Soldiering on: Unofficial portrait of the British Army by Dennis Barker. An excellent unbiased view of the cold war army throughout its posting in the world.
Synopsis: Mr Barker visits a number of units in the regions such as Hong Kong, Germany and Northern Ireland and talks to the Soldiers, Officers and wives to get a real feel of their interpretation of their own lives and aspirations.
It also looks at how the Army of the 80's selects and trains its men, women and officers and compares this to civilian industry. At the end of each chapter, the author compiles a conclusion, with both negative and postive points.
It is a book that I have gone back to time and time again.
p.s. original post I was having a brain fart about the title!!
All of the McAuslan books by George MacDonald Fraser (i.e. The General Danced at Dawn, McAuslan in the Rough, and The Sheikh & the Dustbin). All three can be obtained in one volume called The Complete McAuslan. I would consider them absolutely essential reading for anyone aspiring to command soldiers. Their portrayal of regimental - especially mess - life is uncanny. The opening chapter on the author's own RCB is spot-on. They are also side-splittingly funny.
The two books by John Masters
Bugles and a Tiger
The Road Past Mandaly
Excellent reads, first deals with his time as Subaltern in 2/4 Gurkha Rifles post WW II.
Second his WW II adventures including commanding a Chindit brigade of 6 battalions behind Jap lines while still a substansive Lt, wartime only Captain, acting Major in appointment as Brigade commander.
The GMF book Quartered Safe out Here is excellent.
I would also recommened Where Soldiers Fear to Tread by Ranulph Finnes, his time as an infantary platoon comander (Recce Platoon) with the Sultan of Oman's army Muscat Regt.
PS Masters married the devorced wife of one Col Rose, whos son Mike did well, commanded 22nd SAS led the troops in Bosnia and retired 4 star
Read the international affairs parts of The Economist magazine.
Try to learn a foreign language - French, Spanish, Arabic. I lose count of the number of times over the last 20 odd years that would have been useful to me.
If you aren't already in the TA join it now as a soldier. It doesn't matter what unit. It will give you a grounding in basic military skills, so when you arrive at Sandhurst you can focus on learning command rather than trying to remember how to strip your rifle.
Even better join the TA, do the recruit stuff and get some officer training weekends done (it's not difficulot to get on them, initially), you'll get experience of using combat estimate, section/platoon attacks so you'll be more comfortable using them when arriving at Sandhurst.
I'm currently reading 'With the Jocks' by Peter White, 18 platoon is hard to track down in the shops but I'd guess that Amazon has it.
"The killing ground" Tim Travers
"The seven pillars of wisdom" T.E Lawrence
"Life and death of the Afrika Korps" Ronald Lewin
"Wellington & Napoleon" Robin Neilland
"The bowmen of England" Donald Featherstone
"Rifles" Mark Urban
"Eastern Approaches" Fitzroy Maclean
"The Phantom Major" Virginia Cowles
"The Illiad" Homer
The list is endless. You require breadth of knowledge, not just depth. Read all you can on military history, it is ALL relevant.
Charity shops are a great source of cheap books, and they will often have titles you will find nowhere else.
I second that. The latter describes something more than most books. The descriptions of the Defence College, the Chindit expedition and the defence of 'Blackpool' go deeper into the why soldiering is an intellectual skill and emotional art than any other I can think of.
18 platoon - Sidney Jary; excellent account by a 19 year old platoon commander in Normandy, concentrating on platoon leadership.
Storm of Steel - Ernst Junger; account by an equally young WW1 German Lt commanding a stormtroop company.
'Defeat into Victory' - nothing more to be added here!
Soldier Sahibs: The Men Who Made the North-west Frontier - Charles Allen; great read about late 18th-late 19th C soldiers who brought the Viceroy's rule to the NW frontier and established their own regiments of irregulars such as Hodson's Horse .
Viz. Especially Sid the Sexist. To make you more rounded.