In the latest issue we cover:
History of the British Army – The Somme: 24 June-13 November 1916
With the Regular Army and the Territorials both largely destroyed, it became the turn of Lord Kitchener’s new mass army of Volunteers to try to break through on the Western Front.
Admiral Hipper – Germany’s finest commander?
Richard Freeman analyses the career of a leading German admiral of the First World War.
The Road to Dien Bien Phu – How the Vietnamese built a guerrilla army
Peter Neville explores the Viet Minh’s military successes against the French and Americans, and explains how their guerrilla army was forged.
Killing the Beast – The assassination of a Reichsprotektor
James Stejskal looks at the killing of Nazi chief Reinhard Heydrich by the Czech resistance in 1942, and the brutal repercussions that followed.
Triumph of the Swarm The Light Infantry Revolution
Tim Candlish analyses the rebirth of light-infantry tactics in the French Revolutionary armies of the 1790s.
Also in this issue: Back to the Drawing Board, Museum and Heritage Guide, Museum Reviews, War Culture, Warrior, War Zone, and much more.
What more is there to be said about the Somme? With the possible exception of Waterloo, it is perhaps the most written-about battle in British history.
It has been a compelling subject for almost a century because it represents a terrible coming of age – the moment when the innocence of hundreds of thousands of British volunteers, the idealistic young men who had heeded the call of ‘king and country’ in 1914, was shattered in an inferno of industrialised slaughter. That, combined with the sheer scale of the casualties and the monumental stupidity and futility of it all, has made the Somme the iconic British battle of the 20th century.
So what more is there to say? Much more, it seems. For the traditional view is under attack from a new generation of ‘revisionist’ historians. Haig, architect of the Somme and later of Passchendaele, along with many other First World War generals, is being rehabilitated. The Somme is being reinterpreted as ‘a necessary sacrifice’. The British Empire is being recast as one of history’s ‘Good Things’.
So the debate about the battle is unfinished after all, and we lead this issue with our assessment of how it transformed the British Army, and how, in our view, it exposed a glaring contradiction between a high command and a military doctrine based on colonial small wars and the demands of 20th-century warfare on European battlefields.
Also this issue: Richard Freeman asks whether Franz von Hipper was perhaps Germany’s finest admiral; James Stejskal probes the morality of assassinating Nazi chief Reinhard Heydrich and triggering predictable Gestapo massacres; Tim Candlish analyses the reinvention of light-infantry warfare during the French Revolution; and Peter Neville charts the rise of the Vietnamese guerrilla army that ended imperial rule.