloody Red Tabs: General Officer Casualties of the Great War 1914-1918 - Frank Davies and Graham Maddocks
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Title: Bloody Red Tabs: General Officer Casualties of the Great War
culture likes to paint the senior officers of the First World War as petrified
fossils of an earlier style of warfare unable to adjust to modern fighting
methods and strategies. Further, they are also identified as compensating for
this shortfall through repetition of outdated techniques and a refusal to both
acknowledge their own shortcomings and to make themselves aware of the impact
of their decisions. This prevailing attitude was, the authors allege, the
result of a society reeling from the devastating losses of the war and looking
for culpability and UK governmental leadership in the form of Lloyd George’s
memoirs placing very clear responsibility for the war’s conduct on the
shoulders of senior military leadership.
Davies and Maddocks
have undertaken an effort to adjust this perception and bring it closer in line
with reality. Their approach does not seek to refute the idea that there were
shortcomings amongst some of the commanders; indeed they readily acknowledge
that there were some examples of poor leadership. What they do seek to redress
is the idea that General Officers lacked courage and that they were unaware of
the conditions under which their men fought; in this I would suggest that they
were, for the most part, successful.
statistics of killed, wounded and captured General Officers by year;
operational experience and explicit orders from senior HQ’s and government
officials forbidding front line exposure for senior officers, they show that,
as a group, casualties were very prevalent amongst senior staff. This is not an
unbiased study; the authors are quite clear of the position that they hold
right at the outset and they focus their efforts to prove their thesis. Their
research is comprehensive and they provide a detailed synopsis of the fate of
each senior officer casualties from the British and Imperial Armies.
I enjoyed this book and found it
enlightening and educational. The authors have gone a long way towards
redressing a misconception that history, thus far, has done little to address.