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From Boer War to World War: Tactical Reform of the British Army, 1902-1914 (Campaigns and Commanders) Hardcover – 4 Jun 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 314 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (4 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806142898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806142890
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 594,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Spencer Jones is Senior Lecturer in Armed Forces and War Studies at the University of Wolverhampton, and currently serves as the Regimental Historian of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. He holds wide ranging interests in history, with a particular focus on the battle tactics of the Anglo-Boer War and the First World War.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By MR JOHN R HERON on 18 Jun 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think this is an extremely interesting and well argued account of the South African War's influences on developments in the British Army in the years 1902-1914. I was particularly impressed with the part referring to developments in the infantry. The book argues a strong case for a reassessment of the 'contemptible British Army' which went to war in 1914, and the claim that it was probably the best trained of all the armies that went to war in 1914 is strongly argued. The real problem for this army was that it was far too small, and this is a situation which seems to be common in the history of the British Army. I hope we are not making the same mistake now in 2013.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Desmond J. Keenan on 2 Sep 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The British generals in the First World War were often objects of satire, 'Lions led by donkeys' but this book shows that the British Army was the best prepared of the European powers to fight a modern war, and apart from the Russians, the only one with experience of modern warfare. Unlike the various native tribes the Boers were well-equipped with modern weapons, artillery, quickfire guns, rifles, and smokeless powder. These modern weapons they could buy from Germany. They were expert too at digging trenches, and concealing them so the British forces approached within lethal range.

In time the British generals and officers devised tactics to deal with the Boers. Some of the things learned were not obvious at first, like the importance of dismounting from a horse on the march, or when stopped. This meant that the horses did not get sore backs, and were fresh at the end of a long day..

Between 1902 and 1914 there were endless discussions about what should be the proper tactics, and these were gradually incorporated into training. The army was always the poor relation of the navy and always got the worst recruits. These had to be retrained in accurate individual marksmanship to equal the standard of the Boers as engagements took place at much longer distances. They had to be trained to fight in extended order, so that men were not bunched together. The cavalry had to learn to fight dismounted and not rely on the cavalry charge with sword in hand. Khaki became the common uniform. The artillery found that high angle howitzers were better than field guns.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Aubers Ridge on 23 Feb 2014
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The author breaks down this huge subject into bite size and ever so readable chunks. The research is very deep and very well indexed and evidenced. This is a great addition to the bookshelves of anyone who professes to know about the Great War, because Spencer Jones illustrates finely that the Boer War was a training ground for the later larger conflict. Excellent book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ronald on 2 Dec 2013
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An absolute must for any serious students of the pre-war regular British Army. The book is well researched and provides a detailed analysis of the lessons of the Boer War and the subsequent reform of the Army. Highly recommended
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By william miller on 18 Aug 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fascinatining. Well written and very informative. Definitely one for your bookshelf.
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