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Dr Stephen Bull is the Curator of the Museum of Lancashire in Preston. He has written two major volumes on arms and armour and bestselling volumes on Trench Warfare and World War II Infantry Tactics. He lives in Preston.
Every First World War Officer would have been issued with his manual. It covered the very basics of moving troops, how to look after and train them, building – everything from trenches to gun emplacements and latrines, tactics and gun and grenade skills, what to do when machinery breaks down and on, ad infinitum. A real glimpse into how the military bureaucracy expected their officers to behave in their very short lives as a front-line soldier. Like for Like ReadingSix Weeks: The Short and Gallant Life of the British Officer in the First World War, John Lewis-StempelField Service Pocket Book 1914, War Office General Staff
A Companion to Photography presents a contemporary approach to the subject, advancing the critical ideas that inform the study of photography in the 21st century. Features a collection of original, up-to-date essays relating to contemporary photography * Introduces several new ideas that expand current photographic theory * Combines essays by established and emerging writers, providing a dynamic and engaging discussion * Essays are organized in thematic sections: photographic interpretation, markets, popular photography, documents, and fine art * Seamlessly incorporates discussion of digital photography throughout
Many people have the idea that the `Great War' on the Western Front was simple, if ghastly, to fight - with few tactics, and unbroken, monotonous, trench lines as the main feature of the battlefield. In such a scenario the archetypal image of battle is of soldiers with rifles and bayonets charging each other in blind obedience to stupid repetitious orders. Though undeniably bloody the war was in fact a ferment of new ideas and new weapons. Gas, flame throwers, super-heavy artillery, concrete bunkers, tanks, aircraft and other innovations were all introduced, whilst older notions such as barbed wire, machine guns and armour took on a new lease of life. No single manual was ever enough to encompass 'modern war', and even before 1914 numerous publications were required. With the focus on the Western Front and the soldiers fighting there, this unique compendium collects together a huge variety of contemporary manuals, leaflets and booklets, and shows how although operations often failed, British commanders made attempts to devise new tactics and weaponry.
This is the first Pocket Manual to be dedicated to the German Army in the First World War, with chapters comprising of complete documents or extracts drawn from two major sources: the German Army of 1914 - 1918 itself, or the intelligence sections of other armies. It describes the new tactics and units developed by the German army during the war, including the myths surrounding Stormtrooper units. These new methods used were a result of interaction between the opposing forces and incremental in their appearance. Nevertheless the new ideas were hugely influential and important not only to the German army but to others as well, including British and American forces. Utilising a wide range of sources, including various pamphlets and manuals that were produced throughout World War I, this fascinating pocket manual gives a German perspective to World War I.
Most wars have had some element of espionage and subterfuge, but few have included as much as the Second World War, where the all-embracing nature of the conflict, new technology, and the battle of ideologies conspired to make almost everywhere a war zone. The occupation of much of Europe in particular left huge areas that could be exploited. Partisans, spies and saboteurs risked everything in a limbo where the normal rules of war were usually suspended. Concealment of oneself, one's weapons and equipment, was vital, and so were the new methods and hardware which were constantly evolving in a bid to stay ahead of the Gestapo and security services. Silent killing, disguise, covert communications and the arts of guerrilla warfare were all advanced as the war progressed. With the embodiment and expansion of organisations such as the British SOE and the American OSS, and the supply of special forces units which operated behind enemy lines, clandestine warfare became a permanent part of the modern military and political scene. Perhaps surprisingly many of these hitherto secret techniques and pieces of equipment were put into print at the time and many examples are now becoming available. This manual brings together a selection of these dark arts and extraordinary objects and techniques in their original form, under one cover to build up an authentic picture of the Allied spy.
In 1917 the soldiers of the Canadian Corps would prove themselves the equal of any fighting on the Western Front, while on the other side of the wire, the men of the Royal Bavarian Army won a distinguished reputation in combat. Employing the latest weapons and pioneering tactics, these two forces would clash in three notable encounters: the Canadian storming of Vimy Ridge, the back-and-forth engagement at Fresnoy and at the sodden, bloody battle of Passchendaele. Featuring carefully chosen archive photographs and specially commissioned artwork, this study assesses these three hard-fought battles in 1917 on the Western Front, and offers a new take on the evolving nature of infantry combat in World War I.
