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The Battle of The greatest general of the FEROCIOUS
Tsushima, 1905 American Civil War? STALEMATE
The winter war
MILITARY www.milita
for Holland

January 2014 | Issue 40 | 4.25

the secrets of
By Dr Neil Faulkner

When Clausewitz, the great philosopher of war, attempted to

define military genius, he stressed three things: a searching mind,
a comprehensive one, and a cool head.
The implication is that military genius is not a matter of innate
brilliance, but of dedicated application to the art of war. The great
commander must search out the knowledge and understanding
he requires; he must comprehend every military situation in all its
multi-dimensional complexity; and he must make his decisions in
the cold light of reason. The military genius is, above all, a processor
ON THE COVER: Admiral Lord Nelson as
a young man. [Top strap] Hitler during a
of information.
speech. Nelson is perhaps a supreme example. This is a central theme
Photo: Alamy Images
of the splendid new Nelson, Navy, Nation gallery that opened at
the National Maritime Museum on Trafalgar Day this year.
The gallery charts the history of the Navy and its relationship
with the British people during the long 18th century (1688-1815).
It places Nelson firmly in the context of a long-evolving,
increasingly refined British way of war at sea.
It portrays him as a typical career officer from a middle-class
background ambitious, patriotic, conscientious, studious,
hard-working, dedicated to his profession. This provides the
essential platform for the paradigm-busting leap from routine,
indecisive, side-by-side battle to the pell-mell (his word) close-
Who we are: quarters battle of annihilation.
Military History Monthly aims to cover
conflict on land, at sea, and in the air Our Nelson cover story this month is neatly coupled with Allan
through all periods of history, with expert
commentary written in an intelligent and Georges analysis of Tsushima, Japans Trafalgar, in our Road to
accessible way. War series. Also this time, Jeffrey James asks whether Union General
Editorial Advisory Board: George Thomas, the Rock of Chickamauga, was the American Civil
Martin Brown Archaeological Advisor,
Defence Estates, Ministry of Defence, Wars greatest commander; Tim Candlish investigates the decline of
Mark Corby Former Army Officer, military
historian, lecturer, and broadcaster, Paul
the longbow at the end of the Middle Ages; and WWII veteran Patrick
Cornish Curator, Imperial War Museum, Delaforce recalls Hitlers ferocious
Gary Gibbs Assistant Curator, The Guards
Museum, Angus Hay Former Army Officer, stalemate the battle for Holland in
military historian, and lecturer, Nick the winter of 1944/1945.
Hewitt historian, Research and Information
Office, National Museum of the Royal
Navy, Portsmouth, Nigel Jones historian,
biographer, and journalist, Alastair Massie,
Head of Archives, Photos, Film, and
Sound, National Army Museum, Gabriel
Moshenska Research Fellow, Institute of
Archaeology, UCL, Colin Pomeroy Squadron
Let us know what you think
Leader, Royal Air Force (Ret.), and historian, We would love to hear your opinions on this issue of the magazine. What are your
Michael Prestwich Emeritus Professor favourite bits? What should we cover in the next issue? You can give us your feedback:
of History, University of Durham, Nick
Saunders Senior Lecturer, University of
Bristol, Guy Taylor Former Army Officer, By Post: By Phone: Online:
military archivist and archaeologist, Julian Military History 020 8819 5580
Thompson Major-General, and Visiting Monthly
Professor, Department of War Studies,
London University, Dominic Tweddle
Lamb House By Email: On Facebook:
Director-General, National Museum of Church Street feedback@ Military History
the Royal Navy. London W4 2PD Monthly Magazine MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 3

14 Nelson, Navy, Nation

The secret of victory
MHM Editor Neil Faulkner analyses the
Nelson legend as a major new exhibition
opens at the National Maritime Museum.

26 Hitlers Ferocious Stalemate

The Winter War for Holland
WWII veteran Patrick Delaforce draws
on personal experience to describe the
Battle for the Low Countries.

36 Japans Trafalgar
The Battle of Tsushima, 1905
Allan George studies the decisive naval conflict
that ended Tsarist Russia and saw Japan emerge
as a Great Power.

46 The Rock of Chickamauga

General George Thomas
Jeffrey James evaluates the career of the man he
believes to have been the greatest general of the
American Civil War.

54 Thou Peculiar Engine

The decline of the English longbow
Why was the longbow abandoned after a quarter
of a millennium of battlefield domination?
Tim Candlish investigates.


January 2014 Military History Monthly
Issue 40, January 2014


Editor: Neil Faulkner
Reviews Assistant Editor: George Clode
Recommended Read 72
Editor-at-large: Andrew Selkirk
Mark Corby on The Bombing War:
Europe 1939-1945 by Richard Overy. Sub Editor: Simon Coppock

Books 74 Art Editor: Mark Edwards
Jules Stewart on Strategy: a history by Designer: Justine Middleton
Lawrence Freedman, Bijan Omrani on
Paul Cartledges After Thermopylae,
Managing Director: Rob Selkirk
plus David Flintham on Military
Lamb House, Church Street, London, W4 2PD
Engineers and the Development Tel: 020 8819 5580
of the Early-Modern European State,
10 edited by Bruce P Lenman.
Advertising Sales Manager: Mike Traylen
DVD 77 T: 020 8819 5360 E:

Dispatches George Clode reviews a Advertising Sales: Grace Biggins

T: 020 8819 5361 E:
touching independent
Welcome 3 drama about WWII, Advertising Sales: Tiffany Heasman
T: 020 8819 5362
News 6 which follows the E:
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five young German
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collapses around them.
Commercial Director: Libby Selkirk

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MHM Quiz 80 All rights reserved. Text and pictures are copyright restricted and must not be
Listings 62 This month we have
reproduced without permission of the publishers. The publishers, editors and authors
accept no responsibility in respect of any goods or services which may be advertised
or referred to in this magazine. Every effort has been made to secure permission for
Military History Monthly s summary of 5 copies of The True copyright material. In the event of any material being used inadvertently or where it
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War Zone 64 judge to be won. Enter
opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the publisher.

Tom Bourke uncovers a wealth of the MHM Quiz to be in with a Military History Monthly has been
Latvian military ordnance artefacts. chance of winning. commended by the Media Pioneer
Awards. For more information visit:

Our round-up of this months military history news stories.

A drive to raise 140,000 has recently begun Corporate and private donors who may
in order to create a memorial garden made have a personal connection to the battles
from Flanders Fields soil taken from 70 through relatives or military service are
Great War battlefields. invited to sponsor the transportation of
For the very first time, the Commonwealth soil from one of the 70 battlefields. Sponsors
War Grave Commission has allowed soil to will be given the sandbag used to transport
be excavated from the battlefields that were the precious soil, mounted and framed with
the scene of the Great Wars most tragic an inscribed plate, as an historic reminder of
episodes of conflict and human sacrifice. their role in this ambitious project.
Now corporate sponsors and individuals The sandbags being used to move the
can help the Guards Museum honour those soil have been manufactured by the same
British soldiers and own a unique piece of company that provided the bags used
history at the same time. to fortify the front-lines of Flanders Fields Its fitting that the Guards Museum, should
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said during the battles of Ypres, Passchendaele, be so instrumental in having made this memorial
of the project, As the spiritual home of the and the Somme. garden happen. Many soldiers of the Guards
Guardsmen, this memorial garden will be Each replica sandbag will go on sale regiments fought bravely and died in the Great
a fitting tribute to their unbroken service for 2,000, with proceeds helping to address War, so much so that King George V awarded
over hundreds of years and, in particular, the shortfall in funding that must be met to them the title Guardsman to mark the role
their sacrifice during the Great War. With ensure the project is fully realised. The target they played in the War.
the centenary of that war almost upon us, stands at 28,000. The plan is to open the Thanks to generous donations from
this memorial will also be an important new memorial garden in the grounds of the our leading sponsors, the Victoria Business
reminder of their heroism, and further proof Guards Museum, which is at the Wellington Improvement District, the garden will stand
of the bonds of friendship forged between Barracks near Buckingham Palace. as a tangible demonstration of the strong
Belgium and our own country, and I urge Andrew Wallis, Curator of the Guards bond between the people of Britain and
companies and individuals to dig deep so Museum and a long-standing campaigner Belgium, and the sacrifice of those who
that this timely project can be completed. for the memorial garden, commented, died for our freedom.


The Royal Star and
Garter Homes was
honoured to welcome
the President of the
Charity, Her Royal Highness
Princess Alexandra, to the official opening of its new
state-of-the-art home in Surbiton, Surrey.
The Princess was given a rousing welcome by the
Surbiton Royal British Legion Youth Marching Bands

Fanfare Team. Vice-Admiral Sir John Dunt, the Chairman
of Governors, and Councillor Penny Sheltone, the Mayor
of Kingston-upon-Thames, then welcomed Princess
Alexandra to the new home.

SOLVED? Her Royal Highness was escorted to the main hall,

where she was introduced to a number of dignitaries,
including the Charitys Vice-President, Marshal of the
Royal Air Force Lord Craig of Radley.
After much investigation, the team at Frontline used to attack London after the D-Day landings
Surrey Hills may be closer to finding out in June 1944.
the history of a small building on the top Mark Richards, Head Ranger for Reigate Hill, BRITISH EXHIBITION
of Reigate Hill. Built into the hillside, the said, We know that there were anti-aircraft guns IN PARIS
concrete-and-brick structure appears to date on this stretch of the North Downs, and I was In a new exhibition next year
from the Second World War and, although shown by a local man some time ago what he entitled Join Now! The British
often referred to as an air-raid shelter or a described as the places where the guns were Empire joins the War, the Museum
pillbox, it does not seem strong enough to sited, as well as possible trenches in the woods. of the Great War will explore the
withstand either an air attack or one by land. Richard Maddox, a volunteer with the team, role played by the British Empire
For months now the Frontline research added, We originally discounted the idea of Army in World War I.
team (a joint National Trust and Surrey County an anti-aircraft command post to plot enemy In particular, it will focus on the way in which the
Council project that is designed to increase raiders because, although the building has British Empire called up volunteers and prepared
awareness of the part played by the military windows on its southern side, they are set the troops who boarded ships at Southampton to
in this part of Surrey) has been trying to find high in the walls and dont offer much of a take them across the Channel to ports in Rouen,
out when and why this building, and a smaller view. But recent research has made us think Le Havre, and Boulogne. From those, they progressed
one nearby, were built. differently about the structure. to the Franco-Belgian border.
They have worked through a series of possible During the war, both North and South Downs The exhibition will describe the action from the
uses, including a command post and generator were used for training purposes and at least first hostilities in Belgium in August 1914 at the Battle
block for a bombing decoy site, a radio block one large exercise Exercise Waterloo in 1941 of Mons, where the greatly outnumbered British
associated with South East Command (Montys was carried out on the North Downs. Marc Expeditionary Force retreated, pursued by the
HQ) further down the hill, a refreshment area Russell, National Trust Ranger for the area, and German army, to defend Paris at the First Battle
operated by the NAAFI for troops, as well as his team of conservation volunteers previously of the Marne. For more information, visit the website:
more exotic ideas to do with secret operations. found a 2-inch mortar round in a clump of
Now, thanks to their efforts and those of ragwort that may have dated from that time.
others such as local historian Grace Filby, and Richard and the rest of the team are proud
Pillbox Study Group member John Hellis, they of what they have learned to date, but have WWI PARTNERSHIP
have deduced that the building may have been said that the more they learn, the more The First World War
an anti-aircraft command post, used to plot questions they unearth. If you can help Centenary Partnerships
the height and range of approaching enemy the team discover more, please contact Programme has
aircraft or even the V-1 Doodlebugs that were Paul Bowen at announced that it will
present over 500 new exhibitions, 1,500 events
across the country, and 700 new digital resources to
commemorate the centenary of the First World War.
Established in 2010 by the Imperial War Museum,
the First World War Centenary Partnership is a network
of over 1,800 cultural and educational not-for-profit
organisations from 37 countries, who are producing
a collective programme of events, activities, and
resources from 2014-2018 to mark the anniversary.
Diane Lees, Director-General of IWM said,
The First World War Centenary Partnerships
programme is vast and continues to grow on a
daily basis. The thousands of events, exhibitions,
and resources being produced will allow people to
mark the centenary in their communities, in a way
that is meaningful to them.


Post: Military History Monthly,
Send your thoughts on issues raised in Military History Monthly to: Lamb House, Church Street, London, W4 2PD

In his article on Custer COMMAND WON
(Becoming Custer, MHM 37), In your recent Grand Strategy piece
Robert Bateman describes the on Bomber Command (MHM 36) you
cavalry forces on the right flank of chose to ignore the evidence that Bomber
the Union army at Gettysburg Command were the much-vaunted Second
instead of the left. Also, Front in Europe, and that they did indeed
on the third day, he win their strategic campaign.
mentions that the Union It does not take a genius to realise that
cavalry were fighting terror bombing was the only offensive
a mass of Confederate weapon available in mid-1940 when
cavalry several times their British backs were to the wall. With
own size. This seems an German bombers over the UK, it would
unwarranted exaggeration have been wholly impractical not to
given that the best estimates of retaliate in kind could Churchill seriously
the strengths of the opposing have remained PM until 1945 had he done
forces suggest that 4,000 Union nothing to take the war to Hitler?
and 5,500 Confederate Even early on in the war, the destruction
cavalrymen were involved. visited on German industrial centres, marshalling yards, and related infrastructure forced
David Kirkpatrick the Germans to commit huge resources to building bunkers, civil defence, production
Hampshire dispersal, giant underground factories, and the like. Large numbers of Germans not
just women and children were manning anti-aircraft guns and constructing bunkers
throughout the Reich, which meant that they were neither fighting the British in North
WE DID NOT KNOW Africa nor Stalins Russia in front of Moscow.
I read your Battle of the Thanks to Bomber Command, not every Flak 88 produced was mounted in a Tiger or
Atlantic feature with great deployed as a towed piece on the Eastern Front. By the time of the first 1,000-bomber
interest because I was there raid against Cologne in May 1942, that one city had already spent 100 million RM on civil
in the Merchant Navy. defence. One estimate suggests that, in the end, something like 50% of Germanys entire
Of course, one did not war effort was devoted to countering the RAFs strategic bombing campaign, while British
know what was going on, expenditure on strategic bombing was just 12% of the UKs total war outlay a decent
and your article clears up that ignorance. enough return, Id have thought.
The only way we could know was by the By late 1944, the Germans were reduced to building their wildly impractical rockets and
sound of depth-charges and torpedoes jets in huge underground facilities or worse. Me 262s were assembled in forest factories,
in the night clanking and echoing out in the open under the cover of trees and foliage!
through our ships hulls. If the Germans could not move their war matriel, then their economy would grind to
I was amused by the photograph on a halt. The Reichsbahn (German railway) was the lynchpin of the German economy, so
p.13 of a gunner lieutenant standing in that Bomber Commands assault on city centres was of even greater import against the
a gun turret with a sextant, obviously German war effort than is generally acknowledged.
posed for the Ministry of Intelligence. Neil Page
A gunner had no need of a sextant: he Kent
was not navigating, that was the job of
the ships officers on the bridge.
David Durant WHO STARTED IT? The Battle of the Atlantic article
Southwell I concur with Colin Pomeroys (MHM 38) was excellent until the
comments about the bombing final paragraph, which contained
of Germany (Opinion, MHM 37). the following comment: German
The quick response would be to say civilians ate well until late in the war
that the Germans started it think without the qualification that many
of Coventry and the Baedeker raids. died through starvation in the
That was not even the beginning countries occupied by Germany,
though, as the German cruisers as their home-grown food was
had already shelled towns on the shipped to the Reich.
east coast of Britain: Hartlepool, Ken Atkinson
Whitby, and Scarborough. Cramlington



Robin Gregory is a psychologist,
The human touch: stories of war and conflict from readers of MHM. broadcaster, author, and editor.

Robin Gregory tells the story of a remarkable Above left The wartime diaries Royce found in the loft.
Above right Tim Elliott as a confident teenager in Merton, before joining up.
treasure, and of his problems bringing it into
the light of day through publication. 9 November 1914, and thereafter described in small but
readable diary entries the events of every day until his

magine a typical semi in the small, tree-lined, rather discharge on 7 February 1919.
private Beechwood Avenue, about three miles from He was once injured in the face and eye, but even then
the centre of Reading. Built in 1926, its first owners he was able to describe his removal to a Casualty Clearing
were Tim and Alma Elliott, who met in Leicester Station, his referral to a hospital in Abbeville, and the
a couple of years after the end of the Great War restorative treatment he received. He recorded the exact time
while Tim was training to be a mental nurse. he charged on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. That
He was often away from home on a case, usually very evening he made an entry describing their success in
nursing some wealthy inebriate or addict who could seizing part of the German lines of trenches, and the return
afford private medical care. But to his three children
the house was home; and despite some excitements Below 10 Beechwood Avenue today, where little has changed except for the
during WWII, it continued to act as home even when addition of a garage.
they each flew the nest for marriage.
Tim died of a heart attack in 1967 at the age of 72.
Alma continued to live there until 1988, when her arthritis
became so bad that she moved to a care home, and the house
was put up for sale. Fortunately her son Royce did a thorough
search of the premises before they were vacated.
In the loft he found a considerable collection of papers
and books. By then I had married Tims younger daughter,
Ann-Veronica named after the heroine of the novel by
H G Wells and I was invited to take a look through what
turned out to be a virtually unbroken run of diaries from
1911 to the mid-1960s.
No antique could have been so valuable as Tims daily
diaries, which he wrote no matter what situation he found
himself in from 1914 to 1919. He enlisted in the Queen
Victorias Rifles (QVR) to which he referred, slightly
inaccurately, as the 9th Battalion City of London on

to the British line of the few of us who t Tim pretending to be an officer. Not such a
were left. The worlds store of historical od idea when you consider that the Germans
knowledge benefited from Tims luck ot officers first.
that day, a word he was to use on several
other occasions. ere were other decisions to be made
I knew from my reading that many an efore I could give the go-ahead.
officer had published his memoirs, and Initially it was the continuous,
that a number of short excerpts from nbroken, relatively simple entries
diaries and letters written by ordinary overing Rifleman Elliotts time in the
soldiers had survived. As a psychologist, renches which impressed me. But when
I know that memory is very fickle. We tend ne lives with a character like him, one
to filter and rearrange, so that memoirs omes to appreciate that there is far
written years after an event cannot be taken more latent content hiding behind the
as necessarily indicative of what had been up-front descriptions of trench life,
experienced. Until that discovery in the loft army food, relations with the French
in 1988, no unbroken record was available (and later the Americans), experiences
from which one could come to some on leave, and so on. I began to feel
conclusions about the way it was for those that the full story should include not
who actually dug the holes, carried the only some attempt to set his wartime
rifle and bayonet, and went over the top. experience against his previous life,
but also an examination of the way
Deciphering the diaries in which his outlook on everything that followed 1919 was to
Finding the diaries was fortunate. Converting them into some extent tinted by his army life.
something readable proved a tough job. The entries were Was the man who was discharged the same as the man who
almost all in ink, but they were very small, as befitted the tiny enlisted? Clearly not. But what, in particular, did he carry
diaries he presumably managed to secrete about his person forward from those days of near-death?
even in a muddy trench or dug-out.
There is evidence that he may have intended to use these The man behind the pen
entries for a more extended written study later on, but, as far I was extremely fortunate in that Tim reveals in his pre-WWI
as we know, he never did so. My first task was to make a typed diaries a young man of growing confidence and determination
copy of them, wrestling constantly with whether or not I should to make a mark on the world. He may have been a typical,
correct any misspellings of, for example, a French place-name. ordinary lad in one sense, but he managed to acquire
My decision was that from the moment he enlisted in the considerable literary skills by his attempts to become an
QVR to the Armistice my fair copy should be just that: a actor, producer, and writer. Clearly I needed to survey (and
readable version of exactly what Tim wrote. Therein lay the not distort) his pre-army life. But in addition, in 1918, there
seeds of my first major problem. emerged at the end of the conflict evidence that he had
Before setting about assembling everything into book form, become a thinker, one who could look at the world with new
I felt it might be wise to consult a few potential publishers. eyes as a result of all his wealth of experiences.
After a similar episode trying to find a publisher for a He celebrated the Armistice by writing short essays on
psychology book, I decided to start with the big boys. The Fear (which he called Wind-up), Gambling, and Honours.
two most promising possibilities sent extraordinarily similar What surprises he conveys under those headings! As he
replies. They might well take the manuscript if I could leave
out the less-exciting entries when there was no fighting taking Below Tim performing in regimental troupe, The Quavers. He wears female
place, and then write at greater length and with greater clothes, and they are all mocking the better-known Bow Bells.
imagination about the battles and retreats.
I declined. It is the rhythm of life for the ordinary
soldier that I wanted to convey. Desperate battles,
yes, but also boring days doing nothing but getting
drenched by rain, frozen by snow, or warmed by an
occasional sunny afternoon. Tims words were the crux
of the entire enterprise, not some exaggerated and
sexed-up interpretation of them written by me. I would,
of course, insert explanatory notes and comments
where Tim was brief, but to build-up a tedious day
behind the lines into something more exciting, or
simply to omit it, would have been very bad history.
My intransigence on that score led to refusals, and it
set me hunting for a publisher who had demonstrated
high standards, but on a scale where we could work
in partnership to come up with something that was
historically sound, thorough, and compellingly readable.
My search led me to Loaghtan Books. The books they
have produced previously have all impressed me. But MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 11

Left Tim marries Alma Faraday in Leicester in 1921. He was surprised to discover
that her real surname was Freitag, and wrote I have spent four years killing them,
and now Im marrying one.
Above A field kitchen at the Somme, 28 August 1918.

feedback, to learn that what I have unearthed from my father-in-

laws writings tells a story that surprises so many readers.

changes from potential actor to trainee mental nurse, WWI revelations

we find his writing becoming more extended, his One reviewer commented that he had no idea WWI troops
insights more penetrating. were allowed such freedom to roam when not actually
In preparation for his new life, there were two jobs to engaged in fighting. Another reader was astonished to
be done: to study for a profession, and to find a wife. He discover that a soldier could be involved in conflict one
was successful on both counts, and the descriptions of him day, and concerned about the result of a football match the
trying out what seemed like every pretty girl in Leicester, next. Several had no idea that there was such a full provision
where he was training, were the more telling when set of medical back-up, demonstrated by Tims description of
alongside the stories of army life. his facial injury, his rapid despatch to a Casualty Clearing
I struggled to bring out without exaggeration or distortion Station, his transport to hospital in Abbeville, and his period
the life Tim and his family lived, both in peacetime and later of recuperation doing such light duties as helping to dig
in the shadow of another war. It was the little things that said graves for his comrades as they fell.
the most: his descriptions of trying to dig the foundations for Many other realisations emerge starkly from Tims short
an Anderson shelter, for instance, are touching because they but detailed WWI diary entries. The conventional view that
remind him of digging trenches near the Somme. But here officers and men never fraternised except in battle is clearly
he also expresses a sort of delight that his younger daughter a misapprehension. Tim fishes and swims in the Somme
is helping with her tiny beach-spade, while his teenage son without rank seeming to matter at all.
can out-do him in effort and determination. Nor was he ignorant of the wider picture. He seems to have
I decided to limit my book to anything been in the know about which German troops were facing
with the resonance of war about it, and them, which allies were on the left flank, which on the
therefore changed my first intended right, and which in reserve. Furthermore, he is given
title, Tims War, to Tims Wars, running responsibility far beyond his Riflemans rank: guiding
the timespan from 1911 to 1940. I have up new units as they arrive, sorting out problems
been astonished, now that the book with supplies, arranging billets for his comrades, and
is finished and there has been some discovering supplies of food in unlikely places.
In what I have written here I have, perhaps, failed
sufficiently to stress the fact that there was indeed a
TIMS WARS: THE war going on from 1914 to 1918, and it was brutal.
PSYCHOLOGY OF WAR My main purpose has been to show that, despite it
AND PEACE THROUGH all, something very near normality was possible, and
ONE MANS EYES was appreciated even by an individual who was never
Timothy Goddard Elliott and
Robin E Gregory, Loaghtan Books,
promoted, and who, until he came to comment on the
14.95, ISBN 978-1908060075 better preparation of French troops for the reality of
the war, seldom complained.


