British Generalship during the Great War: The Military Career of Sir Henry Horne (1861–1929), 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

British Generalship during the Great War

The Military Career of Sir Henry Horne (1861–1929), 1st Edition

By Simon Robbins


352 pages

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Paperback: 9781138253377
pub: 2016-10-03
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Hardback: 9780754661276
pub: 2010-10-28
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Following the career of one relatively unknown First World War general, Lord Horne, this book adds to the growing literature that challenges long-held assumptions that the First World War was a senseless bloodbath conducted by unimaginative and incompetent generals. Instead it demonstrates that men like Horne developed new tactics and techniques to deal with the novel problems of trench warfare and in so doing seeks to re-establish the image of the British generals and explain the reasons for the failures of 1915-16 and the successes of 1917-18 and how this remarkable change in performance was achieved by a much maligned group of senior officers. Horne's important career and remarkable character sheds light not only on the major battles in which he was involved; the progress of the war; his relationships with his staff and other senior officers; the novel problems of trench warfare; the assimilation of new weapons, tactics and training methods; and the difficulties posed by the German defences, but also on the attitudes and professionalism of a senior British commander serving on the Western Front. Horne's career thus provides a vehicle for studying the performance of the British Army in the first quarter of the Twentieth Century. It also gives an important insight into the attitudes, ethos and professionalism of the officer corps which led that army to victory on the Western Front, exposing not only its flaws but also its many strengths. This study consequently provides a judgment not only on Horne as a personality, innovator and general of great importance but also on his contemporaries who served with the British Armies in South Africa and France during an era which saw a revolution in military affairs giving birth to a Modern Style of Warfare which still prevails to this day.


'Anyone picking up this book might be forgiven for asking whether we really need another study of the British army during the First World War, and, if we do, whether a biography of a general known to very few besides specialist military historians is the right way to approach the subject. The answer to both questions is an emphatic yes… [Robbins] has now written a study of Sir Henry Horne that not only helps to rescue his career for posterity but also sheds a good deal of light on how the army went about its business between 1914 and 1918.' David French, in The Journal of Modern History

Table of Contents

Contents: The early years: 1861-80; Apprenticeship: 1899-1914; Artillery commander: 1914; Divisional commander: 1915; Corps commander in Egypt and on the Somme: 1916; Army commander: 1916-17; Developing a winning formula: 1918; A career closes: 1919-29; A reappraisal of Horne's career; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Simon Robbins, Department of Documents, The Imperial War Museum, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in First World War History

The First World War is a subject of perennial interest to historians and is often regarded as a watershed event, marking the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the 'modern' industrial world. The sheer scale of the conflict and massive loss of life means that it is constantly being assessed and reassessed to examine its lasting military, political, sociological, industrial, cultural and economic impact. Reflecting the latest international scholarly research, the Routledge Studies in First World War History series provides a unique platform for the publication of monographs on all aspects of the Great War. Whilst the main thrust of the series is on the military aspects of the conflict, other related areas (including cultural, visual, literary, political and social) are also addressed. Books published are aimed primarily at a post-graduate academic audience, furthering exciting recent interpretations of the war, whilst still being accessible enough to appeal to a wider audience of educated lay readers.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Military / World War I