Pass­chen­daele

The New Zealand Herald - - EDITORIAL & LETTERS -

Your ed­i­to­rial at­tracted my in­ter­est up to the fi­nal two para­graphs which per­pe­trated a myth I had hoped had faded into obliv­ion. The myth is that Bri­tish gen­er­als were in­fe­rior to other com­bat­ant gen­er­als and, as a re­sult, New Zealand troops were sub­jected to a higher ca­su­alty rate. It should be ob­vi­ous to any study of the Western Front, that all com­bat­ant armies were fight­ing in ex­actly the same way. This is why the bat­tles stale­mated for many months on all the ma­jor fronts.

If I am right, why sin­gle out the Bri­tish gen­er­als? Surely the op­pos­ing gen­er­als were equally use­less. For NZ to have had an in­de­pen­dent com­mand, it would have needed an army of at least twice as many as it sent to Europe. Do you think the out­come of Pass­chen­daele would have been dif­fer­ent if New Zealand troops had been un­der the com­mand of the French Mar­shal Philippe Pe­tain in­stead of [Field Mar­shal Sir Dou­glas] Haig?

Christo­pher Bar­radale, Par­nell.

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