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The career of the French general Maxime Weygand offers a fascinating glimpse into the perils and politics of military leadership and loyalty in the interwar years and after France's defeat in 1940. Of obscure birth, Weygand had an outstanding career during WWI as chief of staff for Marshal Foch and served France after the war in Poland and Syria before returning home. Alarmed by Nazi Germany's rearmament, Weygand locked horns with a political leadership skeptical of the growing military threat, leading to accusations that his desire for a strong army was anti-democratic. With German invaders again threatening Paris, Weygand argued for armistice rather than face certain military defeat. No friend of the newly-installed Vichy government, Weygand was soon shuffled off to North Africa, where he plotted the army's return to the Allied cause. After the German entry into Unoccupied France, Weygand was imprisoned. Released at war's end, he was rearrested on the orders of Charles de Gaulle and afterwards fought to restore his name. In this concise biography, Anthony Clayton traces the vertiginous changes in fortune of a soldier whose loyalty to France and to the French army was unwavering.
Fighting in woods and forests is a very special form of war. Avoided by military commanders unless such terrain is to their advantage, for soldiers forest battles are a chaotic mix of dread, determination, and, all too often, death. Adversaries remain in constant fear of concealed ambush, casualties usually must be abandoned, and prisoners who cannot be guarded are killed. Heightened fear can lead to excesses. Too often, armies have been badly prepared and trained for such warfare and have suffered severely for it. In Warfare in Woods and Forests, noted military historian Anthony Clayton describes major events in woods and forest warfare from the first century CE to the 21st. These events involve Roman soldiers in Germany 2,000 years ago; North Americans in 18th- and 19th-century conflicts; invaders of Russia in 1812 and 1941; British, French, and Americans in France in 1916 and 1918; Americans in the Hürtgen Forest in 1944; and modern-day Russian soldiers in Chechnya.
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