Fighting for The Butcher

Fighting for The Butcher

British troops fighting in General Mangin’s Xe Armée, July – August 1918

Dr Richard Willis

How did the newly re-constituted British 34th Division, with all of its infantry battalions fresh off the ships from Egypt and Palestine together with the 15th (Scottish) Division find themselves fighting in the French Xe Armée in the summer of 1918 under General Charles Mangin, a man known by his men as The Butcher of Verdun?
Date Published :
January 2023
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
9 ills, 4 maps, 25 tables
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781915113689
Pages : 232
Dimensions : 9.75 X 6.75 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


Called on by the allied Generalissimo Ferdinand Foch and part of General Alex Godley’s XXII Corps, the British Reserve Corps, the 15th (Scottish) together with the under-prepared 34th Divisions were rushed by cattle train through the peaceful French countryside support the Franco-American offensive to take the fight to the Germans and strike back against the Boche.

General Charles Mangin, one of the heroes of Verdun, had twice been sacked and twice reinstated, most recently in June 1918 by Premier Georges Clemenceau and Ferdinand Foch, who both recognized his unique talents would be perfectly suited to the allies planned Counter-offensive intended to sever the jugular Marne salient, trapping the Germans in the poche (pocket). Taking command of the French Xe Armée he was charged with making the main thrust of the offensive and driving his forces rapidly eastwards, severing the jugular vein and closing the neck of the ‘poche’, cutting off the escape route of the enemy and trapping them inside the salient.

About The Author

Richard is a “citizen historian” who stumbled on the little-known Battle of Soissonais and the Ourcq when doing some family history research into Sgt HB Bloor of 34th Battalion Machine Gun Corps, who had joined up underage at 16, a Sergeant at 18 and was mortally wounded during the battle. He has co-written several articles: one with Richard Fisher on action by the Machine Gun during the Battle of the Somme and another with David Retherford on intelligence failings during the German’s Friedensturm offensive. Richard holds a PhD in strategy and organisational change from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne.

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