Mobilisation, phoney war and post Dunkirk

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by polar, May 20, 2005.

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  1. Can anyone recommend any good books about the above.

    Interested in territorials being mobilised (and the builiding up of the TA during the 30's), politics of sending who and where during the phoney war and how the army was rebuilt after Dunkirk.

  2. Polar,

    Although this doesn't quite deal with all the issues you're interested in, a useful start might be David French, 'Raising Churchill's Army: The British Army and the War Against Germany 1919-1945'. Published by OUP in 2000 in hardback, also available now in pricey (£17.99!) paperback.

    To give you some idea, the Chapter headings are:

    1. 'How are you to succeed without causing losses?' Doctrine and Organisation 1919-1939

    2. Regimental Officers and the Rank and File

    3. Weapons and equipment

    4. Discipline and Morale

    5. the Pre-war army and the BEF 1940

    6. The reformation fo the army, Home Forces 1940-43

    7.The Desert War

    8. Monty's Army: Alam Halfa to the Rhine
  3. Thanks Archimedes.

    What I'm intending to do is create a web site on the history of the territorials/TA (initially concentrating on WW2). The areas I mentioned doesn't seem to have been written about that much.
  4. I recommend 'Gunbuster's' memoirs of the retreat to Dunkirk...
  5. I concur.
  6. Brian Bond is the British inter-war expert, nip onto amazon for likely titles
  7. Just finished it, started off very well but tailed off towards the end. Liked the sections on doctrine and poor it was. Got the impression he's missed off a section on the improvements of all arms coordination, command & control and signals etc towards the end of the war.

    Although not stated in the book also gained the impression that the regular army got weeded down in 40-42 (to boost new units), whereas the territorials with training and experience over took the regular formations in ability during the same period.
  8. The issue of the TA's role in prewar prepeartions is always vague in the sources I have read. Little mention beyond its doubling in March 1939, as part of the renewed commitment to a Continental deployment by the British Army.
    Can you imagine that, a British government embarking on a Foreign Policy initiative, THEN remembering that it has spent the last twenty years telling the military establishment not to expect just the course action it launches upon!
    I seem to recall that large numbers of Nottinghamshire's TAVR units (as well as the TA as a whole) were assigned to AA command (such as the 7th Battalion (V) The Sherwood Foresters).
    The OoB of the BEF in May 1940 contained mostly Regular formations, with the TA Div's deployed, appearing to be under equiped and deployed as Second line "labour" units. The exception to that comment, as I can recall, being the 51st (highland) Division, deployed on the Maginot Line (?)

    Thanks for the tip about
    "Raising Churchill's Army: The British Army and the War Against Germany 1919-1945"

    I have just ordered it, as it appears to cover several issues that most books I have previously read fail to address.

    Now, not to be a complete pain, any suggestions about the demobilization process (either after WWI or WWII)?
  9. Also purchased "Military Training in the British Army, 1940-1944: From Dunkirk to D-day" by Timothy Harrison Place. Just started reading it, seems a good companion for the that book.

    Also had this book recommended to me: "Saturday Night Soldiers" but not sure if its : "Saturday Night Soldiers: The 4th Lincolns in World War II" or " The Saturday night soldiers: The stirring story of the Territorial Army"

    On the AA side (which was nearly 95% Territorial) recommend "AA Command: Britain's Anti-aircraft Defences of the Second World War (Monuments of War S.)" by English Heritage, covers what happened to AA Command (but not what happened to units), very good parts on the increasing of the territorials, pre-war mobilisation and problems that were faced early on in the war.
  10. Do you mean the demob process, or where soldiers went after demob :?:

    "Tommy" by Richard whathisname (ill think of it soon!) has a chapter on soldiers reactions to the war ending and their chances in civvie life after demob.

    Corelli Barnetts "The Lost Victory" is pretty much a political and economic history of Britain 1945-52 but it gives lots of figures on where demobbed soldiers ended up postwar in terms of where the governmnet of the day wanted them to go, eg 120,000 (or whatever it was) to construction etc
  11. Some TA got mobilised into regular formations, my uncle was taken from a TA Inf unit and sent to Reg unit not long after the outbreak to make up numbers, ended up dropping at Market Garden 8O a few years later.

    It was one of the reasons my father warned me about the TA. "You will never fight with your TA unit, the Army will swallow you up for shortages" oh how I laughed, until Telic 8O
  12. Sorry, what I was looking for (good as the info' offered is) in relation to my Demobilisation cooment, is how the Army transitioned from wartime strengths to lower Peacetime Establishments.
    That is how units were disbanded, amalgamated etc. How the Army handled the policy. Essentally the exact reverse of the period this thread is actually about!

    Truth be told I am not and never have been an avid social historian (was compelled to study that stuff when I was younger)
  13. It appears the TA were screwed up on purpose.

    During the duplication process and subsequent mobilisation, some soldiers (lower ranks?) were sent to regular units.

    The duplication doesn't appear to be a system used in WW1 where the 1st line created a cadre for the 2nd line with this filled with new recruits. It appears both were reduced to cadres and then built back up. (As mentioned above the some OR's were sent off to the regulars).

    This system left the majority of the TA needing to train its soldiers, unlike WW1 where the 1st line TA could deploy fairly quickly as trained units.

    One would expect these units wouldn't be ready for a while but due to shortages, the first TA formations went in action in Norway April 1940. Many of the soldiers hadn't even fired their weapons on ranges.

    The Bdes were from 49 (West Riding) Div or what had been a few months before 49 (West Riding and North Midland) Div, strangley the first formation into battle on the western front in WW1 was also 46 (North Midland) Div (46&49 had merged in the 30's)