help greatly appreciated for dissertation...

I'm currently in the process of researching for my 3rd year dissertation.

The main theme revolves around armoured warfare and I am trying to look for as much research as possible. Any onto the point.
I have been recommended the Prince Consort's Library, alas I have never heard of it and I am wondering if it is open to quasi-mil types (UOTC'ers) as I think It would help greatly.

Other than that does anyone have any other recommendations for mil based research?


What's the thrust (oh the irony) of your dissertation? What are you setting out to prove/disprove? What era are you looking at? '14-'18? The inter war years? '39-'45? A particular theatre? Cold War? The future of armoured warfare?

Individual Cavalry Regiment museums may hold some of the material you're looking for, but the first place I'd suggest you approach is the Imperial War Museum in London. They move their displays around, but do have access to a lot of source material.

But for people to be able to steer you in the right direction, they need to know where you're aiming for.

IWM and Associations are great for "where we came from" type research, but perhaps not as helpful as "where we'll be in the future" research.
The Prince Consort's Library in Aldershot is the home of the Army Library Service. Their contact details are:

T: 01252 349381
F: 01252 349382

If your'e after some holistic experience you could try the Bovington tank museum.But it does depend on what angle you are looking at ATDU have the technical side and tap into your local Armoured TA Units Im sure someone could give you some contacts.

What area of research are you intersted in might just narrow the funnel?
cheers guys,

I'm still working on the final title, but as of now;

"British armoured strategy since WWI; it's evolution, relevance and future application on the modern battlefield."

The historical research is'nt too difficult to come by, however in terms of ARRSE I would very much like to get my hands on any whitepapers that talk about the future of British armour or the future of the army in general (as armour is a large part of it).

I was thinking last night that the war on terror, and terrorism is more than likely the enemy du jour. However the likelyhood of future land war between Britain/Allied coalition troops against other sovereign states (Iran, N.Korea, China) is just as likely in the future.

Obviously I have just started term so the ideas here and for the diss in general are in their infancy, but its better to start early rather than later.

cheers for the help!

cheers for the reference barbs.

I don't want to focus too much on the historigraphy of armoured warfare as it doesnt add enough to the dissertation and it would shift the focus of the question. The historiography is also information that anyone can get their hands on quite easily (even though I plan to cover it in a chapter) . I would really like to look into our changing enemies over time and how British armoured strategy fits into it. From the Russians to modern day terrorists, and then to field some sort of prediction as to the enemies Britain could face in the future and how AS would evolve to meet these requirements.

Combined with these predictions I'd also like to look at evolving armour technology, i.e is there a future for heavy armour/MBT's or is all we need medium armour or unmanned combat vehicles. Obviously most of this tech won't be available to me for publication in a dissertation, but it is still an avenue I would like to explore.

The thrust (oh the irony x2) is for me to make a prediction based on my research, for the future of British armoured strategy.

Do you have access to Army Doctrine & Training News? Always worth a read, as you get the keen officer who wants to let the rest of the Army know his ideas, based on what he's seen and done. It might give you some ideas.

White and Green Papers are available through HMSO. I think they're a private organisation now, so you may need to do some googling, but I've found them very useful when doing research. Just about anything the Government publish is available. Hansard is also worth a trawl for information in the public domain, especially answers to written questions.
brill, unfortunately, most of the interesting stuff that comes down to the T.A centre is quickly snapped up by our Napoleonic subby who is also on the same course as me.

I'll have a look at hansard now.

TMF, when doing the same degree that I suspect you are currently engaged on, my dissertation title was extrememly close to yours and I got hold of the Army Tactical Doctrine Retrieval Cell at Pewsey. They were extremely helpful. I can't find any of the contact details at the moment but I would guess that the ALS, RUSI or RCDS would be able to provide them.

You might even find a copy of my diss at Aber which should have more details in.

By all means PM me if you would like any more info.

Check your PMs
If you're still researching (2 weeks on), don't forget the Library at RMA Sandhurst - always up-to-date military books, excellent selection of contemporary military/strategic periodicals (includes non-Brit English language stuff - inevitably mostly US, but rich source nonetheless), with back issues of same.

Can't remember when RUSI Journal 1st published - but you could develop a good thread of "where we came from to get to where we are" through back issues of that alone.

V helpful staff also, and a very comprehensive database search engine to help you find material.

Sadly - I've lost the contact phone number (but you should be able to get it through the switchboard).

RMAS has its own website.
#18 said:
well, death by .pdf!

hopefully the university library will have RUSI in stock, so I think I'll pay them a visit!


Year 3 of IP & Strat (I presume) and you don't know whether Hugh Owen keeps RUSI? (Of course they do, you slack b@stard.) WTF have you been doing for the last 2 years? Sniffing around the German birds on the Third World course? Offer up your spot at the bar at Beechings and do some work! :wink: (Having said that, in all seriousness, it's commendable that you're cracking on this early in the game- I think I started to research mine in March. :oops: )

You can become a student member of RUSI. If you fancy a trip to London Village (only 8hrs by train IIRC) they'll let you play in their library. See if KCL have their library catalogue online and start looking for likely titles also. Don't forget about the National Library of Wales being a Copyright Library either. If it was published in the UK, they'll have a copy of it.

For the more theoretical stuff (as opposed to historical) try USAWC. Be sure to look through their student papers (Masters theses), which are published online.

If you're really stuck for ideas go and see your head of Dept., Big Mac. I don't know if he still teaches undergrads (I took his British Army Since 1945 class), but he's a top bloke and warry as fcuk for a short-arsed, skinny bugger with beard. He used to teach at The Factory and has lots of contacts both in the Army, academia and Government. He should be able to open up some doors for you.

The fact is that you are probably going to have to get access to a lot of primary sources if this diss is going to be any good. The payoff can be bigger than writing a 12,000 word reinvention of the wheel, but you're going to have to do a lot more legwork.

I'll sniff around my Dept to see if anyone has any bright ideas about how to take the next step.
The best library is at ACSC (Shrivenham) it is run in conjunction with Kings London (apparantly it is the largest subject spacific library in europe) so you could either get access via the Uni chain or try through the mil chain, if you are OTC either the CO/Adj or other regular at the unit should be able to help you get in touch with the right people. Alternatively there is a website for ACSC which will give you a good steer on the POCs. PM me if you cant find a POC any other way
M-F My advice would be to look at armoured doctrine since WWII rather than WWI. This way you can concentrate on the future of British Armoured doctrine not get sucked into the inter-war years which will produce a rather stodgy historical narrative.

If, however, there is a requirement for historical research rather than blue sky thinking about future trends and you want to look at Plan 1919, JFC Fuller and the Experimental Mobile Force etc. I'd reccommend seeking out David Fletcher who I think still runs the Bovi Tank Museum, though he may have retired. If so look for his books. I'd also recommend The Art of Blitzkreig by Charles Messenger which is pretty good on inter-war doctrine.

If your looking at post '45 try and find some Isreali primary sources. I expect they still go for that a King's. If thats where you are.

Latest Threads