More than six decades on from the end of World War Two, there are few people who have personal experience of warfare involving conventional battlefields. Apart from low-intensity, counter-insurgency conflicts, the post-WW2 period, one of continual conflict somewhere on the planet, has seen not a single campaign that has pitted large armies on a roughly equal footing, except occasionally in Korea and Vietnam. Pitched battles, such as Desert Storm in the first Gulf War, have been decided by overwhelming air power and surface-to-surface firepower in a matter of a few hours, irrespective of ground. So a book on the central...

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