he secret of Trafalgar is from a strength of 173 warships in 1688 Most peacetime Royal Navy sailors
obscured by the simplicity to 732 in 1809. were volunteers, attracted by the lure of
of its conception. On By Nelsons time, the Navy was Britains adventure, by the prospects of making
29 September 1805, 15 greatest industry. The Royal Naval a fortune in prize money, or more
of his captains dined with dockyards at Plymouth, Portsmouth, prosaically, among the labouring poor,
Nelson aboard the Victory in celebration Deptford, Woolwich, Chatham, and by the appeal of wages, food, and shelter.
of his 47th birthday. Anticipating battle Sheerness were the countrys biggest Life in the Navy was not always as bad as
with the combined Franco-Spanish fleet employers, with some 15,000 on the roll, caricature would have it. The food was
then at anchor in Cadiz harbour, he took many of them highly skilled workers. often much better than that of the poor
the opportunity to explain his plan. The dockyards themselves were huge in civilian life, with ample rations of pork,
Instead of sailing parallel to the enemy complexes of dry docks, worksheds, mast beef, biscuit, vegetables, butter, cheese,
fleet in line-ahead formation, such that ponds, storehouses, saw pits, and roperies oatmeal; also of beer, rum, wine, and
full broadsides could be fired as soon as (a man-o-war required 20 miles of rope brandy; and including bottled lemon
possible by as many ships as possible, the for its rigging). The warships themselves and lime juice to prevent scurvy.
British fleet would be formed into two were among the largest workplaces of There were worse things than being
divisions and these would sail directly the age, a 100-gunner having a crew of a Jack Tar in early 19th-century Britain.
towards the enemy line, cutting it at right- 837 men in 1807. Nonetheless, wartime demand for
angles into three segements. That was it. ships crews could not be met without
He called it the Nelson touch. Dockyards and warships the press gang, which operated in
The assembled captains were stunned. The dockyards sucked in commodities coastal towns with full legal authority
Some were overcome and shed tears. But from all over Britain and beyond: 11,100 to abduct men for service on the Kings
all approved: It was new it was singular tons of bread per year; 9,500 tons of meat; vessels. Ideally, the press gangs went for
it was simple! Nelson explained that no wood from North America and the Baltic skilled sailors; at a pinch, pretty well any
captain can do very wrong if he places his (it required 4,500 tons of timber to build unfortunate would do.
ship alongside that of an enemy. a 74-gunner); iron from the Weald, the
Yet this was not some whimsical device, Forest of Dean, and the Black Country; Professional officers
nor even simply the instinctive cunning of and much else. In contrast to the Army, where the
a master of war. It was something deeper, The huge labour force was also of purchase of commissions prevailed
with roots going back to the very origins of diverse origin. Only 51% of the men of with the inevitable consequence of idle
British sea-power in the late 17th century Nelsons Navy were English: 19% were and incompetent aristocratic officers
the final consummation, in a sense, of Irish, 10% Scottish, 3% Welsh, and the the Navy recruited and promoted officers
more than a century of accumulating remainder were foreigners. largely on the basis of merit.
maritime experience and success.
Below The Cambridge is launched while the men of the Royal George look on. The picture, painted in
The rise and rise of the Royal Navy 1757, is in fact a composite of two separate events, but it illustrates well enough the vast industrial and
1688 was the year in which the Glorious commercial effort that lay behind British sea-power during the 18th century.
Revolution confirmed the outcome
of the Civil War. The events of that
year signified that Britain would not
become an absolute monarchy: it would
remain a polity in which the power of
decision would be vested in a Protestant
Parliament formed of men of property
a collective social elite formed of
nobility, gentry, merchants, and bankers.
Commerce and colonies were thereafter
a central preoccupation of Britains
Images: National Maritime Museum

ruling classes. The island race became

an imperial race, and the spearhead of
empire was, of course, the Royal Navy.
The value of British overseas trade
increased ten-fold during the long 18th
century (1688-1815). Britain became the
dominant power in the Caribbean, North
America, and India. The Navy expanded

As the National Maritime Museum opens its
new Nelson gallery, MHM Editor Neil Faulkner
analyses the admirals legend. MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 15

Influence and patronage were

important, especially in the early stages
of a career. Nelsons experience was fairly
typical: the sixth child of a Norfolk parson,
the 12-year-old Horatio joined the Navy at
Chatham with the support of his mothers
brother, Captain Maurice Suckling, a
childless widower who treated his
nephew as a surrogate son.
Nelson was effectively apprenticed to
Suckling, receiving an excellent education
in his trade, then being helped to gain his
lieutenants commission and command
of a frigate. Promoted captain in 1779
at the very young age of 20 he gained
valuable military experience in the
American Revolutionary War.
But from the outset, Suckling could have
done little for his protg had Nelson not
been conscientious and diligent. Naval
officers could not purchase commissions;
they had to pass exams. In consequence,
the Navy created a corps of professional
officers highly skilled in sailing and in war.
Few were aristocrats: the typical naval
officer was certainly a gentleman, but
usually one from solid gentry, merchant, or
professional background rather than titled
family. Again, Nelson, the son of a parson,
was typical. The Navy, with its career open
to talent, breathed the pure air of the
bourgeois revolution unlike the Army,
which would be plagued by entrenched
class snobbery all the way to the killing-
fields of the Somme and Passchendaele.

A revolution in naval warfare

The size, experience, and professionalism
of the Royal Navy increased throughout
the long 18th century. Nelson is perhaps
inconceivable in 1705 or 1755. When he
shot to fame and notice in 1797, playing
a leading role in Admiral Jerviss victory
at the Battle of Cape St Vincent, he was
a consummate professional, a master of
his trade, the living embodiment of a
military tradition that had been honed
to a peak of perfection. And, supreme in
his understanding of the rules of naval
warfare in the age of sail, he was able to
transcend them in a brilliant new synthesis.
Here is how Andrew Lambert explains
it in a new National Maritime Museum Above This famous contemporary image shows the meeting of Nelson with his captains at which he
volume published in association with the explained his plan for the forthcoming battle his Nelson touch and also the actual deployment of
the opposing fleets at the moment of collision on 21 October 1805.
opening of their new gallery:


Nelson, the greatest naval genius of the age
of sail, perhaps indeed the greatest admiral
Nelsons achievement was not the product
of all time, provides the inevitable anchor of
of genetic heritage, undaunted courage, or
the new Nelson, Navy, Nation gallery at the
lucky accident. He possessed an educated
National Maritime Museum. Curator Quintin
mind, one that never stopped gathering
Colville is clear, however, that the concept
and processing information, assessing ideas,
at work is Nelson in context, not Nelson
and using the accumulated understanding
under the spotlight.
to achieve his aims. This commitment to
The gallery explores the naval history
career-long education distinguished him
of Britain during the long 18th century
from his peers, moulding the genius that
(1688-1815), and in particular the relationship
enabled him to transform the art of war
between the Navy and the British people.
at sea from the prosaic to the sublime.
Nelson is seen as the culmination of a century
of war, and the aim is to tell a wider story, with Above A paper-cut picture commemorating Vice-Admiral
The problem for which Nelson supplied
a large cast of characters, and a strong narrative Horatio Nelson, c.1806. The inscription reads: This the Great
the sublime solution was simple enough:
of growing maritime power and projection. Warrier [sic] after all his Toil / From Whom whilst living none
As well as being academically rich and could take the spoile / Dropt in his prime and made the Grave
Battles fought by evenly matched fleets his Bed / Whom late all Nations did both love and Dread / The
educationally effective, this approach has the
of wooden sailing ships armed with ever to be lamented death of Vice admiral lord viscount Nelson.
advantage that it unlocks the whole of the rich
heavy cannon were rarely decisive. Linear collection held by the museum, and provides for The bottom tier shows Nelson falling wounded on the deck of
battle was an exhausting attritional a display that can reach out to many audiences. his flagship, his funeral barge, and two seamen on either side
business. The only way to win was to kill That said, there is a framework. The Nelson
of an altar with the word Lament on the top. A flying cherub
or incapacitate so many of the enemy crew with a trumpet suspends the word Victory next to the ship.
gallery is not concerned with empire and slavery.
that they could not fight or sail the ship. Other recently refurbished galleries Traders: the
In most cases this took hours, and the East India Company and Asia and the Atlantic:
losers had ample opportunity to escape slavery, trade, and empire address such issues fully. The framework here is the nation the making of
before they lost too many ships. the nation, a growing national identity, and the way in which the Navy in general, and Nelson in particular,
became supreme expressions of nationhood.
The result was that naval victories Not that this is any kind of sanitised history: images and objects tell a rounded story. The press-gang, the
failed to confer maritime supremacy: lash, and the gallows are part of it. The mutinies at Spithead and the Nore have their own display. The shocking
the defeated enemy simply sailed away, violence of naval warfare is represented by samples of round-shot, bar-shot, and grape, and by the pikes,
made repairs, and continued in play. Thus cutlasses, and pistol-clubs used in hand-to-hand fighting. The grim horrors of the orlop deck are symbolised by
Nelsons preoccupation with battles of the surgeons instruments the amputation knife, the bone saw, and a tourniquet that looks like a thumb-screw.
annihilation. It is annihilation the country But the story is broadly positive, with Trafalgar as its climax, and the apotheosis of the stricken hero and
wants, he told his officers before Trafalgar, genius represented by a stunning display of early 19th-century celebrity culture mugs, pitchers, Toby jugs,
not merely a splendid victory. medallions, chinaware, samplers, snuff-boxes, fans, and much else, all with a Nelson theme.
This was the simple truth. Admiral Still, however much we acknowledge and approve the contextualisation, nothing can detract from the
Villeneuves combined Franco-Spanish extraordinary power of the three most compelling exhibits: the stockings stained with the blood of the loyal
fleet of 33 ships anchored at Cadiz lay secretary cut in half by round-shot; the breeches cut open when the wounded admiral reached the cockpit; and
positioned to threaten the British Isles, to the coat with the musket-ball hole at the front of the left shoulder, and part of the epaulette shot away.
attack Britains allies in the Mediterranean, The Nat ona Ma itime Mu eums new
or to disrupt the countrys Atlantic trade. Left A Pratt-ware pipe, modelled as a half-length figure of Nelson.
The Royal Navy had spent the previous His right arm is missing, and he wears a uniform coat, waistcoat,
two years in thrall to Villeneuves fleet, and ruffled shirt. His tall hat forms the pipe bowl, with two
endlessly searching, watching, chasing, clasped hands on the front and inscribed NELSON and FOR
often ignorant of its whereabouts, EVER. The pipe is painted in blue, yellow, brown, and ochre.
never certain of its intentions, and The coiled stem of the pipe is decorated overall with blue dots.
unquestionably thrown onto the defensive Below left Extirpation of the Plagues of Egypt; Destruction
by its very existence. Nelsons aim was to of Revolutionary Crocodiles; or The British Hero
destroy it and thereby effect a profound cleansing ye mouth of ye Nile by James Gillray, 1798. This
shift in the balance of global military power. is a simple but effective celebration of Nelsons resounding
victory over the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile on
1 August 1798. A colossal Nelson stands in the mouth
A military genius of the river capturing and culling
There was more to Nelsons genius than tri-coloured crocodiles. The biblical
his formula for a battle of annihilation. plagues of Egypt of the title are
His physical courage was phenomenal. He transformed into crocodiles, which
fought in the front rank of landing and stand in turn for the French ships
taken or destroyed during the battle:
one with flames issuing from its jaws
evidently represents LOrient, whose
dramatic explosion was the focus of
many contemporary paintings and
prints of the battle. This print shows
Nelson, in line with contemporary
newspaper reports, as the unqualified
British hero, a modern demi-god,
combining Moses with Hercules.

Nelsons men The face of battle

Of the 837 men on a 100-gun man-o-war, At Trafalgar, the 33 Franco-Spanish ships-
1% were commissioned officers, 1% of-the-line were engaged by 27 British.
warrant officers, 14% inferior or petty The action was decided by thousands of
officers, 20% marines, and 64% the cannon firing round-shot (32lbs of cast
people that is, the ordinary seamen. iron travelling at up to 900 miles an hour
These men formed the disciplined and designed to smash ships timbers),
collective workforce of what was, at bar-shot or double-headed hammer shot
the time, the most complex artefact (spinning through the air to cut through
in existence; in this sense, there was sails and rigging), and tiered grapeshot
nothing else in the contemporary world (designed to cut down enemy crew).
quite like a ship-of-the-line. Round-shot crashing through the side
But, explained veteran sailor Samuel of a ship could cut men in half, crush
Leech in 1843, the crew of a man-o-war them beneath their own guns, and shatter
is divided into little communities [and] timbers into lethal flying fragments.
these eat and drink together, and are, as Bar-shot could be just as deadly: a single
it were, so many families. missile destroyed a file of eight marines
The small units Leech had in mind as the Victory closed on the enemy line at
were the messes of six to eight men Trafalgar. Grape was used at close range,
who shared a table at mealtimes, slept especially to scythe down the men on an
in neighbouring hammocks, and, in opposing upper deck.
the inferno of battle, worked a gun Muskets, boat guns, and volley guns
together. Deep emotional bonds and were used by both marines and sailors
strong mutual loyalties made each when ships were at close-quarters, and
mess a microcosm of the moral a range of formidable hand weapons
fabric of Nelsons fleet. pikes, cutlasses, axes, and pistols (which
boarding parties, and he exposed himself, The greatest test of that fabric was an doubled as clubs) were used when
conspicuous in his admirals uniform and exceptionally rare event: full-scale battle boarding an enemy vessel or repelling
decorations, on the quarterdeck during between opposing main fleets. boarders from ones own.
close ship-to-ship combat. It cost him an The battle was fought amid clouds of
eye, an arm, and eventually his life. But Below Nelsons coat, showing the musket-ball black-powder smoke, with the ear-splitting
it created a bond with his men, not h detonations, and on decks
just the captains who were his band of er and gore.
brothers, but with the ordinary sailors ht only four such battles in
and marines of the fleet. sense, these brief moments
A charismatic communicator and rnage, each lasting a few
a caring commander, Nelson was resented the culmination
idolised by the lower decks. He may ing and high-seas voyaging.
have been vain, priggish, and chauvinistic, ged on what some tens of
but he was never arrogant or distant in men did when they faced
his relations with his men unlike so test.
many contemporary officers, whether
naval men like Admiral Collingwood, t of victory
who was too wooden to be liked, or army rews had a critical
generals like the Duke of Wellington, : their gunnery was
whose aristocratic caste prejudices created re accurate, and more
an impenetrable social barrier. elentless training at sea
Nelsons courage and charisma, at British crews loaded,
combined with his superlative professional hauled out, hoved with
expertise, provided the platform for , and then fired their
his consummation of the British naval faster rate. They also
tradition at Trafalgar. It provided him with ntaneous flint-lock firing
a superb instrument of victory: a fleet that in contrast to the slow
was highly motivated, well trained, and oyed by the French and
absolutely confident in his leadership. ch meant that British

Top Billy Waters, c.1820. Born in America in c.1778, he was ed a pell-mell battle: each
who lost his right leg after falling from the Ganymedes top g his ship as close to the
Unable to serve at sea, he became a famous London street e and destroy them with
often seen busking on his fiddle to support his family. Wate ides. Here the Redoubtable
days in St Giless Workhouse, having fallen ill and been forc ttered into submission
the violin. He was elected king of the beggars shortly befo ry and the Temeraire.


Right Close-quarters fighting meant that men
on the upper deck were vulnerable to cannon
and musket shot from opposing ships. Nelsons
secretary was cut in half by round-shot. Some time
later the admiral was hit by musket fire from the
topsails. In this famous image, Nelson is shown
wounded in the shoulder but also sprawled in
the blood of his secretary, staining his breeches
and stockings. Note the marines firing from
deck to deck, and the group in the foreground
seeking the marksman who has hit Nelson.

gunners could discharge at an ideal

moment on the ships roll. And whereas
their enemies tended to target masts,
sails, and rigging in order to disable
opposing ships, the British fired into
the hull with the aim of destroying with point-blank broadsides from two
gun-power and capturing a prize. or three vessels at a time.
To maximise the British superiority Nor was escape easy. With the opposing
in gunnery, three things were desirable: fleets close and entangled, the French
first, that the range should be as short as and Spanish crews found themselves in a
possible; second, that round-shot should tight embrace, unable to flee, such that
Further information
Nelson, Navy, and Nation: the Royal
be fired along the length rather than they could be pounded into submission.
Navy and the British people, 1688-1815,
across the width of enemy vessels; and Nelson achieved his greatest ambition: edited by Quintin Colville and James
third, that the greatest possible weight he crafted one of historys most complete Davey, is a fine collection of essays by
of shot should be brought to bear on battles of annihilation. His friend and leading experts covering all the main
each enemy ship in turn. colleague, Cuthbert Collingwood, themes addressed in the new gallery,
To achieve this, Nelson sailed directly understood the Nelson touch: complete with superb illustrations of
into the enemy line in two divisions. many of the images and objects on
The disadvantage was that his ships He possessed the zeal of an enthusiast, display. Costing 20, it is published by
faced full broadsides from the enemy directed by talents which nature had very Conway/National Maritime Museum.
on the approach with no opportunity to bountifully bestowed upon him, and
respond; thus there were 50 men down everything seemed, as if by enchantment,
on the Victory before the flagship opened to prosper under his direction. But it was WITH THANKS TO
fire on 21 October 1805. But once the the effect of system, and nice combination,
The staff of the National Maritime Museum,
Franco-Spanish line was broken, the not of chance. We must endeavour to follow in particular Jenny Stewart and Quintin Colville,
British ships were able to concentrate on his example, but it is the lot of very few to for their help in the preparation of this article.
smashing one enemy ship after another attain his perfection. MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 19

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Image copyright and courtesy of The National Maritime Museum


could fill the Atlantic with U-boats. The
Marylebone Cricket Club cancelled its tour
to India. England played cricket under the
MCC banner back then.

& THE SECOND Hitler permitted us almost to complete an

exceptionally interesting season, Gordon wrote.
When shall we see the stumps pitched again?

WORLD WAR Charles Burgess Fry, an English cricketing

legend from before the First World War who
was by then Captain Superintendent of the
Royal Navy Training Ship Mercury, expressed
What did cricket mean to troops and civilians during World War II? his personal annoyance that Hitler would stop
Crispin Andrews has scoured the MCC library to find out. him from watching Len Hutton, Denis Compton,
and Joe Hardstaff rise to stardom.
In August 1938, with Hitlers armies on
Even Hitler had the common decency to Above Women of the Auxiliary Territorial Service manoeuvres along the Czechoslovak border,
wait until the 1939 cricket season was (ATS) pose for the camera at Lords cricket ground, Len Hutton, Joe Hardstaff, and Maurice
almost over before invading Poland. c.1944. Leyland scored centuries (Wally Hammond
Below A barrage balloon, also at Lords, c.1944.
When war broke out, cricket was seen and Arthur Wood got fifties) in amassing a
as a metaphor for life for both English
high society and the chattering classes.
As the panzers rolled into Poznan, Sir
Home Seton Charles Montagu Gordon,
12th Baronet Gordon of Embo, Sutherland,
wrote his weekly preamble for the Cricketer
magazine in a sombre mood. England
has now started the grim Test match with
Germany, he wrote. According to Gordon,
the Ashes of civilisation were at stake.
After war was declared, the treasures at
Lords cricket ground, including the original
Ashes urn from 1883, were packed away
in an anonymous location for safe-keeping.
The West Indies team, who had been playing
in England during the summer of 1939,
cancelled their last five matches and
sailed home before Grand-Admiral Raeder


world record 903-7 against Don Bradmans Then, on 9 April, a few days before the Above Field-Marshal Viscount Montgomery
Australians at the Oval. MCC Deputy Secretary, cricket season would have been due to of Alamein (on the left) arrives at Lords with
Sir Pelham Plum Warner, bemoaned the loss start, the German Army attacked Denmark Sir Pelham Warner (right).
of Englands best bowling attack for years. and Norway. A month later, Hitler invaded Above left The boarded-up pavilion at Lords.
In 1939, cricket fanatics saw life and France, Holland, and Belgium, and by
the world through the eyes of a very 4 June had pushed British and French It was around this time that playing
serious game. A game played for, by, and forces to Dunkirk. On 9 June German cricket became an act of national defiance.
with the attitudes of gentlemen. C B Fry soldiers were in Paris, and by the end Writing in the 1940 Wisden Almanack, Major
epitomised this sentiment in his September of the summer the Luftwaffe had started Harry Surtees, a MCC Committee member,
1939 Cricketer magazine column. Fry, who bombing London. commented on the sandbags in the Lords Long
had dabbled in politics and worked at the In the Cricketer, former England captain Room (the RAF were using Lords as a base)
League of Nations in the 1920s, wrote that Arthur Gilligan collected his thoughts but suggested that it would take more than
the world would be a better place if the sitting in a blacked-out house with totalitarian war to stop cricket. Plum Warner
Germans had taken up cricket. He would dim lights. For renowned cricket-writer wanted cricket to provide a healthy and restful
teach them to play himself, if we ever get Raymond Robertson-Glasgow, looking antidote to the strain of war, and took the
out of this current cul-de-sac. back at the 1939 season was like peeping lead in organising fixtures. If the County
During a 1934 visit to Germany to back at a happy world through the wrong Championship and England matches had to be
encourage links between the Boy Scouts and end of a telescope. cancelled, the nation needed something else.
the Hitler Youth, Fry had tried to persuade
Nazi foreign minister von Ribbentrop that
Germany should take up the game. Fry
thought perhaps athletic javelin-throwers
(and hand-grenade slingers) might make
fast bowlers, although he did admit that
the Germans might struggle with the
concept of fair play. Ribbentrop dismissed
cricket as too complicated for us.

