Surviving Trench Warfare: Technology and the Canadian Corps, 1914-1918, Second Edition

Surviving Trench Warfare: Technology and the Canadian Corps, 1914-1918, Second Edition

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By Bill Rawling
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2014
World Rights
336 Pages
ISBN 9781442626782
Published Aug 2014
Online discount: 25%
 $34.95    $26.21
ISBN 9781442649439
Published Aug 2014
Online discount: 25%
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ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442620209
Published Jan 2015
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The horrors of the First World War were the product of a new and unprecedented type of industrial warfare. To survive and win demanded not just new technology but the techniques to use it effectively. In Surviving Trench Warfare, Bill Rawling takes a close look at how technology and tactics came together in the Canadian Corps.

Drawing on a wide range of sources, from interviews to staff reports, Rawling describes the range of new weapons that the Canadians adopted, including tanks, trench mortars, and poison gas, making it clear that the decisive factor in the war was not the new technology itself but how the Canadians responded to it. Only through intensive training, specialization, and close coordination between infantry and artillery could the Canadians overcome the deadly trinity of machine-guns, barbed wire, and artillery. Surviving Trench Warfare offers a whole new understanding of the First World War, replacing the image of a static trench war with one in which soldiers actively struggled for control over their weapons and their environment, and achieved it.

Released to coincide with the centenary of the First World War, this edition includes a new introduction and afterword reflecting the latest scholarship on the conduct of the war.

Bill Rawling is a historian with Directorate of History, Department of National Defence.

Introduction: Technology in the First World War

1. The Learning Process Begins

2. The Road to the Somme

3. Struggle on the Somme

4. Towards Vimy

5. Spring and Summer 1917: Developing Fire and Movement

6. Bloody Passchendaele

7. Into 1918

8. The Final Offensives

Conclusion: The Canadian Corps: Tactics and Technics in the Industrial Age


Appendix A: Canadian Corps Organization, 1915–1918

Appendix B: Casualties of the Canadian Contingent and Canadian Corps

A Note on Sources



'Rawling's book is a terrific monograph because of its thorough research, considerable technical detail and excellent analysis of the relationship between the Canadian Corps and technology.'

William S. Carter, LRC The Literary Review of Canada

'We learn powerful lessons about change when old paths are blocked and old solutions no longer solve the problems of the day. The truth in these lessons is driven home when the illusion of trench warfare as being a static enterprise is replaced with a view that incorporates a conflict on multiple levels that probes the relationship between the tools of war and the soldiers who employed these weapons along with a struggle with the environment.'

Eric S. Dowsett, Canadian Social Studies

“For gaining a better understanding of Canadian operations in the Great War there is no single-volume work quite like Surviving Trench Warfare.”

Jack English, Material History Review

“This is an excellent book, a fine piece of scholarship.”

J.L. Granatstein, Canadian Book Review Annual

“This book should become a landmark in Canadian historical study of the First World War, for it breaks new ground, provokes new questions and is clearly written.”

A.M.J. Hyatt, Canadian Military History

“A superior book. His thorough research, coherent style and layman-oriented text allow the reader not only to comprehend, but also enjoy this book. A must-read for all First World War history fans.”

Douglas Wilson, The London Free Press

“An admirable book which helps us get inside the realities of the Western Front ... Essential reading for students of the Canadian Corps in the First World War.”

Tim Travers, Intelligence and National Security