Month: March 2021 Page 1 of 2

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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Author Guest Post: Steve R. Dunn

The Power and the Glory; Royal Navy Fleet Reviews From Earliest Times To 2005

In November 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he wants to make the UK the ‘foremost naval power in Europe’ as part of a multi-billion pound boost to defence spending. The PM vowed to ‘restore Britain’s position as the foremost naval power in Europe’. He added: ‘If there was one policy which strengthens the UK in every possible sense, it is building more ships for the Royal Navy.’

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Author Guest Post: Geoff Scargill

Stars of the Victorian Era

The Victorian Era, an age when Britain ruled the world, threw up a stream of great characters. Even if you haven’t been interested in puff-puff engines since you were little and don’t read Thomas the Tank Engine before you go to sleep any more, the chances are that you’ve heard of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, if only because of his exotic name. He built the Great Western Railway with its own broad-gauge tracks, which meant that when you travelled to the south-west from anywhere else in Britain you had to get out at Exeter and board one of Brunel’s wider trains. He was one of the supremely confident men who captured the spirit of the age. If they had an idea, they did it.

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Meet the author: Martin Bowman

I thought that it would be appropriate to have the publicity picture taken at the New Farm Aviation Heritage Museum near Norwich Airport as I have loaned them my framed Lightning T-Bird print of Lightning T5 XS420, 226 OCU/145 Squadron RAF Coltishall by Mike Rondot the famous Norfolk based aviation artist. It is above me sitting on one of the plush VIP airline seats that once graced the 747-SP that was operated by the late Sultan of Oman for many years. These seats have a Lightning link also as they were donated to the Museum some years ago by an ex-Lightning pilot from RAF Coltishall (which is only a few miles away from the museum) when the Sultan’s Jumbo was flown to a desert air park in Arizona and was replaced by a newer Jumbo jet! These must be the ultimate in ‘biz jets’! I believe the Lightning pilot in question used to fly the Sultan’s 747-SP.

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Author Guest Post: Louise Wilkinson

The Millionaires’ Mob

601 (County of London) Squadron Auxiliary Air Force were nicknamed the “millionaires’ mob” by other squadrons. Seen by many as rich young playboys who used the Auxiliary Air Force as a “gentleman’s flying club” I found this incredibly interesting and so I wondered whether this theme was common across all of the AAF squadrons in the country. My research tested this theory, and is available to buy in my new book, The Territorial Air Force.

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Author Guest Post: Matthew Wharmby

Even modern buses can manage twenty years in service if there are enough of them on aggregate. The Dennis Trident in London achieved that milestone, the last examples coming off service in 2019 after two respectable decades carrying Londoners around the city.

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