Images of War: Rare Photographs From Wartime Archives
The British on the Somme 1916: Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives by Philip Gibbs
Published by Pen and Sword Military on April 3, 2017
Genres: Battles & Campaigns
French Army at Verdun by Ian Sumner
Published by Pen and Sword Military on April 30, 2016
The photo albums in the Images of War series each contain up to 250 black and white archival photographs. The Somme photographs are accompanied by text written by Official War Correspondent Sir Philip Gibbs, who was an eyewitness to the events. Some of his captions are questionable. For example, on page 42 there is a photo of a British 6-inch howitzer with the notation “there were too few heavy guns available to the British on 1 July.” This sounds like an official excuse to explain the lack of success. The British Army had 427 heavy guns on 1 July, nearly four times the number available at the Battle of Loos nine months earlier in September 1915. And the claim on page 123 that the Somme was the bloodiest battle of the Great War ignores Verdun and the battle for Przemyl on the Eastern Front.
By comparison, the Verdun book’s captions are longer and much more detailed and interesting. Unfortunately, neither book has an index, making it impossible to relocate interesting images and text.
Reviewed by Dana Lombardy, publisher of WWOI