This is the first serious analysis of the combat capability of the British army in the Second World War. It sweeps away the myth that the army suffered from poor morale, and that it only won its battles thorugh the use of 'brute force' and by reverting to the techniques of the First World War. David French analyses the place of the army in British strategy in the interwar period and during the Second World War. He shows that after 1918 the General Staff tried hard to learn the lessons of the First World War, enthusiastically embracing technology as the best way of minimizing future casualties. In the first half of the Second World War the army did suffer from manifold weaknesses, not just in the form of shortages of equipment, but also in the way in which it applied its doctrine. Few soldiers were actively eager to close with the enemy, but the morale of the army never collapsed and its combat capability steadily improved from 1942 onwards. Professor French assesses Montgomery's contributions to the war effort and concludes that most important were his willingness to impose a uniform understanding of doctrine on his subordinates, and to use mechanized firepower in ways quite different from Haig in the First World War.
Allied Fighting Effectiveness is a collection of scholarly papers focusing on a variety of different aspects of the major campaigns of North Africa, Sicily and Italy, ranging from operation TORCH to the end of the war in Europe.
This is a fascinating new insight into the British army and its evolution through both large and small scale conflicts. To prepare for future wars, armies derive lessons from past wars. However, some armies are defeated because they learnt the wrong lessons, fighting new conflicts in ways appropriate to the last. For the British Army in the twentieth century, the challenge has been particularly great. It has never had the luxury of emerging from one major European war with the time to prepare itself for the next. The leading military historians show how ongoing commitments to a range of ‘small wars’ have always been part of the Army’s experience. After 1902 and after 1918 they included colonial campaigns, but they also developed into what we would now call counter-insurgency operations, and these became the norm between 1945 and 1969. During the height of the Cold War, in 1982, the Army was deployed to the Falklands. Since 1990 the dominant tasks of the Army have been peace support operations. This is an excellent resource for all students and scholars of military history, politics and international relations and British history.
This volume brings together a distinguished group of international scholars to discuss the major debates in the study of early twentieth-century Europe. Brings together contributions from a distinguished group of international scholars. Provides an overview of current thinking on the period. Traces the great political, social and economic upheavals of the time. Illuminates perennial themes, as well as new areas of enquiry. Takes a pan-European approach, highlighting similarities and differences across nations and regions.
The essays that comprise this collection examine the development and influence of the British General Staff from the late Victorian period until the eve of World War II. They trace the changes in the staff that influenced British military strategy and subsequent operations on the battlefield.
Focuses on the Seventh Army in West Germany--the largest and best-prepared field army ever deployed by the U.S. in peacetime--to show how the U.S. army redefined its identity, structure, and mission in order to avoid obsolescence during the Cold War era of nuclear weapons and air power.
Det tyske Militærhistoriske Institut, Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt står som udgiver af dette værk, som drager sammenligningermellem 1.og 2.Verdenskrig f.s.a. krigens væsen, krigshændelser, krigserfaringer i Tyskland 1914-1945. Bogen behandler emner som: 1) Verdenskrige som nye fænomener;2) Tysk ledelsesfilosofi og teknologisk udvikling; 3) Krigen som soldatens verden: Det militære samfund; 4) Krig som kollektiv erfaring i hjemlandet: Det civile samfund; 5) Krig som besættelsesmagt:Besætterens og de besattes verden; Hukommelseskulturer og efterkrigstiderne; 6) Verdenskrigstiden som metodeværksted.
The First World War, with its mud and the slaughter of the trenches, is often taken as the ultimate example of the futility of war. Generals, safe in their headquarters behind the lines, sent millions of men to their deaths to gain a few hundred yards of ground. Writers, notably Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, provided unforgettable images of the idiocy and tragedy of the war. Yet this vision of the war is at best a partial one, the war only achieving its status as the worst of wars in the last thirty years. At the time, the war aroused emotions of pride and patriotism. Not everyone involved remembered the war only for its miseries. The generals were often highly professional and indeed won the war in 1918. In this original and challenging book, Dan Todman shows views of the war have changed over the last ninety years and how a distorted image of it emerged and became dominant.
Two men came to personify generalship in the Second World War: Bernard Montgomery for the British and Erwin Rommel for the Germans. In the span of a few short years, they fought a series of extraordinary duels across several theaters of war. Ever since, historians have assessed their outstanding leadership, personalities, and skill. Monty and Rommel is the first comparative biography written of these two extraordinary soldiers. It explores how each was "made" by their war leaders, Churchill and Hitler, and how the thoughts of both permeate down to today's armies.
Broadly defined as the grey area between strategy and tactics, operational art spans the theory and practice of planning and conducting campaigns and major operations aimed at accomplishing strategic and operational objectives in a given theatre of operations. An intermediate link between strategy and tactics has always existed, but a distinct concept that encompasses a systematic and deliberate plan of campaign for major operations is a mere two hundred years old. Based on country specific case-studies, this book describes how the concepts that underpin operational art originated, how they received practical expression in various campaigns, and how they developed over time. The point of departure is the campaigns of 'the God of War', Napoleon Bonaparte. The book then proceeds with chapters on the evolution of operational art in Prussia / Germany, the Soviet Union / Russia, the United Kingdom, United States, Israel, and China. The final chapter deals with the future of operational art in irregular warfare. Theory is critical to refining and improving existing methods of applying operational warfare, and its importance cannot be overstated; however, to be useful, theory and its accompanying vocabulary must be combined with a proper examination of historical trends and practical experience. The present volume attempts to achieve that combination. This book is a project of the Oxford Leverhulme Programme on the Changing Character of War.
