British Generalship on the Western Front 1914-1918: Defeat Into Victory
This book explores the British Army's response on the Western Front to a period of seminal change in warfare. In particular it examines the impact of the pre-war emphasis on worldwide garrison, occupation and policing duties for the Empire's defence of the mindset of the Army's leadership and its lack of preparation for a continental war involving a massive, unplanned increase in men and material.
The reasons for the poor performance in the early years of the war, notably professionalism within the British Army, including poor staff work, 'trade unionism', careerism within the high command, and the tendency of an overconfident hierarchy to ignore the need for reform to tackle the tactical stalemate prior to 1916, are analysed. The high command rapidly learnt from the defeats of 1915-16 and performed much better in 1916-18, an especially formative period resulting in the promotion of a younger, more professional leadership and the development of the first truly modern system of tactics which has dominated wars ever since.
During 1917-18 the Army's commanders and staff evolved and improved these new methods; developing a doctrine of combined arms to overcome the tactical stalemate bedevilling Allied offensives.
1 The armys ethos and culture
2 The decline and fall of an army
3 The brain of an army
4 Developing a professional leadership
5 The armys overambitious decisionmaking
6 Training for victory
7 Tactical innovation
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Alanbrooke April Archibald Montgomery-Massingberd Army’s attack August Autobiography Basil Liddell Hart battalion Battle Battle of Loos BGGS Bonham-Carter Papers Brigade Brigadier-General Brigadier-General Sir British Army Cambrai Captain Cavalry cent Charteris Clive Papers Colonel corps commanders Dawnay December Diary Division divisional commanders Edmonds Papers enemy enemy’s February Field-Marshal Field-Marshal Lord Field-Marshal Sir Fifth Army Fourth Army Gough GSO1 Haig Papers Haig’s Haldane Papers Howell Papers infantry IV Corps Ivor Maxse J.F.C. Fuller January July June Kiggell Kirke Papers LHCMA Liddell Hart Papers Lieutenant-Colonel Lieutenant-General Sir Macdonogh Major-General A.A. March Maxse Papers Memoirs military noted November Number of officers October offensive operations platoon Plumer Rawlinson Papers regimental Robertson School Second Army senior officers September 1918 Sir Archibald Sir Charles Sir George Sir Henry Sir John French Sir William Somme Staff College tactics tanks Third Army troops warfare wife Wilson Papers XI Corps XVIII Corps Ypres