The Battle of the Ypres-Comines Canal 1940...

 

...France and Flanders Campaign, a Battleground Guide from Pen and Sword

 

Title: The Battle of the Ypres-Comines Canal 1940

Author: Jerry Murland

Publisher: Pen and Sword Books

ISBN: 978-1-47385-257-0

Another excellent addition to the Battleground Dunkirk series from author Jerry Murland and publisher Pen and Sword. Maybe not the most famous of actions from WW2, but a 4-day period which was actually a key element in enabling the successful evacuation of the BEF at Dunkirk.
The book opens with some background history, as the Ypres-Comines Canal was built but never brought into full service. There is also the basics about Ypres during WW1, when it was largely destroyed. While the history of Ypres and the Menin Gate is so well known as part of the WW1 story, this WW2 part of the story of Ypres does make you think how so relatively soon after that war was to be embroiled in fighting again just a few years later. Two chapters are then devoted to the Orders of Battle for both the British and German Units involved in the story, including the various commanders and sub-units. With the aid of maps and the Battalion War Diaries all help tell the story of each section of the defence line along the canal. The following chapters tell the story of the main units involved, with 143, 13 and 17 Brigades, how they delayed German Infantry divisions, before falling back to Ypres itself.
With the basic story explained, the book moves to the heart of these Battleground guides, with 2 walking tours and a more extensive Car tour, though one which can be broken down into sections if you want to spend more time on it. The tours are well detailed, telling you not just the route, but relating it to what you will see where, and what happened to give the context to what you see. The book is well illustrated throughout, with maps and plenty of photos, both archive images and modern day pictures showing what you will see there today. Another excellent battlefield guide, and for a trip that is quite close and easy to get to thanks to the Channel Tunnel these days.

 

These Battleground guides are an ideal size to take with you, easy to fit in a backpack/keep in the car.

Robin