In his groundbreaking book The British Way in Warfare (Routledge, 1990), David French outlined the skillful combination of maritime, economic and diplomatic power employed by Britain to achieve its international goals. Almost two decades later, this collection offers a reassessment of French's thesis, using it as a lens through which to explore Britain's relationship with various kinds of power (military and civil) and how this was employed across the globe. In particular, each essay addresses the ways in which the use of power manifested itself in the maintenance of Britain's place within the international system between 1856 and 1956. Adopting twin methodologies, the collection firstly addresses the broad question of Britain's relationship with other Great Powers and how these influenced the strategies used, before then testing these with specific case studies. By taking this approach, it is possible to discern which policies were successful and which failed, and whether these remained constant across time and space. Measuring Britain's strategy against her commercial, imperial, and military competitors (including France, the USA, Italy, Germany, and Russia) allows intriguing conclusions to be drawn about just how an essentially maritime power could compete with much larger - and potentially more powerful - continental rivals. With contributions from an outstanding selection of military scholars, this collection addresses fundamental questions about the intersection of military, economic and diplomatic history, that are as relevant today as they were during the height of Britain's imperial power. It will prove essential reading, not only for those with an interest in British military history, but for anyone wishing to understand how power - in all its multifaceted guises - can be employed for national advantage on the international stage.
On the eve of World War II, the British army was more an international police force than a true combat-ready fighting machine. Raymond Callahan chronicles its trial-by-fire transformation in a new and unflinching look at Great Britain's top commanders in the field. Callahan reexamines the much-maligned performance of the British army in that war by reevaluating its commanders' victories and defeats, their leadership abilities and flaws, and their often rocky relationships with Prime Minister Winston Churchill, whose powerful presence looms over every page. Revisiting wartime theaters stretching from Southeast Asia across India through the Middle East, into North Africa, and across Europe, Callahan revises and expands our understanding of how British commanders--both the best and worst--led their troops and executed their strategies. Callahan explores the way Churchill, with his own idea about the army's goals and concerned about the precariousness of his political fortunes, dealt with his generals, who often held views different from his own. He probes the relationship between Churchill's political goals and war aims, the army's capabilities, and its generals' battlefield performance, while assessing the roles of such leaders as Alan Brooke, Bernard Montgomery, Archibald Wavell, Claude Auchinleck, and Harold Alexander. He also reveals why William Slim should be regarded as the outstanding British commander of the war and Britain's best field commander since Wellington--and how other generals such as Neil Richie, Henry Wilson, and Oliver Leese exemplify the role of chance in history. Past criticism has tended to ignore both the obstacles confronting the army and its dramatic improvementby war's end. Callahan sets that record straight while offering insight into the evolution of the British wartime army within the contexts of coalition warfare, the constraints of a far-flung Empire, and Churchill's political concerns and desire to retain a British presence on the world stage. He considers problems posed by manpower, training, doctrine, equipment, and new military technologies and strategies as the army faced a multifront global war that pushed an already overextended fighting force nearly to the breaking point. Churchill and His Generals is the most comprehensive analysis of this wartime relationship, an account of institutional transformation under extreme stress that balances Churchill's own self-serving memoirs. It clearly demonstrates that what political leaders demand from their armies is less important than what those armies are designed to do--and that this oft-recurring disconnect lies at the root of much wartime civil-military tension.
In his groundbreaking book The British Way in Warfare (Routledge, 1990), David French outlined the skillful combination of maritime, economic and diplomatic power employed by Britain to achieve its international goals. Almost two decades later, this collection offers a reassessment of French's thesis, using it as a lens through which to explore Britain's relationship with various kinds of power (military and civil) and how this was employed across the globe. In particular, each essay addresses the ways in which the use of power manifested itself in the maintenance of Britain's place within the international system between 1856 and 1956. Adopting twin methodologies, the collection firstly addresses the broad question of Britain's relationship with other Great Powers and how these influenced the strategies used, before then testing these with specific case studies. By taking this approach, it is possible to discern which policies were successful and which failed, and whether these remained constant across time and space. Measuring Britain's strategy against her commercial, imperial and military competitors (including France, the USA, Italy, Germany and Russia) allows intriguing conclusions to be drawn about just how an essentially maritime power could compete with much larger - and potentially more powerful - continental rivals. With contributions from an outstanding selection of military scholars, this collection addresses fundamental questions about the intersection of military, economic and diplomatic history, that are as relevant today as they were during the height of Britain's imperial power. It will prove essential reading, not only for those with an interest in British military history, but for anyone wishing to understand how power - in all its multifaceted guises - can be employed for national advantage on the international stage.
Compulsory military service in Britain can be traced back to Anglo-Saxon times, but it was only in the twentieth century that it became universal. Conscription occurred during both world wars with a total of eight million men in total being conscripted into the army, navy and air forces, and after the end of the Second World War compulsory service continued for another eighteen years to meet overseas commitments and under the threat of the Cold War. Conscription in Britain 1939-1963 outlines the historical record of conscription from the fyrd of the Dark Ages, through to Nelson's day and up to and including the First World War. The book goes on to concentrate on conscription during the Second World War and National Service which continued in the decades afterwards. The strategic and political considerations that governed British military recruitment in the period 1939-1963 are described and analyzed. Individual experiences in the services are examined, putting human flesh on the strategic and political skeleton. The book looks at aspects of conscription including the demands made on the services, how officers and men were selected and trained, and how discipline was imposed. The years following the Second World War are also investigated, considering the effect of twenty four years continuous conscription on the services themselves; on women's rights; on attitudes towards authority and patriotism; on race issues and on the breakout of individualism in the 1960s.
External challenges, strategic threats, and war have shaped the course of modern British history. This volume examines how Britain mobilized to meet these challenges and how developments in the constitution, state, public sphere, and economy were a response to foreign policy issues from the Restoration to the rise of New Labour.