PJA, on 09 August 2012 - 02:55 PM, said:
Read THE MONS STAR followed by Zuber's THE MONS MYTH. A little bit of medicine to help the sugar go down.
Phil ( and PHart)...thanks for highlighting Terence Zuber's "The Mons Myth"...I generally try to avoid any books that include exp
ressions such as "...the Real etc.......the Truth behind.....breaking the Myth..." etc as I think they tend to be written in a sensationalist way...I would not normally have picked this book up. It arrived yesterday and the introduction seems to be quite punchy, taking Edmonds, Ascoli, Terraine, Lomas Horsfall and Cave , and Cave and Sheldon head-on and refuting their repeated claims that the rapid-rifle fire was mistaken for MG fire, or the Germans advanced in dense massed ranks, or the German casualties were Greater than the British.....
I am still ploughing through Ascoli's The Mons Star and will get stuck into The Mons Myth immediately afterwards. ...I am already questioning how any the authors above (including Zuber) can make any claims over the German casualties (absolute numbers and relative numbers to the British) if the German archives in Potsdam were destroyed by the RAF in 1945 (bitterly mirroring the Arnside bombing). One assumes the number of dead are known (?) but the WIA or DOW not know for the German side......I note Zuber goes as far as to claim that at Mons the Germans and the British were of equal strength and in some of the actions the British outnumbered the Germans....bottom line he claims:
1. Edmonds' Official History is pure patriotic Myth
2. The Lee Enfield was not the wonder weapon it has been made out to be
3. The Germans did not massively outnumber the British at either battle (Mons and Le Cateau)
4. At Le Cateau the British outnumbered the Germans
5. The Germans never
equated rapid rifle fire with machine-guns
6. The British did not inflict disproportionate casualties on the Germans
7. The Germans did not attack in solid masses but by bounds in fire and movement
...and implies all of the above (except point 1) is at odds with most of the authors writing after Edmonds' Official History.....so I think it will be a fascinating read. I am particularly interested in Edmonds' version of events and how accurate it is, as I know he tried (unsuccessfully) to pressure Aspinall-Oglander to sanitise his Gallipoli volumes....which might suggest Edmonds sanitised his own volumes on 1914 as implied by Zuber....It seems one could write a book just on the historiography of the retreat from Mons....
Thanks again for the pointer towards Zuber.
P.S. Zuber seems to rely heavily on the German regimental histories to make his arguments and does not appear to question their accuracy (as he does of some of the British accounts). His general point that German accounts are at odds with British accounts is interesting. Anyone who has bothered to read British regimental histories in parallel with their War Diaries will know of that the accuracy of the histories was sometimes subordinated to the preservation of individual reputations and battalion reputations. I suspect the German histories suffered the same, however given the destruction of the German War Diaries it would be difficult to prove.