Review of New Books Received in the Library
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The Battle of the Piave. June 15-23, 1918.
Issued by the Supreme Command of the Royal Italian Army.
Translated by Mary Prichard-Agnetti. 82 pages.
This is the Italian General Staff account of the Austrian
offensive in June, 1918, in Italy. It is well written and is
published with complete and excellent maps. It was published
in December, 1919. The account is written from a strategical
standpoint based apparently on documents in possession of the
Italian General Staff. As none of these are given or quoted, it is
impracticable to judge as to the accuracy of the narrative. The
account is very readable, and at present seems to be the best that
has yet appeared on this battle. It is well worth studying and is
recommended for officers interested in strategy, in mountain
warfare, and in the operations in Italy.
The Battle of Vittorio Venetto. 24th October-4th
Report of the Supreme Command, Royal Italian Army. English
text. 42 pages.
Beginning with the consideration of the effect of the Bularian
armistice (p. 10) and ending with the conclusion of the general
armistice (p. 23), this is an excellent account of a campaign,
the importance of which has not been generally appreciated.
Obscured as it was by events transpiring at the same time on
the western front, it was nevertheless, a deciding factor in the
defeat of the Central Powers.
Those parts of the report not included in the above pages have an
understandable partisan point of view, and the whole report is somewhat
colored and possibly corrected by a knowledge of after events. No
recognition is made of the part of the Allied G.H.Q. undoubtedly had in
the conception and direction of this campaign.
However, the statement of the general strategic plan of battle; the
details of its execution by the various armies; the farsighted preparatory
arrangements; and the estimate of the enemy situation, are all clear and
at the same time not to obscure the working out of the general strategic
plan. With the aid of the excellent maps, the development of the strategic
penetration is readily followed. The operations of the cavalry in the break
through and pursuit are clearly shown and afford an excellent example of
the proper use of masses of mounted troops.
So much of the report as is indicated above affords an excellent
subject for examination by the student of the art of war. It includes a well
considered plan, skillfully and successfully, carried out, with the subsequent
exploitation of the success gained.
The Desert Mounted Corps. An account of the Cavalry Operations
in Palestine and Syria: 1917-1918.
By Lt. Col. The Hon. R. M.. Preston, D. S. O., with an introduction by
Lt. Gen. H. G. Chauvel, K. C, B., K. C. M. G., Commanding the: Desert
This book, a volume of some 360 pages, well illustrated with
maps, is an extremely interesting story of the campaigns in Palestine
and Syria, especially of the cavalry operations, from June, 1917, to
November, 1918. The book is of especial interest to cavalrymen and
field artillerymen. To the layman it reads like a novel. To the military
reader, however, there is much to be desired in the way of technical
details, tactical formations and other matters of like nature. The story portrays in a very vivid manner the difficulties of campaigning in this desert country, and gives many of the means and methods adopted to overcome those difficulties. To the cavalryman and field artilleryman the striking things the book brings out are the length of time animals can work, without water (in several instances animals could not be furnished water for periods of three or four days), the many successful cavalry charges, the many long and successful marches made, and the wonderfully successful operations of the largest cavalry force of modern times. The Desert Mounted Corps was a force of about 25,000 men. The story gives in a clear and concise manner the cavalry operations beginning with the attack of Beer-sheba, the advance through the Judean hills, the fall of Jerusalem, and the final advance to Damascus which resulted in the annihilation of three Turkish armies. The book contains many valuable lessons for the careful cavalry reader, not the least of which are those taught by the operations 5th Cavalry Division, which in 38 days marched 567 miles, fought six actions, and took over 11,000 prisoners and 58 guns. The book, concludes with three short chapters; one on the discussion of horse artillery, and its use with cavalry, one on a discussion of horses, forage, water, horsemanship, etc., and one on the question of transportation and ammunition supply. One who commences this book will have difficulty in laying it down before completing it.
By Jay M. Lee. 264 pages.
This book is in substance an account of the history of the 129th Field Artillery, of the 35th Division, during the World War. It was published in 1920, and is based in part on documents quoted or referred to, but largely on the author’s recollections.
The chapters; on the participation of the regiment in the Meuse-Argonne battle are of value from an historical standpoint and as illustrating ,the experiences of one field artillery regiment. .The account appears on the whole to be quite accurate.
Recueil de Documents Militaires Allemands de la Grande Guerre, 1914-1918.
Collection of German Military Documents of the Great War, (1914-1918.)
By L’Officier-Interprete Griffon, Professor at the Ecole Speciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr and at the Lycee de Lille. Text mainly German, partly French, 153 pages.
This book, which was published in 1920, with the authorization of the French General Headquarters, contains selected documents from captured German official papers (in the original German text), together with tactical comments and introductory matter (in French) by Major Mera, a preface by General de Maud’huy, and a French-German lexicon of military terms, and German abbreviations.
The subject matter is arranged in order under the following heads: Infantry, Gas Protection, Artillery and Pioneers. Introductions and comments deal with the German military situation and the organization of the German army as of June, 1917; the German infantry tactics in 1917 and at the close of the war; the use of gas clouds and shell by the Germans; the organization, materiel and employment of the German light and heavy artillery, and the organization of the pioneers (including flame-thrower, gas and minenwerfer troops).
The German documents pertain mostly to the 103d German Division, during its service in the regions of Soissons, Vailly, and Chemin des Dames, from June to October 1917. A number of daily reports of the division are included (apparently selected at random); as well as orders of the VII Army, the Army Group Vailly, the 103d Division, and the artillery of the 103d Division, all in anticipation of an Allied attack, about September 18, 1917. Additional documents include orders for the relief of an infantry battalion; certain artillery orders of the 52d and 103d Divisions; a report of the field artillery commander of the 43d Reserve Division (August 7, 1917); and circulars and instructions issued by the German General Headquarters and other commands concerning alerts, protective barrages, various kinds of artillery fire, precautions against conveying information to the enemy, gas defense, the employment of gas shell, and precautions.
The Correct Preposition—How to Use It
The Correct Word—How to Use It
The Literary Workshop—Helps for the Writer
The foregoing constitute three companion books on correct English, by Josephine Turck Baker, published by the Correct English Publishing Company.
The nature of these books, which average about 200 pages each, is sufficiently indicated by the titles. They are recommended for study and reference by anyone interested in correct writing or speaking.
(NOTE: —The following books have been received; reviews will be published in the next issue.)
Tactics (Based on the World War.)
Translation of a German book by Major Rohrbeck, original published in 1919. 468 pages.
History of the World War
By Francis A. March. 726 pages.
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