During the early days of the war, it
looked like there would be no cricket at
all. Chamberlains government closed all
places of entertainment and outdoor sports
meetings, before rescinding this order in
favour of a business-as-usual approach.
With nothing much happening on the
Western Front for the first few months,
there was talk of organising a full county
cricket season for 1940. Only 20- to
23-year-olds had been called up for
military service. Most first-class cricketers
were in their late 20s and 30s. Many
players were over 41 and not, at the Benches stored in the Long Room at Lords.
time, eligible for military service. MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 23

A London Counties team was cobbled invasion of Holland was an early season Above WWII Royal Engineers at Lords.
together from ageing amateurs, players on setback. Sir Home Seaton Gordon likened
leave from the forces, and former greats like playing cricket through the Blitz to Drake cricket for England and represented India
Frank Woolley. It played all over the country finishing his game of bowls before heading at the League of Nations. It took place
against clubs, counties, and invitation teams. off to deal with the Spanish Armada. When every year except 1942-1943, the season
The British Empire XI, set up by future MP England all-rounder Freddie Brown smashed following Japans invasion of neighbouring
Desmond Donnelly in 1937, continued to 77 runs in 50 minutes for the Buccaneers Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar
play throughout the war. against the British Empire XI on 31 August Islands. Englands Compton, Hardstaff,
Counties and clubs played ad-hoc fixtures, 1940, Gordon quipped that Ribbentrop and Reg Simpson, stationed in India,
as did charity and invitation teams, and himself would have been impressed. played in some of the Ranji games.
the armed forces. Cambridge and Oxford The Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs Stationed in Egypt, a 20-year-old
University continued their annual match at actually would have been too busy planning soldier from Bradford called Jim Laker tried
Lords. To fit in with military schedules, these the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. Freddie off-spin for the first time; in 1956 Laker
games were one-day matches, rather than Brown also took the first six wickets when the took 19 wickets in a Test against Australia.
the usual three-, four-, or five-day contests. British Empire batted later in the day. But with Wally Hammond played a bit of cricket
Concerned that county cricket clubs victory in sight, air-raid sirens sent players at the Gezira Sporting Club in Cairo. So
might go bust, Robertson-Glasgow urged and spectators heading for shelter. did South Africas Bruce Mitchell and New
county members to continue paying their As the bombs dropped, the cricket Zealands Bert Sutcliffe. Myrtle Maclagan,
memberships during the war. Yorkshire continued. Plum Warner famously said the English star of womens cricket, scored
and Worcestershire made a profit, while that Goebbels would have won a significant 148 and 96 for the Auxiliary Territorial
Leicestershire needed donations from propaganda battle had he been able to Service against the Womens Auxiliary
philanthropist Sir Julien Cahn to keep going. broadcast that the Luftwaffe had stopped Air Force. Even the games greatest player,
After Old Trafford was hit by the Luftwaffe, cricket at Lords. Australias Don Bradman, enlisted; however,
Lancashire closed for business and diverted Abroad, South Africa and the West in June 1941, he was discharged due to
members subscriptions into a war relief fund. Indies immediately cancelled their fibrositis of the back.
domestic cricket competitions and Thousands of club players and
EARLY SEASON SETBACK international matches. New Zealand enthusiasts also played cricket while
By then, even the most obsessive cricket and Australia carried on in 1939-1940, serving in the armed forces, either official
diehard knew that this war was a serious but stopped when Japan bombed Pearl matches or just informal knockabouts
business. Not that this stopped the Harbor, which brought the war to their on any spare bit of grass when there
metaphorical bluster. Yorkshire spinner part of the world. was time. The powers that be believed
Hedley Verity, who was training Green Only in India did first-class cricket sport was good for the troops morale.
Howards recruits in Richmond, North continue. The Ranji trophy was named So too, it seemed, did the commandants
Yorkshire, told Cricketer readers that Hitlers after the great K S Ranjitsinhji, who played of PoW camps.


Cricket matches of a sort took place in
many camps: a bucket or a wooden pale
for a wicket, a tennis ball, and an old bat
saturated with linseed oil. It would be six
if you hit the tin roof, out if the ball went
over the fence (although sentries could
be bribed to retrieve the ball). It was
definitely out if anyone hit the ball into
the commandants prize flower-garden.
Englands Bill Bowes and Freddie Brown
played at the Chianti Camp in Italy. The
officers camp at Warburg had its own
ground and wicket, with equipment
donated by the De Flamingo club in
Holland. Changi Camp in Singapore had
a cricket pitch too, although this was just
a piece of matting laid out on concrete.
The famous cricket broadcaster
and journalist Jim Swanton says cricket
helped many prisoners get through the
war. Swanton, a major in the Bedfordshire talks by experts Swanton recalls a league Above Smoke from a doodlebug rises over Lords
Yeomanry, spent three-and-a-half years in professional and a Worcestershire captain during a wartime match.
camps along the ThaiBurma railway after he passed the time until lights-out. Thousands
was captured during the fall of Singapore. of miles from home and in terrible conditions, one of Plum Warners bowlers, Doug Wright,
In a 1946 article in the Wisden Almanack, the English and Australians still had their played for England against an Australian
entitled Cricket Under the Japs, Swanton national game. Services team who went on to tour India
recalled a Christmas Day match at Wampo A few days after the Japanese surrender and Australia later in the year.
Camp where a Eurasian cricketer called on 2 September 1945, Swanton, on his Some players, like Hardstaff and
Thoy scored a century in five overs. He also first walk as a free man for four years, Compton were still on duty overseas
remembered an England versus Australia came across a caf in a Thai village on and could not get back in time for the
game on New Years Day in 1945, with players the edge of the jungle. Our hosts kindly matches. Hedley Verity and Ken Farnes,
avoiding laundry hanging off bamboo lines turned on the English [radio] programme, Englands opening bowler, did not make
and hitting the ball behind the wicket where Swanton wrote. We were at Old Trafford it back at all.
spectators gathered under the trees. and a gentleman called Cristofani was Captain Verity was shot in the chest in
Swanton called it jungle cricket, and said getting a hundred. July 1943 as his platoon of Green Howards
that it took prisoners minds off dysentery and tried to take a farmhouse in Catania, Sicily.
cholera. Swanton himself contracted polio and VICTORY TESTS Verity died from his wounds in captivity two
spent time at the hospital camp, Nakom Patom, Bob Cristofani was an Australian, and one months later. Farnes, an RAF pilot officer, died
where more cricket was allowed. of the stars of the 1945 Victory Tests. These in October 1941 after his plane crashed near
He explains that Wampo commandants games were hastily arranged as part of Chipping Warden, just outside Oxfordshire,
were suspicious of cricket, thinking it had the national celebrations after the German during a night-flying exercise. Seven more Test
religious significance. Cricket quizzes and surrender in May. Hutton, Hammond, and cricketers and countless other first-class
players never made it home.
Many years after the war was over,
it took an Australian star of the Victory
Tests to finally put wartime cricket into
perspective. Keith Miller, a fighter pilot
with the Royal Australian Airforce, would
go on to become Australias greatest all-
round cricketer.
The Victory Tests showed that cricket
was still a national and international
spectacle: 367,000 people watched
the three matches at Lords. A serious
business, maybe; but a metaphor for
the sort of life-and-death struggle that
the world had just been through?
It was Michael Parkinson who asked
Miller about pressure in top-level cricket.
The Australian just laughed. Pressure is
Firemen pictured at Lords. having a Messerschmitt up your arse
Below A wartime artists
dramatic reconstruction
of the savage street-
fighting in Arnhem during
September 1944.

Hitlers ferocious
Drawing on personal experience, WWII veteran and military
historian Patrick Delaforce explains how the Nazis turned the
battle for the Low Countries into a protracted stalemate.

fter 11 weeks of relentless Two and a half months of bitter
attritional fighting in fighting, culminating for the Germans
Normandy on average in a bloodbath big enough even for their
Photos: WIPL Maps: Ian Bull

there were 7,000 casualties extravagant tastes, have brought the end
per day Hitlers legions of the war in Europe within sight, almost
appeared to be in total disarray. On within reach. The strength of the German
25 August 1944, the day after the armies in the West has been shattered,
fall of Paris, the SHAEF (Supreme Paris belongs to France again, and the
Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Allied armies are streaming towards the
Force) intelligence summary declared: frontiers of the Reich.


Left Fighting for the life of the German nation. combined Allied Intelligence Committee
Hitler directs the defence of the Rhine. in London estimated that organised
Right Ike on campaign in 1944, with Monty resistance under the control of the
sharing the joke. The smiles were only for German high command was unlikely
the cameras; behind the scenes it was tense,
to continue beyond 1 December, and
especially after Holland became a stalemate.
might end even sooner.

Eisenhower concluded that, The enemy Hitlers unbroken legions

was momentarily helpless to present any On the other side of the hill, Hitler told
continuous front against our advance. With three of his generals on 31 August:
the capture of Brussels on 3 September
and Antwerp the next day, euphoria It is childish and nave to expect that at
was everywhere, from the top (SHAEF) a moment of grave military defeats the
downwards. On to Berlin! was the cry. moment for favourable political dealings
Eisenhower now had five armies has come but the time will come when
under his command, more or less poised the tension between the Allies will become
to smash eastwards to the Ruhr. The so great that the break will occur. All the MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 27
coalitions in history have disintegrated Hitler firmly believed that the Western Above The Allied offensive in September 1944.
sooner or later If necessary well fight Allies would fall out with Stalin over Soviet After the breakout from Normandy, the hope was
on the Rhine Well fight until we get a plans for Eastern Europe, and he was that the Wehrmacht was broken-backed and the
peace which secures the life of the German playing for time in anticipation of this war would be over by Christmas. But the embattled
nation for the next 50 or 100 years, and development. General von Zangens XV Nazi regime tapped unsuspected reserves of
which will not besmirch our honour a Army had been moved across the Scheldt strength. The lunge into Holland proved to be
a leap into a nest of stubborn resistance.
second time. by night ferry to Walcheren Island, and
its 59th Division had arrived in Holland.
Hitler had some reason to be confident. The reinforced Siegfried Line, the continue as commander of Army Group B.
Despite huge losses on the Eastern Front West Wall, would hold the British and Model would therefore direct the critical
and in Normandy, his Feldheer (armed Canadians, and Hitler planned to halt battle for Holland and Belgium.
forces), including those in Italy and the Americans on the Moselle and in the Hitler ordered that the Scheldt
Scandinavia, totalled over 10 million, Vosges. His experienced generals Model, fortresses be defended at all costs and
of whom 7.5 million were in the Army Student, Bittrich, and Chill would give that both sides of the estuary be held.
and Waffen SS. Montgomerys army a terrible bloody nose. He instructed General Kurt Student,
He needed 2 million men to keep C-in-C Paratroops, to form a new First
Stalins hordes at bay. He was deep into The battle for Holland and Belgium Parachute Army and to hold the line
planning for the huge operation in the Then came a shock, when Hitler, ensconced of the Albert Canal from Antwerp to
Ardennes, planned for the season of in his Wolfchancellery in Kastenburg, Maastricht, a front of 60 miles.
fog, night, and snow (Herbstnebel East Prussia, heard of the capture of Student was given command of the
Autumn Mist). His secret weapons Antwerp. On the same day, 4 September, forces already on the Dutch mainland,
were coming on stream: V-2 rockets were he reappointed the 69-year-old Field- and the portly Reichsmarschall Hermann
already falling on south-east England; his Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, the senior Goering then revealed, to everyones
Me 262 jet fighter/bomber was available and most dependable of all his generals, as surprise, that he had six very tough
in small numbers; the small U-boats for commander in chief in the west, with Field- parachute regiments in various stages
Admiral Doenitz were almost ready. Marshal Walther Model, his fireman, to of training or re-equipment; also that


outskirts of Antwerp. I visited this place Models army
Well fight until while on campaign. It was like a vicious,
bloody abbatoir.
Model told the Fhrer he needed
six weeks to buy time to get the half-
we get a peace abandoned Siegfried Line revitalised
Chain dogs and strengthened. Models career was
which secures the The Kettenhunde (chain dogs), the spectacular. He was not from a military
life of the German efficient German police, had a field
day. In towns and cities all over Germany,
family and was a rough-mannered man
without social graces. In 1941 he had
nation and will they captured men on leave and took commanded a panzer division in Russia
them to the nearest barracks or returned and led the drive to the Dnieper. Hitler
not besmirch them to their units at the front. had then promoted him to command
They were also deployed in Holland an army, and during the harsh winter of
our honour. to waylay stragglers from Normandy
and men from the XV Army who had
Adolf Hitler lost their unit.
These stragglers were shoved together
he could raise two more regiments into Kampfgruppen (KGr) or emergency
from paratroops in convalescent depots, battle groups. In the battle for Arnhem
making a total force of 20,000. He then and Oosterbeek, Model, Bittrich, and
added another 10,000 from Luftwaffe Student had no fewer than 24 KGr,
ground- and air-crews whose operations including ten SS.
and training had been stopped by a In his book Eclipse, war correspondent
shortage of petrol. They were classed Alan Moorehead noted:
as Fliegerhorst battalions. As members
of the German Air Force, they were all We began to collect extraordinary
dedicated Nazis. prisoners near-sighted clerks who
had left their city offices three weeks
Improvised divisions before, men with half-healed wounds,
Dr Josef Goebbels, C-in-C Home Army, even cripples and children of 15 or 16.
had already lowered the call-up age from It was a makeshift, hotch-potch army,
17 to 16 years, and this provided 300,000 an emergency army put in simply to
men in August, 200,000 in September, hold the gap, simply to fight for time
and another 200,000 in October. Many while the German generals reorganised
of these Hitlerjugend were drafted into on a sounder basis.
25 new Volksgrenadier divisions.
The German Navy disgorged tens Right The Paras are dropped: a view from the air
of thousands of under-employed officers of the assault on Arnhem.
and ratings; submarine crews and Middle British gliders on the ground at Arnhem.
water police were also mobilised as Below British Paratroops defend a foxhole during
front-line infantry. fierce fighting at Arnhem in mid September 1944.
In August, despite Albert Speers
protests, Hitler transferred 250,000
young men from industry into the
army. A brigade of seriously deaf men
was formed, as was the White Bread
Division, comprising patients with gastric
problems. Earless men, even limbless
men, were absorbed into Kranken units.
Practically every one of Hitlers fortresses
had regiments of Ost (eastern territories)
troops, or Hiwis or Hillfswillige pressed
men, mainly Poles, Czechs, or Alsace
Germans, who were unreliable and
deserted whenever they could.
Finally, there were small numbers of
dedicated Dutch or Belgian youths who
chose to become members of renegade
SS battalions. In the Arnhem battle, the
III Dutch SS Landsturm Niederland was
active, and there were at least two other
Dutch SS formations in existence. In
Belgium, a local SS unit was guarding
Breendonck concentration camp on the MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 29

Above Holland: the stalemated battleground of Arnhem The major part of the daily situation
autumn 1944, its sodden plains, criss-crossed Two full days before Market Garden was conference was taken up with discussions
by waterways, a massive impediment to launched, at 0725 hrs on 15 September, of the air landing, constantly interrupted
military movement. The map shows the drop- the intelligence from Ultra at Bletchley by telephone calls as fresh reports came
zones and the front-line on 17 September.
Park revealed: New location Flivo in. Hitler himself was chiefly impressed
Army Group B 07hrs 14th Oosterbeek with Models narrow escape, and he became
1941-1942 Model proved as resolute in 4 kilometres W of Arnhem. increasingly worried about the safety of his
defeat as he had been aggressive in attack. This proved conclusively that Hitlers own headquarters.
Hitler often sought his advice and most reliable and experienced field- In his own words, At any rate if such
generally accepted it. Regarded as a master marshal and his HQ were between the a mess happened here! Here I sit with my
of defensive strategy and improvisation, Arnhem bridge and the drop zones for whole Supreme Command; here sit the
his stocky, bustling figure was often seen the British Airborne Division, which Reichsmarschall [Goering], the OKH,
up at the front, and his troops trusted him. should have rung every possible alarm the Reichsfhrer SS [Himmler], the Reich
His ruthless energy was just what Hitler bell. Seventeen Allied airborne army Foreign Minister [von Ribbentrop]. Well
wanted. He gave himself the nickname of drops had been cancelled or deferred then, this is the most worthwhile catch,
the Fhrers fireman, capable of dealing at the last moment. It should have thats obvious. I would not hesitate to risk
with any emergency. happened for the 18th time. two parachute divisions here if with one
Model asked Hitler for 25 divisions When the news of the drop reached blow I could get my hands on the whole
to help stem the tide and, as his tank Hitler in his HQ in East Prussia, an German command.
strength post-Normandy was less than eye-witness described the scene: He then screamed, Holland overshadows
150, for as many tanks as could be spared. everything else.
Hitler dispatched the 506th Heavy Tank On the previous day, 16 September,
Battalion, equipped with 45 new Porsche a very important conference had As reports of more air landings
68-ton Tiger IIB tanks. Also authorised taken place at Wolfschanze when arrived, Hitler raged about the failure
was Major Freiherr von Maltzahns the Fhrer had outlined his plan for of the Luftwaffe. As a result of all the
107th Brigade, comprising 40 new the Ardennes offensive. All was calm. excitement, Holland was given top
Mark V Panther tanks complete with a But the next day things were very different. priority and every available reserve
Panzergrenadier regiment and a regiment As reports of the airborne landing came in, formation in Germany, even those as
of heavy motorised air-defence weapons. excitement mounted. far afield as Denmark, was alerted and


ordered to move down to defeat the
British/US penetration.

The autumn battleground

Holland is criss-crossed with canals and
major rivers: the Scheldt and Waal, the
Maas (Meuse) and the mighty Rhine.
The canals were usually about 40 yards
wide with 6ft- to 20ft-high banks, which
the British Royal Engineers could span
with Class 9 or 46 bridges, occasionally
with Bailey bridges. All the towns and
villages were strongly fortified with mines
and booby-traps. The total absence of
cover for attacking troops meant that if
the enemy zeroed his artillery or mortars
onto the top of dyked roads, movement Above A flooded landscape, typical of
became virtually impossible. conditions in Holland in late 1944.
The British Army had no experience of Right A British half-track bogged down
in Holland.
fighting in the polders fields saturated
in thick mud or, at worst, several feet of
icy water covering a glutinous bed, which Bodies and booby-traps
made every pace forward an immense The divisional sappers
effort. The digging of slit trenches, had brought from far away
waterlogged before they were dug, became hundreds of cut-down trees
a grim, shivering joke, and a leading tank and railway sleepers to give
was virtually certain to encounter a mine substance to the track. There
or a well-sited anti-tank gun. was light snow on the ground.
I was a troop leader in the 13th Royal Lying in the snow were the
Horse Artillery. I led my troop of four dead bodies of men of the 9th
Sexton SP 25-pounders, each weighing SS Hohenstaufen Division. hours on 17 September, Model drove
over 30 tons, very, very slowly along a Rather navely I asked why the sappers to Students HQ in Vught, 25 miles
track in the Peel country near Amerika had not buried them. The answer was south-west of Arnhem. By midnight,
(a peel is a heather-covered peat bog in Oh, Jerry has booby-trapped most of them. 10 or 11 KGr were assembled in the
which trees crowd together on any small The German Schu mine is made Arnhem area, and during the following
piece of land above the average elevation, almost entirely of wood. When trodden day, 18 September, 13 or 14 KGr were in
and where the roads are liable to rapid on, a spring ejects a small explosive action in and around the city.
disintegration under any heavy vehicle). which explodes at knee height, blowing But Models master-stroke was to push
off one or both legs. another 13 or 14 KGr into the Nijmegen
A month later, during Operation area, 11 miles south, to guard the vital
Aintree, my OP Bren-gun carrier went Rhine bridge and town. A further nine
over a double Teller mine reserved for KGr were sent to Best and Son. These
33-ton tanks and my driver was blown were the key moves that put an iron ring
to pieces. I ended up in Eindhoven around the doomed 1st Airborne Division.
hospital that night. Along the whole of the Albert Canal
front were 32 battalions with some artillery,
Models strategy but few AFVs. Student had deployed ten
Model had chosen an excellent HQ in of them to defend the key crossing-points
Oosterbeek. Around the area were the near Gheel and Aart.
remains of 9th SS Hohenstaufen Panzer Between 9 and 12 September, 50th
and 10th SS Frundsberg Panzer, each Tyne-Tees Division, which had taken
with a few AFVs (armoured fighting appalling casualties in North Africa, Sicily,
vehicles) and a reduced strength of and Normandy, struggled against 2nd
about 7,000 men. Fallschirmjger and the Panther tanks
When the 1st Airborne Division of 10th Panzer Brigade, and eventually
dropped its paratroops at about 1400 had to retreat with 900 casualties. Their
Durham Light Infantry had fought well
but were overwhelmed.
Left Thus far and no further: with the breakout Their place was taken by 15th Scottish,
beyond the Rhine stalled until the spring, a British who recaptured Gheel and Moll. Student
soldier guards the river bridge at Nijmegen
sent the Hermann Goering Training
(September 1944). Note the picture of the
Regiment, led by SS, and 44th Brigade
Fhrer inside the sentry box.
were forced out of the Aart bridgehead. MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 31

Polar Bears and Desert Rats evacuation plan to allow over 2,000
It was a makeshift, The Polar Bears, 49th Division, fresh
from the capture of Le Havre, liberated
Airborne to escape at night over the
lower Rhine at Oosterbeek, the 4th
hotch-potch army, many towns in the western sector Dorsets suffered heavily.
north-east of Antwerp. They captured The division as a whole took nearly
an emergency Turnhout, Roosendaal, and Utrecht 700 casualties in the last ten days of
army put in from mid-September into October.
Eventually, in 1945, their nippy little
September. Their reward was to spend
dreary months defending the area
simply to hold Daimler scout cars were first into the captured north of Nijmegen, known
Dam Square of Amsterdam. as the Island, from incessant attacks
the gap. In the battle for Mendicite, a from Models KGr.
formidable barrack-block west of
Alan Moorehead Turnhout, Corporal Harper of the Stalemate
Hallamshires won the Victoria Cross. By the end of September, seven
By 19 September, the Scots had suffered Their main task was to hold a 20-mile infantry divisions, three armoured
over 900 casualties. line along the Van Dessel canal between divisions, and two armoured brigades
Brecht and Poppel. During Operation had been sucked into the Market
Attrition and liberation Market Garden, the Polar Bears took Garden campaign. This large part
Another serious battle took place over 500 casualties. of the British Army then spent
in the Neerpelt bridgehead on 11th Armoured Division were right- four cold winter months slowly but
13-17 September. The Guards flank protection during Market Garden, persistently driving Models army
Armoured Division had forced a fighting in the area east of Eindhoven group east to the Maas. There were
crossing of the Albert Canal at between 10 and 21 September. The successive operations to capture
Beeringen on 7 September and pushed Panther tanks of von Maltzahns 107th Overloon, Blerick, Eilenkirchen,
forward 20 miles north to gain two Panzer Brigade were often in action Breda, Tilburg, Oosterhout, and
bridgeheads across the Meuse-Escaut against 11th Armoureds Shermans sHertogenbosch. It took four months
Canal at De Groote Barrier. Fierce the only considerable tank versus tank to advance 25 miles.
opposition from Sievers 719th Division battle in Holland. Model, Student, Bittrich, Chill,
and other units rushed there by Student 7th Armoured, the Desert Rats, and the many formidable German
contained the situation. Heavy fighting after liberating Ghent, arrived on commanders bought time with their
took place around La Colonie. 15 September at Herenthals, west of ferocious stalemate defences, so that
The 53rd Welsh Division was tasked Weert on the Canal de Jonction. Some the West Wall could be refortified, and
with the capture of Lommel, halfway regiments supported 15th Scottish or so that Hitlers desperate onslaught
between Gheel and Weert. They had to 53rd Welsh, and finally linked up with in the Ardennes could be launched
make an assault crossing of the Canal 51st Highland to capture Middlebeers, in mid-December.
de Jonction de la Meuse, initially by 16 10 miles west of Eindhoven.
Class V rafts built by the Pioneers and REs. 43rd Wessex Wyverns Division,
For two weeks the Welshmen fought at despite their appalling losses in
Luyksgester, Wintelre, and a dozen small Normandy, were chosen to lead the Patrick Delaforce is the author of many
villages, mainly against the 6th Parachute infantry towards the relief of Nijmegen books on the Second World War, most recently
Regiment. They battled their way north and Arnhem. Their main actions The Fighting Wessex Wyverns and Adolf Hitler:
to secure a large area west of Eindhoven, took place around Elst, Oosterhout, curious and macabre anecdotes, published by
Fonthill Media in late 2012.
and suffered 800 casualties between and Driel. In Operation Berlin, the
15 and 26 September
3rd British, Montys old command,
forced a crossing of the Meuse-Escaut Christmas dinner,
Western Front, 1944.
Canal at Lille St Hubert on 18 September.
In Hamont they captured a huge German
supply-depot: cheese in toothpaste tubes,
honey biscuits, Knckebrot, ersatz coffee,
pork, and beans; but the frankfurters
were too spicy!
In Achel, just inside Belgium, the
villagers were rapturous, wept on our
shoulders, drew us to their hearts, kissed
us, pressed fruit and flowers upon us.
The reception by the Dutch in Weert was
even better. The countryside was desolate
sandy heaths, belts of pine trees, meagre
little farms, the roads mere tracks,
mines were difficult to detect, the fields
waterlogged, and the causeways stood
naked above the fields.

