Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/Peer review/Battle of Villers-Bocage

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Battle of Villers-Bocage[edit]

The article has been dramatically altered over the past two months, although some are unhappy with the current changes, the article has been expanded considerably and I would like a 3rd Party to give it a look over to see if it is heading the direction it should be. Thank you for your time and help. --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:26, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Carom[edit]

A few comments:

  • The lead needs considerable expansion. In general, the lead should provide both an overview of, and an introduction to, the rest of the article. The relevant guideline may be helpful here.
  • The prose is quite choppy in places, and makes some sections very difficult to parse. The entire article really requires a thorough copyedit from an experienced copyeditor.
  • The extensive use of direct quotations does not seem to really enhance the article. Some of them are just tacked on at the end of sections and not contextualized, which is particularly problematic.
  • On the positive side, the article is well cited, and the structure seems passable.

There is certainly potential here, but substantial improvements are necessary. Carom (talk) 02:03, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

DMorpheus[edit]

Carom, thanks for your comments; they echo some I've been making. Unfortunately this article has been the subject of many disputed edits over the past two months. I think that's one of the reasons for the poor writing. I have sought to improve it but there's a combination of copyedit needs and content disputs that makes any edit difficult. I welcome additional comments on what has become a very weak article. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 23:36, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Lets not start this again Morpheus, i have attempted to work with you however you would rather have an article full of historical errors, which is one sided, doesnt cover the entire battle and in some cases dishonouring the men on both sides who fought there.
Carom, i thank you for your comments. I will look over the article you have linked to and attempt to improve the introduction.
Two questions on your comments:
  • Regarding the layout and grammar, is there an area you highlighted as being particular weak which should be worked upon immeditaley? And also so i have a better idea on what i should do for the others.
  • The quotations, i have repositioned the one which as you say was just tacked on at the end. I should have fixed that allot sooner. Was there any other quotes you were paticularly referring to?
Again thank you for your time and i do look forward to hearing from others as well on how to improve this article even more.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 00:06, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
As far as grammar is concerned, virtually the entire article needs attention. Some things to consider include: incorrect comma usage and awkward constructions, in addition to a need to diversify language (i.e., not beginning several consecutive sentences or paragraphs with the same phrase.).
As far as quotes are concerned, single-sentence quotes probably don't need to be blocked off, but can instead be incorporated into the natural flow of the text. In the case of long quotes, you should really ask "what does this add to the article?" In many cases (not just in this article) long quotes add very little, and the information contained within them could be incorporated into the body of the article proper. While they can be useful, large block quotes, or the excessive use of block quotes, can break up the article in disconcerting ways and detract from it's visual appeal.
Hopefully this provides some clarification. Carom (talk) 00:18, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Anon = the rat in all your woodwork <waves paw playfully>[edit]

  • Thoughts:

I'd like to echo Carom's point about the lead. At only three sentences, it seems more like a 'preview' or a 'teaser' to the main article rather than a concise introduction. It does not discuss the larger context of the battle at all, nor the background before the events, nor the aftermath of the battle.

The lead also displays the same kind of sentence structure problems that the rest of the article faces. For example, I think that Early on June 13, elements of the 4th County of London Yeomanry and the 1st Rifle Brigade entered the town. In the following 15 minutes SS-Obersturmführer Michael Wittmann and a small force of Tiger I tanks ambushed and destroyed 13 tanks and a dozen or more half-tracks and Universal carriers[11], which lead to a day long battle between the 7th Armoured Division and German forces.[10][12] should be rewritten to Elements of the 4th County of London Yeomanry and the 1st Rifle Brigade entered the town early that day. In the following 15 minutes, SS-Obersturmführer Michael Wittmann and a small force of Tiger I tanks ambushed and destroyed 13 tanks and a dozen or more half-tracks and Universal carriers. The day long battle then ensued between the 7th Armoured Division and German forces.[10][12]

I also agree that the small, single quotes seperated out should really be put into the rest of the article. One sticks out in particular: Although Dyas himself, when commenting on the engagement had something else to say: “….bloody Moore!”[sic] The tone of this seems odd, and I personally think that that whole sentence should be removed. When it comes to the block quotes in the "Late morning and the afternoon fighting" section, I think that the first one interrupts the natural flow of the article and I would actually remove it altogether. I don't really know about the second one. I lean twoards incorporating most of its content into its above prose sentence.

The aftermath section in particular needs expansion and seems one-sided as is. What did the allies do in the area following the battle? How did they eventually retake the area? Support for the British was available from several sources. An accompanying US artillery forward observer called in very heavy and accurate artillery fire to break up one German attack.[75] Several uncommitted infantry brigades were available[76] and could have been used to reinforce Villers-Bocage,[77] but Hinde, the British commander, did not request help.[citation needed]. The term "several sources" is weasely: What forces exactly? Where were they? What were the situation that they were in? That final citation is also really needed along with context; readers naturally wonder-- why didn't he request the help?

