January 2016 Essay Titles 

1. How tactically and operationally effective was the BEF in August to December 1914?

The view that took hold soon after French stood down, and not helped by his own memoir, was that operationally the BEF were a shambles whilst tactically the fighting experience of this ‘colonial police force’ helped by a change in training 1902-1909 stood up well. In the last decade, a more nuance and even sympathetic view has developed for operations too – faced with daunting odds, under French’s command, though communications were flawed and mistakes were made, they were effective – the German steamroller was stopped.

  1. Spencer Jones (Ed) Stemming the Tide: officers and leadership in the BEF 1914. 
  2. Paul M. Kennedy, The War plans of the great powers, 1880-1914 (1979) 940.331/WAR
  3. Harris, P. & Sanders, M. ‘The Step by Step Approach:  British Military Thought and Operational Method on  the Western Front 1915 – 1917’ in War in History, 15(1), 2008
  4. Greenhalgh, E. ‘The Experience of Fighting with Allies:  The Case of the Capture of Falfemont Farm during the Battle of the Somme 1916’ in War in History 10(2), 2003
  5. Jones, S. ‘The Influence of the Boer War (1899 – 1902) on the Tactical Development of the Regular British Army 1902 – 1914’ (Ph D,  2009) http://wlv.openrepository.com/wlv/handle/2436/99811
  6. ‘Joffrey’s War: A Sherwood Forester in the Great War’ (JV Copy/Print)
  7. ‘Theres A Devil In The Drum’ by John Lucy  (JV copy/print)
  8. Retreat of I Corps 1914 by Jerry Murland (JV)
  9. Crossing No Man’s Land : Experiencing and learning within the Northumberland Fusiliers in the Great War. Tony Ball. (JV)
  10. BEF Campaign on the Aisne. Jerry Murland (JV Read Kindle Sample – Chapter 1).
  11. There’s a Devil in the Drum by J F zlucy (JV Print memoir).
  12. Stemming the Tide: Officers and Leadership in the British Expeditionary Force 1914. (Ed) Spencer Jones (JV choice)

 

2. ‘The period when the BEF’s operational and tactical effectiveness was at its nadir’. Discuss this view of 10 March 1915 to 2 July 1916.


3. ‘The results of the BEF’s learning process on the Somme was demonstrated at the Battle of Arras in April-May 1917’. Comment.


4. Compare and contrast the operational techniques of Fifth and Second Armies at the Third Battle of Ypres.


5. ‘In March and April 1918 the BEF won a great defensive victory’. How far do you agree?


6. ‘The Hundred Days campaign was so successful because the Allies finally moved away from seeking to achieve a breakthrough and instead embraced ‘bite and hold’ methods on a large scale’. Discuss.


7. What were the principal factors that maintained the morale of British troops on active service on the Western Front and Middle East?

The last British troops left Iran in 1921. Iran, boarding India and with its oil was of growing importance to the British Empire: Russia already held northern Iran in 1910. Germany favoured, forcing the Russians and British to act. Drought 1916, Famine 1918. Cholera and Typhoid epidemics from 1915.

450,000 troops mostly from India. 6,400 motor vehicles.

Basra 22 November 1914. The British strong hold in Mesopotamia to protect the oil fields.

Reading:

Victor Rothwell, ‘Mesopotamia in British War Aims 1914-18’, Historical Journal, 06/1970, Vol. 13, No.2. e-library

  • Three physical books ‘British war aims and peace diplomacy, 1914-1918. Clarendon Press. Unable to find Historical Journal, let alone this volume.

David French, ‘”A One Man Show?” Civil-Military Relations in Britain During the First World War’ in Paul Smith (ed.), Government and the Armed Forces in Britain, 1856-1990 (1996) (e-library)

  • Taken to Dawsonera where the e-Book supposedly resides. Othered a long list of titles that having nothing to do with the tile I have searched.

Santanu Das, ‘Responses to the War (India) http://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/Responses_to_the_War_(India) online resource

Would Muslims fight Muslims when a Holy Religious War was called for on 14 November 1914. Half the combatants came from Punjab. Most were illiterate, with literacy in India at 5%. Uniform, money and masculinity. Labourers, some forced recruits. Class, caste, region, district and gender.

