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From Boer War to World War: Tactical Reform of the British Army, 1902-1914 (Campaigns and Commanders) Paperback – 28 Nov 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; Reprint edition (28 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806144157
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806144153
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 276,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Spencer Jones's thorough research, combined with a full awareness of the existing literature, makes this a valuable contribution to our understanding of the lessons learnt from the Boer War by the British Army and their importance for British tactical reforms before the Great War. As the author succinctly proves, the tactical foundations of the victories of 1914 were laid down by the bitter experience of the Boer War and subsequent reforms. Reading Jones's work is an immense pleasure."--Fransjohan Pretorius, author of "Historical Dictionary of the Anglo-Boer War" and "The Great Escape of the Boer Pimpernel: Christiaan de Wet--The Making of a Legend"

"In this well-written, convincing study, Spencer Jones admirably demonstrates how the British Expeditionary Force was shaped by the lessons of the Boer War. He shows that the Boer War period is crucial in terms of military history and the transformation of ideas, and that it has been overlooked by historians of World War I for too long. This is an important work. Stephen M. Miller, author of "Volunteers on the Veld: Britain s Citizen Soldiers and the South African War, 1899 1902"
"

Spencer Jones s thorough research, combined with a full awareness of the existing literature, makes this a valuable contribution to our understanding of the lessons learnt from the Boer War by the British Army and their importance for British tactical reforms before the Great War. As the author succinctly proves, the tactical foundations of the victories of 1914 were laid down by the bitter experience of the Boer War and subsequent reforms. Reading Jones s work is an immense pleasure. Fransjohan Pretorius, author of "Historical Dictionary of the Anglo-Boer War" and "The Great Escape of the Boer Pimpernel: Christiaan de WetThe Making of a Legend""

"From Boer War to World War" is on the must-read list for anyone with a serious interest in twentieth-century British military history"Journal of British Studies""

About the Author

Spencer Jones teaches at the School of History and Cultures at the University of Birmingham, England.


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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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