Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest NetGalley
Google Books previews are unavailable because you have chosen to turn off third party cookies for enhanced content. Visit our cookies page to review your cookie settings.

Pioneers of Irregular Warfare (Kindle)

Secrets of the Military Intelligence Research Department of the Second World War

WWII Military

By Malcolm Atkin
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 28.5 MB (.mobi)
Pages: 272
Illustrations: 30 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526766021
eBook Released: 29th April 2021

in_stock

£4.99 Print price £25.00

You save £20.01 (80%)

Click here for help on how to download our eBooks

You'll be £4.99 closer to your next £10.00 credit when you purchase Pioneers of Irregular Warfare. What's this?
Need a currency converter? Check XE.com for live rates

Other formats available - Buy the Hardback and get the eBook for £1.99! Price
Pioneers of Irregular Warfare Hardback Add to Basket £25.00
Pioneers of Irregular Warfare ePub (12.2 MB) Add to Basket £4.99


Covert operations and ingenious weapons for irregular warfare were developed rapidly, and with great success, by the British during the Second World War, and the story of the most famous organizations involved like SOE, the SAS and Section D of SIS is now well known, but Military Intelligence (Research), the smallest but one of the most influential of these units is relatively unknown.

Malcolm Atkin’s intriguing and meticulously researched account describes their role at the heart of the War Office in trying to develop a ‘respectable’ arm of irregular warfare and their innovations ranging from the early Commandos, sticky bombs, limpet mines, booby traps, and even helicopters to the creation of the MI9 escape organization. They were an ‘ideas factory’ rather than an operational body but the book describes their worldwide operations including Finland, Norway, Romania, the Middle East and Central Africa.

This is also a story of conflicting personalities between Jo Holland, the visionary but self-effacing head of MI(R) and his ambitious deputy, Colin Gubbins (later head of SOE), and the latter’s private war with SIS.

I found this a really interesting read though the rivalries between various government departments, including the War Office who felt that they should have more control over the co-ordination between the aims of the uniformed services and the work of guerrilla forces. Some were good at working with others while others were too concerned with their own agenda/careers. It's a story of a learning process, when some things worked and some things didn't but the sheer breadth of the work that MI(R) did was quite eye opening to me with just how widespread it was in this first year or so of the war.

Read the full review here

Military Model Scene

Military Intelligence (Research) is a much neglected aspect of the British intelligence organisation, which was established during the pre-war period to devise the tactics and equipment to enable irregular forces to wage a highly effective guerilla war against their adversaries under the direct command of British officers, very much in the Lawrence of Arabia mould. It was fated to never truly fulfil its vision, becoming overshadowed by the Special Operations Executive as the preferred method of using agents and resistance groups to wreak havoc, but it nevertheless did much to establish the template for intelligence organisations far beyond the war's end. MI(R) also had a hand in developing the Commandos, as well as the SAS and Jedburgh teams, whose methods of operation in Western Europe were very much in line with their ethos. Their efforts also led to the creation of MI9 which did excellent work in helping prisoners of war to escape. This book traces their fascinating story, from its origins and the personalities which shaped it, to their part in operations across the entire Second World War battlefield; from Western Europe to Africa, and from Asia to the Far East.

Read the full review here

Pegasus Archive

"...a value-added contribution to intelligence history and is recommended for scholars of the period as well as intelligence professionals. By highlighting Holland’s and MI(R)’s wartime contributions, Atkin ably investigates the conceptual roots of the modern special warfare unit while introducing a fresh perspective to the well-traversed topic of the rise of British special warfare."

Brandon Bernick - Journal of Military History, January 2022

"Any serious student of special ops origins owes Mr. Atkin’s work his or her attention."

The NYMAS Review

This is one of those little books that should do well because they celebrate the little known stuff of this case irregular warfare in WWII. We’ve all surely heard of SOE and the SAS etc, but this book follows the path and events of the Military Intelligence (Research) department. The book basically explains how the network was set up and who was recruiting and the various ways of training, there is also quite a bit about some of the devices and weapons they came up with such as the painful sounding De-Bollocker, and I will leave that to your painful imagination. Also from this book, it showed up how the top brass of these intelligence services was rarely able to get on together and there was often conflict between the heads. A really interesting book, probably more one for the people who like slightly obscure bits of history.

Read the full review here

UK Historian

Read the review here

Argunners

Painstakingly researched, thoroughly 'reader friendly' in organization and presentation, enhanced with a multi-paged section of historical photos, "Pioneers of Irregular Warfare: Secrets of the Military Intelligence Research Department of the Second World War" is a unique and welcome addition to the growing library of World War II histories.

Read the full review here

Midwest Book Review

Pioneers of Irregular Warfare: Secrets of the Military Intelligence Research Department of the Second World War is a deeply researched study of how the business of irregular warfare got underway and a survey of the operations subsequently undertaken. It provides summaries of these operations and has a multitude of references.

Read the full review here

WW2 Today
 Malcolm Atkin

About Malcolm Atkin

Malcolm Atkin is head of the Historic Environment and Archaeology Service for Worcestershire, and he is one of the leading authorities on the English Civil Wars. His publications include Cromwell's Crowning Mercy: the Battle of Worcester and The Civil War in Evesham: A Storm of Fire and Leaden Hail.

More titles by Malcolm Atkin

Customers who bought this title also bought...

Other titles in Pen & Sword Military...