Too Many Heroes, Volume 1: The Translated War Diaries of the 1er and 3e BMILA, From Mobilization to 2nd Ypresby Allan D Lougheed
The first use of chlorine gas on the Western Front, at the Second Battle of Ypres on 22 April 1915, ushered in the use poison gas during the First World War. Lacking gas masks, the French soldiers of the 45e Algerienne and 87e Territoriale divisions who faced the German attack retreated precipitously. Over the last century, the story of the Second Battle of Ypres has been told using predominantly English sources.
Too Many Heroes, Volume 1, is the first of a series of translated war diaries that presents the untold French point of view. This first volume translates the war diaries of the two Bataillons de Marche d'Infanterie Legere d'Afrique - nicknamed the Joyeux. The 1er Bataillon de Marche was all but wiped out holding the front line when the gas struck. The 3e Bataillon de Marche took part in the desperate counter-attacks to retake the lost ground.
It has often been suggested that the French soldiers retreated from the chlorine because they were poorly motivated and indisciplined. The war diaries tell a different story: the Joyeux who fought with the 45e Division were hand-picked men, and since mobilization had achieved an impressive combat record. They had gone to war determined to carry on the heroic tradition of their corps, but the Great War would create too many heroes.
- CreateSpace Publishing
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