On 26 September 1915 twelve British battalions - a strength of almost 10,000 men - were ordered to attack German positions at Loos in north-east France. In the three-and-a-half hours of the actual battle, they sustained 8,246 casualties. The Germans suffered no casualties at all.
The Donkeys is a study of the Western Front on 1915, a brilliant exposé of a key stage of the Great War, when the opposing armies were locked in trench warfare. Alan Clark scrutinizes the major battles of the year. He casts a steady and revealing light on those in High Command - French, Rawlinson, Watson and Haig among them - whose orders resulted in the virtual destruction of the old professional British Army.
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Alan Clark was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. He served in the Household Cavalry before qualifying for the Bar in 1955. In 1974 he became Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton and went on to hold a number of ministerial posts. He wrote several works of military history: The Fall of Crete, Barbarossa: The Russo-German Conflict 1941-45 and Aces High: The War in the Air over the Western Front. He also published his Diaries. Alan Clark died in 1999.