Description : The British Expeditionary Force at the start of World War I was tiny by the standards of the other belligerent powers. Yet, when deployed to France in 1914, it prevailed against the German army because of its professionalism and tactical skill, strengths developed through hard lessons learned a dozen years earlier. In October 1899, the British went to war against the South African Boer republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State, expecting little resistance. A string of early defeats in the Boer War shook the military’s confidence. Historian Spencer Jones focuses on this bitter combat experience in From Boer War to World War, showing how it crucially shaped the British Army’s tactical development in the years that followed. Before the British Army faced the Boer republics, an aura of complacency had settled over the military. The Victorian era had been marked by years of easy defeats of crudely armed foes. The Boer War, however, brought the British face to face with what would become modern warfare. The sweeping, open terrain and advent of smokeless powder meant soldiers were picked off before they knew where shots had been fired from. The infantry’s standard close-order formations spelled disaster against the well-armed, entrenched Boers. Although the British Army ultimately adapted its strategy and overcame the Boers in 1902, the duration and cost of the war led to public outcry and introspection within the military. Jones draws on previously underutilized sources as he explores the key tactical lessons derived from the war, such as maximizing firepower and using natural cover, and he shows how these new ideas were incorporated in training and used to effect a thorough overhaul of the British Army. The first book to address specific connections between the Boer War and the opening months of World War I, Jones’s fresh interpretation adds to the historiography of both wars by emphasizing the continuity between them.
Description : The regular Mounted Infantry was one of the most important innovations of the late Victorian and Edwardian British Army. Rather than fight on horseback in the traditional manner of cavalry, they used horses primarily to move swiftly about the battlefield, where they would then dismount and fight on foot, thus anticipating the development of mechanised infantry tactics during the twentieth century. Yet despite this apparent foresight, the mounted infantry concept was abandoned by the British Army in 1913, just at the point when it may have made the transition from a colonial to a continental force as part of the British Expeditionary Force. Exploring the historical background to the Mounted Infantry, this book untangles the debates that raged in the army, Parliament and the press between its advocates and the supporters of the established cavalry. With its origins in the extemporised mounted detachments raised during times of crisis from infantry battalions on overseas imperial garrison duties, Dr Winrow reveals how the Mounted Infantry model, unique among European armies, evolved into a formalised and apparently highly successful organisation of non-cavalry mounted troops. He then analyses why the Mounted Infantry concept fell out of favour just eleven years after its apogee during the South African Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. As such the book will be of interest not only to historians of the nineteenth-century British army, but also those tracing the development of modern military doctrine and tactics, to which the Mounted Infantry provided successful - if short lived - inspiration.
Description : Through an in-depth biographical study of Lieutenant-General Sir Edward Hutton, this book investigates imperial land defence prior to 1914.
Description : Gabriela A. Frei addresses the interaction between international maritime law and maritime strategy in a historical context, arguing that both international law and maritime strategy are based on long-term state interests. Great Britain as the predominant sea power in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries shaped the relationship between international law and maritime strategy like no other power. This study explores how Great Britain used international maritime law as an instrument of foreign policy to protect its strategic and economic interests, and how maritime strategic thought evolved in parallel to the development of international legal norms. Frei offers an analysis of British state practice as well as an examination of the efforts of the international community to codify international maritime law in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Great Britain as the predominant sea power as well as the world's largest carrier of goods had to balance its interests as both a belligerent and a neutral power. With the growing importance of international law in international politics, the volume examines the role of international lawyers, strategists, and government officials who shaped state practice. Great Britain's neutrality for most of the period between 1856 and 1914 influenced its state practice and its perceptions of a future maritime conflict. Yet, the codification of international maritime law at the Hague and London conferences at the beginning of the twentieth century demanded a reassessment of Great Britain's legal position.