by Dr HUW J. DAVIES ‘Napoleon has humbugged me, by God; he has gained twenty-four hours’ march on me’. With these words, uttered in an anteroom at a ball famously hosted by the Duchess of Richmond three days before Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington, commanding an allied army composed of Dutch, Belgian, German, and British… Read More The Road to Waterloo
by DR HUW J. DAVIES Over the last few months, I have written on a number of occasions about how the British Army learned from its experiences – successful and unsuccessful – during the wars of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This is important because accepted historiographical analysis has it that the British Army was… Read More Mechanisms of Knowledge Exchange in the Eighteenth Century British Army
by DR HUW J. DAVIES In 1799, the British Government assembled an expeditionary force for use in a joint operation with the Russians against French held Dutch ports. The campaign, commanded by the Duke of York, was a dismal failure, blighted by poor intelligence, inter-service friction and competing agendas on the part of the allied… Read More Forgotten Battles: The Anglo-Ottoman Campaign in Egypt, March-September 1801
by DR HUW J. DAVIES On Friday afternoon, I was asked if I would participate in a discussion on the BBC News Channel on ‘how history will view the recent campaign in Afghanistan’. I’m usually asked to participate in interviews that are way outside my comfort zone. This, whilst not entirely fitting within it, was… Read More Was it worth it? How History will view the British Campaign in Afghanistan
by DR HUW J. DAVIES John Campbell, Fourth Earl of Loudoun, has a bad reputation. Seen by historians as incompetent and ineffective in command, he also raised regiments of Highlanders to help suppress the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745/6. He participated in some of the more brutal suppression methods employed by the British Commander-in-Chief, the Duke… Read More From the Archives: The Loudoun Papers at The Huntington Library, California.
by DR HUW J. DAVIES This month marks the conclusion of my first decade teaching at Staff College. In that time, I can think of two years that stand-out as containing fundamentally unexpected events, that have caused quite drastic adjustments to what I talk about when I teach. Those years were 2011 – the year… Read More Hot Potatoes for 2015
by DR HUW J. DAVIES As Christmas approaches, I’ve been casting around for a suitable topic to help draw to a close Defence-in-Depth’s first four months – something light-hearted and suitably tongue-in-cheek. By the looks of the title of this post, I’ve found one. Last week, a young Lieutenant (that’s Loo-tenant, rather than Lef-tenant) posted a… Read More Was Clausewitz the first military blogger?
by DR HUW J. DAVIES Hidden away in a tiny archive in Connecticut, I found, to my surprise, a diary of a Grand Tour of Europe conducted in the 1770s. I might not have looked at it, had the catalogue not specified its author as a cavalry Captain in the British Army. With nothing left… Read More Learning and Innovation in the Eighteenth Century British Army
by DR HUW J. DAVIES ‘From the Archives’ is a new regular feature on Defence-in-Depth. Archives are the lifeblood of historians. Papers, correspondence, diaries and journals constitute the primary material on which historical analysis is based. This feature is designed to fulfil two objectives. Our authors have selected an archive that has yielded an important… Read More From the Archives: The Causes of the First British Invasion of Afghanistan, 1839-42.
by DR HUW J. DAVIES A few weeks ago, I visited Stratfield Saye, the Berkshire country estate of the Duke of Wellington. Acquired in 1817 as a reward for the decisive victory he gained at Waterloo two years earlier, grand plans were drawn up to knock down the old house and erect an enormous palace… Read More What did officers read before Clausewitz?