Stemming the Tide

Officers and Leadership in the British Expeditionary Force 1914

Spencer Jones

The British Expeditionary Force of 1914 was described by the official historian as ""incomparably the best trained, best organised, and best equipped British Army that ever went forth to war."" The BEF proved its fighting qualities in the fierce battles of 1914 and its reputation has endured.
Publication date:
October 2013
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Language:
English
Series :
Wolverhampton Military Studies
Illustration :
15 b/w photos, 8 pages colour maps
Format Available     Quantity Price
Hardback
ISBN : 9781909384453
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+
£29.95
Paperback
ISBN : 9781910294727
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+
£21.95
Unfortunately, due to sales rights restrictions, we cannot offer Stemming the Tide for sale in your country.

Overview
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• A valuable book for anyone who wants to understand more about the British Army in 1914

The British Expeditionary Force of 1914 was described by the official historian as ""incomparably the best trained, best organised, and best equipped British Army that ever went forth to war."" The BEF proved its fighting qualities in the fierce battles of 1914 and its reputation has endured. However, the same cannot be said for many of its commanders, who have frequently been portrayed as old fashioned, incompetent, and out of touch with events on the battlefield.

Yet the officers who led the BEF to war were every bit as professional and hard-bitten as the soldiers they commanded. These officers had learned their craft in the unforgiving school of colonial warfare and honed their understanding of conflict in the period of reform that reshaped the army between 1902 and 1914. As this book reveals, when faced with the realities of modern combat, the officers of the BEF were prepared for the challenge.

This collection offers a broad picture of command at all levels of the BEF through a series of biographical essays on key officers. Drawing upon much original research, each chapter explores the pre-war background and experience of the officer and assesses his performance in combat in the opening months of the First World War. The book features insightful reappraisals of famous figures including John French and Douglas Haig, fresh studies of staff officers such as William Robertson and Henry Wilson, and a thorough discussion of officers at 'the sharp end', with chapters covering divisional, brigade, battalion and company commanders.

The essays reveal an officer class that, despite certain weaknesses, provided highly effective leadership during the chaotic fighting of August to November 1914. Without their influence it is unlikely that the BEF would have been able to survive the difficulties of the 'Great Retreat', much less halt the German invasions of France and Belgium.

This book will be of great interest to anyone who studies the First World War, and of particular value to those who seek a greater understanding of the British Army of the era.

REVIEWS

… well researched and highly readable portraits of BEF officers in the crucible of the opening months of the Great War. Any serious student of that conflict or of leadership and command in battle generally will enjoy and learn from the essays in Stemming the Tide.
Michigan War Studies Review

"Spencer Jones has edited a wonderful series of essays detailing the leadersof 1914 and the decision making process that held the fate of a relatively small British field army that continues to enjoy mythical status today. His contributors have given me as much food for thought as they have factual knowledge." --Mark Barnes, War History Online
War History Online

… a valuable re-evaluation …
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