Masters of Mayhem

Lawrence of Arabia and the British Military Mission to the Hejaz

James Stejskal

Explores the early use of modern unconventional warfare by T. E. Lawrence behind the lines in North Africa and Arabia during World War I.
Publication date:
August 2018
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
Illustration :
16 pages of b/w photos
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781612005744

Dimensions : 228 X 152 cm
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ISBN : 9781612005751

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• Includes never before published images from the operations and particularly of the armoured cars used
• This book has a large potential audience, as interest in Lawrence of Arabia remains high, and this interest should continue with the WWI and Arab Revolt centenaries

Striking where the enemy is weakest and melting away into the darkness before he can react. Never confronting a stronger force directly, but willing to use audacity and surprise to confound and demoralize an opponent. Operations driven by good intelligence, area knowledge, mobility, speed, firepower, and detailed planning and executed by a few specialists with indigenous warriors - this is unconventional warfare.

T. E. Lawrence was one of the earliest practitioners of modern unconventional warfare. His tactics and strategies were used by men like Mao and Giap in their wars of liberation. Both kept Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom close at hand. This book looks at the creation of the HEDGEHOG force, the formation of armoured car sections and other units, and focuses the Hejaz Operations Staff, the Allied officers and men who took Lawrence's idea and prosecuted it against the Ottoman Turkish army assisting Field Marshal Allenby to achieve victory in 1918.

Stejskal concludes with an examination of how HEDGEHOG has influenced special operations and unconventional warfare, including Field Marshal Wavell, the Long Range Desert Group, and David Stirling's SAS.


As Lawrence put it in his 27 Articles 'The Hejaz confounds ordinary tactics.' Masters of Mayhem provides an excellent basis for an understanding of why this was, and it, the case, and how the Allied forces at the time set about developing a new style of warfare to cope with it.
Military History Monthly

While a fair deal of the stuff coming out of the centenary has left me cold, books like this restore some of the balance. Mr. Stejskal has done much the same by taking the story beyond Lawrence to include the men who did so much to achieve victory in 1918. Their remarkable story can be found here and you will not be disappointed with the telling.
War History Online