In 1916, one million men fought in the first battle of the Somme. Victory hinged on their ability to capture a small village called Pozières, perched on the highest ridge of the battlefield. After five attempts to seize it, the British called in the Anzacs to complete this seemingly impossible task. At midnight on 23 July 1916, thousands of Australians stormed and took Pozières. Forty-five days later they were relieved, having suffered 23,000 casualties to gain a few miles of barren, lunar landscape. Despite the toll, the capture of Pozières was heralded as a stunning tactical victory. Yet for the exhausted survivors, the war-weary public, and the families of the dead and maimed, victory came at such terrible cost it seemed indistinguishable from defeat. This account tells the stories of those men who fought at Pozières. Drawing on their letters and diaries, it reveals a battlefield drenched in chaos, suffering, and fear. Bennett sheds light on the story behind the official history, showing how commanders struggled with a war conducted on an unprecedented scale and how the survivors witnessed appalling human tragedy to return home as heroes but, too often, shattered men. While Gallipoli has entered the national mythology, Pozières has received less attention. This superb book recreates the experiences of those men who fought in one of the largest and most devastating battles of the Great War.
About Scott Bennett
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Published June 1, 2011
by Scribe Publications Pty Ltd..
History, Travel, War.