Haig: Master of the Field

Haig: Master of the Field

A distinguished soldier who had served in South Africa, the Author was selected to be Haig’s Director of Operations in 1915, a key position he held until the end of the War.

This book concentrates on the dramatic events of 1917 and 1918 and covers Third Ypres, the German onslaught (Kaiserschlacht), and the victorious 100 Days. We learn of the parlous state of the French Army, their loss of morale and the widespread mutinies.

Tavish Davidson’s viewpoint on the conduct of operations was unique and we learn of the factors at play in Haig’s HQ. The German U-Boat fleet’s ports became a high priority as losses of shipping mounted, threatening the whole war effort. We get the German perspective – Passchendaele 1917 was even more costly for them than the Allies.

Davidson comes down wholeheartedly on Haig’s side but this should not be a surprise as Haig was revered by his officers and men. It only became fashionable to pillory him much later.

This is an important addition to the bibliography of the Great War.

Tavish Davidson was born in 1876 and commissioned into the 60th Rifles in 1896. He served in South Africa and attended Staff College in 1905. He was involved in the Haldane Reforms and planning the BEF’s deployment to France 1914. After the War he became an MP until 1931 when he pursued his business interest. Haig: Master of the Field was first published in 1953, a year before his death.

His nephew, Johnny Scott has handled this republication and lives in the Borders.

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