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Crossing No Man's Land: Experience and Learning with the Northumberland Fusiliers in the Great War

Crossing No Man's Land: Experience and Learning with the Northumberland Fusiliers in the Great War (Hardback)

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This book addresses the potentially deadly challenge of getting across No Man's Land in good shape to fight at the other side. It explores the development of the British Army's infantry battle tactics during the Great War using the largest infantry regiment, the Northumberland Fusiliers, as a case study. Principles and, in particular, practice are covered. The study demonstrates the transformation of the British Army from an essentially Victorian army to a recognisably modern army; adapting tactics to the circumstances and saving lives in the process. A novel research approach is used; comparing Army doctrine with the reality at battalion level which yields a unique insight into experience and learning on the Western Front. Two hundred and eleven attacks and 75 raids are identified through a census of all 28 of the Regiment's battalion war diaries covering 25,876 diary days. The analysis is set in the overall context of the War taking in the full sweep, from beginning to end, and also gives some small insight into the so called sideshows.

A by-product of the research approach has been a detailed activity analysis, the 'doings', summarising what each Northumberland Fusiliers' battalion was engaged in every day and for the Regiment in aggregate. This is a secondary but no less valuable theme of the study, which also yields good material on infantry training. Furthermore, when activities are known on a daily basis, it is possible to correlate attacks with fatalities and to attempt to discover relationships between the two.

Tony Ball is a former director of a multinational company and now a military historian specialising in the British Army in the Great War, particularly the conduct of war. He holds a first degree in Economics, a post-graduate diploma in Marketing and masters degrees in Business Administration and History. Tony has previously taught marketing at Northumbria University. Since retiring as a company director, he has managed the Castle Keep on behalf of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne, has also worked for Sunderland University Business School and currently works for Newcastle University in a part-time support role. He is a past chair of the Tyneside branch of the Western Front Association, speaks regularly to local historical interest groups and has written several articles mostly for the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research . Tony is a grandson of a Northumberland Fusiliers' veteran of the Great War and the only person known to have read and analysed all 25,876 diary days of the Regiment in that war.

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