Monday, January 21, 2008

British Artillery in WW2

Sometimes you think the subject for an essay is going to be comparatively easy! I have just finished my latest on the 'Development of Field Artillery Tactics in World War Two' (hence no postings for a while). The first problem was the distinct lack of secondary material, there are only really three authors on the subject, Pemberton, Bailey and Bidwell. The later writing three different books on the subject. The second problem, the sheer enormity of the subject, keeping it below 4,000 words - a challenge on its own. The final problem was, as I found whilst researching it, that the tactics were mostly developed during WW1 and only refined through better C3, consequently half the essay is about WW1 tactics.

I am now starting my next essay on the Soldiers Experience on the Gustav Line (in preparation for my dissertation on the Garigliano Crossing), again a huge subject, so I am looking to tighten it up to one aspect.


Ross Mahoney said...

Mike sounds like an interesting essay. You are right when you say there is not much out there on WW2 artillery tactics. What sources did you use?

Ali Hollington said...

The Royal Artillery has a good range of histories, many by Martin Farndale- sorry this is a bit late!

I don't know about the WW2ers, but in the WW1 class, dissertations are becoming something close to an impending trip to the dentist!

Mike Ingram said...

Below is my list of sources. And you are right it can be like the trip to the dentist. Pemberton was the main source.
The War Office Army Training Memorandum No. 38, 1941, (London: War Office,1941)

The War Office Army Training Memorandum No. 39, 1941, (London: War Office,1941)

Artillery Training, Volume II – Gunnery, 1934, (London: War Office,1934)

The War Office Infantry Training. Training and War 1937, (London: War Office, 1937)
The War Office Military Training Pamphlet No. 23. Operations, Part 1- General Principles Fighting Troops and their Characteristics, (London: The War Office, 1939)
The War Office Military Training Pamphlet No. 23 Operations, Part 2.- Defence, (London: The War Office, 1939)
Secondary Sources
J. Bailey ‘British Artillery in the Great war’ in P. Griffith, ed., British Fighting Methods in the Great War (London: Frank Cass Publishers, 1996)
Maj. Gen. J.B.A. Bailey Field Artillery and Firepower (Revised and Expanded edition, Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2004)
S. Bidwell Artillery Tactics 1939-1945 (London: Altmark Books, 1976)
S. Bidwell Gunners at War (London: Arms and Armour Press, 1970), pp. 13-30

S. Bidwell & D. Graham Firepower. The British Army Weapons & Theories of War 1904-1945, (Pen & Sword Military Classics edition, Barnsley: Pen & Sword Books Ltd, 2004)
D. French Raising Churchill’s Army, (Paperback edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000)
S.H. Hart Colossal Cracks, (Paperback Edition, Mechanicsburg: Stackpole Books, 2007)
B. Pitt Crucible of War, Vol. 1. Wavell’s Command, (Three volume paperback edition, London: Cassell & Co, 2001)
B. Pitt Crucible of War Vol. 3. Montgomery and Alamein, (Three volume paperback edition, London: Cassell & Co, 2001)
F. K. Vigman ‘The Theoretical Evaluation of Artillery after World War I’ Military Affairs, Vol. 16, No. 3. (Autumn, 1952), pp. 115, accessed 21 November 2007
Brig. A.L. Pemberton The Development of Artillery Tactics and Equipment (London: The War Office, 1950).

nigel evans said...

I'd suggest a far more comprehensive bibliography is on the Sources page of my British Artillery in World War 2 site at .

The secondary source that’s not there (because I haven't used it)and is specific to the development of British artillery tactics in World War 2 was written IIRC by Colonel Peter Lowe and published in the Journal of the Royal Artillery over 2 or 3 editions in the early 1970s.