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Trevor Pidgeon "Flers" question

February 28 2013 at 2:57 AM
Rich Krcmar  (Login richgb)
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I know Trevor Pidgeon wrote the definitive book on WWI tanks with "The Tanks At Flers" but this is hard and expensive to come by, but he has written a few others published by Pen and Sword. One called "Flers" and one called "Tanks on the Somme". Are these variations of the same book or different and which one would you recommend or should I buy both.
Thanks in advance.

PS This post was originally from the Braille Scale Forum, but I was advised I might get a better response on here and since posting I have purchased the "Tanks on the Somme" book but am waiting for it to arrive. Thanks.

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Shane Black
(Login horra)
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Great books all of them...

March 5 2013, 11:07 PM 

but "definitive" is a pretty broad brush to describe them perhaps. Certainly in the context of WW1 armour.
To clarify my point however, Mr Pidgeon's "Tanks At Flers" is close to a definitive study of the first use of Tanks in combat on the 15th of September 1916.
It is a excellent account on the various and quite dispersed actions of the various machines and men of C and D Companies that took part on that significant day. He managed to really study the events of what happened that day, and wrote this book in an attempt to bring into detail what amounts to a series of post action reports which he admits is not easy to do some 80 years after the event (the books were published in 1995) When so many of the witnesses who survived that day, and nearly 2 more years of conflict had passed on. Sadly all them have now left our ranks.

What "Tanks at Flers" will give you is perhaps the most well researched and detailed overview of the debut of the Tank on the 15th of September. Volume 2 is simply a companion volume containing maps of where all the actions took place on the Flers/Courcellette battlefield.
If you wish to study this paricular event, this book is perfect for you.

What Mr Pidgeon's "Tanks on the Somme" is about is an account of the major Tank actions fought after their debut at Flers, and it really tries to give an account specifically of the A Company men and machines that carried a lot of the actions through to the end of 1916.
Again, a great book. Not quite as thorough as "Tanks At Flers", but the author again has struggled through decades of neglect to give us an idea of what happened.

I can strongly recommend them, but then again I'm a sucker for anything WW1 and armoured!

If you are looking at a wider overview of British armour in WW1, then track down a copy of Christy Campbell's "Band of Brigands" (published 2007 and still available. I got mine a few months ago on Ebay)
An excellent book, especially when it comes to the actual develpoment of the Landship with all of the politics and backstabbing that went on, its an itntriguing book. It also goes on to give further accounts of British tank actions throughout the rest of the Great War.

Another worthy tome is A.J. Smithers "A New Excalibur" But would probably be harder to find and more expensive than Mr Campbell's excellent work.

I hope this helps (and I hope I'm not being too long winded!)

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Rich Krcmar
(Login richgb)
Missing-Lynx members

Thank you

March 17 2013, 4:48 AM 

Hi Shane,
Thank you for such a thorough reply to my question. Since I originally posted I have gone ahead and bought both books. I've just finished the Flers book, which has obviously been meticuously researched, and am about to start on the "Somme" book. I read Band or Brigands a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it too. One day I intend to do a battlefield tour of this area and will use the Field Guide to try and visit all these places. Thanks again. Regards,

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