Our 2014 tours now include:
3RODQG LQ ::,,
and many more.
Ask our friendly staff for more details of our 2014
programme or to request our 2014 brochure.
All our tours are


Medicine and
Conflict Gallery
T H E W Y LY E V A L L E Y Explore soldiers experiences of hearing loss, limb loss

1914 P R O J E C T
and shell shock in the First World War and reflect on how
far military medicine has come in 100 years. Created with
the help of veterans and servicemen and women.
O come all ye faithful in honour of
the British Expeditionary Force Open daily 10am-5pm.
Tickets last all year.
Camps for the volunteers for the 25th and Group discounts. On-site
26th infantry divisions of Kitcheners third parking. Caf serving
lunch and snacks.
New Army
Living Historians from the Great War
Society and the Yeomanry
A dug 30 metre trench

Thackray Medical Museum

Finishing with a RBL Drumhead Service Beckett Street
And much more. LS9 7LN

26 27 JULY 2014,


CONFERENCE Weetwood Hall
The First World War was a key
turning point in world history
that claimed the lives of over 16
million people across the globe and
impacted on the lives of everyone.
MUSEUM As we approach this important
centenary, people of all ages will be
reflecting on the events that took
place, the experiences of men and
women both here and overseas,
and how the war has shaped the
last 100 years.
In order to remember such a
significant part of history, Weetwood Hall Conference Centre in Leeds will be hosting the First
World War in retrospect Conference between 28 July and 1 August 2014, where 19 eminent
speakers share their views, expertise and thoughts on the conflict.
Discussions will include the state of the warring nations armies and navies, conflict in the air, the
role that animals and sportsmen played, and even the music of the era. Filmed and Not Forgotten from
the Yorkshire Film Archive will be shown as well as information on tracing family history.
Thackray Medical This conference has been planned by Dr Peter Liddle, Conference Director and Colonel Alan
Museum Roberts, Military Consultant, for everyone to explore the stories and experiences of all those
The award winning Thackray Medical affected by war.
Museum in Leeds is a unique visitor
attraction. With nine interactive galleries, TEL: 0113 230 6000
the fascinating exhibitions and collections EMAIL:
tell a story of medicine that affects us all. WEB:
DATES: 28 July - 1 August 2014
To mark the centenary of the First World
War, a brand new exhibition opens in July
2014 funded by Arts Council England.
Focussing on the medical advances that
emerged from the war, the exhibition TOUR Mercat International Ltd
will look at soldiers experiences of 3 August 2014 marks the beginning of the centenary
hearing loss, limb loss and shell shock. of WWI. From the early days of that great European
Using the museum collections, the tragedy, Ypres centred in the plans of the belligerent
exhibition will highlight the long-term nations. It is only fitting that acknowledgement of this
developments which followed the conflict, fact should be central to any memorial ceremonies
such as improvements in technology that may be planned. Mercat Tours International
and rehabilitation, as well as looking at Ltd is organising a commemoration of the Christmas
approaches to the treatment of shell shock. Truce of December 1914 to take place between 23 and
Created with the help of veterans and 27 December 2014. This event is specifically designed
servicemen and women, the exhibition to allow Scots to recall the events of the Christmas
will allow the visitor to reflect on how far truce with dignity and respect.
military medicine has come in 100 years, A lecture for all participants will be provided by Edinburgh University on the background to the
and the difficulties in healing the body and unofficial ceasefire of December 1914. Everyone will receive a commemorative scarf knitted by
the mind. volunteers from across Scotland a symbol of the contributions by the soldiers families who did
TEL: 0113 244 4343 likewise for their sons, brothers, and fathers throughout the war years.
EMAIL: This unique commemorative event in December 2014 is a fitting and respectful way of saying loudly
WEB: and with pride, We do remember them.
OPENING TIMES: TEL: +44 (0) 131 225 5445 TOUR DETAILS
Monday-Sunday, 10am-5pm. EMAIL: WWI Christmas Truce Centenary
Closed 24, 25, 26, 31 December and 1 January. WEB: 23-27 December 2014
How will you be commemorating the
anniversary of the First World War?
We are kicking off our Centenary
Season MHMs WWI events and
activities coverage over the next four
years with a selection of tours,
conferences, and projects not to be
missed during the coming months.

Holts Battleelds and History Tours
Our WWI tours capture the historical essence of this time and the horrors endured by both sides of the conflict, with
visits to battlefields, museums, war cemeteries, and memorials.
Included in our programme will be Mons and the Retreat, which follows the dramatic opening British battles of
the war in 1914. Another tour focusing upon 1914 is First Ypres and the Christmas Truce, which studies the pitiless
month-long First Battle of Ypres which led to almost a quarter of a million casualties and the extraordinary truce that followed.
The WWI programme in 2014 also includes tours focusing upon Gallipoli, Ypres, Vimy, and The Somme, Women on the Western Front, Liege
Forts, Survivors of a Kind, Tactics of Trench Warfare Walks, and Somme Walks, which enables you to get a feel for the ground and gain a level of
understanding which one cannot get from simply looking at a map.

TEL: 01293 865000 TOUR DETAILS: Gallipoli 1915 Liege Forts 1914 and 1940 Survivors of a Kind
EMAIL: First Ypres and the Its A Long Way To Tipperary: Mons and the Retreat Tactics of Trench Warfare Walks
WEB: Christmas Truce Ypres, Vimy and The Somme Somme Walks Women on the Western Front

The Wylye
Valley 1914
This project aims to
commemorate the
outbreak of the Great
War, to portray the arrival
in our valley in late
August 1914 of thousands
of Kitcheners Volunteers ACE Cultural Tours
eager to be trained, and Established in 1958, ACE Cultural Tours is the
the effects this had on UKs most experienced cultural travel tour
the local community. operator, offering over 200 fascinating expert-led
Funding support has small group tours annually.
come from the Western In 2014, we mark the centenary of the outbreak
Front Association, of the First World War in the company of former
the Armed Forces soldier-turned-academic Dr John Greenacre, who
Community Covenant, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Wiltshire Council, and the Cranborne leads our Journey Through The Great War.
Area of Outstanding National Beauty. Beginning in Ypres with the Flanders Fields
The project comes to fruition next July, in particular over the weekend 26-27 in Museum and moving Last Post Ceremony at the
Codford, near Warminster. Its provisional programme can be found on the website www. Menin Gate, we visit the battlefields and memorials But here is a taster: of the Ypres Salient, the Somme, and Arras,
before finally coming to the Glade of the Armistice
An 8m x 3m interpretative display map of our camps in the Forest of Compigne. Along the way, we seek
Order of battle of our first two divisions, the 25th and 26th infantry divisions to understand the First World War not only
Explanation and map of the Casualty Evacuation system in terms of its great battles, but as an evolving
Visual presentation on the BEFs operations, August-November 1914, and its subsequent conflict in which the very nature of warfare was
development constantly changing.
A proper 30m trench
Living Historians including the Great War Society and the Yeomanry
TEL: 01223 841055 TOUR DETAILS:
Finishing with a Drumhead Service. EMAIL: ace@ A Journey Through The Great War
EMAIL: WEB: www. DATES: June 2-7 2014,
WEB: 985

Above Russias Pacific Fleet was battered in sea

battles, then by shelling from land-based artillery
when it took refuge in the harbour at Port Arthur (as
shown here). The Baltic Fleet was dispatched to bring
badly needed reinforcements and enable the Russians
to challenge Japanese naval supremacy in theatre.

It was the battle that turned Japan into a Great Power and
heralded the end of Tsarist Russia. Allan George analyses one
of the most decisive naval battles in history.

he morse key in the flagship it up as a major naval power, and feeding
chattered the Nelsonian its expansionist ambition.
signal: The Empires fate In purely naval terms, the battle
depends upon the result led to a revolution in naval design,
of the battle. Let every bringing fast, big-gun battleships to
man do his utmost duty an the fore. Wireless communication was
inspirational message to the Japanese used for the first time as a practical
fleet from its Commander, Admiral means of tactical communication. This
Togo Heihachiro, for the forthcoming enabled much more effective command
clash with the Russians. and control over large, fast-moving
The Battle of Tsushima was as much fleets in action, a factor destined to
of a defining moment for the Japanese be of huge significance in WWI, less
as Trafalgar had been for the British. than a decade hence.
Nelson, though, had sent his message by On the night of 26/27 May 1905,
flag. A century later, in the new age of the Russian Second Pacific Squadron
steel battleships, Togo used wireless. of four new Borodino-class battleships,
The admirals flagship was Mikasa, seven older battleships, eight cruisers,
a British-built battleship, and it was and supporting vessels, under
leading the Japanese Combined Fleet the command of Admiral Zinovy
as it prepared to engage the Russian Rozhestvensky, crept through thick fog
Second Pacific Squadron. The clash hoping to arrive at Vladivostok without
would effectively end the Russo-Japanese being detected by the Japanese.
War of 1904-1905. Its geopolitical
All images: WIPL, unless otherwise stated

impacts would reverberate through

most of the 20th century.
Togo was making
The Russians approach the first ever use
This first confrontation between
modern battleships destroyed Russian of wireless in a
naval power in the Far East, and helped
undermine the very foundations of naval battle.
Tsarism. It also established Japan as
the leading nation in the East, setting


Below Mikasa, Togos

ADMIRAL TOGO flagship at Tsushima.
HEIHACHIRO Inset An exceptionally
It has been said that rare photograph of the
Admiral Togo Heihachiro wrote in his battle itself, showing the
journal after the Battle of Tsushima: Japanese fleet sailing into
I am firmly convinced that I am the action on the afternoon
reincarnation of Horatio Nelson. of 27 May 1905.
Nelson or not, he was most certainly
imbued with the aggressive culture of
the Royal Navy. He trained in England
with the Royal Navy between 1871
and 1878, and during his stay, which The squadron was in a poor way,
included sea time with the Fleet and having sailed some 18,000 miles on a
instruction at Portsmouth and the Royal chaotic voyage from the Baltic which
Naval College at Greenwich, he helped had begun seven months earlier. It
supervise the construction of Japanese
arrived in the Far East by way of the
warships in British yards.
Cape of Good Hope and Cam Ranh
As captain of the cruiser Naniwa,
Bay in Indo-China. En route, it almost
he fought in the Battle of the Yalu River
ignited a war with Great Britain, when
in 1894 during the First Sino-Japanese
it shelled innocent fishermen plying
War. He was subsequently appointed
their trade near the Dogger Bank in
Commandant of the Naval War College,
the North Sea.
and then Commander-in-Chief of
Rozhestvenskys objective was to
the Combined Fleet in 1903. At the
reinforce what remained of the Russian
beginning of the Russo-Japanese War, he
fleet in the Far
commanded the Japanese Navy in the
East, which had
Battles of Port Arthur and the Yellow Sea.
lost capital
In 1911, on a visit to England, Admiral
ships in battle
Togo was given a lock of Admiral Nelsons
hair, which he later donated to the Japanese
Naval Academy at Edajima, near Kure City,
Hiroshima. The container
containing the lock has,
however, been missing
from the Naval Academy
since the end of WWII.


The Russo-Japanese War (8 February There had been negotiations
1904-5 September 1905) was the between the two powers, with Japan
first of the major wars of the 20th suggesting Russia as the dominant
century, and was the result of power in Manchuria, and Japan
clashing imperial ambitions, primarily having control of Korea. But the talks
over control of Korea and Manchuria. came to naught.
One driving Russian ambition was As a consequence, the Japanese
to acquire a warm-water port on made a surprise attack on the naval
the Pacific. Vladivostok, which base at Port Arthur, on the Liaotung
they already possessed, was only Peninsula, which the Russians
operational in the summer. had leased from the Chinese. The

Left Japanese troops in camp during the Siege of Port Arthur. The victory of these
soldiers in the Russo-Japanese War signalled the emergence of Japan as a Great Power.



Crossing the T
and during the subsequent blockade of
Port Arthur in the early stages of the war. Togo outmanoeuvred Rozhestvensky
Encompassed in this objective was the and executed the classic naval tactic ADMIRAL ZINOVY
hope that the additional ships would of crossing the Russian T. Thus the ROZHESTVENSKY
allow the Russians to engage and defeat Japanese ships sailed in front of and Admiral Zinovy
the Japanese Navy, isolating its land forces across the Russian course. This enabled Rozhestvensky, after passing out of the
fighting in Manchuria. the Japanese to engage the leading Mikhailovsky Artillery Academy in 1873,
Russian ships, at a range of 7,500 yards, initially served with the Baltic Fleet as a
The Japanese intercept with virtually all their main armament, gunnery officer, and later in the gunboat
As the Russian ships steamed through while the Russians could reply with only Vesta during the Russo-Turkish War. At one
the Straits of Tsushima between Korea their forward guns. stage, he led a torpedo attack on Turkish
and Japan, a patrolling Japanese The Russians were further hampered iron-clad warships, which was beaten back
auxiliary cruiser, the Shinano Maru, by the presence of a number of support by gunfire, and subsequently his ship
caught a glimpse of the navigation vessels, which they had to protect, damaged the Turkish warship Fethi-Bulend.
lights of a hospital ship at the tail slowing the speed of their capital ships, He was later seconded for two years to the
of the Russian squadron. Then it already less than that of the more newly formed Bulgarian Navy.
identified the shapes of the warships modern Japanese vessels. His potential as an up-and-coming
young naval officer was recognised by
stealing through the murk, and the Admiral Rozhestvensky turned his
appointment as naval attach to London,
game was up. ships into a line of battle to steam
and then by successive commands of the
Shinano Maru immediately signalled parallel to the Japanese, such that the
armoured cruiser Vladimir Monomakh
the Japanese commander-in-chief by majority of their guns could bear on
in the Russian Mediterranean squadron,
wireless. Togo raised steam to intercept the enemy, at a range of about 6,500
the coast-defence ship Pervenets, and
the Russians. This is believed to be the yards, but not before the Japanese had
the Baltic Fleet gunnery school.
first time wireless signals had been used to concentrated their fire on the Russian
Subsequently, as Chief of Naval
alert a battle-fleet to the enemys presence. flagship, Knyaz Suvorov. This was
Staff, he developed proposals for
The two fleets converged, with the repeatedly hit and set on fire, as was
strengthening the Russian naval
Japanese coming from the north-east the battleship Oslyabya.
presence in the Far East.
to block the passage of the Russians Both fell out of the Russian line of
He had the reputation
sailing from the south-west. battle. Oslyabya sank within half an
of having a hot temper,
At the end of their long voyage, hour. Knyaz Suvarov attempted to
and was nicknamed
the Russian crews were tired and withdraw, but eventually also sank.
mad dog behind
demoralised, and their ships worn out. In this phase of the engagement
his back.
In contrast, the Japanese were fresh out Rozhestvensky was injured, and, as
of port and raring for a fight. Knyaz Suvorov was obviously sinking, he
The fog thinned, with daylight transferred to the destroyer Buiny, but
allowing about five miles visibility. By devolved command to Rear-Admiral
early afternoon, Togos force having Nikolai Nebogatov in Tsar Nikolai I. Below The fall of one empire, the rise of another.
been vectored to the enemy by wireless The battleships Borodino and Tsar Dishevelled Russian troops march out of Port Arthur
signals, both fleets sighted each other. Aleksandr III were also hit repeatedly, after its surrender, as smart Japanese march in.

Japanese Army laid siege to a clear demonstration of the

the port, which eventually inefficiency of the Russian
surrendered. Navy. While steaming through
There were a number of the North Sea, the Russians
skirmishes at sea, culminating encountered British fishing
in the Battle of the Yellow Sea. boats near the Dogger Bank,
Japan won all of these, and, to and, incredibly, misidentified
strengthen the beleaguered them as Japanese gunboats.
Russian forces, the bulk of the The Russians attacked them,
Baltic Fleet (soon becoming the killing three fishermen and
Second Pacific Squadron) was wounding a number of others.
dispatched halfway around The Russian warships also fired
the world. on themselves, causing some
Its voyage was chaotic and casualties and damage. MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 39

suffering terminal damage and sinking I had not only never witnessed such a By sunset, the Russian fleet had
soon afterwards. fire before, I had never even imagined it. been devastated, four battleships having
It seemed impossible even to count the been sunk and others heavily damaged,
Rate of fire number of projectiles striking us. Shells without inflicting any significant
The Japanese rate of fire was much seemed to be pouring upon us incessantly damage on the Japanese in return.
greater than the Russians, and far one after another. The steel plates and
more accurate, in part a result of superstructure on the upper decks were Torpedo attack
having up-to-date range-finders. The torn to pieces, and the splinters caused As darkness fell, Togo ordered torpedo
Japanese ships were fitted with state- many casualties. Iron ladders were attacks by his 21 destroyers and 37 torpedo-
of-the-art, British-made Barr & Stroud crumpled up into rings, and guns were boats. The remaining Russian warships
equipment, while the Russians were literally hurled from their mountings. were now desperately trying to escape
using Luizhol range-finders dating In addition to this, there was the to Valdivostok, in small groups and as
from the 1880s. unusually high temperature and individual ships, under cover of darkness.
A Russian officer, Commander liquid flame of the explosion, which The attack soon degenerated into
Vladimir Semenoff, serving in the seemed to spread over everything. I a confused mle, and a number of
Russian flagship Knyaz Suvarov, wrote actually watched a steel plate catch Japanese vessels collided with each
of the battle: fire from a burst. other. At one stage, several Russian
warships actually helped the Japanese
locate their position by turning on their
ORDER OF BATTLE searchlights to spot their attackers.
Japanese Combined Fleet In the chaos, the old Russian
battleship Navarin struck a mine, halting
FIRST SQUADRON Fourth Division her escape, presenting an easy target
First Division Naniwa protected cruiser to the Japanese. She was struck by four
Takachiho protected cruiser torpedoes before sinking with a massive
Mikasa (flagship) battleship
Akashi protected cruiser loss of life: only three sailors survived
Shikishima battleship
Tsushima protected cruiser from a crew of more than 600.
Fuji battleship
The battleship Sissoi Veliky, already
Asahi battleship
hit and set on fire during the daylight
Kasuga armoured cruiser Third Destroyer Division 4 x destroyers encounter, suffered torpedo damage to
Nisshin armoured cruiser Fifth Destroyer Division 4 x destroyers her rudders and screws in a destroyer
Tatsuta dispatch vessel
attack. Her captain decided to beach
Third Division THIRD SQUADRON her in the shallows off Tsushima Island,
Kasagi protected cruiser but when approached by two Japanese
Fifth Division
Chitose protected cruiser armed cruisers he surrendered; by this
Itsukushima (flagship) protected cruiser time, however, his ship was sinking and
Niitaka protected cruiser
Chinen rebuilt ex-Chinese could not be towed away as a prize.
Otowa protected cruiser
turret ship Vladimir Monomakh, an armoured
First Destroyer Division Matsushima protected cruiser cruiser, suffered a torpedo strike near
4 x destroyers Hashidate protected cruiser her bows, and Admiral Nakhimov, another
Second Destroyer Division Yaeyama dispatch vessel armoured cruiser, collided with a
4 x destroyers Japanese destroyer. Both the Russian
Fourth Destroyer Division Sixth Division ships were effectively crippled and had
4 x destroyers
Suma protected cruiser to be scuttled after daybreak.
Ninth Torpedo-Boat Division
Chiyoda protected cruiser In the night-time battle, the Russians
4 x torpedo boats
Akitsushima protected cruiser lost another two battleships and two
Izumi protected cruiser armoured cruisers. The Japanese lost
SECOND SQUADRON just three torpedo-boats.
Second Division Tenth Torpedo-Boat Division
Izumo (flagship) armoured cruiser 4 x torpedo boats Pursuit
Azuma armoured cruiser The six ships which remained under
Tokiwa armoured cruiser Eleventh Torpedo-Boat Division Admiral Nebogatovs direct command
Yakumo armoured cruiser 4 x torpedo boats anxiously steamed northwards towards
Asama armoured cruiser Vladivostok, more than 400 nautical
Iwate armoured cruiser Fifteenth Torpedo Boat Division miles away. Togo caught them, however,
Chinaya dispatch vessel 4 x torpedo boats near the island of Takeshima, off the
east coast of Korea.




