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Thread: Why is the British Military so good? ?

  1. #61
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    Default Re: Why is the British Military so good? ?

    Quote Originally Posted by 32Bravo View Post
    It almost appears that the British begin their campaigns with a retreat: Coruna, Mons, Dunkirk, Burma - to name a few. Usually due to a lack of preparedness on account of those that think the British Army is somehow superior to their opponents - until the lessons have been learned.
    I think you're being a bit hard on Britain.

    I'd suggest that Dunkirk had a lot more to do with mistakes and poor leadership at the highest levels of the relatively huge French army and poor morale at lower levels in various elements of that army than whatever failures there were in the relatively small British Expeditionary Force. And perhaps even more to do with the ability of the Germans to capitalise on the static and mobile mistakes of their enemies and exploit rapidly the opportunities given them as their advance evolved.

    As far as Burma is concerned, it was much more the case that Britain simply lacked the numbers to defend successfully as Britain was stretched to the limit on land in North Africa and after the loss of Malaya had nothing of significance left on land in proximity to Burma (apart from the returning Australians which Churchill foolishly tried to divert to Burma, which would have seen them lost and almost certainly would have given Japan victory in Papua and potentially over Australia.) And, as with Germany, the Japanese were a superior adversary in their advance phase in Burma (and still bloody good in their later defence phase against all Allies everywhere).

    Although your point about the British (in the sense of training, intelligence and other officers, including in many cases their Australian equivalents in Malaya) thinking they were superior to the Japanese and learning hard lessons, has been amply documented.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 02-20-2015 at 06:51 AM.
    ..
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  2. #62
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    Default Re: Why is the British Military so good? ?

    Wasn't intending to be hard on the British.

    I'd argue that the BEF entered France/Belgium expecting a re-run of 1914, for which they were well prepared. I doubt that the BEF high command were prepared for the speed and finality of the success of the German blitzkrieg even if they had considered a move through the Ardenne as viable. They would also have been hard put to, to repulse a German assault through Belgium, as anticipated, given the collaboration between German air and ground formations. Then there is of course the way in which the Germans used their armoured divisions etc. It seems the British trained for the battlefield of WW1, whereas the Germans had taken the lessons of Spring 1918 and developed means of improving on them.

    I didn't mention the retreat through Malaya (as was) to Singapore as that campaign ended in total defeat. Very few British forces and undergone any form of jungle training. The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, some Royal Marines at the eleventh hour, and Spencer Chapman's stay behind forces. The Argyll's had a fair amount of success in delaying the Japanese advance here and there by use of ambush, but they were too few.

    The British barely escaped from Rangoon, and would have been completely trapped had a local Japanese commander not stuck rigidly to his orders and lifted a block from the their escape route which he had put in place. Slim's eventual intervention pulled their nuts out of the fire on that particular retreat.

    The thread question appears to imply that British soldiers are unquestionably 'good' regardless of the situation. I would say that they have the potential to be, but it isn't always the case.

    I'd argue that what makes any soldiers 'good' is the quality of their training, leadership, generalship and political will - not forgetting a bayonet with a bit of guts behind it.

    Time for a pint of ale methinks.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


  3. #63
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    Default Re: Why is the British Military so good? ?

    Quote Originally Posted by tankgeezer View Post
    What does the FG thing mean?
    nothing...I edited the Quote, and hit "reply"...and it was disallowed, as its message was supposedly less than the minimum (wtf ?).
    So, with a curse , I rammed some letters and hit reply again...then it worked...
    Last edited by tankgeezer; 02-23-2015 at 01:22 PM.

  4. #64
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    Default Re: Why is the British Military so good? ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    It's like TG, but less complimentary.

