Author Guest Post: Gerald Hough

This is a story that carries at its heart the bravery of our British and Commonwealth troops who battled against the Axis powers in World War 2. Whilst it is the story of one man’s journey it is a journey shared by many. Some reached their destination, others didn’t. All were courageous.

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Author Guest Post: Jaap Jan Brouwer

THE GERMAN WAY OF WAR. A LESSON IN TACTICAL MANAGEMENT

Recruitment, selection and the psychological dimensions of warfare

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Author Guest Post: Malcolm Atkin

History is determined by those who write it

Malcolm Atkin

It is a long-accepted truth that the history of war is written by the winners. This is not simply a matter of stories from the battlefield but can also be reflected in the race to establish one’s own personal perspective in print. The history of the Second World War is littered with autobiographies and biographies which have been accepted as accurate historical sources as if the very act of seeing them on the printed page gives them a validity. This is especially true in the secret world of intelligence and special operations where for decades it was impossible to corroborate the early stories of heroism and derring-do.

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HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

All of us here at Pen and Sword were saddened to hear of the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who has for many years been a strong supporter of Pen and Sword Books.

We are hugely grateful to the Duke of Edinburgh for contributing forewords for several of our titles over the years and for attending a number of book launches, particularly those where we were publishing a history of a regiment where he attended as the representative of HRH The Queen, the regiment’s Colonel in Chief.

It was an honour for us to have met him and worked with him and we acknowledge the tireless support he gave to those regiments on behalf of the Queen and for his unwavering support to the Queen. Our heartfelt condolences at this time are with Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family.

Charles Hewitt, Managing Director

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Meet the author: Dr Simon Elliott

This week, Roman Britain’s Missing Legion has been on an exciting blog tour! As part of the tour, we got the chance to ask Simon all about his new book and research.

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Author Guest Post: Jaap Jan Brouwer

THE GERMAN WAY OF WAR. A LESSON IN TACTICAL MANAGEMENT

Rommel on leadership

The German Army lost two consecutive wars and the conclusion is often drawn that it simply wasn’t able to cope with its opponents. This image is constantly reinforced in literature and in the media, where seemingly brainless operating German units led by fanatical officers predominate. Nothing was as far from the truth. The records show that the Germans consistently outfought the far more numerous Allied armies that eventually defeated them: their relative battlefield performance was at least 1.5 and in most cases 3 times as high as that of its opponents. The central question in this book is why the German Army had a so much higher relative battlefield performance than the opposition. A central element within the Prussian/German Army is Auftragstaktik, a tactical management concept that dates from the middle of the nineteenth century and is still very advanced in terms of management and organisation. In this series of blogs we will have a closer look at the key elements of Auftragstaktik and cases that will illustrate the effects of these elements in the reality of the battlefield. In this part of the series we focus on Rommel as an example of German leadership.

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Author Guest Post: Andrew Bond

Friday April 2nd 2021 is the 220th anniversary of the first Battle of Copenhagen, the final fleet action of the French revolutionary wars of 1792 to 1802. For 30-year old Lieutenant John Quilliam, second lieutenant of the 38-gun frigate HMS Amazon, it marked the moment when his already exceptional career moved on to a higher plane as he came under the patronage of Vice Admiral Lord Nelson, then and now Britain’s most famous sailor.

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Author Guest Post: Tim Hillier-Graves

Arthur Peppercorn the LNER’s Last Chief Mechanical Engineer Remembered

By chance, during a family visit to Hadley Wood in the early 1960s I was delighted to find the house in which we stayed sat very close to the LNER’s old main line. It was a summer Saturday and express trains flew past at regular intervals. For some reason, one came to a halt within thirty or so yards of where I stood – a Peppercorn A1, No.60149, Amadis, by then a Doncaster engine. The fact that the driver and fireman called a greeting and both waved made me an instant fan of them and their locomotive. From that moment, I longed to travel behind one of these A1s but it wasn’t to be while BR operated steam locomotives. In fact, I had to wait until the reborn A1 Tornado was visiting the West Somerset Railway fifty years later for this particular wish to be granted. I wasn’t disappointed.

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Author Guest Post: Jaap Jan Brouwer

The German way of war. A lesson in tactical management

The German General Stab (General Staff): a school of thought

The German Army lost two consecutive wars and the conclusion is often drawn that it simply wasn’t able to cope with its opponents. This image is constantly reinforced in literature and in the media, where seemingly brainless operating German units led by fanatical officers predominate. Nothing was as far from the truth. The records show that the Germans consistently outfought the far more numerous Allied armies that eventually defeated them: their relative battlefield performance was at least 1.5 and in most cases 3 times as high as that of its opponents. The central question in this book is why the German Army had a so much higher relative battlefield performance than the opposition. A central element within the Prussian/German Army is Auftragstaktik, a tactical management concept that dates from the middle of the nineteenth century and is still very advanced in terms of management and organisation. In this series of blogs we will have a closer look at the key elements of Auftragstaktik and cases that will illustrate the effects of these elements in the reality of the battlefield. In this part of the series we focus on the German General Stab (General Staff).

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Author Guest Post: Philip Hamlyn Williams

Imagine the scene, rather like General Horrocks addressing the officers of 30 Corps in the film A Bridge Too Far. Instead of Horrocks, the key note speaker is spritely Brigadier Jim Denniston, former Seaforth Highlander, and, as Director of Ordnance Services for the 21st Army Group, he is addressing officers of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps as they make final preparations for D Day. They are approaching the culmination of four hard years of preparation, or perhaps forty years since many of them had served through the Great War. Some had been at the sharp end in the British Expeditionary Force which withdrew to Dunkirk. When I first read of this scene, I needed to discover where these men had come from; what had prepared them for this moment. The result of my research is my book, Dunkirk to D Day.

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