Above Plan of the first phase of the Battle of

Tsushima. Togos fleet crosses the T, bringing all ORDER OF BATTLE
its guns to bear on the leading Russian ships. Russian Fleet
It was obvious to Nebogatov that First Division First Cruiser Division
his situation was hopeless and further Knyaz Suvorov battleship Oleg protected cruiser
fighting could only have one outcome. (flagship) Aurora protected cruiser
To avoid further bloodshed, he Tsar Aleksandr III battleship Dmitri Donskoi armoured cruiser
surrendered to the now overwhelmingly Borodino battleship Vladimir Monomakh armoured cruiser
powerful Japanese. Oryol battleship
The handful of Russian ships which Second Scouting Division
had not surrendered were pursued by the Second Division
Svetlana protected cruiser
Japanese. Most still at sea were destroyed, Oslyabya battleship Ural armed merchant
although the cruiser Izumrud, despite Sissoi Veliky battleship cruiser
being part of the group surrendered by Navarin battleship
Nebogatov, escaped. It ran aground on Admiral Nakhimov armoured cruiser
First Destroyer Division
the Siberian coast, however, and had
to be scuttled. Three other warships Third Division 4 x destroyers
reached Vladivostok, and others, Tsar Nikolai I battleship Second Destroyer Division
including the cruiser Aurora, were General Admiral Graf coastal 4 x destroyers
interned in neutral ports. Apraksin defence ship
The Russian Second Pacific Admiral Seniavin coastal
Squadron had to all intents been TRANSPORT SQUADRON
defence ship
destroyed: 21 ships had been sunk, Admiral Ushakov coastal Auxiliaries
and a further half dozen captured; defence ship 9 x vessels, including among others:
4,380 Russian sailors had been killed transports
and a further 5,917 captured. All of Attached Cruisers
this came at little cost to the Japanese: Zhemchug protected cruiser
a mere three torpedo-boats lost, 117 hospital ships
Izumrud protected cruiser
sailors killed, and 583 wounded. MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 41


By a curious coincidence, two of the ships that took part in the Battle of Tsushima 1991 St Petersburg again) in 1897, Aurora was completed in 1903 as part of a
still exist, and can be visited by members of the public: Togos flagship Mikasa and three-ship programme.
the Russian cruiser Aurora are both now museum ships. Aurora sustained some damage during the Battle of Tsushima, but escaped with
The existence of the Aurora is of particular significance, since she returned to the two other cruisers and was interned in Manila in the Philippines. She was released
Baltic Fleet after being interned in the Philippines, and was the ship that signalled the a year later and returned to the Baltic to become a cadet-training ship.
Storming of the Winter Palace in Petrograd during the October Revolution of 1917. She was back in the Baltic at the outbreak of WWI in August 1914. Her war service
was confined to patrols in the Baltic, screening minesweeping operations, and giving
Mikasa naval gunfire support to land forces. After WWI she was taken out of reserve, and
Mikasa is believed to be the last pre-dreadnought battleship in the world, and has been returned to service as a training ship in 1922.
preserved as a museum ship in Yokoshuka. She is named after Mount Mikasa. She found a new lease of life during the 872-day-long siege of Leningrad, as her
Built by Vickers at Barrow-in-Furness, she was completed in 1902. Her design was a anti-aircraft weapons were part of the ports air-defence against heavy attacks by
development of the Royal Navys Majestic class, which gave considerable firepower and the Luftwaffe, but she was eventually sunk in Orienbaum Roads.
armoured protection. At the time she was seen as being very much state-of-the-art. However, her important role in starting the Russian Revolution was not forgotten, and
Mikasa was armed with 4 x 12-inch main guns and a secondary battery of 14 x 6-inch in 1944 she was raised and rebuilt to look as similar as possible to how she would have
guns, plus an array of smaller weapons and 4 x 18-inch torpedo tubes. She was powered appeared in 1917. She was given a permanent anchorage on the River Neva in Leningrad
by triple expansion engines producing 15,000hp, and when new was capable of 18 knots. as a monument to the Bolshevik Revolution, becoming a museum ship in 1957.
Mikasa was recommissioned in 1908, but was soon regarded Aurora is the oldest ship in commission in the Russian Navy,
as obsolete because of the revolution d was awarded the Order of the Red Banner in 1927 and
in battleship with the launching of HMS e Order of the October Revolution in February 1968.
Dreadnought. She was reclassified as a
second-class battleship, and then reduced
to the third class. By 1921 she was serving
as a coast-defence ship.
In 1925 she became a museum ship and
was berthed in Yokosuka, where she remains
open to the public.

Laid down in the Russian city of St Petersburg
(later Petrograd, then Leningrad, and since

Anatomy of victory navy that was keen to

The victory was the result of Japanese prove itself.
strengths and Russian weaknesses. The Furthermore, most of the Russian
Japanese commander, Admiral Togo, ships were obsolescent and ill-equipped. but also in Europe, where it was seen
had recent combat experience in the They did include four French-designed by Germany and Austro-Hungary as a
Russo-Japanese War, and he commanded and recently built Borodino-class less powerful threat: a perception that
an efficient fleet. battleships: Knyaz Suvarov, Borodino, may have influenced their willingness
The Imperial Japanese Navy had Oryol, and Tsar Aleksandr III, which to countenance war a decade later.
been trained by the Royal Navy, and together formed the First Division of The defeat contributed to the outbreak
largely equipped with up-to-date ships Rozhestvenskys fleet; but these ships of mutinies in the Russian fleet at
built either in British yards or locally had new and ill-trained crews who had Sevastopol, Kronstadt, and Vladivostok,
to British designs. not been fully worked-up. including the famous Potemkin uprising,
These ships were fitted with state-of- events which formed part of the 1905
the-art guns, range-finders and other War and revolution Revolution, the great dress-rehearsal
equipment, and ammunition. They were Tsushima was a watershed battle in for 1917. The outbreak of revolution at
manned by well-trained and worked-up geopolitical terms. It was the first defeat home reacted back in turn on events in
crews, and they operated close to their of a Western nation by an Asian one. the Far East, making it impossible for the
home bases. So they were in a much White racial supremacy part of the Tsar to prosecute the war and compelling
better state of repair than the Russian ideological basis of imperialism was him to sue for peace.
ships, which had just completed the dealt a blow. After the battle, moreover,
long voyage from the Baltic. Japan began to see itself as one of the
The Russians were in poor shape after Great Powers, and developed the ambition ABOUT THE AUTHOR
that voyage. Their men were in need of to become the leader of East Asia. Allan George is a journalist and naval historian
rest, and their ships needed refitting. Russia, whose naval strength in the who worked as an information officer for the
They were in no state to fight a battle, Far East had been shattered, suffered Royal Navy, the Army, and the RAF.
particularly against a well-equipped great loss of prestige, not only in Asia,


African Battlefields is a registered South African tour
operator based in Pretoria, specializing in the Anglo Zulu
war of 1879 and Anglo Boer Battlefields of 1899 to 1902
during the British colonial era of 19th century Africa.



Bob Wood

++27 83 448 6898
Military History
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to undertake higher levels of academic study in the field
of military history and strategic studies.

International Security
This course examines threats to security and
responses at many levels of modern life. It is an
excellent preparation for many careers in the civil and
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Email d.b.g.heuser@reading
Tel: +44 (0)118 378 8378

42cm M-GERT 14
David Porter takes a look at one of Germanys first secret weapons.

action fuse had exploded inside. Half the
cupola stood upright, 50 metres away; the
other half had fallen to the ground. When

his siege howitzer has a which restricted the maximum range to I visited the fort later, I found a clean
strong claim to be the first only 9,000 metres (9,843 yards). round hole in the part of the cupola that
German secret weapon. It The type proved its worth in the had been thrown to one side, punched
was produced in response opening campaigns of 1914, rapidly out by the projectile. The head of the shell
to the lessons of the Russo- demolishing the Belgian forts protecting was found in the demolished cupola,
Japanese War of 1904-1905 in which the Lige, Namur, and Antwerp which had still sharp a striking testimonial
Japanese only succeeded in breaking proved invulnerable to lighter artillery. to the excellence of the material and
through the Russian defences of Port After the war, Captain Becker who served workmanship.
Arthur after a prolonged bombardment with the first M-Gert battery wrote of his
by 28cm (11in) coast-defence howitzers. howitzers bombardment of Antwerp: Good as the German APHE rounds
The Germans appreciated the need were, their effectiveness was enhanced
for even larger siege artillery to destroy the 42cm shell was effective against the by the poor quality of the concrete used
the formidable French and Belgian heaviest armour and concrete of the in the construction of the Belgian forts
fortifications that threatened to disrupt Belgian forts. I recall in particular a hit one German engineer remarked that the
the Schlieffen Plan, and developed a made by my own battery on Fort Wavre Belgian government had been shamefully
series of prototype weapons. St Catherine, in the outer defences of defrauded by its contractors.
In 1909 the 42cm (16.5in) Gamma- Antwerp, on 29 September 1914 The The type remained in service
Gert underwent trials, but it was so heavy conduct of the fire was a pleasure to an throughout the war and it seems likely
that it could only be transported by rail artilleryman Half a minute or so after that a total of twelve Berthas were built
in ten separate loads, and had to be fired the telephone warning, on the way, the by 1918, some of which were fitted with
from a specially laid concrete platform. It projectile could be heard approaching. L/30 30.5-cm barrels improve their range,
was clear that a more mobile weapon was The train is coming, my telephone at the expense of shell weight. These
needed, and by mid-1914 two examples of operator used to say. Now it was time to weapons were known as the Schwere
the definitive 42cm M-Gert 14 howitzer sight the telescope just above the target as, Kartaune or Beta-M-Gert.
were completed by Krupps chief designer, with a little practice, the shell could be
Professor Fritz Rausenberger. They were picked up in the air and the impact itself
soon dubbed Dicke Bertha Big Bertha observed. On that day, I saw my eleventh SPECIFICATIONS
after Bertha Krupp, the wife of the owner shot strike squarely on the top of the forts Weight: 43.55 tonnes (42.85 tons)
of the Krupp armaments consortium. artillery cupola, whose guns were firing
Shell Weight: 820kg (1,807lb)
The new gun weighed only 43.55 back at us. There was a quick flash,
tonnes and broke down into five which we had learned to recognise Length: 6.72m (22ft)
loads for road transport, towed by as the impact of steel upon steel before Barrel Length: 5.04m (16ft 6in)
specially designed Daimler tractors. an appreciable pause, during which the Range: 9,000m (9,843 yards)
The ammunition was the same 820kg cupola seemed undamaged. This was
Calibre: 42cm (16.5in)
(1,807lb) Armour Piercing High Explosive followed by a great explosion. After a few
(APHE) shell as that fired by Gamma- minutes the smoke began to clear, and Elevation: 75
Gert, but the need to save weight forced we saw a black hole, from which dense Traverse: 4
the designers to adopt a shorter barrel, smoke was still pouring the shell, fitted MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 45

Forget Lee, Grant, and Sherman, says Jeffrey James.

General George Thomas may well have been the
greatest general of the American Civil War.


The Rock of
f stolid disposition, At the Battle of Buena Vista Later, while posted as a cavalry
ponderous physique, and (21 February 1847), his battery of instructor at West Point (1851-1854),
tagged with a number of guns held firm under fire for ten concerned at his students impatience
uninspiring nicknames straight hours, from 6am to 4pm, to launch into a gallop and the poor
among them Old Pap beating off enemy attacks at point- condition of the academys horses, he
and Slow Trot Thomas Union General blank range, an action which gained ordered the cadets (among them one
George Henry Thomas, victor of the him the brevet rank of major. J E B Stuart) to maintain a slower pace.
Battle of Nashville, hero of Chickamauga,
rarely figures in the line-up of noted LIFE AND CAREER
commanders of the American Civil War.
Compared with military giants like Thomas
Generals Robert E Lee and Ulysses S
Grant, Thomas is listed among the also- 1816 Born on 31 July in Newsoms Depot, Virginia.
rans portrayed as a cautious plodder, 1836 Enrols in the Military Academy at West Point.
reliable in defence, but slow to attack. 1841 Serves in the Second Seminole War, fighting against Chief Osceola.
Being subordinate to Grant for a 1846 Fights in the Mexican War.
large part of the war did not help. The
1852 Marries Frances Kellogg. Six months after he transfers to Texas from New York.
two men seldom saw eye to eye. Despite
acknowledging Thomass judgement, 1854 Promoted to Commanding Officer at Fort Yuma, California.
coolness, and honesty, Grant characterised 1861 Turns down Governor of Virginia John Letchers offer to become the states Chief
him as lacking in offensive spirit. of Ordnance. Civil war breaks out on 1 July. Thomas is appointed Brigadier-General
But that was to take a somewhat in the Union Army in August.
blinkered, partial view; one overlooking 1862 Thomas wins hard-fought victory at Mill Springs, Kentucky, on 18 January. He is
Thomass supreme professionalism, promoted to Major-General of Volunteers on 25 April, but declines overall command
defensive and offensive acumen, and of the Army of the Ohio prior to the Battle of Perryville on 8 October.
unflappability. Not to mention the fact
1863 Thomas distinguishes himself at the Battles of Stones River (31 December 1862-
that all the battles he fought, he won.
2 January 1863), Chickamauga (20 September), and Chattanooga (23-25 November).
Early career 1864 Placed in overall command of Union forces in Tennessee, Thomas decisively
In contrast to many of his fellow defeats Confederate forces under General Hood at the Battle of Nashville
officers (often amateurs and political (15-16 December). He is promoted to Major-General in the regular army
on 24 December.
appointees), Thomas, a regular soldier
prior to the outbreak of Civil War, had 1865 Thomas receives the formal thanks of Congress on 3 March.
the rare experience of all three combat 1869 Transferred to San Francisco Department of the Pacific.
arms in battle artillery, cavalry, and 1870 Dies following a stroke at his headquarters in San Francisco on 28 March. His
infantry having served with distinction funeral, held at Troy, New York, on 8 April is attended by President Grant and
during the 1840s in the Seminole Wars Generals Meade, Rosecrans, and Hooker, among others.
and the Mexican War.


Above This group portrait of the senior Union commanders includes the triumvirate of great American with his native state and chose to
Civil War leaders: Ulysses S Grant, William T Sherman, and least celebrated of the three George fight for the Union.
Henry Thomas, shown front right. Tradition has it that as a young man,
Above left General George Henry Thomas (1816-1870). in open breach of Virginian State law,
he had taught his familys slaves to read
The command slow trot was regularly of civil war, its ranks included notables and write. During the Civil War he
bellowed across the parade ground. like Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston commanded a number of black regiments
In July 1855, after two years of (killed at Shiloh), Lieutenant-Colonel to good effect, and at the cessation of
mundane service in the western desert Robert E Lee, Major William J Hardee, hostilities he was active in enforcing the
Images: WIPL, unless otherwise stated

(post commander at Fort Yuma), Thomas and Lieutenant John Bell Hood. Lee, in rights of many freedmen in the South,
was appointed major of the new, elite particular, is said to have had a marked using his troops on occasion to counter
2nd Cavalry a regiment created on fondness for Thomas, a fellow Virginian. threats to black communities by the
the express order of Secretary of War dreaded Ku Klux Klan.
Jefferson Davis, later President of the Going with the Union Fighting for the North came at a heavy
Confederate States of America. Nevertheless, despite close Southern ties, price. J E B Stuart angrily wrote home to
Widely held to have been formed for on the outbreak of hostilities between say: Old George Thomas is in command
the sole purpose of establishing a cadre of North and South, opposing secession of the cavalry of the enemy. I would like
officers for a Southern army in the event and abhorring slavery, Thomas broke to hang him as a traitor to his native MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 47

state. Later, after the war, when economic six hours through driving rain prior to regard. After Perryville, the Virginian
conditions in the South worsened, the commencement of battle, so arrived had expected to be again offered the
Thomas sent money home to his sisters. tired, wet, and hungry. To make matters command. But having previously refused
The money was returned, his sisters worse, many found their semi-obsolete the post, Lincoln vetoed a second offer,
proudly claiming that they had no brother. flintlock muskets failed to fire in the wet. unsure of Thomass commitment to
His Virginian background may also They were further discouraged when their the Union cause.
have hampered his career, since it meant flamboyant general, Felix K Zollicoffer,
he lacked political backing in Washington. conspicuous in his white raincoat, was Stones River
On one occasion, when being considered shot and killed approaching the 4th At odds with Grants later claim that
for the overall command of an army, Kentuckys lines, mistaking the Union Thomas was slow and overly cautious,
President Lincoln, weighing up two men for his own. prior to Perryville the Virginian had
candidates, said: Let the Virginian wait. vainly urged Buell to counter-attack the
Thomas and Grant enemy while still in Tennessee. Instead,
Mill Springs While Thomas was busy driving the the Army of the Ohio pursued the Rebels
Just before the outbreak of war, Thomas Rebels out of Kentucky, General U S northwards into Kentucky, and it was just
had damaged his spine in a railway Grant had confounded the enemy by south of Louisville that the confused and
accident. It was an injury which caused capturing Forts Henry and Donaldson indecisive encounter battle was fought.
him acute pain for the rest of his further west. Then, at Shiloh in the Thomas played little part in the fight,
life, hampering his movements and spring of 1862, in two days fighting leading the unengaged right wing, several
reinforcing the image of him as slow. beside the Tennessee River, Grants army miles from the main action. Buell played
Despite the injury and prejudice in narrowly escaped being overwhelmed an even smaller part, holed up at his HQ,
high places, Thomass military credentials unaware that a battle was raging nearby,
were strong enough to earn him rapid the sound of the guns muffled by an
promotion in the Union Army, and it was unusual meteorological condition
as a brigadier-general of volunteers that he The opposing lines known as acoustic shadow.
won the first important Union victory of Under Rosecranss leadership, a contest
the war at Logans Cross Roads, near Mill were so close men even bloodier than Shiloh was fought
Springs, Kentucky, on 18 January 1862. at Stones River, south of Nashville, at
In atrocious weather, with steady,
were poking their the turn of the year (31 December 1862-
sleeting rain shrouding the wooded guns through 2 January 1863). The fight cost almost
hillsides, his small army around 4,500 25,000 casualties a staggering third of
effectives was attacked by a Confederate the same fence all engaged. When Rosecranss left wing
force numbering just under 6,000 men. collapsed under the weight of Confederate
Thomass advance-guard was driven as the enemy. General Braxton Braggs flanking
back after a fierce firefight, before the columns, the whole army might have been
general was able to bring up sufficient destroyed had Thomas not held firm on a
reinforcements to halt the attack. wooded knoll beside a bend in the river
He then launched the 9th Ohio when surprised by the Confederates. an area later renamed Hells Half Acre.
Regiment in a spirited bayonet charge Blamed for this, and the heavy death toll, The story goes that at the council
on the Rebels exposed flank. Sensing Grant was side-lined in the command of war that evening, Rosecrans raised
the imminent collapse of the Confederate chain, with Thomas placed in charge of the notion of a retreat, requesting an
line, he ordered a general advance, his divisions, gaining the rank of Major- exhausted and sleepy Thomas to mount
driving the enemy back across the General of Volunteers. a rearguard. Immediately wide awake,
Cumberland River. Thomass losses were Thomass low opinion of Grants the Virginian sternly countered: This
39 killed and 207 wounded, against 125 generalship, and friction caused by army cannot retreat.
of the enemy killed and 404 wounded the transfer of command, appears to Two days later he was vindicated when
or missing, with 12 guns and over a have sparked an antipathy between Braggs shattered divisions fell back in the
thousand horses and mules captured. the two men that would later mar their face of massed Union artillery, granting
Although a relatively small-scale affair professional relationship. Rosecrans an unlikely victory though
by later Civil War standards, the action Like Grant, Thomas too suffered one important enough to disincline
at Mill Springs saw some of the fiercest setbacks. Offered overall command France and Britain from formally
fighting of the war up to that time. of the Army of the Ohio prior to the recognising the Confederacy.
Colonel Robert L McCook, commander Battle of Perryville (8 October 1862), he
of Thomass 3rd Brigade, reported that declined. With a fight imminent, he did Chickamauga
the opposing battle-lines were so close not wish to undermine his commanding Nine months later, at the Battle of
together that the men from his 2nd officer, General Don Carlos Buell. Chickamauga (19-20 September 1863),
Minnesota Regiment were poking their Buell was later replaced by General Thomas prevented defeat from turning
guns through the same fence as the enemy. William S Rosecrans an appointment into rout by rallying scattered and
Thomas was perhaps fortunate that which initially angered Thomas, even previously broken units for a heroic
the Confederate troops had marched for though he held Rosecrans in high stand against all odds.


Above The Battle of Chickamauga, 19-20 September
1863, was one of the fiercest of the Civil War. It was
here, standing firm and thereby saving the Union
Army from destruction, that Thomas earned his
nickname the Rock of Chickamauga.
Right General Hood is wounded in one of a
succession of Rebel attacks on the Union line
at Chickamauga.

Rosecrans and Bragg had clashed yet

again, this time a few miles south-east
of Chattanooga, in southern Tennessee.
After an epic march across difficult
mountainous terrain described in
military terms by some as the greatest
single operation of the entire war the
renamed Army of the Cumberland had
successfully prised the important road
and railway hub at Chattanooga from
Braggs grasp.
However, a heady mix of over-
confidence on Rosecranss part, plus
carping in Washington, played into
Braggs hands. Heavily reinforced, the MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 49

Rebel general contrived to roll up, not Above Thomass men storm Missionary Ridge, the enemy. His tenacious defence not
one, but two wings of the Union Army, centre of the Confederate line, on the third day of only bought the army precious time, it
only to be stopped once more by Thomass the Battle of Chattanooga (23-25 November 1863). provided him with a more meritorious
dogged determination to hold his ground. The soldiers exceeded their orders and won a sobriquet than the usual Old Pap or
Brigadier-General Thomas J Wood stunning victory. Their prowess was perhaps a Slow Trot the Rock of Chickamauga.
measure of Thomass inspirational command.
provides a vivid description of the nature C A Dana, a special representative for
of Thomass defence in his battlefield the War Department, wrote that: Thomas
report. Recalling one of several Rebel seemed to have filled every soldier with
attacks, he states: It was unquestionably his own unconquerable firmness when
the most terrific duel I have ever If the people raise night fell this body of heroes stood on the
witnessed the continued roar of the same ground they had occupied in the
very fiercest musketry fire inspired a a howl against morning, their spirit unbroken, but their
sentiment of grandeur in which the awful
and the sublime were intermingled.
my barbarity numbers greatly diminished.
Thomass determined stand also
and cruelty, I bamboozled Bragg sufficiently to prevent
The Rock an immediate follow-up. Faced with the
Future president James Garfield, will answer that likelihood of further staggering losses
Rosecranss chief of staff, carried orders
to Thomas to withdraw. Instead, the
war is war, not (his forces are reckoned as suffering
2,389 killed, 13,412 wounded, and 2,003
Virginian held firm, in doing so saving popularity seeking. missing or captured), the Rebel general
the bulk of the defeated Army of the baulked when pressed to pursue the
Cumberland from certain destruction. General William T enemy, allowing Rosecranss army (1,656
Garfield later recalled Thomas
standing like a rock in the face of the
Sherman dead, 9,749 wounded, and 4,774 missing
or captured) to retire unmolested


to Chattanooga, their backs to the attacked, that all order was lost, each The victory at Chattanooga elevated
Tennessee River. man striving to save himself by taking Grant to the supreme command, and
Chickamauga (in Native American, the the shortest route to the summit. the war entered its most unyielding
river of death) saw some of the bloodiest His centre shattered by Thomass phase. The uncompromising Sherman
fighting of the Civil War. Rosecrans, shaken, gallant assault, and with Hooker pressing rose with him. The volatile Ohioan
was replaced after the dbcle; the baton of on his left, Bragg ordered a general concisely summed up the mood of the
leadership at last passed to Thomas. retreat. Grants losses were just under times when he explained to HQ: If the
However, Grants promotion to head up 6,000 men out of 60,000 engaged; Braggs people raise a howl against my barbarity
all the armies between the Alleghenies and were 3,000 killed and wounded, as well as and cruelty, I will answer that war is war,
the Mississippi, and his subsequent arrival 5,500 prisoners, from an army estimated not popularity seeking.
at Chattanooga, once again placed Thomas at 33,000 strong.
in a subordinate role. Whether or not this Later, Thomas chose a detached hill A different mould
rankled with the Virginian is not clear, but from where he and Grant had watched Thomas, on the other hand, emerges
relations between the two men, strained the assault on Missionary Ridge unfold from the conflict in an altogether
after Shiloh, appear to have worsened. as the burial place for the Union dead, different mould: a leader unwilling to
ordering a military cemetery to be laid trade lives for scant reward, despite
Chattanooga out there. When asked if the bodies pressure on occasion to do so. As an
The Battle of Chattanooga should be buried by state, with, for example, the fruitless frontal attacks
(23-25 November 1863) pitted four example, men from Kentucky, Illinois, ordered by Sherman at the Battle of
of the Norths great generals Grant, and Ohio separated, Thomas is said to Kennesaw Mountain (27 June 1864) were
Sherman, Fighting Joe Hooker, and have shaken his head, saying: No, mix called off only when Thomas interceded
Thomas against a war-weary Bragg. Grants them up. Im tired of states rights. to save the men from what he viewed
initial plan, to launch Thomass men in
a near suicidal frontal assault on Braggs Below The Confederate rout at Nashville. One of the most complete victories of the Civil War, it effectively
position (a 300-400ft-high eminence destroyed Hoods Army of Tennessee, securing the West for the Union.
running northsouth: Missionary Ridge),
was resisted by their commander. Instead,
he suggested, attempts should first be
made against Braggs flanks.
Thomas got his way. Shermans newly
arrived divisions from Corinth were
detailed to launch the main attack against
Braggs right flank, while Hookers men
demonstrated in the south against the
Rebel left, anchored by the 2,400ft-high
Lookout Mountain.
After fierce fighting on Shermans front
appeared to have run its course, Grant
ordered Thomas to occupy the first line
of Rebel rifle-pits on Missionary Ridge,
either preparatory to a general assault or
as a diversion aimed at drawing men away
from Shermans flank.
Thomass troops 18,000 men formed
in four divisions surged forward on
a two-mile frontage, taking not only
the first but also the second line of
entrenchments, driving the defenders
back in flight. Brigadier-General Absalom
Baird (commander of the 3rd Division
of XIV Army Corps) later reported that,
when ordered by his commanding officer
to carry the rifle-pits, he felt duty bound
to push on to the summit.

