Description

A compelling history of the decline of an army from the triumph of victory in 1918 to defeat in 1940 and why this happened. A salutary warning for modern Britain.

'Both [authors] are former soldiers, Dannatt having ended his career as chief of the general staff; and they bring their military perspective to their account of this vitally important period. As such their work is highly useful...an interesting and well-researched study of a crucial episode.' Simon Heffer, The Sunday Telegraph

The British Army won a convincing series of victories between 1916 and 1918. But by 1939 the British Army was an entirely different animal. The hard-won knowledge, experience and strategic vision that delivered victory after victory in the closing stages of the First World War had been lost. In the inter-war years there was plenty of talking, but very little focus on who Britain might have to fight, and how. Victory to Defeat clearly illustrates how the British Army wasn't prepared to fight a first-class European Army in 1939 for the simple reason that as a country Britain hadn't prepared itself to do so. The failure of the army's leadership led directly to its abysmal performance in Norway and France in 1940.

Victory to Defeat is a captivating history of the mismanagement of a war-winning army. It is also a stark warning that we neglect to understand who our enemy might be, and how to defeat him, at the peril of our country. The British Army is now to be cut to its smallest size since 1714. Are we, this book asks, repeating the same mistakes again?

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and maps
Acknowledgements
Introduction: La Forêt de Compiègne
Prologue: Calais, 1940

PART ONE: THE GREAT WAR
Chapter 1: The Kaiserschlacht and its consequences
Chapter 2: Confronting the enormity of the Great War on the front line
Chapter 3: Finding a way through the mud and the blood to the green fields beyond
Chapter 4: Masters of the battlefield, 1918

PART TWO: POST WAR AND INTER WAR
Chapter 5: Peace, and derangement
Chapter 6: Old and new post-bellum responsibilities – and the Irish Question
Chapter 7: Imperial policeman versus continental commitment
Chapter 8: The modern major general: more categorical or allegorical?
Chapter 9: What is the army for, and how should it fight?
Chapter 10: The battle of the tank
Chapter 11: Britain faces a rapidly changing world

PART THREE: NEW THREATS AND NEW REALITIES
Chapter 12: Boiling the frog: the rise of the Nazi threat
Chapter 13: The slow rush to rearm
Chapter 14: Feeding the crocodile

PART FOUR: THE END OF THE BEGINNING
Chapter 15: The empire declares war
Chapter 16: The chickens come home to roost
Chapter 17: Sichelschnitt: the anatomy of disaster

Epilogue: El Alamein and beyond
Appendix: Chiefs of the Imperial General Staff 1915–46
Notes
Suggestions for further reading
Index

Product details

Published Sep 14 2023
Format Ebook (Epub & Mobi)
Edition 1st
Extent 352
ISBN 9781472860811
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations 16-page plate section in black and white
Series General Military
Short code GNM
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors

Author

Richard Dannatt

General The Lord Dannatt GCB CBE MC DL is one of t…

Author

Robert Lyman

Robert Lyman is regarded as one of Britain’s most…

Resources

Book Vote

Tell us what titles you would like to see published by Osprey, then vote for your favourites in our monthly book vote!

Related Titles

Sign up for Osprey membership for access to thousands of plane profiles, maps, battle scenes and more. Plus up to 30% off website purchases

Free US delivery on orders $35 or over