What did the British or American soldier know about the German Army? Was this knowledge accurate - and just how did he know it? There have been several 'handbooks' of Second World War armies, but they never tell us exactly what the Allied soldier knew at the time, or how he was informed. This is of importance because it influenced both conduct on the battlefield, and the way in which the soldier thought about his enemy. The book explains the background history of the organisations involved, followed by short chapters based around a series of original documents. This puts the original into context and also discusses whether the document that follows was correct in the picture it painted, and what can be deduced about sources and the concerns of the intelligence officers who compiled the material. Most of the documents were produced at the time, by the British War Office or US War Department, and cover different aspects of the German Army, including tactics, weapons, and uniforms. Subjects include: Allied intelligence on the German Army from 1930 onwards, British SIS / MI6 and US Military Intelligence. The organisations responsible, how they worked, and how they changed very rapidly with the coming of war. The role of technology, modern - like the radio transmitter, ancient - as in scouring libraries and periodicals, reports on military manoeuvres and parades. Limitations of 'Ultra' The German army itself, from the tiny force left after Versailles, to the rapid expansion in the late 1930s. Innovation in tanks, tactics, machine guns, rocket weaponry. The problems of gathering intelligence, not just danger, but finance, asking the right questions and the limitations of reporting and distribution.
Winston Churchill, Britain's iconic war time Prime Minister, is inextricably linked with the victorious British Army of 1939 to 1945. Yet hindsight, propaganda, and the imperative of the defeat of Hitler and Imperial Japan, have led to a tendency to oversimplify the image of Churchill the war leader, and `his' Army. For whilst Churchill was undeniably a towering statesman, his relations with both the Army and War Office were ambiguous and altered considerably not only with the progress of the Second World War, but over decades. In this comprehensive book, Stephen Bull examines every aspect of the British Army during the Second World War, and considers in detail the strengths and weaknesses of an organisation that was tested to its limits on many fronts but made an immense contribution to the successful Allied outcome. The book explores the structure of military power from the men who ran it, the Generals to the detail of the regiments they commanded. It looks at the uniforms the soldiers wore and the badges and insignia they bore on their uniforms. The weaponry Churchill's army used is discussed in detail, from small arms including rifles, bayonets, grenades, carbines and machine guns to the massed firepower of the artillery along with the increasing sophistication of tanks and other military vehicles during the period. Finally the role of auxiliary and special forces and their contribution to the campaign is considered. The comprehensive text is enhanced by more than 200 contemporary photographs.
World War I's defining weapon for many, Germany's MG 08 machine gun won a formidable reputation on battlefields from Tannenberg to the Somme. Although it was a lethally effective weapon when used from static positions, the MG 08 was far too heavy to perform a mobile role on the battlefield. As the British and French began to deploy lighter machine guns alongside their heavier weapons, the Germans fielded the Danish Madsen and British Lewis as stopgaps, but chose to adapt the MG 08 into a compromise weapon - the MG 08/15 - which would play a central role in the revolutionary developments in infantry tactics that characterized the last months of the conflict. In the 1940s, the two weapons were still in service with German forces fighting in a new world war. Drawing upon eyewitness battlefield reports, this absorbing study assesses the technical performance and combat record of these redoubtable and influential German machine guns, and their strengths and limitations in a variety of battlefield roles.
To many it would later seem as if the rule book of war had been torn up and thrown away. The First World War is usually characterised as a static war of attrition, but by the end of the war a new doctrine of fire and movement emerged with the squad as the key tactical unit, marking a fundamental shift in methods of warfare in the twentieth century. As late as March 1918, assault detachments used these tactics to destroy the British 5th Army and take 50,000 prisoners. Stephen Bull traces the development of German storm tactics in the context of trench warfare waged with new technology: improved machine guns and machine-gun tactics, super-heavy artillery, flamethrowers and gas. The legend of German stormtroopers has proved powerful and enduring. They were central to Blitzkrieg, and Hitler styled them as elite soldiers - living examples of Nietzschean supermen. However, as Bull demonstrates, these tactics did not appear out of nowhere, they represented a general shift in tactical thought during the First World War. Drawing upon German, French and British tactical manuals, German Assault Troops of the First World War considers a watershed in the history of the infantry.
Now that the last veterans are gone, the First World War is now a completely historical subject-governed by archaeology and genealogy, battlefield tourism and military history. The anguish and privations are a bit further away, but there is still huge interest in the awful conditions and carnage endured by a generation of youth who sacrificed their lives for their country. The Old Front Line is a phrase first coined by the poet John Masefield when he looked back on the battle of the Somme from a distance of just one year, in 1917, and speculated how the Western Front might look in the future. Stephen Bull's copiously illustrated work-part travel guide, part popular history-a century on, answers his speculations. The main source material is new and contemporary photographs, as well as some from the intervening century. Taken together these provide a series of exciting vistas and informative details that tell the story of the battles and landscapes. Aerial photography, old and new ground shots-and in a few cases even images taken underground-provide an authoritative summary of the war on the Western Front. Following an introduction that sets the scene and looks at the early stages of the war, eight chapters examine the Western Front geographically, looking closely at the main areas of fighting and what is visible today: not just the iron harvest -the scars left by trench and battle-but also the cemeteries, war memorials and statues that remind the visitor starkly of the loss of a generation.
