Crossing No Man’s Land

Experience and Learning with the Northumberland Fusiliers in the Great War

Tony Ball

Date Published :
June 2016
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Wolverhampton Military Studies
Illustration :
c 50 graphs, maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781910777732
Pages : 336
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Available


This book addresses the potentially deadly challenge of getting across No Man’s Land in good shape to fight at the other side. It explores the development of the British Army’s infantry battle tactics during the Great War using the largest infantry regiment, the Northumberland Fusiliers, as a case study. Principles and, in particular, practice are covered. The study demonstrates the transformation of the British Army from an essentially Victorian army to a recognizably modern army; adapting tactics to the circumstances and saving lives in teh process. A novel research approach is used; comparing Army doctrine with the reality at battalion level which yields a unique insight into experience and learning on the Western Front. Two hundred and eleven attacks and 75 raids are identified through a census of all 28 of the Regiment’s battalion war diaries covering 25,876 diary days. The analysis is set in the overall context of the War taking in the full sweep, from beginning to end, and also gives some small insight into the so called sideshows. A byproduct of the research approach has been a detailed activity analysis, the ‘doings’, summarizing what each Northumberland Fusiliers' battalion was engaged in every day and for the Regiment in aggregate. This is a secondary but no less valuable theme of the study, which also yields good material on infantry training. Furthermore, when activities are known on a daily basis, it is possible to correlate attacks with fatalities and to attempt to discover relationships between the two.

About The Author

Tony Ball is a former director of a multinational company and now a military historian specialising in the British Army in the Great War, particularly the conduct of war. He holds a first degree in Economics, a post-graduate diploma in Marketing and maste


"Written for scholars and researchers, this detailed case study of Northumberland Fusiliers, the British Army’s largest infantry regiment, illustrates the development of the British Army’s infantry battle tactics during WWI. Drawing on war diaries of the Regiment’s battalion, which describe 211 attacks and 75 raids, the book provides a detailed analysis of what each Northumberland Fusiliers battalion was doing each day and compares British Army doctrine with the reality of battle on the Western Front. The book contains about 60 pages of appendices, offering activity analysis tables and battle period analysis tables of the regular, territorial, service, and pioneer battalions"

- ProtoView

"The author presents a helpful analysis of how infantry and artillery tactics developed during the war…Recommended"

- Miniature Wargames

“ … The volume of statistical analysis is … breathtaking … the fact that it exists should be welcomed; it provides a framework for others to use with other regiments.” Newsletter

- Newsletter of the Society of Friends of the National Army Museum

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