The Hindenburg Line 1918
Australian Army Campaigns Series – 26
By Adam Rankin
Published by Big Sky Publishing – www.bigskypublishing.com.au
RRP $19.99 in paperback • ISBN 9781922265036
This is the latest book in the Australian Army Campaigns series that began with The Battle of Crete, published in 2005.
So what was the Hindenburg Line?
Rankin explains that the ‘line’ was actually a series of defensive positions constructed by the German Army after the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Within this overall plan, individual lines such as the Siegfried Line, running from Arras to the Aisne River near Rheims, allowed the Germans to shorten their front, thus releasing several divisions into reserve, but not before having conducted a scorched-earth campaign.
The aim of the Germans was to maximise the advantages of terrain.
Rankin has used maps extensively to illustrate the ebb and flow of the positions on the Western Front. He details the two fiercely fought set-piece battles which saw Fourth Army break through the German line, paving the way for the final pursuit which ended with the Armistice.
The Australian Corps was a pivotal part of the offensive, culminating in the assault to capture Montbrehain, the last Australian battle of the war.
By 1918, the men of the Australian Corps were exhausted and the units depleted. Despite this, the battle-hardened Australians demonstrated their skill and determination in these final offensives.
Australian commanders had likewise benefited from years of war and were better able to plan the complex operations. The scale of operations on the Western Front required close cooperation with British and Allied troops, and it was as part of this coalition that the Australian Corps would play its vital role in finally securing battlefield victory and bringing the war to an end.
Rankin has delivered a book that explains every aspect of this final campaign.
As with the earlier books in this Campaigns series, this latest addition will be much sought after reading, especially by readers with a strong interest in Australia’s involvement in the Western Front and the final push for victory.