Even now, 100 years on from the conflict, the image of trenches stretching across Western Europe - packed with young men clinging to life in horrendous conditions - remains a powerful reminder of one of the darkest moments in human history. In this excellent study of trench warfare on the Western Front, expert Dr Stephen Bull reveals the experience of life in the trenches, from length of service and coping with death and disease, to the uniforms and equipment given to soldiers on both sides of the conflict. He reveals how the trenches were constructed, the weaponry which was developed specifically for this new form of warfare, the tactics employed in mass attacks and the increasingly adept defensive methods designed to hold ground at all cost. Packed with photographs, illustrations, annotated trench maps, documents and first-hand accounts, this compelling narrative provides a richly detailed account of World War I, providing a soldier's-eye-view of life in the ominous trenches that scarred the land.
The mighty struggle for the Somme sector of the Western Front in the second half of 1916 has come to be remembered for the dreadful toll of casualties inflicted on Britain's 'New Armies' by the German defenders on the first day of the offensive, 1 July. The battle continued, however, throughout the autumn and only came to a close in the bitter cold of mid-November. The British plan relied on the power of artillery to suppress and destroy the German defences; the infantry were tasked with taking and holding the German trenches, but minimal resistance was anticipated. Both sides incurred major losses, however; German doctrine emphasised that the first line had to be held or retaken at all costs, a rigid defensive policy that led to very high casualties as the Germans threw survivors into ad hoc, piecemeal counterattacks all along the line. Featuring specially commissioned full-colour artwork and based on meticulous reassessment of the sources, this engaging study pits the volunteers of Kitchener's 'New Armies' against the German veterans who defended the Somme sector in the bloody battles of July-November 1916.
The twentieth century saw an unprecedented emphasis on fighting in all terrains, seasons and weather conditions. Such conditions made even basic survival difficult as subzero temperatures caused weapons to jam, engines to seize up and soldiers to suffer frostbite, snow blindness and hypothermia. The conditions often favoured small groups of mobile, lightly armed soldiers, rather than the armoured forces or air power that dominated other combat environments. Some European armies developed small numbers of specialist alpine troops before and during World War I, but these proved to be insufficient as nearly all the major combatants of World War II found themselves fighting for extended periods in extremely hostile cold-weather and/or alpine environments. Drawing upon manuals, memoirs and unit histories and illustrated with period tactical diagrams and specially commissioned full-colour artwork, this study sheds new light on the winter-warfare tactics and techniques of the US, British, German, Soviet and Finnish armies of World War II.
The 'poor bloody infantry' do the dirty front-line work of war. It bears the brunt of the fighting and often suffers disproportionately in combat in comparison with the other arms of service. Yet the history of infantry tactics is too rarely studied and often misunderstood.Stephen Bull, in this in-depth account, concentrates on the fighting methods of the infantry of the Second World War. He focuses on the infantry theory and the combat experience of the British, German and American armies. His close analysis of the rules of engagement, the tactical manuals, the training and equipment is balanced by vivid descriptions of the tactics as they were tested in action. These operational examples show how infantry tactics on all sides developed as the war progressed, and they give a telling insight into the realities of infantry warfare.His study sets Second World War infantry tactics in the long historical context. It records how the artillery and automatic weapons of the First World War swept away the lines and columns of the nineteenth century. It goes on to describe the tactics ofthe main protagonists in 1939-45, looking in particular at the infantry's role in blitzkrieg and at the growing significance of sections and squads. And it emphasizes the increasing importance of combat in urban areas - in buildings, sewers and rooftops - which evolved through the experience gained in bitter protracted urban battles likeStalingrad.Stephen Bull's accessible and wide-ranging survey is a fascinating introduction to the fighting methods of the opposing ground forces as they confronted each other on the European battlefields of 70 years ago.
British commandos are among the most celebrated soldiers of the Second World War. Their daring, ingenuity and bravery have given rise to an almost legendary reputation that makes it difficult to appreciate fully their role and their true value as fighting men. Stephen Bull, in this in-depth study of commando tactics and history, seeks to dispel the myths and the misunderstandings that surround them, and he places these elite troops of 70 years ago in the context of their times. He also demonstrates that the idea of the commando took time to develop - and that commando operations were far from always successful. Commando tactics - amphibious, mountain, close quarter - were forged through the often-painful experience of raids and combined operations. And commando tactics and organization remained in a state of flux throughout the war as new situations and challenges arose. Stephen Bull's vivid account will be essential reading for anyone who is interested in commando fighting techniques and the early history of special forces. Dr Stephen Bull is currently Curator of Military History and Archaeology for Lancashire Museums. He has previously worked at the National Army Museum, and for the BBC in London. He is the author of more than twenty military and historical titles published in Europe and the US, and he has appeared in the TV series Battlefield Detectives. Among his many publications are An Historical Guide to Arms and Armour, Volunteer! The Lancashire Rifle Volunteers 1859-1885, Brassey's History of Uniforms: World War One British Army, World War I Trench Warfare, Encyclopedia of Military Technology and Innovation, World War II Infantry Tactics and World War II Jungle Warfare Tactics.