Some historians state the withdrawal from Villers-Bocage ended British hopes of unhinging the German front south of Caen.[79] This necessitated repeated operations to capture the city and the open terrain beyond it, following Operation Perch. They also believe that a great opportunity had been lost through poor execution of the plan. Dempsey later remarked that "This attack by 7th AD should have succeeded. My feeling that Bucknall and Erskine would have to go started with that failure. ...the whole handling of that battle was a disgrace.".[80] "Some historians" and "they" is weasely. Who said that?

  • Comment:

Overall, I agree that this article has potential and that it's well cited. Thanks for expanding it and for bringing it to other users' attention. 24.32.208.58 (talk) 05:29, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the input, the aftermath section i have not really touched so far but was planning on making it allot less one sided when i did get around to it. As for the other tips (when they retook the area etc) i had not thought of adding them in when it came to editing this section so will do.
Cheers for the other comments to :)

--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 09:47, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Intro

The introduction to the article was highlighted a particular weak spot and in need of expansion. After reading the article linked to I have came up with the below draft (needs some bits of information checking and there are a few ‘X’ or ‘insert comments here’ remarks made were information needs to be added etc). Before adding it into the article, do people feel that this is a much better version and what everyone is looking for?


The Battle of Villers-Bocage was a battle fought on June 13 1944, during the Battle of Normandy, between the British 7th Armoured Division and German forces made up of the Panzer Lehr Division, 2nd Panzer Division and the Schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 at the town of Villers-Bocage in Normandy, France.

The battle was part of Operation Perch; an operation launched by XXX Corps, to push south of the city of Caen and envelope it from the west while other British troops from I Corps would attempt to envelope it from the east. The city, a D-Day objective, had not been captured and was considered a vital objective to be under allied control. The battle was a result of improvisation due to a successful push south by American troops to the west of XXX Corps, which created a gap in the German lines several miles long. Due to this gap the 7th Armoured Division was ordered to push through the gap around the main defences of the Panzer Lehr Division, which was holding up the rest of XXX Corps and delaying the operation to capture Caen. With the town and high ground named Point 213, to the east of town, under British control it was hoped this would force the Panzer Lehr Division to retreat and allow the operation to capture the city to get back on track.

The lead elements of the 7th Armoured Division, the 4th County of London Yeomanry and the 1st Rifle Brigade, entered the town during the morning of June 13. A Squadron of the 4th County of London Yeomanry pushed on from the town up the main road, Route Nationale 175, and captured Point 213 XX miles to the east. Following the capture of the high ground, three Tiger tanks under the command of SS-Obersturmführer Michael Wittmann, the commander of the 2nd Company, Schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101, whom had been encamped to the south of the main road attacked the British tanks. Wittmann and his crew pushed down the main road towards Villers-Bocage and in the following fifteen minutes destroyed thirteen tanks, two anti tank guns and a dozen or more half-tracks and Universal carriers. The 7th Armoured Division reinforced the town with the 1/7 Battalion of the Queens Regiment and the Germans now aware of the danger posed to the rear of the Panzer Lehr Division dispatched more tanks and men. At 1300 hours fighting resumed and for the next six hours the men on both sides battled it out in the streets of Villers-Bocage, which resulted in the destruction of several Tiger tanks.

At XXXX hours Brigadier Hinde, the commanding officer of the British forces fighting within Villers-Bocage, reluctantly ordered his men to fall back due to the increased pressure from the German forces. They pulled back XX miles to the west of Villers-Bocage to the village of insert name here, here with other elements of the division they formed an all round defensive “brigade box” and continued battling with German forces on the following day. This following action became known within the 7th Armoured Division as the Battle of the Brigade Box. Historians have declared the Battle of Villers-Bocage to be a German strategic victory as it halted any British hopes of unhinging the German defences southwest of Caen and capturing the city during first half of June. The British Second Army would continue its Battle for Caen finally capturing the city on insert date here. --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:19, 18 February 2008 (UTC)


Here's my rewrite:


The Battle of Villers-Bocage was a battle fought during the Battle of Normandy on June 13, 1944 between the British 7th Armoured Division and German forces made up of the Panzer Lehr Division, the 2nd Panzer Division, and the Schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 at the town of Villers-Bocage in Normandy, France.