    I'm looking forward to FDR's (the current poster, not the real one as he's been dead for some time) erudite elucidation supporting his contradictions that Britain stood against Germany 1940-41 and won the Battle of Britain.
    (1)

    In particular, I look forward to to FDR's elucidation, of the previously unknown in military history circles, failure of Britain to 'punch shit' 1940-41.
    (2)

    Look, no question we owe it to the Brits/churchill(!!) to keep the war going against Germany in the months that Russia and America were off side.
    Had UK (under Chamberlain ) made peace or at least a truce in july 1940 then things would have surely gone much worse for Stalin in 1941.
    But that doesn't mean I or we should share an adulation for the Brits for being "so (?) good". Especially not if the poster includes obvious mistakes in his claim.

    (1) The air dominance (!) battle over britain in 1940 to win is one of a defensive nature. Typically for the defenders and specially in the war years to call it a victory. But effectively, it isn't.
    Wasn't it Churchil himself (even then in 1940) that said that wars aren't won with defending an island successfully ?
    So in essence it is not a victory or a win of the british; it is : the germans did not win, or gain their objective.
    The only proper battle win was over the italians in Libya (that the British sadly didn't capitalize on by sending troops away to Greece) in that period.
    (2) Punch shit is regrettably a bit strong word but I was equally irritated by the naive poster claims.
    Anyway, to most of us I guess it is clear that "the" British in ww2, ww1 and during Napoleon era only started winning IN AN ALLIANCE.

    Apart from the Falkands in 1982 (which is something special circumstances, not the least becoz of Thatcher), the last time the british were succesfull on their own on a proper battlefield on either UK or the enemy home country against a complete warring nation was .... I dunno ? France 17th century ?
    All the colonial wars in India , invasion in Ireland, the Boers in SA, the American independence, the French in Canada, all were technically skirmishes with an adversary that was weak (not something to boast about, but which is exactly the most efficient way to wage a war..picking the weak opponent*)


    *which reminds me of something comparable of the adulation of a certain poster about a top german ace on the russian front.
    Looking only at the number of his kills, but not at the flattering conditions; such as the much longer service and flying hours, but especially the note: "he was careful to SELECT his fights; only when he was SURE to be on the upperhand (many more wingmen, or going after straddlers) he went for the kill" ..no wonder he can accumulate a top score. Still a good score, but not something to conclude that this pilot is out of this world..any top pilot from the west under the same conditions would have been equally succesfull.
    Last edited by Frankly Dude Really; 02-23-2015 at 07:29 AM.

  5. #65
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    Default Re: Why is the British Military so good? ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankly Dude Really View Post
    nothing...I edited the Quote, and hit "reply"...and it was disallowed, as its message was supposedly less than the minimum (wtf ?).
    So, with a curse , I rammed some letters and hit reply again...then it worked...
    The system requires at least 5 characters for a post, so if it was less, then it will not allow the post. If you have been signed on for some time, your session may have timed out, and this would also prevent you from posting. You can remain signed in by checking the "remember me" box just below your user name when you sign in.

  6. #66
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    Default Re: Why is the British Military so good? ?

    @FDR: I could go with much of that. However, there are very few examples of wars fought where the contenders didn't form alliances, whether British, German, U.S, French etc. etc. Civil wars might be an example of such things. The Battle of Britain took part in the air, and was, indeed, a battle. Strategically, it left the British in command of the skies (the field) over its territories during the daytime (The technologies of the time restricted its ability to control them by night) and foiled any German intentions to launch an invasion. In doing so it enabled Britain's armed forces to concentrate on taking the fight to the enemy in Europe. In the first instance, via means of a strategic bombing campaign.

    Of course battles can be fought, and won, fighting defensively e.g. Waterloo, Gettysburg. I find Gettysburg a particularly interesting example as it began an encounter battle. The general rule of thumb as to the victor of a battle, is ownership of the field at the end.

    I would argue that Churchill was speaking in terms of 'war' as opposed to 'battle' when speaking of defence and offence. It was a piece of propaganda on his part to galvanise the British people for the fight ahead, rather than a military academy lecture on the art of war.
    Last edited by 32Bravo; 02-27-2015 at 08:15 AM.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


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  7. #67
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    Default Re: Why is the British Military so good? ?

