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By Elizabeth Greenhalgh

Ferdinand Foch ended the 1st international struggle as Marshal of France and ultimate commander of the Allied armies at the Western entrance. Foch in Command is a pioneering learn of his contribution to the Allied victory. Elizabeth Greenhalgh makes use of modern notebooks, letters and records from formerly under-studied files to chart how the artillery officer, who had by no means commanded troops in conflict whilst the battle started, discovered to struggle the enemy, to deal with tricky colleagues and Allies, and to manoeuvre during the political minefield of civil-military kin. She bargains priceless insights into ignored questions: the contribution of unified command to the Allied victory; the position of a commander's basic employees; and the mechanisms of command at corps and armed forces point. She demonstrates how an brisk Foch built war-winning options for a contemporary commercial warfare, and the way political realities contributed to his wasting the peace.

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Extra info for Foch in Command: The Forging of a First World War General (Cambridge Military Histories)

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Eventually Castelnau ordered Second Army to collect itself behind the river Meurthe, with its left on the Nancy defences and in touch with First Army on its right. The retreat was completed the following day, with the enemy following up only slowly. Thus, on 22 August, the French were back where they had started in 25 26 Ordre général d’opérations no 31 pour le 20 août, 20 August 1914, AFGG 1/1, annex 673. XX Corps order for 23 August 1914, AFGG 1/1, annex 1209. From the Ecole de Guerre to August 1914 in Lorraine 19 French Lorraine, after an advance into German Lothringen of about twenty kilometres.

On the morning of 24 August Second Army aviators reported a German manoeuvre of ‘great temerity’. 30 Castelnau decided to take the offensive, and ordered XX Corps to attack out of the Nancy defences whilst First Army met the advancing Germans head on. In a series of violent attacks Foch’s two divisions of XX Corps crashed into the enemy’s left on 25 August. Although they did not gain much territory they tied down a significant number of enemy troops, and contributed to the success along the rest of the front.

Hence Foch moved from the eastern periphery to the centre of the Allied army disposition. Foch arrived at French headquarters (Grand Quartier Général, GQG) on the evening of 28 August and left the next morning with his ‘lettre de service’. He collected two more officers for his staff, one of whom he already knew and who would become a useful contact, André Tardieu. 3 A parliamentary député of mobilisable age, Tardieu – who spoke English – had been employed at GQG as an interpreter in 2e Bureau but he wanted a more exciting job.

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