Directing Operations

British Corps Command on the Western Front 1914-18

Andy Simpson

The first book to undertake a systematic and detailed analysis of the role of British corps command on the Western Front in World War One.
Publication date:
January 2019
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
21 b/w photos, 1 map, 1 cartoon line drawing
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781912390670

Dimensions : 234 X 156 mm
This book is available


Directing Operations has been described by Gary Sheffield as "undoubtedly one of the most significant books on the British Army during the First World War to appear in recent years”. Based on comprehensive research in primary sources, it is the first work to examine the role of British corps command in the BEF on the Western Front in World War One. It demonstrates the importance of pre-war thinking in the BEF's conduct of operations, tied in with extensive efforts to learn lessons from previous operations and to apply them as the war went on. It stresses the central role of the artillery in offensives on the Western Front, and how corps gained steadily more control over artillery assets during 1915. By 1917, learning from the Battle of the Somme in 1916, corps was the level of command at which most artillery was commanded and organised. This set the stage for corps to become responsible for the detailed planning of the set-piece attacks of 1917 and 1918. They nevertheless demonstrated in the Hundred Days (from August 1918 to the end of the war) sufficient flexibility to delegate artillery control down to divisions when required and resume it for set-piece operations like the assault on the Hindenburg Line in September and October 1918. The final chapter is perhaps the most original of the book, since in it the day to day activities of WW1 generals are analysed - what did these men do when not fighting battles, for example? This is the first time this aspect of command on the Western Front has ever been addressed.