Missionary Ridge
Some observers saw the storming of
the ridge as almost miraculous. One
Confederate officer later described how
panic set in as soon as Thomass men MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 51

as needless butchery. Even so, 3,000 (unknown to Thomas) even went so a protracted pursuit. The victory,
casualties were suffered for no gain. far as to order another officer, General like Meades at Gettysburg, would
While Sherman launched his famous Blackjack Logan, to ride west to assume have been incomplete.
march to the sea, Thomas was placed interim command in advance of Grants Thomass careful preparations had
in overall command of Union forces own arrival. paid off handsomely. He had taken on
in Tennessee. Based at Nashville, his Commentators have since seen this as board the hard lessons of modern warfare;
55,000 strong army comprised three a tardy attempt by the future president most importantly, that rifled musketry
infantry corps (IV, XXIII, and XVI), a to get even for what had occurred after gave the defence an overwhelming
cavalry corps, and a detachment known Shiloh. If true, it casts Grant in an advantage over the attacker.
as the District of Etowah, including two unpleasant light. Others more plausibly Even with odds of 2:1 in his favour,
coloured brigades. cite anxiety on Grants part, excusing his he could not rely on simply battering
Opposing him from across the border actions as driven by his unwillingness to the Rebels into submission by launching
in Alabama was the main Confederate see a good opportunity to strike at Hoods repeated frontal assaults, as had regularly
army in the West, led by the dour weakened army missed. Supporting this occurred elsewhere. His casualties
Kentuckian, General John Bell Hood view, it subsequently became apparent amounted to 3,000 men, with very few
a man described as of piercing eye that Thomass ambitious second in killed. Hoods losses are unknown, but
and impulsive, nervous temperament. command, General John M Schofield, must have been sizeable perhaps a
Minus a leg and the use of one arm (the had for some time been undermining fifth of those engaged.
former lost at Chickamauga, the latter at the Virginian by feeding Grant and
Gettysburg), Hood determined to strike others with gloomy and inaccurate Black soldiers
north, capture Nashville, and regain the reports of Thomass preparations and Moreover, Thomass placing of black
initiative for the South. lost opportunities. regiments in the Union front-line was
Thomas and Hood, both 2nd Cavalry something of a first. In the past, black
veterans from before the war, had sparred troops had been used for guard duty,
some months earlier, the Virginian labouring, or domestic tasks. Those
getting the better of the one-legged Hoods army trained to lead an assault against the
Rebel in a fierce fight at Peachtree Creek
(20 July) on the road to Atlanta. Now the
collapsed on the Crater at Petersburg in Virginia in July
1864 had been withdrawn at the last
Kentuckian headed up the Confederate second day. It was minute, politicians fearful that high
Army of Tennessee, which, like Thomass casualty rates would be seen for what
command, comprised three infantry the most complete they were the cynical use of black
corps and a cavalry corps the latter soldiers as cannon fodder.
led by General Nathan Bedford Forrest,
victory of the war. Some Union generals resisted the
considered by many as the finest cavalry inclusion of black regiments altogether
commander of the conflict. Sherman, with characteristic prejudice,
proclaimed that negroes were okay
Thomas and Grant again Nashville for stopping a bullet but a
Thomas invoked Grants displeasure But before Logans arrival weather sandbag is better.
by delaying offensive operations until conditions having improved Thomas Thomas, on the other hand, would
suitable mounts had been found for launched his assault. Several regiments later write that becoming a soldier helped
his cavalry. But with the whereabouts of coloured troops helped hold Hoods teach ex-slaves to depend on themselves
of Bedford Forrests Rebel troopers right in check, while two army corps for support, rather than rely on the
unknown (Hood had unaccountably advanced obliquely against Hoods cold charities of the world. At Nashville,
detached them to the south-east), and left-centre, a third pushed round men from his black regiments formed
Hood firmly dug in, this was a necessary against the Rebels refused left flank, an integral part of the provisional
consideration, though one that failed to and cavalry at the extreme edge of this corps which pinned down an entire
assuage impatience at Grants HQ. gigantic left wheel fought dismounted wing of Hoods army on the first
Hood had further whittled away his until ordered to pursue. day of the battle, before further
numbers by fighting a fruitless battle Driven back on the first day, Hoods distinguishing themselves by launching
on 30 November at Franklyn, south of army collapsed on the second. It was bayonet attacks on the second.
Nashville, in an attempt to prevent the the most complete victory of the war. After the battle, Thomas honoured
concentration of Thomass forces. Having Thomass remounted cavalry maintained his black regiments by removing his
started with more than 40,000 men, his a pursuit lasting ten days. Of the hat and waiting by the roadside as they
army now numbered closer to 25,000. Confederates who had crossed into marched proudly by.
Anxious to have the Rebels brought Tennessee, less than half made it back to
to battle, Grant bombarded Thomas with Alabama. Hoods command had ceased Soaring reputation
demands, saying he must move against to exist in any viable sense. Had Thomas High since Chickamauga, Lincolns
the enemy at once or face censure. When attacked Hood earlier (as pressed to do by estimation of the Virginian now soared.
freezing conditions further delayed the Grant), lack of cavalry mounts would have The victory at Nashville coincided with
attack, the irate commander-in-chief prevented him from launching Shermans more famous but less edifying


with great credit saving armies
from destruction at Stones River
and Chickamauga.
Neither was he the kind of general
to hang back and let others run the show
at no risk to himself, as his conduct at the
Battle of Peachtree Creek (20 July 1864)
attests. When his leading corps came
under attack while deploying on a hill
overlooking the doomed city of Atlanta,
he personally led two batteries into action
Above Black Union infantrymen pose for an action among them the unsavoury General prodding the teams into a gallop at
photo. Unlike other senior Union commanders, Schofield were quick to take the credit the point of his sword. The guns he led
many of whom harboured deeply racist sentiments, he was due. Even so, the noted historian forward broke up the Confederate attack.
Thomas was a principled abolitionist who accorded William Swinton lauded Thomas (while There was no slow trot that day.
his black soldiers the highest respect. They played
the general still lived) as militarily, in Unlike Grant and Lee, Thomas was
a prominent role at Nashville.
many respects, without superior. never faced with accusations of launching
Another contemporary, General needless attacks, or, like Sherman, of
march from Atlanta to the sea, but it is James H Wilson (Grants favourite engaging in terror tactics. On the
clear that the President viewed Thomass cavalry leader), described Thomas as contrary, he rejected the concept of
victory in Tennessee as equally (if not the peer of any other in the army, full total war, fearing that it would make
more) important and immediately of dignity and authority. Even Sherman, future reconciliation with the South all
promoted him to full major-general rank. sometimes critical of Thomas, described the more difficult. Though a master of
Grant, Sherman, and Thomas his role in defeating the Confederacy war, it appears he was also a man intent
emerged from the war as the architects as transcendent. on winning the peace.
of Union victory. Of this triumvirate, only Colonel G F R Henderson, Stonewall
Grant and Sherman gained long-term Jacksons biographer, would later Further reading
recognition, however. Unlike Thomas, claim that, had the great Confederate Historians are now rediscovering
both lived long enough to successfully generals Lee and Jackson been pitted Thomass importance, with Benson
promote their own versions of events against someone of Thomass calibre at Bobricks new biography Master of War
sometimes at the Virginians expense. Chancellorsville, Lees masterpiece would (2009) even claiming the Virginian to
Thomas died of a stroke in 1870, aged never have happened. have been the Civil Wars outstanding
53. In keeping with the modesty typical No battle where Thomas was in overall general, surpassing not only Grant and
of the man, his funeral service attended army command was ever lost, and on Sherman, but even Lee.
by President Grant and other military the only two occasions when substantial
notables like Sherman, Hooker, Meade, Confederate Armies were successfully
and Sheridan was kept simple. Across driven from prepared positions and ABOUT THE AUTHOR
the nation, flags were hung at half mast. decisively destroyed at Chattanooga Jeffrey James is a freelance military historian
He left few written memoirs, destroying and Nashville it was Thomas who with wide-ranging interests. His latest book,
most of his private papers before his launched the attacks. Even when fighting An Onslaught of Spears: the Danish Conquest
death to prevent them from being as a subordinate corps commander of England, deals with events a millennium
hawked in print. Predictably, others under Rosecrans, the Virginian emerged ago at the time of King Cnut. MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 53


peculiar It had dominated battlefields for a
quarter of a millennium. It had been

the foundation of a distinctively English
way of war. So why, asks Tim Candlish,
was the longbow abandoned in favour
of the ponderous matchlock?

y 1450 the latest round of English longbow, while the French army Above Weapons of mass destruction: French
the Hundred Years War advancing along the Bayeux road towards cannon in action against the walls of an English-
was not going well for them numbered only 3,000 in total. held town during the Hundred Years War. Deployed
England. Joan of Arc had as field artillery at the Battle of Formigny in
The Battle of Formigny 1450, such cannon heralded a new epoch in land
been dead for 19 years, but
warfare by subjecting English longbowmen to
the French counter-attack showed no sign The odds were considerably better
long-range fire to which they could not reply.
of stopping. By 1449 the English had lost than at Agincourt back in 1415, and by
Images: WIPL, unless otherwise stated

Rouen to the forces of Charles VII, and in the next morning Kyriells troops had played his trump card: two culverin
1450 the vital channel port of Caen was added shallow moats to the traditional guns. Outranging the archers, the
under siege. But when Thomas Kyriell defensive stakes. These defences, guns bombarded the English positions
positioned his relief army of around combined with the customary storm with impunity. Angered and suffering
4,000 men near the French village of of arrows, were enough to drive back casualties, the archers charged and
Formigny on 14 April 1450, he could have a dismounted and then a mounted captured both guns. But the entry of
been forgiven for feeling confident. attack by the French. the artillery had already shifted the
His army included almost 3,000 With the day wearing on, the French balance in favour of the French, for
archers, armed with the nigh-legendary commander, the Count of Clermont, the sound of the guns had drawn the


Above nglish ongbowmen, as depicted on a hy was this wonder weapon put aside
Medieval manuscript illustration. in the late 16th century? To answer the The French
question, we need to consider its origins
attention of Arthur de Richemont, and what it was that made it so effective. commander played
leading a force of 1,000 Breton cavalry
located to the south. Weapon of conquest his trump card:
Realising that he was being
outflanked, Kyriell abandoned his
The longbow was a successful weapon
because it combined a long effective
two culverin guns.
defences and pulled his army into an range with a high rate of fire. Estimates
L-shaped formation. The English force of the longbows maximum range run
was then slowly destroyed by a series
of French charges, losing over 2,500
killed and 900 taken prisoner.
Formigny did not mark the end of
the Hundred Years War, and it was not
the greatest French victory. It nevertheless
sealed the fate of Normandy, which now
fell to the French, and represented the
first major battle in which the English
longbow had been defeated.

A traditional weapon
For nearly 300 years, the longbow
was the signature weapon of English
armies, and it was certainly the most
decisive. English armies in the 13th
and 14th centuries included many
thousands of archers, capable of
shooting around ten arrows a minute,
creating a veritable rain of death.
Archers played a substantial role
in most, if not all, of Englands major
military victories in this period, both
against external enemies such as the
French and the Scots, and against
one another during the Wars of the
Roses. The longbow remained the
primary missile weapon of English
armies even under the early Tudors.
It was replaced only in the reign of
Elizabeth I. Even then the legend
lived on: Benjamin Franklin called Above English longbowmen and Genoese crossbowmen (or arbalestiers) clash on the battlefield of Crcy.
for American troops to be equipped The crossbowmen had the advantage in range and velocity, but they were overborne by the longbowmens
with longbows as late as 1776. phenomenal rate of fire. MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 55
Above A contemporary woodcut of Burgundian as 5,000lbs, allowing it to match or
soldiers of the late 15th century. Charles the Bolds even outdo the longbow in range and
army included mercenary longbowmen, as shown killing power. But this strength was also
here, as well as billmen and hand-gunners. Note a weakness, for the steel bow was too
the line of stakes along the front of the line.
strong to be cocked by muscle power.
The need to cock arbalests mechanically,
as high as 400 yards (365m), though 200 usually with a windlass, limited their rate
yards is widely considered to have been of fire to around two shots per minute.
the limit of effective range. Estimates
of the draw-weight of English longbows Longbow versus crossbow
vary wildly, from as little as 65lbs to as The Battle of Crcy in 1346 shows
high as 185lbs or even 200lbs. Skilled just how important the longbows
archers could manage as many as ten higher rate of fire was when up against
to twelve shots per minute, though five arbalests. The English and Welsh
to six may have been more common. archers, drawn up on the high ground,
This combination of range and rapid inflicted heavy losses on the Genoese
Above Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), one of
firing would be matched by firearms mercenary crossbowmen sent in to thin the Founding Fathers of the United States, who
only with the introduction of breech- their numbers, while the unfortunate suggested equipping American Revolutionary
loading rifles in the 19th century. The Genoese could do little harm in return. volunteers with longbows. The problem was
longbows primary competitor during The French chronicler Jean Froissart the timescale: skilled longbowmen had to
its golden age was the crossbow, or more described the unfortunate Genoese as be trained from childhood; a serviceable
specifically the arbalest that came into being tired and having wet bowstrings, musketeer could be trained in a few months.
use during the 12th century. factors which must have contributed to
With a bow or prod made of steel, their defeat. However, the sheer disparity arms in the service of their lords, but
an arbalest shot with a force as high in rate of fire, anything between three these were generally stored in armouries
and six to one, would probably have and given out only when needed. The
been decisive in any case. French did, in fact, experiment with the
European The one thing that might have helped
the Genoese was their pavises: tall shields
longbow, but found that restricted access
to arms precluded the creation of good
aristocrats were either propped or held up in front of each archers: one of the secrets of English
crossbowman. Had they been allowed success was regular practice at the butts.
reluctant to arm to collect these before going into battle, But if French and other European
the Genoese might have suffered fewer lords feared peasants with longbows,
peasants with casualties and had the time to do more this did not prevent them raising forces
longbows lest damage to their opponents.
Why did the French not adopt this
of professional archers. The army of
Charles the Bold of Burgundy included
they be turned fearsome English weapon? The answer many mercenary longbowmen, and the
is perhaps that European aristocrats French recruited archers from their
against them. were reluctant to arm peasants with long- Scottish ally. Despite this, the longbow
bows lest they be turned against them. failed to catch on in Europe in this
European peasants commonly bore period. The only possible exception is


Scandinavia, from which the longbow is
thought to have originated.

The manly state of valour

Creating a force of longbowmen was not
a simple matter. Professional archers
make shooting a bow look easy, but those
who try soon learn the truth. The first
requirement was the enormous physical
strength needed to draw the bowstring
far enough for a full-power shot.
English archers were required to draw
the string as far as the cheek, and are
shown doing so in medieval art. They
also needed to be able to fire as many as
12 aimed shots per minute. To develop
the necessary strength, archers had
to begin their training in childhood,
and constant practice was needed to
maintain the required standard.
The 1252 Assize of Arms declared
that every able-bodied man owning land
worth between 40 and 100 shillings was
to equip himself with a longbow, and
in 1363 King Edward III went so far as
to ban sports on Sundays so that the
yeomen, as these prosperous peasants
were known, could concentrate on their
archery. The result was a substantial pool
of yeomen archers, Englands decisive
arm on the battlefields of the
High Middle Ages.

English yeomen
In consequence, the longbow
was idealised as the weapon of
the free, a means by which the
common man could defend
himself from the oppression
of professional soldiers
and their feudal
This vision may Above & left Full plate armour of the late 15th/early 16th century. Armour developed
have influenced in large part in response to the growing threat posed by archers.
Benjamin Franklin when, in a
letter to Charles Lee in 1776, he longbow became the issue of the draw-weight. Other
suggested that the American tied to the fortunes factors include range, the condition
troops be armed with longbows. of the yeomen. If of the bowstrings, the type of arrow in
He cited practical advantages the yeomen were use, and the type of armour worn by the
such as the higher rate of fire reduced in numbers, target. Since estimates of the longbows
and the lack of smoke. or could not afford performance vary so wildly, any conclusion
But Franklins suggestion longbows, or simply remains open to challenge.
was not taken seriously. failed to stay in practice, Despite this, there were occasions
Whereas archers would have then England could find on which, according to contemporary
required years of training, itself short of archers. accounts, the longbow proved incapable
ideally from childhood, ordinary of penetrating armour. At the Battle
men could become proficient Armour penetration of Poitiers, Jean Froissart describes the
with muskets in a few months. Whether the longbow French cavalry as invulnerable to the
The men who carried could penetrate armour English arrows, as the front ranks horses
longbows for England were or not remains controversial. were wearing metal barding. At the
drawn from the yeomanry, a class Attempts to work this out, even Battle of Flodden in 1513, the chronicler
apart both socially and militarily. by scientific testing, have Hall describes the front ranks of the
As such, the fortunes of the been complicated by Scottish pikemen as being assuredly MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 57

archers of Sir Edward Stanleys division

were nevertheless able to drive off the
Scottish reserve, consisting of lightly
armoured Highlanders.

The limits of protection

But if the longbow was actually incapable
of penetrating increasingly sophisticated
armour, why was it not abandoned sooner?
One answer is that the longbow could
still inflict harm on heavy cavalry in
many circumstances.
Although French knights and
men-at-arms were increasingly wearing
protective plate armour by the last
decades of the 14th and the first of
the 15th century, their horses were not
always so fortunate. Sheer expense made
metal barding comparatively unusual,
with horse armour generally consisting
of a cloth caparison or trapper,
sometimes over a quilted gambeson.
Under a hail of arrows, moreover, the
horses were larger and therefore more
vulnerable targets than their riders.
At Agincourt wounded French
horses stampeded through their own
lines, wreaking havoc on the infantry.
A more serious wound could cause the
horse to fall, trapping or crushing the
rider. Worst of all, falling horses could
trip those behind and throw an entire
charge into chaos.
Effective all-round protection, on
the other hand, created its own problem:
men and horses so encumbered with
plate that they became slow and
ponderous on the battlefield. No small
part of the archers role was to constrict
the mobility, flexibility, and weapon-
handling of the opposing men-at-arms.

A crisis of the yeomanry?

In the end, the longbow was abandoned
as much due to changes in society and
popular attitudes as to the exigencies of
the battlefield. Reliance on the yeomen
as a social group to provide archers
Above The limits of protection. Joints in armour flanks. Not only did the metal barding contributed to the decline.
were points of vulnerability, while all-round offer less protection, but this also Some 16th-century commentators
protection for horses was impractical because allowed the archers to shoot at any blamed the increase in sheep farming,
of expense and weight. unprotected horses in the ranks behind. claiming that ploughmen made the best
This was neither the first nor the last archers due to their great strength. The
harnessed, and that they abode the time that English archers adopted this idea of the sturdy English peasant as
most dangerous shot of arrows. tactic. The same had been attempted better-fed and healthier than his French
Nonetheless, Poitiers and Flodden at the Battle of the Bannockburn in counterpart is somewhat exaggerated,
were English victories. When faced 1314, only for the enterprising archers but the physical fitness of archers was
with armour immune to their favourite to be ridden down by Scottish cavalry. nonetheless an issue.
weapon, the English response was often At Formigny, the English had been A spate of epidemics in the middle
a swift change in tactics. At Poitiers, the winning the battle until the arrival of the century, including the infamous
archers responded by moving to either of the Breton cavalry from the south. sweating sickness, combined with
side of the oncoming French cavalry Though they could do little against increasing food prices, meant that
and shooting into their more vulnerable the Scottish pikemen at Flodden, the archers were not as healthy or well-fed


as they might have been, leading to
poorer performance. At around the Thus thou peculiar Engine of our Land!
same time, it was becoming increasingly
difficult for would-be archers to afford
Weapon of conquest! Master of the Field!
longbows, as the price of yew staves rose. Renowned Bow! (that madst this Crown command,
The reality of a shrunken pool of
recruits merged with the perception
The Towrs of France, and all their powrs to yield,)
that English archers, and English Art made at Home to have thespecial Hand
manhood in general, were just not up to In our Dissensions, by thy Work upheld:
the standard of their forebears. Samuel
Daniel summed up this nostalgia in a Thou first didst conquer us; then raised our skill,
1596 work, The Civil Wars between the Two To vanquish others; here ourselves to spill.
Houses of Lancaster and York (see right).

And now how comst thou to be out of date

And all neglected leavst us, and art gone?
Tim Candlish has recently completed his
PhD at the University of York. And with thee, thancient strength, the manly state
Of valour, and of worth, that glory won?
Below Part of a contemporary illustration of
the Elizabethan class structure, in this portion
Or else stayst thou till new-prizd Shot abate?
showing (left to right) a yeoman, a serving woman, (That never shall affect what thou hast done)
and the lord of the manor. Was the decline of the
English yeomanry a victim of enclosures and the And only but attendst some Blessed Reign
growth of commercial farming the underlying
reason for the decline of the longbow in war?
When Thou and Virtue shall be gracd again.
January There is plenty to look
forward to in terms of lectures
and events in the New Year.
When he was not ruling the
waves during the Napoleonic
Wars, Admiral Nelson was
something of a bounder with
the ladies. Hear about his
romantic exploits in Nelsons
Women, a talk at the Queens
House in Greenwich. Also
this month, you can learn
about life aboard HMS Belfast,
enter an archery contest, and
explore the history of the
military modelling supremos
and national institution, Airfix.
After being posted to Latvia
to cover a training event, Tom
Bourke uncovered a vast wealth
of military ordnance artefacts
near the countrys Adazi
DATES TO REMEMBER Training Area read about
THIS JANUARY it in this months War Zone.

62 War Zone


Hear about the day-to-day life of a Medieval Medieval Band of Brothers

Fighting soldier in the Wars of the Roses from historian

John Putley. Find out how soldiers in those
days lived, relaxed, and fought, as well as
30 January 2014
Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum
Gloucester Docks
Gloucester, GL1 2HE

relaxing what happened after the battle ended.

Booking is essential. Tickets are available in
01452 522682
the museum shop, and can be booked by phone.


