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.