Date of publication: September 1997
Publisher: Pen and Sword
While many War I engagements along the Somme have largely been forgotten, the action at Courcelette, or Flers-Courcelette as it is often known, remains an important milestone in military history. It was here on September 15, 1916 that the tank was first used in warfare, and the shifting fortunes of that confused day of battle continue to be studied by armor experts even today.
Too few tanks, inadequately supported, with engines unequal to the task, failed to make a decisive breakthrough, but showed what they were capable of, and experienced all the problems and possibilities that have been a part of armored warfare ever since.
Paul Reed describes this sector of the Western Front with all the detail that has become associated with the Battleground Europe series. Two dozen maps, diagrams, and scores of photographs show this historic area both then and now. The text describes the actions fought here in depth, with full details of units and individuals. The Battle-ground Europe series has proven to be popular with both battlefield visitors and those interested in studying the battles.
In addition to the Tank Corps and other British memorials, an unusually large number of nationalities are commemorated here. An imposing obelisk honors 7,000 New Zealanders who perished in the battle, there are major Canadian cemeteries and memorials, the most important German monument on the Somme is here at Le Sars, and there are significant French monuments.