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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars March On!, 4 Sep 2012
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This review is from: The Edwardian Army: Manning, Training, and Deploying the British Army, 1902-1914 (Hardcover)
The Edwardian Army could, like Slim's 14th Army, be best described as Forgotten. Whilst there have been some excellent books and articles relating to specific aspects of the Edwardian Army, there has not been a coherent academic study since the publication of Colonel John Dunlop's comprehensive The Development of the British Army 1899-1914. The Edwardian Army is an excellent complement to Dunlop's work and breaths new life into a fascinating subject by matching the strategic, political, colonial, social and economic strands with the tactical, logistic, regimental and individual ones.

The reader will certainly find much that is current and relevant and there are several significant themes in the book which have resonant chimes 100 years on. The Edwardian Army was subject to a raft of measures with which we are familiar: review, reassessment, reorganization, restructuring, re-titling and re-equipment but precious little resourcing! Of particular interest is the creative tension between the genesis of Mission Command and the requirement to develop the supporting doctrine and training to deliver it. The role and emerging structures of the Reserve and Auxiliary Forces is of especial relevance in the 2020 environment and the challenges in 1912 have a familiar feel in 2012!

The Edwardian Army exposes the inherent structural weakness created by the Cardwell-Childers reforms of 1881 which became of major significance as the Army focused upon an expeditionary capability designed for a continental deployment and the fragile reliance upon individual reservists to support this critical task, is usefully explored. The Deployment aspects within the sub-title relate mainly to imperial activity and there are some splendid vignettes of overseas service. The deployment of the British Expeditionary Force and its associated planning are barely mentioned, an omission explained by the authors but nonetheless the successful execution of the WF Plan was arguably the Edwardian Army's greatest single achievement.

Bowman and Connolly have written a most engaging book which will appeal to anyone interested in the British Army of the period and yet it has much more to offer because of the many current comparators. In summary: thoroughly recommended.
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The Edwardian Army: Manning, Training, and Deploying the British Army, 1902-1914
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