Eagle-eye contest Life aboard
The Medieval Siege Societys New Year the Belfast
Clout Shoot for longbows and Medieval Discover hidden
crossbows takes place adjacent to stories about
Bodiam Castle this January. HMS Belfast
Choose one of three Clouts at 80, and explore the
110, and 150 paces, to suit all abilities fascinating lives
and bow strengths or the junior Clout of the men who
(at 40 paces) for smaller competitors. lived and worked
Legendary models
Refreshments will be available and on board this historic vessel.
The Royal Air Force Museum London
Medieval dress is welcome! Youll hear about Ordnance Officer
is now displaying a signature exhibition
commemorating and celebrating the John Harrison, who was busy working
national institution that is Airfix. when an Arctic wave overwhelmed the
In the museum art gallery, the exhibition ship. Learn more about his incredible
charts the history the British firm with story of survival and many more
displays of original box art, as well as as you examine real naval objects
examples of the most popular models from the Imperial War Museums
from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. extensive collections.
Airfix: making history
History in Your Hands
New Year Clout Shoot Throughout January 2014 18-19 January 2014
5 January 2014 Royal Air Force Museum London, HMS Belfast
Bodiam, Robertsbridge Grahame Park Way, The Queens Walk
East Sussex, TN32 5UA 6 London, NW9 5LL London, SE1 2JH

01580 830436
020 8205 2266
WITH 020 7940 6300


A lesson from the past
Replica objects, discussions, and the
use of archive photographs will give a
a starting point for families with children
aged 11 and above to reflect on key themes
of the Holocaust, including identity, loss,
and remembrance.
These sessions are an opportunity for
parents to think through issues relating
to the Holocaust that will help inform
their decisions about whether to visit the
Holocaust Exhibition with their families. Christmas warriors The road to Waterloo
The sessions contain no graphic images. Once the lower deck mess and schoolroom The summer of 1815 saw the final efforts
for the vessels young officers, the Gun of European powers to bring Napoleons
Introduction to the Holocaust Room of HMS Warrior is somewhere reign over France to an end. The events
25-26 January 2014 you can bring your young sailors for were unfolding in an age when war was
IWM London Christmas holiday activities including
Lambeth Road
a social occasion.
London, SE1 6HZ making Victorian gifts, costumed role-play, Nick Foulkes explores what it was
toys and games, knot-tying, colouring-in like to be at the very hub of developments
sheets, and quizzes. when Europes fate hung in the balance.

Dancing into Battle: a social history

HMS Warrior 1860 of the Battle of Waterloo
21 December 2013-5 January 2014 23 January 2013
HMS Warrior National Army Museum
HM Naval Base Royal Hospital Road
Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 3QX London, SW3 4HT

020 7416 5000 ENTRY 023 9277 8604 WITH
020 7881 6600 ENTRY

Sketching the seas
The National Maritime Museums
collection of drawings from the studio
of Willem van de Velde the Elder
(c.1611-1693) and Younger (1633-1707)
encompasses more than 1,600 works.
AN These embrace every aspect of the artists
long and productive output, from naval

ADMIRALS battles to stormy seas, via calm days,

coastal views, and ship portraits.

LOVE Van de Velde Drawings

Throughout January 2014
Queens House
London, SE10 9NF
In the surroundings of the Queens
House, find out more about Nelsons
relationship with the women in his
life, using manuscripts from the
Caird Library collection. Booking
is essential, as places
are limited.
Queens House
Nelsons Women
020 8858 4422 020 8858 4422 7.50
8 January 2014 London, SE10 9NF MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 63

ordnance in

After being posted to the Adazi

Training Area in Latvia to cover
a training event, Tom Bourke
discovered a treasure trove of military Above Captain Kristis Brauncs-Brauns of the
Latvian Army describes the unique nature of the
ordnance artefacts dating from pre-WWI to the present. WWII German Glasmine 43 anti-personnel mine
that is used for demonstration purposes at the
Latvian Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal School,

rom the former WWI trench former EOD company commander
located in the Adazi Training Area. Because they
lines along the Daugava and current Latvian National Guard
contain little or no metal and are difficult to detect,
River to abandoned Cold battalion commander Lieutenant-
many Glasmine 43s may still lie undiscovered.
War-era Soviet Army bases, Colonel Andris Rieksts. During WWII Inset A round from a Spade Mortar, unearthed at
the fields and forests of there was a huge battle near the town the Adazi Training Area.
Latvia, one of the Baltic states, are where I grew up. Living near a historic
littered with long-forgotten, but still battleground gave me a personal this country, but also for international
lethal unexploded ordnance. All understanding of the problem. operations, Rieksts continued. In
too frequently, as farmers plough my EOD career I spent six months in
their fields, hunters stalk prey in the EOD School Kosovo and eight months in Iraq. We
woods, and fungi enthusiasts search To combat the deadly threat posed by blew up ammunition dumps so the
the moss-covered meadows for edible UXOs, the Latvian EOD School was bad guys couldnt use the munitions
mushrooms, deadly relics from past established in 2000 on a former Soviet against coalition forces.
conflicts pop up from the ground. military base at Adazi Training Area The current EOD School commander
To ensure that this killer crop of in cooperation with the Ministry of is Major Egils Devits. He believes Latvia
rusting artillery shells, landmines, Defence of the Kingdom of Norway. is a good place to get real-world EOD
grenades, rockets, and other explosive Prior to the opening of the school, the experience because of the abundance
devices are rendered safe or detonated countrys UXO problem was handled by of both old and contemporary explosives
in place, Latvia Explosive Ordnance military engineers without EOD-specific left in the soil from the World Wars and
Disposal (EOD) units respond to training. During the first few years of Soviet occupation.
unexploded ordnance (UXO) reports the EOD School, Norwegians taught Whether the device is modern or old,
phoned in to the civilian authorities all of the classes. Then, in 2003, Latvian we use the same techniques to remove it
by Latvian citizens. instructors took over the classroom. or detonate it in place, Devits explained.
During WWI the country was divided The purpose of the EOD School is to From WWI to Iraq, the ammunition is
by the German and Russian front-lines. provide instruction to Latvian National different but the explosives principles
There were Latvians on both sides, said Forces, not just for UXO disposal in are the same.


In order to train students on what is made from glass, with a thin, easily
they can expect to find in the field, the breakable top. Stepping on the mine People took the
EOD School keeps a large repository and shattering the fragile top causes
of UXOs from the past and present on the detonator to start a chemical reaction glass containers
hand for students to examine and gain
experience in recognising potential
that ignites an explosive briquette. The
mine has no metal parts, making it
from unused
threats. As part of the instruction, the virtually impossible to find with a metal mines and
rusty examples are placed in a setting detector. The glass design also saved
that mimics real-world situations. The the Germans from using metal, which turned them
students must attempt to find and
recognise the ordnance hidden amid
became scarce as the war progressed.
When I first saw it, I didnt believe
into sauce bowls.
vegetation or in other natural settings. it was a mine, Brauncs-Brauns said.
What makes these things rare is that
Munitions collection they are so easy to break. After the has large metal fragments that were
If Devits is the head of the school, then war, there was a stockpile of unused propelled outwards thanks to its 50g
Captain Kristis Brauncs-Brauns is its mines. People took the glass containers explosive charge. Weighing 2.2lbs, an
heart. There is perhaps no other man and used them for sauce bowls. They average soldier could toss the grenade
in Latvia who is as passionate about became so popular that the original approximately 15m.
the history of UXOs. Brauncs-Brauns manufacturer kept producing the glass
is responsible for the vast collection bodies, which the company painted Butterfly bomb
of UXOs the EOD School keeps in with flowers while adding handles One of the more interesting ordnance
he table. examples from Germany is the
erman UXO in WWII AB 23 SD-2 submunitions
hool collection dispenser, complete with several SD-2
orld War I anti-personnel bombs. Nicknamed
handgranate the butterfly bomb, these pieces of
odel 1913. ordnance rained down all over Europe
The body of from Luftwaffe aircraft. Once dropped,
the grenade the 43.5in-long dispenser canister

eft The forerunner of the Bouncing Betty, the German World War I
Schrapnelmine A was typically daisy-chained out in front of the trench-
line. Not only was the bouncing effect deadly, but the fact that these
mines were detonated electronically put the design ahead of its time.
Below At a construction site in Ventsplis, Latvia, 62 rusting AB 23 SD-2
ubmunitions dispenser canisters were discovered a few years ago. Each
ister could scatter up to 23 bomblets when dropped from Luftwaffe aircraft.
dispensers were buried near the site of a World War II-era German airbase.
would burst open in midair above
the target, randomly scattered up
to 23 submunitions on the ground
below. Germany also used larger
canisters able to deploy greater
numbers of submunitions.
Each bomblet was packed with
225g of explosives, generating a kill
radius of approximately 10m. What
made the SD-2 even more dangerous
was the various fuse-settings that
allowed the bombs to explode in the
air, on impact, or to lie on the ground
like a landmine, ready to go off if
disturbed by human activity.
One tactic was to deploy the
SD-2s over farm fields to disrupt and
frighten workers at harvest-time. The
crop-pickers knew the fields contained
hidden bombs that would explode if
they accidently disturbed them while
toiling in the field. This tactic put large
tracts of much-needed food off limits.
A few years ago, workers were
Above In WWI, the German Army used trench mortar rounds like this Wurfgranate 1915 to destroy enemy
digging at a construction site in
positions and keep no-mans land clear. The thick fragmented body made the ordnance even more lethal.
the town of Ventspils [approximately
200km north-west of the Latvian capital set up a cordon around the ordnance which can be set up to fire a water or
of Riga] and they found 62 butterfly- to keep people at a safe distance, while steel slug at the UXOs firing circuit or
bomb dispensing containers, Brauncs- Latvian EOD members deploy to the detonator. The De-Armer can be fired
Brauns remembered. As it turned out, site to positively identify the object. He remotely, with the triggerman in a safe
the construction site was near a former explained that when the UXO is old position behind cover.
Luftwaffe airfield, and it is possible the and rusty, identification can be difficult. If the UXO appears to be dangerous,
Germans had simply buried several of This is when the EOD teams real-world the EOD team-leader makes the decision
the devices as their military pulled out experience, reference materials, and to blow up the object in place. Though
of the area. Thankfully, the fuses werent examples of ordnance in the EOD detonating the UXO in place is the easiest
armed. Thanks to our EOD training, we collection prove most useful. disposal method, it is the least desirable.
detonated them safely. Once the piece is confirmed to be Brauncs-Brauns cautions that under
According to Brauncs-Brauns, when a UXO, the team decides whether it is no circumstances should a non-EOD
a UXO is first reported, local police safe to transport the ordnance after team member attempt to neutralise or
its explosive component is neutralised. detonate a UXO. Sometimes civilians
Below A selection of potato-masher hand grenades One method of neutralisation is a will read something on the Internet
kept at the munitions collection. recoilless De-Armer and Disrupter, about UXO neutralisation and think


they are able to do it themselves. This
never leads to a happy ending.
To acquire the knowledge necessary to
become a qualified EOD team member
takes a long time. Before I completed
EOD training, I was interested in land-
mines and I thought I knew a lot about
them. However, once I finished the
course, I understood I was wrong. The
more I know about UXOs, the more I
realise how little I know.

Bullets, bombs, mines,

and rockets
The rarest piece of ordnance in
the collection is the WWI German
Schrapnelmine A. This innovative mine
was designed by Norwegian engineer
N W Aasen, sometimes referred to as
the grandfather of bouncing mines.
The device was daisy-chained in long
columns out in front of the lines. Once
Above The Kugelhandgranate Model 1913 was
detonated electronically, the mine I thought it was a bunker grenade,
a throwback to the centuries-old ball grenade.
would bound into the air approximately said Brauncs-Brauns. After I did some
These cast-iron, pre-fragmented grenades
shoulder-high and spread a circle of research, I discovered that despite the were deployed on an infantrymans belt in a
destruction across the battlefield. fact that it did not have fins, it truly carrier with a pull wire attached. The soldiers
Not everything in the Latvian EOD was a mortar round. The bottom of the yanked the grenade from the carrier and
Schools inventory is from the German round has a spiral fuse made of string quickly tossed it towards the enemy.
military, although the 90mm trench that allows the projectile to be crudely
mortar aptly called the Russian- set to detonate above or on the ground. by the British for use by partisan groups
German Minenwerfer is a Russian There are a few quirky, obscure pieces fighting German occupation in Europe.
copy of an effective weapon used by the of ordnance in the schools depository, This device may not disable a tank or
Germans against the Russian trenches. such as the Russian 37mm Spade Mortar tracked vehicle, but it can blow out the
In order effectively to attack bunker round, fired from a specially designed tyre on an Army staff car or troop truck.
positions and barbed-wire tangles at entrenching spade. This infantrymans In order to take the Cold War beneath
high-trajectory, the mortar tube lobbed point-and-shoot weapon was used in the waves, the Soviet military adopted
heavy, soup-can-like projectiles the short Russias Winter War with Finland, as well the SPP-1 Underwater Pistol for use
distances between the trenches. as against German forces in WWII. by frogmen in 1971. The pistol had
The first time I saw the Minenwerfer, Another odd specimen included four barrels and fired 4.5mm steel-
in the Latvian EODs inventory is an dart rounds. To up the aquatic ante,
Below Another of the 62 AB 23 SD-2 submunitions anti-tyre mine that fits in the palm of the Russian military began using the
dispenser canisters. an average mans hand. It was designed automatic APS Underwater Assault
Rifle in 1975, which fired 5.66mm
rounds with an effective range of
approximately 50m.
From bullets to bombs, mines to
rockets, and just about everything in
between, Latvian soil is a depository
of decaying unexploded ordnance. As
long as these hidden dangers exist, the
Latvian Army EOD units will continue
to chronicle the threat, reduce the peril,
and protect the public.
I dont see this ordnance vault as a
museum, I simply see lots of munitions
from different wars and different
countries lying close together, concluded
Brauncs-Brauns. If mankind turns
to laser weapons in the future like in
the Hollywood movies, there will still
be historical ordnance buried in the
Latvian ground waiting to be unearthed,
rendered safe, catalogued, and collected. MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 67
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The Story of an Ordinary Couple
in an Extraordinary time

I was born when my British father was 60 and my German

mother 24. My father died at the age of 76 so I was unable to
appreciate the life he led until I was much older. The catalyst
came when I was 50 and my mother confessed that my sister and
I had been born out of wedlock as my fathers first French wife
was still alive and in an asylum.
My interest was sparked. In honesty it was never easy having
TROUBADOR such an old father who had no previous children. He found
PUBLISHING it very difficult to cope with us as we grew up in the 1960s. I
ashamed to say part of me was relieved when he died and I could
ISBN 978 1703 060214 keep my short skirts.
EBOOK 5.99 As I researched into his life, particularly the First World War
ISBN 978 1783 069538 years I realised what a fine man he had been and I wished whole-
heartedly that I could ask him to repeat the stories he told us as
children to which we didnt listen. The book is a tribute to the man who was my father.
January This months MHM
Recommended Read has been
described by one Guardian
commentator as the most
important book on the Second
World War this century. MHM
reviewer Mark Corby is on hand
to see if the substance matches
up to the hype.
Our lead review is another
wide-reaching book, this time
by Sir Lawrence Freedman.
Jules Stewart is impressed by
Strategy: a history. Other books
up for consideration include An
Onslaught of Spears: the Danish
Conquest of England by MHM
contributor Jeffrey James, and After
Thermopylae: the Oath of Plataea
and the end of the Graeco-Persian
Wars by Paul Cartledge.
Lore, a touching indie film set
in Germany directly after the
collapse of the Reich, is our DVD
review this month. Its a must-see.

Recommended Read
72 DVD

accompanied the concurrent, ineptly or even the Prime Ministers office,
named, strategic bombing campaign however their response was to emulate
that was then raging over most of the Luftwaffe on a far greater scale and
Europe. The example of Bulgaria hope for the best.
was to prove the classic case of hope As the conclusion to his assessment
over expectation, yet its meagre results of Germanys bombing war, which is
went unnoticed. part one of this work, Overy includes
Such had been the pre-war terror a fascinating chapter on the bombing
of bombing in particular the version of the Soviet Union and the air-war in
enunciated by Stanley Baldwin MP the East. Yet again the Luftwaffe proved
(oddly described here as deputy prime totally incapable of inflicting anything
minister) on the eve of the 1932 Geneva like terminal damage on the Soviet
Disarmament talks: the bomber will state, killing a mere 51, 527. The Soviet
always get through that it became Union later claimed half a million
a self-fulfilling prophecy by 1939 that dead, a claim deftly dismissed by
bombing was the key to victory. Overy as crude propaganda.
The outbreak of war would see the
much vaunted but totally inadequate
Luftwaffe launch a series of spectacular The greatest battle
attacks on an almost defenceless Poland, Part Two, entitled The Greatest Battle,
Holland, and Belgium. The destruction is the longest section of this book and
Richard Overy of the city centre of Rotterdam claimed is devoted to the bombing campaign
Allen Lane, 30 enormous attention, and considerable conducted by the Allies, namely Great
ISBN 978-0713995619 exaggeration still surrounds it. Britain and the United States. In the
But in reality the Dutch had already case of Britain it is easy to see how

rofessor Richard Overy is sued for peace before the first bombs Churchill, aided and abetted by his
one our most distinguished fell. Although it appeared to be the odious scientific advisor Frederick
military historians, with harbinger of total destruction to some Lindemann, was seduced by the idea of
his recent works including observers in the UK, it would quickly mass bombing. Having seen the British
Why the Allies Won, Russias become apparent during the subsequent Army driven into the sea in short order
War, and The Dictators. In this truly London Blitz that bombing was not the in Norway, Dunkirk, Greece, and Crete,

magisterial work he addresses the key to victory it was claimed to be. the blandishments of the Air Ministry
highly controversial subject of the Despite delivering 18,800 tonnes of and RAF were impossible to resist.
use of terror bombing, on a quite various types of bombs on London in the
unprecedented scale, of what hitherto period 1940-1941, a further 1,957 tonnes
had been regarded as civilian targets. on Liverpool, 1,852 on Birmingham,
By concentrating on the political, 1,228 on Plymouth, and around 500-800
strategic, technical, and social aspects tonnes on Coventry, Hull, Manchester, Around 600,000
of mass bombing and the motivation Southampton, and Portsmouth, Great
behind it, he clearly demonstrates how Britain did not surrender, collapse, or civilian lives were
even the so-called liberal democracies dissolve into panic-stricken mob rule
descended into the bottomless pit of as some had predicted. lost to terror
barbarism on the pathetic grounds
of moral expediency. Around 600,000
Some 43,000 civilians were killed
in little over a year, yet the prevailing
bombing, many
civilian lives would be lost, many by attitude of the day was we can take it. by incineration,
incineration, for very dubious if not Overy explores the myriad of reasons
downright mythical gains. why this was possible, particularly as for very dubious
Overy opens his case with an account
of the almost forgotten Allied bombing
Great Britain was the first Great Power
in history to be subjected to a major
if not downright
campaign against Bulgaria in 1943-1944. bombing offensive for such a prolonged mythical gains.
This short campaign recreated in period. The fact that it ultimately failed
microcosm the hopes, expectations, so spectacularly should have provoked
and wildly optimistic claims that some reflection in the Air Ministry



As the belligerent head of Bomber

Command, Arthur Bomber Harris
so succinctly put it, We have got to
kill a lot of Boche before we win this
war. This was Churchills kind of
language, and Harris duly attempted to
deliver but ultimately failed to provide
an exclusive bomber victory.
Despite consuming 40% of Britains
war effort, not to mention 55,0000
very young men of Bomber Command,
the indiscriminate carpet bombing
of German cities produce neither the
total collapse of civilian morale, nor
the industrial disintegration that had
been promised by Lindemann and his
ilk. In fact, as Overy observes, it was
technologically impossible for the RAF
to achieve such a decisive victory given
the conditions it fought under.
Most of the bombing was conducted
at night with freefall bombs being
released about four miles above their
target from aircraft travelling at speeds
of about 200mph. The result was that
many completely missed their target
area, as no such thing as precision also assumed this would allow them to Above A Lancaster bomber over Hamburg, 1943.
bombing was possible except on a select particularly important industrial
few very small exceptional raids and/or military targets.
such as the legendary and very costly The initial cost, without fighter civilians in the following terms, I think
Dambusters operation of 1943. cover, was very high so high that their endurance was the greatest marvel
between March and April 1944, 89 of the war. Many neutral observers would
USAAF bombers saw fit to fly to Sweden agree with this judgement.
Massive destruction or Switzerland and face internment Overy presents a plethora of fascinating
There were some notably destructive rather than continue with their missions. detail in a most agreeable style, and
raids Hamburg, Lbeck, Cologne, Eventually fighter cover arrived, leaves the reader to form their own
and Dresden all burnt very well, and the chimera of victory beckoned opinion of the merits or otherwise
much to Harris, Churchill and as Germanys industrial sites were of this much-debated and hugely
Lindemanns glee. But aside from systematically pulverised. Berlin alone controversial aspect of the Second
the massive destruction of domestic had received over 68,000 tonnes of World War. This book is accompanied
property and attendant civilian various bombs from the Allies. by many excellent maps, charts, tables,
lives, little was achieved in seriously However, the post-war United and photographs, and it will surely be
diminishing the Reichs war capabilities, States Bombing Survey (conducted by ranked by many as the definitive work
although British morale was raised by J K Galbraith, among others), concluded on this subject for many years to come.
sense of apposite revenge. that strategic bombing had not won the Mark Corby
The arrival of the United States Army war, but had simply eased the path of
Air Force (USAAF) in strength in 1943 the ground troops who did. Galbraith
heralded what Overy euphemistically went on to describe the bombing Next month
calls The Combined Bomber Offensive. campaign as one of the greatest, Margaret MacMillan, The War
The USAAF regarded it as axiomatic perhaps the greatest, miscalculations that Ended Peace: how Europe
that bombing should be executed with of the war. Writing in 1947, Air-Chief- abandoned peace for the First
a much greater regard for accuracy, and Marshal Sir John Sleesor, GCB, DSO, World War, Profile Books, 25,
as such opted to bomb in daylight. They MC, described the resistance of German ISBN 978-1846682728 MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 73

STRATEGY: a history
The favoured strategy was coercive,
Lawrence Freedman using threats to persuade the target
Oxford University Press, 25.00
ISBN 978-0199325153
(Pharaoh) to yield, Freedman explains.
Gods strategic threats, it was now clear,
The Lord and his
had credibility. angels avoided

f one were setting out to research The Biblical narrative fits neatly
the origins of strategic thinking with Freedmans briefest definition the perils in Mike
and how it came to dominate our
lives, the Bible might not appear to be
of strategy, as the art of creating
power. By this, he means not merely
Tysons warning:
the most obvious reference work. the power of force, in Machiavellian Everyone has
Many of the stories [in the Hebrew terms, but political (or, in this case,
Bible] revolve around conflicts divine) legitimacy as well. Although a plan till they
in which trickery and deception all power is unstable, he says, that
are regularly employed, points based on authority has a much
get punched in
out Lawrence Freedman, author
of what is arguably the most
longer half-life than that based
on force.
the mouth.
comprehensive work to date on Strategy is a minefield for those
the study of strategy. who take it as a solution in itself.
In Strategy: a history, Freedman Too often strategists fail to assess Thus the Lord and his angels
maintains that some Biblical tales, their starting-point and that of their avoided the perils in Mike Tysons
notably that of David and Goliath, enemy (who also has preferences and warning, cited by Freedman, about
still influence the way we think choices), not to mention their failure being caught unawares for lack of a
and talk about strategy. to assess all the obstacles. strategy: Everyone has a plan till they
He offers an amusing interpretation The author takes us through the get punched in the mouth.
of the Exodus story as a gigantic sources for the origins of strategy, The concept of strategy has been
manipulation, in which God tells starting with the remarkable political defined in various ways, but the word
the Israelites to abandon a land behaviour of chimpanzees. The study itself only came into general use at the
they were in no hurry to leave, while of these primates sheds light on some start of the 19th century.
using the plagues to drive home the of the elemental features of strategic Strategy is generally thought of in the
message of his divine power and behaviour, which emerge out of social context of military action, referring to
superiority over Egyptian gods. structures that invite conflict. The maps, engagements, and deployments.
chimps can attain extreme levels But its origins pre-date the Napoleonic
of violence, but this in itself does era and reflect the Enlightenments
not make for the most effective growing confidence in empirical science
strategies, it is rather in their and the application of reason. Strategy
ability to forge coalitions to existed from the moment primates
confront aggressors that their formed social groups, Freedman says.
power resides. Taking it back even further, he adds,
Freedman considers Ancient If we consider strategy as a particular
Greece the most important source sort of problem-solving, it has existed
of strategic thinking. Look no since the start of time.
further than the Trojans and their Freedman contends that strategy only
failure to detect the treachery of really comes into play when elements
the Greeks, who had placed a huge of conflict are present. But, he asserts,
wooden horse before the city gates, what turns something that is not quite
with the well-known result. strategy into strategy is a sense of actual
As well as sections on Sun Tzu or imminent instability.
and Machiavelli, Satan features in This brings into the picture most
Freedmans book, with his attack of our activities in todays world. It
on heaven, whose inhabitants becomes clear through the books 750
fortunately had devised an effective pages its length in itself a reflection of
defence strategy. Rather than a the limitless possibilities of the study of
place dedicated to peace, beauty, this subject that scarcely any human
and tranquillity, heaven was already pursuit can escape involvement in some
geared up for battle and organised way with strategy.
on martial lines. Jules Stewart


