A Military Transformed? A New Book from Helion and Compnay

In November 2013, a book will be published. It is my first book. Well to be honest I am one of the co-editors with two friends, Stuart Mitchell and Michael LoCicero though I do contribute a chapter on the transformation of land based air support for amphibious operation between 1942 and 1944. The book examines the process of transformation that occurred within the British military from 1792 to 1945. It is based on papers given at a symposium we co-organised in 2011 at the Centre for War Studies, University of Birmingham. As well as the editors, several of the contributors are PhD students or members of the Centre for War Studies so this has been an exciting project for all involved. We are publishing with Helion and Company, which has been a great experience. Helion is a publisher with some interesting plans to make a difference in publishing military history and hopefully begin to bridge the gap between popular and academic presses.

Here is the book’s blurb taken from the Helion website:

Between 1792 and 1945, the character of warfare changed. Battalions standing shoulder to shoulder during the Napoleonic era gave way to the industrialised, modern armies of the First and Second World Wars. The organisation and operational methods of the major military powers dramatically altered during this period and the British forces were no different. From the transition of the Royal Navy’s ships to oil from coal to the creation of an independent air force in 1918, the British military pioneered key innovations that affected the character of war on land, sea and air.

To date, many commentators and historians have focused on contemporary debates or specific historical examples. A Military Transformed? Adaptation and Innovation in the British Military from 1792 to 1945 brings many of these debates together and forms a broader picture. The complexity of change in the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force is explored in chapters drawing on new and original research. Examples covered include the British military performance in the Napoleonic Wars, the developments of the Army medical services in the late-nineteenth century, the Royal Navy’s introduction of the Whitehead torpedo in the 1870s, air power doctrine on the eve of the First World War, British Army reorganisation in 1918 and amphibious operations in the Second World War.

Spanning the period of both peace and war this ground-breaking survey illustrates the different drivers for transformation and innovation. Culture, technology, tactics, organisation, personality, doctrine, command and context have all shaped the speed and development of the British Forces. A Military Transformed? Adaptation and Innovation in the British Military from 1792 to 1945 shows that while it was neither a revolutionary nor a conservative organisation, the British military certainly evolved and reacted to the character of warfare in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; even if change, at times, did not come easily.

Here is a list of the books chapters:

Introduction by Michael LoCicero, Ross Mahoney and Stuart Mitchell

  1. The British Army, 1795-1815: An Army Transformed? by Andrew Limm
  2. ‘Forsaking the good cause’? The Changes and Obstacles in Reforming the British Army, 1815-1854 by Peter Randall
  3. Resistance and Reform: Transformation in the British Army Medical Services 1854-1914 by Andrew Duncan
  4. “The Most Resistless and Revolutionary Weapon of Naval Warfare that has Ever Been Introduced”: The Royal Navy and the Whitehead Torpedo 1870-1900 by Richard Dunley
  5. The Thin Khaki Line: The Evolution of Infantry Attack Formations in the British Army 1899-1914 by Spencer Jones
  6. Learning to Manage the Army: The Army Administration Course at the London School of Economics by Peter Grant
  7. The Royal Navy’s Adoption of Oil Before the First World War by Martin Gibson
  8. Naval Wing Good, Military Wing Bad? An Orwellian inspired analysis of British Aviation Doctrine, 1912-1914 by James Pugh
  9. “Hopeless Inefficiency”? The Operational Performance and Transformation of Brigade Staff, 1916-1918 by Aimeé Fox-Godden
  10. Vanishing Battalions: The Nature, Impact and Implications of British Infantry Reorganisation prior to the German Spring Offensives of 1918 by Simon Justice
  11. From ‘Jock Column’ to Armoured Column: Transformation and Change in British and Commonwealth Unit Tactics in the Western Desert, January 1941 to November 1942 by Neal Dando
  12. ‘Lessons Learnt’: The Royal Air Force, Operation JUBILEE, and the Transformation of Combined Operations, 1942-1944 by Ross Mahoney
  13. British Aero-Naval Co-Operation in the Mediterranean and the Formation of RAF No. 201 (Naval Co-Operation) Group by Richard Hammond
  14. Re-evaluation of Wartime Communications: British Despatch Riders and Communications Reliability during the Second World War by Sarah McCook

Epilogue – Military Transformation in Crisis: The Future of Britain’s 21st Century Armed Forces by Matthew Ford

More details here on the Helion website.

By Ross Mahoney, PhD Candidate, Centre for War Studies, University of Birmingham

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