Book review: Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War, by Joan Beaumont
My fascination with the Great War, as for other amateur genealogists, begins with the involvement of my relatives. My wife’s paternal grandfather Edward Funston served on the Western Front and suffered trench feet, as well as his brother Hubert Funston who was shot beside him. Her maternal great grandfather Thomas William Austin also served, and survived the war but disappeared. On my father’s side, Fred Petty arrived on the Western Front in December 1917 and was killed by a German shell in March 1918.
Streamlining Air Land Operations for Better Outcomes
Clash of Cultures: The Digger Legend of the First Australian Imperial Force
Were the values that came to embody the digger legend of the 1st AIF incompatible with the expectations of British command? Did the traits required to command a less-than-conventional military force during the First World War require a less-than-conventional style of military leadership? This article explores the questions that arise regarding the leadership of the 1st AIF during the Great War - particularly that of General William Birdwood. Was his command effective given the unique circumstances, and were his opponents right to express criticism?
Synchronising Counterinsurgency Ops with Effective Intelligence
All combat operations need real-time, concrete intelligence, but the counterinsurgency operations’ (COINOPS) margin of error runs thinnest. In their fast, multidimensional context, COINOPS demand more comprehensive intelligence at platoon/company levels than conventional warfare does. This article explores the need for tactical unit leaders fighting insurgencies to have more intelligence assets available in the field in order to offer swift analyses to aid decision making in highly fluid environments.
Scharnhorst and Professional Mastery
To me, being 'professional' has meant striving for excellence at my everyday job. Until I attended Command and Staff Course at the Australian War College last year, I did not appreciate that being good at my job was not the same as being a military professional. The course broadened my understanding; being a professional requires one to embrace continual learning in all aspects of the profession. I became conscious that through professional mastery, individuals, even those in junior roles, can influence organisational outcomes beyond their job.
US Marine Corps to Re-Focus on Sea Control
The US Marine Corps has just released its new Commandant’s Guidance, foreshadowing a return to their traditional role of supporting the Navy’s fight for Sea Control now that it is being increasingly challenged. There are valuable insights for the ADF in understanding this fundamental shift in US Marine Corps thinking.
Changes in warfare in the 16th and 17th centuries - a ‘military revolution’?
The 16th and 17th century was a period of significant change in the character of war. The drivers accounting for these changes were not all based in military reforms, despite Western Europe being engaged almost continuously in war. While tactical applications is interesting, it was the beginnings of some profound changes in the development of warfare; the professional military, the standing army, scale of warfare and subsequent emergence of the state (Crown) owning the monopoly on violence and the arrival of proper naval forces.
Lessons for Military Planning in 21st Century Warfare
Military Culture, Learning and Adaptation during the Burma Campaign 1942-1945
This essay discusses how military culture and learning and adaptation on both sides affected the outcome of the Burma Campaign 1942–1945. The British 14th Army developed a military culture of learning and adaptation which led to their victory while the Imperial Japanese Army had an existing military culture based upon tenets of Bushido, which constrained their ability to learn and adapt and in turn led to their defeat.
Thucydides Trap: A lesson in strategy and chance from ancient Greece
Understanding the challenges to British and French Imperialism 1900-1939– An application of the D.I.M.E model
The period between 1900-1939 is said to have created the characteristics of modern war and the global order as we know it. This period saw two World Wars, political revolutions, unprecedented innovation, the introduction of a third military service and created the pre-conditions that resulted in the end of Western imperialism.
Center of Gravity: What Clausewitz Really Meant (Part 1 of 2)
Part one of a two-part article written by Professor Joseph L. Strange, Marine Corps War College and COL Richard Iron, British Army.
This paper explores what Clausewitz really meant by the term “center of gravity”. The authors propose that he intended it to be a strength, either moral or physical, and a dynamic and powerful agent in its own right. The authors also suggest that the current Joint and NATO definition of center of gravity is incorrect, implying it to be a source of strength, and that this mis-definition has been responsible for much of the confusion about the concept that exists today.