After Thermopylae: the Oath Ancient Greeks. He looks closely at the travels to France and the Low Countries
of Plataea and the end of the role played by the stele itself, and uncovers before widening its perspective as
Graeco-Persian Wars a very different political context in far afield as Russia and the eastern
Athens 150 years after Plataea, where the Mediterranean, finally concluding
Paul Cartledge memory of the battle, and an exaggerated with the overseas empires in the
Oxford University Press, 16.99 Athenian role in it, was being used to Americas and India.
ISBN 978-0199747320 restore civic pride in the face of the Surprising as it might initially seem,
conquest of Greece by Philip of Macedon. the omission of a detailed study of

ome 2,500 Cartledge develops this idea of a the works of the great French military
years after propaganda battle between the fiercely engineer, Vauban, is, in the context
they took competitive Greek city-states over the of the book, not as significant as it
place, the battles memory of the war from the 5th century might otherwise be. His predecessors
of the Graeco-Persian onwards throughout the Classical period, are considered, and his influence on
Wars still have the even tracing how the war resonates in the fortress-design in North America is a
capacity to fire the contemporary world. focus of another chapter. Additionally, not
imagination. As a The book does not deal exclusively focusing on individuals enables the study
Classics teacher, I can attest that a with this notion of the manipulation to concentrate on the development of the
reference to the Battle of Marathon will of the memory of war, but fully discipline of military engineering within
cause an immediate ripple of interest in engages with the military questions the state, encompassing structure, training,
a class of 13-year-olds (not just because of Plataea itself. A whole chapter and bureaucracy. It is here that, until the
they know the story of Pheidippides deals with the run-up to the battle, mid-1800s, France was predominant.
the runner), and a glancing mention of and another dissects the actual Mapping played a key role in the process
Thermopylae will evince cries of Sparta! battle, with a discussion of the forces of state-formation and government, so it is
and pleas to watch the film 300. involved, weaponry, and the course of no surprise that the skills of the military
Yet, when one refers to the Battle of of the engagement. engineer extended to cartography. Added
Plataea (479 BC), there is usually a sea This book is a thoughtful and engaging to this, from the end of the 17th century
of blank faces. This lack of recognition starting-point for anyone interested not onwards, European warfare became more
is something I have always found only in the Graeco-Persian Wars, but mobile, with battles becoming more
curious. The Greek historian Herodotus also in the way future generations use important than sieges.
wrote that Plataea, in which the death the memory of war. As a result, the military architect
blow was struck against the Persian Bijan Omrani developed into the geographical engineer,
expeditionary force by a coalition and, by the 18th century, military mapping
of Greek armies, was the most Military Engineers and the had developed into a distinct arm the
splendid victory of all those about Development of the Early- Ingnieurs-Gographes in France and
which we have knowledge. Modern European State the Trigonometrical Survey of the Board
Failing to give due prominence of Ordnance in Britain. This leads to a
to the engagement at Plataea is not Bruce P Lenman (ed.) fascinating chapter on how the skills of
a foible confined just to my own Dundee University Press, 30 the fortress-builder, the map-maker, and
pupils. Cartledge points to military ISBN 978-1845861209 the road-builder were brought together
historians of different generations to subdue the Jacobite threat in Scotland

such as Giles MacDonogh (2010) and his is a study during the 18th century.
Compton Mackenzie (1934), who both of the role There is a staggering breadth to this
waxed lyrical about the importance of of military book, covering a period from close to
Marathon and Salamis in the course of engineering and of the end of the Hundred Years War to the
world history, but failed to include the the military engineer start of the Napoleonic Wars. It discusses
ultimately more important Plataea. in the development a wide range of subjects, including
In After Thermopylae, Cartledge sets out of the European state the contributions of Albrecht Drer
to uncover more, not just about the battle in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. and Leonardo da Vinci to the science
itself, but also the perception of it in The book argues that the role of the of fortress-design, the influence of the
Ancient Greece. His method, in his own military engineer was not limited to Dutch School of military engineering
words, is oblique, or slantwise. Rather the conduct of sieges or the design on the English Civil Wars, the skills
than delving into the battle head-on, he and construction of fortifications to of Venetian engineers in constructing
investigates a marble stele dedicated resist ever more powerful artillery. artificial ports, and the standardisation
to Ares, the Greek god of war, by an Their influence went much further, of artillery calibres and carriages (a
Athenian priest around 325 BC. The stele encompassing architecture, cartography, sometimes overlooked but fundamental
bears an inscription known as the Oath road- and canal-building, town- and port- development during the second half of
of Plataea, which purports to be a vow planning, and water-supply and drainage. the Early Modern period).
taken by the Greek allies in the summer The Italian Renaissance is an This is an important study, and is
of 479, not long before the battle. appropriate point to begin this analysis certainly recommended to anyone with
Cartledge moves beyond a discussion for it was in Italy that the scientific a serious interest in military engineering
of the authenticity of the text of the Oath approach to artillery fortification, which and its position in the Early Modern
and its religious context to survey how the became known as the trace italienne, European state.
Persian Wars were remembered by the originated. From here, Military Engineers David Flintham MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 75
The Long Shadow: the Great War and An Onslaught of Spears: We Spared Not the Capital
the Twentieth Century the Danish Conquest of England of America
David Reynolds
Simon & Schuster, 25 Jeffrey James Tony Maclachlan
ISBN 978-0857206350 The History Press, 16.99 AuthorHouse, 16.99
Reynolds explores democracy and ISBN 978-0752488721 ISBN 978-1456781866
empire, nationalism and capitalism, and
art and poetry in WWI. With impressively broad

t is difficult to think t this time of
historical perspective, The Long Shadow reinterprets of a more ghastly great military
the place of the Great War in modern history.
time to have lived anniversaries,
in England than the Maclachlan sheds
Francos Crypt: Spanish culture
Early Middle Ages. light on a conflict
and memory since 1936
Jeremy Treglown
One might have put heavily overshadowed
Chatto & Windus, 25 up with the primitive by the wars against
ISBN 978-0701180621 standards of living, Napoleonic France.
In a compelling investigation of but the horrifying depredations of the The War of 1812 is viewed by the
collective memory, Treglown talks to Viking raids and invasions from the 8th author as a needless, confused
the descendants of men and women killed during the to 11th centuries are quite another thing. series of actions that gained little
Spanish Civil War and ensuing dictatorship in this Social class was no protection. The poor for either side.
much-needed re-examination of the countrys history. suffered from hostile armies ravaging the From the start Maclachlan
land, indiscriminate killings, enslavement, chooses to do more than merely
The Lost World of Bletchley Park: and the need to furnish soldiers for write a chronological history of
an illustrated history of the wartime endless campaigns. The ruling elites, quite this war. His focus is on contemporary
codebreaking centre aside from having to stand in the first rank attitudes towards the war, both military
Sinclair McKay in battle, had it no better. One loses count and civilian, an approach to this idea
Aurum Press, 25 of how many fell to assassins or political which itself suggests we are looking
ISBN 978-1781311912 killings. Perhaps in a worse plight were at an entirely avoidable war. Ranging
Having been granted special access the young hostages taken from noble from bungling politicians in London
to the Parks archives, McKay has delivered a families, who would find themselves and Washington to indecisive and
picturesque and illuminating memorial to the young
losing their ears, noses, and hands if any misinformed commanders on both sides,
men and women without whose efforts Britain may
element of the power-play went awry. The the authors selection of contemporary
not have won the war.
unluckiest were sacrificed to Odin. accounts backs up his own view that
Special Operations in WWII: An Onslaught of Spears is an excellent this was a conflict that should never
British and American irregular warfare introduction to this grisly but fascinating have happened.
Andrew L Hargreaves period. It traces the history of Viking The views of the ordinary American
Oklahoma Press, 22.81 attacks on Anglo-Saxon England, starting and Canadian farmers and traders are
ISBN 978-0806143965 with the First Age of Viking domination also conveyed, often tragically, as the
In describing how Britain and the United (c.793-954), when various of the old Anglo- developing cause of US nationalism
States worked independently and cooperatively to Saxon kingdoms fell to Viking control, but has devastating consequences for both
invent and put into practice a new way of waging concentrates on the Second Age, when agriculture and commerce.
war, this book demonstrates the nations flexibility, sustained campaigns by Svein Forkbeard The confusion of charting a conflict
adaptability, and ability to innovate during WWII. and Cnut won complete control of stretching from the Great Lakes to the
England from Aethelred II (the Unready) Gulf of Mexico, with numerous naval
Tragedy at Dieppe: Operation Jubilee, and his son Edmund Ironside in 1016. encounters on the Atlantic and inland
August 19, 1942 Jamess account is comprehensive, yet lakes, is an issue that Maclachlan has
Mark Zuehlke also concise and thoroughly readable. neatly addressed. Each chapter focuses
Douglas & McIntyre, 23.43 His narrative ranges from the politics on one of the main theatres, and
ISBN 978-1771620161 and personalities of the period, to passages are frequently linked to
Drawing on rare archival footage and individual campaigns, commanders, battles, events in Europe to provide a reference
personal interviews, Zuehlke examines
techniques of warfare, and its effects on point for the reader.
Operation Jubilees conception, planning,
the people. His discussions of the political The naval encounters really bring
and tragic execution.
and diplomatic background bring clarity the conflict to life, as a young US Navy
Hess, Hitler, and Churchill: to an extremely complex period. Strikingly, inflicts several defeats on the might of
the real turning point of the Second he joins a recent trend in scholarship the Royal Navy. Primary sources and
World War a secret history arguing that Aethelred the Unready was maps of the engagements support the
Peter Padfield by no means the weak and ineffectual descriptions of all actions on both land
Icon Books, 25 king tradition portrays. James analyses his and sea. The authors fast-paced account
ISBN 978-1848316027 reconquest of England from the Vikings of the clash between USS Constitution
This compelling narrative touches on in 1014, his frequently effective diplomacy, and HMS Guerriere in particular reads
Lord Rothschild, the Cambridge spy ring, and his achievements in developing the like a passage from Forrester or OBrien,
possible British foreknowledge of Operation army and legal system, suggesting many of with primary accounts so vivid that you
Barbarossa and the final solution, and MI6s his failures were down to misfortune. can almost smell the oakum.
use of Hess to prevent the bombing of London. Bijan Omrani Louis Rive

January 2014

checkpoint to the train station, Lore
refuses to be grateful. Her upbringing
has instilled in her an innate hatred for
such people, and so to be presented with
a human being and not a monster in the
form of this young Jewish man confuses
her all the more. In the same scene she
will cling to him, begging him not to
leave them, and denounce him as filthy
and a liar like the rest of [his] kind.
Saskia Rosendahl plays her part
flawlessly. A confused teenager who is
suddenly forced to take responsibility
for a baby and three small children,
Lore is loving, tough, and fragile.
Her moments of panic and breakdown
are entirely convincing, without one
throwaway emotion or gesture. Kai-Peter
ARTIFICIAL EYE of newspaper cuttings with photographs Malina as the misunderstood, enigmatic
22 FEBRUARY 2013 of the concentration camps are read out Thomas is the perfect supporting actor.
15.99 in hushed tones on trains, or laughed at Quiet and intense, he expertly evokes
for their preposterousness by those who empathy in the audience as Thomas

his stunning believe them to be propaganda. wins over the childrens respect and
indie film It is through Lore that we see these Lores understanding.
from conflicting beliefs most manifestly. At the Adam Arkapaw stamps his mark
Australian director start, even as the embers of hastily burned on the film with exquisite cinematography.
Cate Shortland photos of the Fhrer float through the The camera pans through shots of sunny
tackles the relatively Bavarian idyll, Lore still asks her mother, green glades, occasionally coming to rest
little-studied topic Its coming, isnt it mother the final on a burned-out tank. Beautiful scenes
of German civilians victory? But soon after, as she begins of the group bathing and swimming in
directly following to come to terms with her nations and a picturesque stream are coupled with
the collapse of the Reich. Lore is only her familys guilt, she buries her only discoveries of destroyed homes, their
14 years old when she and her family pictures of the mother and father she dead owners still rotting in the corners.
are thrown into turmoil after her father, will most likely never see again. In all, this is a must-see coming-of-age
a high-ranking SS officer who is clearly Suspicions and rumours are rife. When historical work touching, ruthless, and
implicated in Nazi war atrocities, returns Thomas (Kai-Peter Malina), a mysterious well put together.
home. It is rather an uncomfortable refugee, helps the siblings across a US George Clode
opening, introducing the mentally
unstable mother, the young children,
and the desperate father, who quickly
sets about burning official documents
and records.
After her parents hand themselves
over to the Americans, Lore (Saskia
Rosendahl) is charged with escorting
her siblings to her grandmothers house
500 miles away, just outside Hamburg.
Encountering other ragged civilians
confused by the state of the country,
the family experience death, disease,
poverty, and hunger on their journey.
The film is a slow-burning encapsulation
of a nations awakening as, gradually,
the characters begin to come to
terms with the wars end. Snippets MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 77
all of your
Your Military History
War Culture
War on Film
Outnumbered and outgunned, the Imperial German Navy fought a maritime guerrilla war against Reviews
British commerce in 1914. Nick Hewitt explores the cat-and-mouse campaign. Back to the Drawing Board

Reserve your
copy with your
or see our
offer on page 20
We begin our First World War centenary Robbie McNiven analyses the brilliant
coverage with in-depth analysis of the most military career of the Earl of Montrose
momentous terrorist attack in history. during the English Civil War.

for competitions, articles
and more

STOPPING A WWII TANK THE DEADLIEST ENEMY For up-to-the-minute news and info, add us:
How do you fight a Tiger tank? David Porter Dysentry, VD, leprosy, and the Black Death:
describes the evolution of anti-tank warfare Brian Burfield catalogues the horrors of
between 1939 and 1945. disease in Medieval warfare.


9 JANUARY 2014

This month we have
the diary of a World War II military judge
to be won

Werner Otto Mller-Hill served as a military judge in the Werhmacht

during WWII. From March 1944 to the summer of 1945, he kept a
diary recording his impressions of what transpired around him as
Germany hurtled into destruction.
The diary detailed what he thought about the fate of the
Jewish people, the danger from the Bolshevik east once an
Allied victory was imminent, his longing for his home and family,
and, throughout it, a relentless disdain and hatred for those
responsible for dragging his beloved Germany into this cataclysm:
Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.
Mller-Hill calls himself a German nationalist, the true Prussian
idealist who was there before Hitler and would remain afterwards.
Published in Germany and France, Mller-Hills diary has been
hailed as a unique document, praised for its singular candour and
uncommon insight into what the German Army was like on the
inside. It is an extraordinary testament to a section of Germanys
population that historians are only now starting to recognise, and
fills a gap in our knowledge of WWII.

The True German: the diary of a World War II military judge

Werner Otto Mller-Hill, introduced by Benjamin Carter Hett
Price 15.99 I US $25.00 I CAN $29.00
Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN 9781137278548

To be in with a chance of winning, just answer

the following questions at

1. What was Mller-Hills occupation

during the war?
2. Where has the diary been published?
3. For whom did Mller-Hill have most


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everything MHM heard online as well
as in print. Follow us on Twitter@
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and have your say


Test your military history knowledge in our regular crossword.
We continue our caption competition with an
The answers will be revealed in next months issue of MHM. image from our Longbow feature.
Pit your wit against MHM readers at
5 Atlantic islands near which the Battle of 1 ___ Bridge, English Civil War battle fought in
Flores was fought in 1591 (6) Oxfordshire in June 1644 (8)
8 Shropshire town, believed to be the site of the 2 Battle of the First World War, fought on 23
7th-century Battle of Maserfield (8) August 1914 (4)
10 Middle Eastern city captured by the Mongols 3 Isaac ___, Parliamentarian Colonel of Foot, a
under Hulagu (6) signatory to Charles Is death warrant (4)
11 Rank equivalent to Corporal of Horse in the 4 Sir Richard ___, naval commander, fatally RUNNERS-UP:
You put your
Household Cavalry (8) wounded aboard the Revenge while fighting a left hand in,
12 Green ___, US special forces (6) Spanish fleet in 1591 (9) your right
6 hand out
14 John ___, Earl of Saint Vincent, naval commander ___ Dawn, film (1979) about the Battle of
John Hodges
and First Lord of the Admiralty (6) Isandlwana (4)
16 Charles ___, British general who commanded 7 Nickname of Confederate general Thomas Are you
hiding your
the 3rd Brigade at the Battle of Brandywine (4) Jackson (9) armies up
17 Red Sea city captured by T E Lawrence and 9 Surname of Hitlers Minister of Armaments (5) your sleevies
Kim Styles
Arab forces in July 1917 (5) 13 Organisation founded in 1954 with its
18 Acronym for series of negotiations between HQ in Bangkok, to prevent the spread of WINNER:
the USA and USSR aimed at reducing Communism in that region (5) I told Josephine that Beef Wellington
long-range nuclear missiles (4) 14 The Maid of Orleans (4, 2, 3) would upset my digestion
19 Hugh ___, Earl of Tyrone, who fought 15 Guards regiment formed in 1656 by Charles II Barry Wye
against English rule in Ireland in the late while exiled in Bruges (9)
16th century (6) 18 ___ Allende, Chilean president overthrown in
Think you can do better?
21 Peter ___, actor who played Lord Chelmsford a coup led by General Pinochet (8) Log onto to
in the film in 6 Down (6) 20 Royal ___ Regiment, whose history can be enter the next CAPTION COMPETITION. Flex your funny
23 Sea in which the Battle of Lissa was fought in traced back to Tiffins Regiment of Foot, bone and be in with a chance of getting your caption
published in the next issue of Military History Monthly !
July 1866 (8) raised in 1689 (5)
26 Iranian city besieged by Iraqi forces from 22 African country where French troops were
November 1980 to September 1981 (6) deployed in Operation Serval (4) DECEMBER ISSUE | MHM 39
ACROSS 6 Benedict, 8 Amiens, 10 Davout, 11 Bosworth,

27 Frigate on which Nelson served as a 24 Phoenician town and port captured by 12 Maxentius, 13 Tilly, 14 Belfast, 16 Ottoman, 20 Tiger,
midshipman (8) Alexander the Great (4) 22 Lancaster, 25 Percival, 26 Martin, 27 Pigeon, 28 Sheridan.
DOWN 1 Delaware, 2 Jerome, 3 Hittites, 4 Balsa, 5 Hirohito,
28 King of the Franks who defeated the Roman 25 French city taken by Allied forces during the 7 Tobruk, 9 Natal, 15 Fletcher, 17 Tecumseh, 18 American,
ruler Syagrius at the Battle of Soissons (6) Battle of Normandy (4) 19 Eagles, 21 Iceni, 23 Serbia, 24 Evans. MILITARYHISTORYMONTHLY 81

with a K
ack to the Drawing Board will be
commemorating the centenary of the First
World War with a series featuring some of the
least-successful weapons of the era, starting
with the Royal Navys K Class submarine.
It was a bold tactical concept. With war looming in 1913,
the Royal Navy requested a submarine with sufficient surface
speed to operate alongside the Fleet in combined actions. British sandbank at Walney Island, Barrow, 1917. The endless examples
Conventional submarines were powered by a diesel motor of accidents and blunders led to it being nicknamed Kalamity class.
on the surface, which also charged the batteries for use
while the vessel was submerged.
In order to achieve the required during diving proved challenging.
surface speed of 24 knots, the K Class During one test-dive she burrowed into
submarines needed far more power, the seabed while the future King George
so in addition to a diesel generator VI was on board!
and batteries, they had twin oil-fired The flotilla had She was certainly fast it was not
boilers that drove a steam turbine. As until the advent of nuclear-powered
a result the K Class were 339 feet long to alter course, submarines that similar surface speeds
and displaced 1,980 tonnes, double the
length and three times the weight of the
setting off a chain would be achieved but when steaming
in rough seas, water entered the funnels,
E Class submarine. This meant they were of collisions that extinguishing the boiler fires and
as big as a destroyer. potentially flooding the boiler room. It
Supplying sufficient air to the boilers caused the loss of was flooding that caused K13 to sink
for combustion required five air intakes, in January 1917, when an inlet failed to
each 37 inches in diameter on the stern
K4 and K17, along close properly.
with a pair of 5ft-tall funnels which
allowed the engine fumes to escape.
with 104 men. The biggest problem with the K
Class, however, was that they were far
Both funnels and air intakes were closed less manoeuvrable than the warships
and sealed by electric motors prior to they were expected to sail alongside.
diving, so average dive time was five In November 1917, K4 collided with K1
minutes. Crash dives were impossible. during an operation off the Danish
Once in service, more serious issues coast, when she had to turn suddenly to
became apparent. HMS K3, the lead ship of the class, was avoid three cruisers in the flotilla.
commissioned in summer 1916. Long and heavy, control The following January there was a similar disaster, but with
far worse consequences, during an exercise in
the Firth of Forth. Sailing in the dark, the flotilla
had to alter course sharply to avoid unsuspected
vessels in the area, setting off a chain of collisions
that resulted in the loss of both K4 and K17,
along with 104 men. Three other submarines were
badly damaged.
By the end of the First World War, four K Class
submarines had been lost, none due to enemy
action. Things failed to improve in peacetime.
K5 disappeared during a mock battle in 1921; an
investigation concluded that she had exceeded her
safe depth (which was only 200 feet).
Later that year, K15 sank while moored in
Portsmouth when hydraulic failure allowed vents
to open and flood the vessel. Six of the 18 K Class
submarines were lost in accidents. Small wonder
that sailors nicknamed it the Kalamity class.
Dan Sager

Left A First World War British K15.


Guided Battlefield Tours
We are an established company and specialise
in tours to World War 1 and World War 2
sites. We know that every tour member
has a personal reason to travel with us.
We limit the numbers on each tour; this
allows you to travel in comfort and allows
us to ensure that your reasons for travelling
with us are met.

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