Nikolas Gardner, ‘Sepoys at the Siege of Kut-al-Amara, December 1915-April 1916‘, War in History, 11:3, 2004 e-library

  • Found with ease.

Crowley, PT, ‘Operational Lessons of the Mesopotamia Campaign, 1914–18’, Defence Studies . Autumn2004, Vol. 4 Issue 3 e-library

International Encyclopedia of the First World War Near and Middle East.

Ottoman Empire Middle East 

Persia/Iran

Scudieri, JD ‘Iraq, 2003-4 and Mesopotamia, 1914-18: a comparative analysis in ends and means’ file://prs store2.unv.wlv.ac.uk/home1$/in4300/home/Profile/Downloads/ADA423816%20(1).pdf in-line resource

Watson, Alexander Enduring the Great War: Combat, Morale and Collapse in the German and British Armies, 1914-1918 (2008) e-library (Have copy, also reviewed on WLV study day).

Diary of an Old Contemptible: From Mons to Baghdad 1914-1919 Private Edward Roe (JV choice/ Kindle).

A Sergeant Major’s War.  From Hill 60 to the Somme (JV choice/Paperback).

Other Publications

Tig’s Boys – Letters to Sir from the Trenches. (JV choice/ Kindle).

The Crofton Diaries 1914-1915 Massacre of the Innocents Captain Sir Morgan Crofton. (JV choice).

‘They didn’t want to die virgins. Sex and Morale in the British Army on the Western Front 1914-18’. (2016) Bruce Cherry

J0ffrey’s War : A Sherwood Forester in the Great War – edited and introduced by J M Bourne and Bob Bushaway with a foreword by Prof. Peter Simkins.(JV)

Crossing No Man’s Land : Experiencing and learning within the Northumberland Fusiliers in the Great War. Tony Ball. (JV)

There’s a Devil in the Drum by J F Lucy (JV Print memoir).

A Sergeant-Major’s War : From Hill 60 to the Somme. Ernest Shephard (JV print : diary)

Britain and the Widening War 1915-16 : from Gallipoli to the Somme (Ed) Peter Liddell: keep the Home Fores Burning. Women’s support for British Servicemen Jessica Meyer (JV Pen&Sword Hardback).

 

8. Was the BEF’s performance hampered by poor leadership shown by junior officers?

 Stemming the Tide. Officers and Leadership in the BEF 1914. (Ed) Spencer Jones
9. ‘The Achilles Heel of the BEF’. Discuss this view of training.

Williams, B. Raising and Training the New Armies (1918) Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/stream/raisingtrainingn00willrich#page/n9/mode/2up

J. McDermott, ‘The revolution in British military thinking from the Boer war to the Moroccan crisis’, in Canadian Journal of History, 08/1974, Vol.9, No.2 (e-library)

Dennis, P. & 1917: Tactics Training and Technology (2007).

Grey, Jeffery (eds.) http://www.army.gov.au/Our-history/Army-History-Unit/Chief-of-Army-History-Conference/Previous-Conference-Proceedings/~/media/Files/Our%20history/AAHU/Conference%20Papers%20and%20Images/2007/2007-1917_Tactics_Training_and_Technology.ashx

Philpott, W.     ‘Beyond the “Learning Curve”: The British Army’s Military Transformation in the First World War’ in RUSI Analysis 10 November 2009 at http://www.rusi.org/analysis/commentary/ref:C4AF97CF94AC8B/http://www.rusi.org/analysis/commentary/ref:C4AF97CF94AC8B/

Dennis, P. & 1917: Tactics Training and Technology (2007).

Grey, Jeffery (eds.) http://www.army.gov.au/Our-history/Army-History-Unit/Chief-of-Army-History-Conference/Previous-Conference-Proceedings/~/media/Files/Our%20history/AAHU/Conference%20Papers%20and%20Images/2007/2007-1917_Tactics_Training_and_Technology.ashx

Greenhalgh, E ‘”Parade Ground Soldiers”:  French Army Assessments of the British on the Somme in 1916”, Journal of Military History, Vol. 63, No.2 (1999)


10. Any other question agreed with Professor Sheffield & Doctor Jones


Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s