The city of Caen was a vital allied objective and had not been captured as planned during D-Day. XXX Corps launched Operation Perch to push south of the city and envelope it from the west while other British troops from I Corps would attempt to envelope it from the east. The improvised battle resulted from a successful push south by American troops to the west of XXX Corps, which created a several mile long gap within the German lines. The 7th Armoured Division attempted to push through the gap around the main defences of the Panzer Lehr Division, which was holding up the rest of the XXX Corps. The British believed that control over Villers-Bocage and the higher ground to the east of the town, called Point 213, would force the Panzer Lehr Division to retreat and allow the operation to get back on track.

The lead elements of the 7th Armoured Division, the 4th County of London Yeomanry, and the 1st Rifle Brigade entered the town during the morning of June 13. A Squadron of the 4th County of London Yeomanry pushed on from the town up the main road, Route Nationale 175, and captured Point 213 XX miles to the east of town. Three Tiger tanks encamped to the south of the main road under the command of SS-Obersturmführer Michael Wittmann, the commander of the 2nd Company, Schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101, then attacked the British tanks. Wittmann and his crew pushed down the main road towards Villers-Bocage and, in the following fifteen minutes, destroyed thirteen tanks, two anti-tank guns, and a dozen or more half-tracks and Universal carriers. The 7th Armoured Division reinforced the town with the 1/7 Battalion of the Queens Regiment and the Germans, now aware of the danger posed to the rear of the Panzer Lehr Division, dispatched more tanks and more men. At 1300 hours, fighting resumed and went on throughout the streets of Villers-Bocage for the next six hours.

At XXXX hours Brigadier Hinde, the commanding officer of the British forces fighting within the town, reluctantly ordered his men to fall back due to the increased pressure from the German forces. They pulled back XX miles west into the village of insert name here and formed an defensive “brigade box” alongside other elements of their division. The fighting continued the following day in the Battle of the Brigade Box. Historians x name and y name have called the Battle of Villers-Bocage a German strategic victory and stated that it halted any British hopes of capturing Caen during first half of June. The British Second Army continued the Battle for Caen and finally captured the city on insert date here.


Ideally, I think that it should be a bit tighter with the first two paragraphs made into one and the same for the next two. Nonetheless, this is a big improvement over the article right now. 24.32.208.58 (talk) 03:27, 19 February 2008 (UTC)


Cheers for the input and ideas. However on looking at the way other articles have been written, is stating that "Historian A and B consider XYZ" the correct way of doing things, should it not be a statement and just footnoted like the rest of the article? --EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:05, 19 February 2008 (UTC)


Since I'm not that familar with the larger Battle of Normandy, I'm assuming that the assessment of "german strategic victory" is something that's arguable. If it's not and if it's not disputed, than I don't think there's any problem with rewriting that sentence into a simple statement. 24.32.208.58 (talk) 15:55, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
This is kind of a side note but it's still related: Will you be listing Operation Perch for peer review as well? 24.32.208.58 (talk) 15:58, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
"German strategic victory" is a widely-held view; in at least three of the cited references you will find that view. That's not to say people don't debate it ;) but in this article that is one of the few items that haven't been particularly contentious. Regards, DMorpheus (talk) 20:00, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Cheers for the input on the intro, ill make final ammends and get into the article sometime this week. At the momment Perch to me at least is a heavy work in progress, there was nothing there for it so its started from stratch so currently there is no citations, needs allot of rewording, expandings etc but am happy to discuss it, prehaps over on its dicussion area so not to distract further from this conversation?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:14, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

A good example of how a misplaced comma can mess up the meaning of a sentence. "7th Armoured Division, the 4th County of London Yeomanry, and the 1st Rifle Brigade" is wrong; the comma has to come after "Brigade" because these units were the lead elements; the rewrite mistakenly uses the list form and makes them not part of the 7th Armoured Division. Hawkeye7 (talk) 04:57, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for catching that. 24.32.208.58 (talk) 01:22, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the input there guys, i have now added it into the article. Over the next few days i will try and get around to the other issues we have discussed.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 18:29, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Oberiko[edit]

A few comments:

  • I think the infobox is a bit to packed. Right now, the "strength" portion doesn't tell me anything, as brigades and divisions can be different sizes. I'd recommend changing it to "X infantry, Y tanks" and putting the organizational information in the article or in an order-of-battle page.
  • I wouldn't do external links to individuals. Keep it as an internal link (red link if need be) so that it doesn't have to be changed later.
  • No need for titles in the commanders section, just list the individuals in order by rank. Also, the little icons should be taken out
  • Casualties don't need to be broken down by unit. Again, something for an OoB page or the article itself
  • Within each section, pictures should start right-aligned and then alternate.

Oberiko (talk) 14:28, 21 March 2008 (UTC)