Posted by: sommecourt | 08/11/2012

Book Review: Pour La France

Pour La France: A Guide to the Formations and Units of the Land Forces of France 1914-18 (Helion & Company Ltd 2012, ISBN 978 1 907677 14 4), 539 PP, £45.00

In many respects the French Army of the Great War is little known in Britain outside of battles like Verdun and the Chemin des Dames, but for the whole war it was the major partner on the Western Front, holding over 300 miles of the 450 miles of trenches on the Allied side. It’s casualties were enormous with 300,000 dead in 1914 alone and 1.4 million by the end of the conflict. Language difficulties have meant that the role of French troops has often been left out of recent accounts of the Great War and what English language publications there have been are largely disappointing.

Not so with Pour La France. This mammoth tome gives us an in-depth guide to the French Army of the Great War starting with an analysis of the French forces in 1914 and following on with detailed information on the composition and Orders of Battle of French formations. For the divisions the units serving with them are shown with summaries of their war history. For units like Infantry Regiments each one is mentioned showing what larger formation they were with so more details can be ascertained.

The book is low on analysis – that is not its purpose – but is big on detail and will certainly become the standard reference work on the French Army in WW1. The structure of the book is well thought out and easy to access. Required reference material for any serious scholar of the Great War.

The book can be ordered via the Helion website.

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