Raising Churchill's Army The British Army and the War against Germany 1919-1945

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2000-07-13
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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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 futurecasualties. 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 nevercollapsed 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 firepowerin ways quite different from Haig in the First World War.

Author Biography

David French is Professor of History at University College London.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations x
Introduction 1(11)
`How Are You to Succeed without Causing Losses?' Doctrine and Organization, 1919-1939
Regimental Officers and the Rank and File
Weapons and Equipment
Discipline and Morale
The Pre-War Army and the British Expeditionary Force, 1940
The Reformation of the Army, Home Forces, 1940-1943
The Desert War, 1940-1942
Monty's Army: Alam Halfa to the Rhine
Conclusion 274(13)
Bibliography 287(20)
Index 307

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