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High Wood, dominating the Bazentin Ridge, was the fiercely contested focal point of the Battle of the Somme. Held by the Germans, it was fiercely defended against infantry, cavalry and tanks - the latter deployed in battle for the first time. The wood finally fell to the British in September, but the successful divisional commander was dismissed for 'lack of push' and 'wanton waste of men'. Yet despite the appalling losses, his troops achieved its capture and consolidation. The Hell They Called High Wood is firmly established as one of the classic accounts of the Somme action and is compulsory reading for all who wish to gain a clear insight into this cataclysmic battle.
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Terry Norman is an author and a historian.
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