When Henry Wilson returned to France just before Christmas 1915, he was appointed as commander of IV Corps whose four divisions neatly reflected the different elements making up the British army in the middle of World War I. The position of corps commander comprised the third level of the high command of the British Expeditionary Force. Two episodes during 1916, when he was tested as a commander in the field, not only enabled his performance to be assessed, but also illuminate some of the wider challenges of command on the western front. The first was in May 1916, when a surprise attack by Germany captured some of his line, and he failed to recover it, nearly losing his command in consequence. The second concerns an offensive at Vimy which he was planning during the autumn.
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