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ISBN: 9780850528183 - Bourlon Wood
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Bourlon Wood

Jack Horsfall, Nigel Cave

ISBN: 9780850528183
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Ltd


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The principal action that took place here in February 1917 was of short duration and failure but with fascinating overtones. This is the dramatic story of the events on the Somme after the great battle of 1916 ended and before the Germans withdrew to the Hindenburg Line. Its focus is on a ravine easily as impressive as that at Beaumont Hamel.

 

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Bourlon Wood is situated some three miles to the west of Cambrai, and formed part of the left of the attack by the British which started on 20th November 1917 - most notable for the first mass use of tanks. The wood itself is the prominent feature in the area, and after the attack died down to the south, became the centre for fierce fighting. By the end of the battle the wood was firmly in German hands. Bourlon again came into prominence in September 1918 as the Canadian Corps continued its onslaught on the Germans. The Corps Commander (Currie) rated the performance of his men in crossing the Canal du Nord and taking the wooded prominence so highly that he expressed the view that the main Canadian memorial should be placed at Bourlon rather than at Vimy. The countryside is rolling and open, little changed over the decades, and provides excellent battlefield touring conditions.