THE CONFUSION OF COMMAND: The War Memoirs of Lt.Gen Sir Thomas D'Oyly Snow 1914-

Lieutenant General Sir Thomas D’Oyly Snow planned and participated in major campaigns and battles of the First World War. This First Edition of his memoirs focuses on action in 1914-15: the Retreat from Mons, the Battle of Le Cateau, and the Second Battle of Ypres. Snow was a divisional commander at the outset of war and saw action at Le Cateau and the Marne, where he suffered a serious injury after falling from his horse, Nonetheless he went on to lead the fighting at Ypres, Arras and Cambrai. On the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, he commanded an attack on Gommecourt, which ended in failure, costing thousands of lives. In the aftermath of this defeat he was severely critical of his subordinate, Major E.J.Montague–Stuart-Wortley, who was subsequently, and controversially dismissed – an example on Snow’s part of the self-preserving instincts that he recognized and, as his memoirs make clear, strongly disapproved of in senior colleagues. Snow wrote his memoirs some time between 1927 and 1933, drawing on the research of his first general staff officer in August 1914, Sir James E. Edmonds. His memoirs offer eyewitness accounts of key engagements early in the war, and of the transition from running battles to trench warfare, and they provide fascinating insights into his experience as a commander. With the benefit of hindsight, Snow acknowledges the limitations of both his and other’ command during the war. However, he also makes it clear that the unprecedented scale of military operations and lack of communications made it extremely difficult for commanders to operate effectively. D’Oyly Snow died in London, aged 82, on 30 August 1940
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