    Here is the true reason why the British military is so good - Captain Hercules Hurricane!

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    Last edited by 32Bravo; 09-10-2016 at 11:41 AM.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


  8. #68
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    Default Re: Why is the British Military so good? ?

    Was he related to the ginger, Bowler wearing Corporal Dugan of Sgt. Fury's group?
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  9. #69
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    Default Re: Why is the British Military so good? ?

    As I understand it, Dougan wears a brown 'Derby', but I could be wrong as I'm not American. Hurricane, being British I doubt he's related to the afore mentioned Irish-American, but I could be wrong.

    Might also be wrong about Dougan turning up in some Captain America film in recent times?
    Last edited by 32Bravo; 09-10-2016 at 05:04 PM.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


  10. #70
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    Default Re: Why is the British Military so good? ?

    Depending on what site one visits, the names are able to be used interchangeably, with Derby the preferred name in the U.S. No idea if that is truly true, or just internet true. Dum-Dum was one of my favorite Graphic Novel characters in my wayward youth. Yes there is a live action Dum-Dum, and the graphic version for comparison. Though honestly, I don't know if the Character is an American, or from the U.K. In America there were a chain of Restaurants called the "Brown Derby" in, and around the Los Angeles area. The Hollywood location was very popular with the movie stars, and Studio people back in the 30's-40's
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    Last edited by tankgeezer; 09-11-2016 at 09:17 AM.

  11. #71
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    Default Re: Why is the British Military so good? ?

    That's interesting. I always assumed he was American on account of the Derby as opposed to Bowler. The colour brown is also a bit of a misnomer with bowler. Also, I guess, the ginger hair and moustache led me to think of him being Irish-American. Difficult to say now as I haven't looked at those comics for some fifty years or more - wouldn't mind revisiting them though. I seem to recall a similar commando group, a couple of brothers who were gymnasts. Used to tree-jump form planes without the use of parachutes. Broke their fall by doing somersaults and the like - this also enabled them to dodge bullets.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


  12. #72
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    Default Re: Why is the British Military so good? ?

    I think this fella was one of the stars of Band of Brothers?

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    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


  13. #73
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    Default Re: Why is the British Military so good? ?

    IMDB shows Neal McDonough played "Buck Compton" on Band of Brothers in 2001 the man has an impressive Filmography.
    As for Dum Dum, this according to Wiki.
    " Dum Dum Dugan was originally portrayed as a British citizen in Sgt Fury #1, but later retconned to be born in Boston, Massachusetts. During World War II, while working as a circus strongman, Dugan helps Nick Fury and Sam "Happy" Sawyer escape the Nazis during a mission, recounted in issue #34. Dugan joins the British Army, and when Sawyer is charged with creating Fury's First Attack Squad, formally listed as "Able Company" and nicknamed the Howling Commandos, Sawyer invites Dugan to transfer into the US Army and become Fury's second-in-command. Dugan's exceptional strength saves the day in several of his adventures in the Sgt. Fury comic books. Dugan is an enlisted man with the rank of corporal, and wears the chevrons of his rank on the front top of his trademark bowler hat throughout WWII.

    Dugan leaves the U.S. Army before the Korean Conflict, but rejoins during the Korean War as Second Lieutenant under the promoted First Lieutenant Fury, once again as his second-in-command of the reformed Howling Commandos. Fury had already received a battlefield promotion to Second Lt. earlier.[1] Dugan remains with Fury when Fury continues his military career into the Vietnam War, as shown in Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos Annual #3 and 4, and later into espionage work. Dugan's exact rank is not stated, but is he addressed as "Captain" at one point. He remains with Fury when Fury goes into the CIA and later into the original S.H.I.E.L.D."
    Now that I think about it, He had points up Chevrons on his hat, which would have placed him in other than British service.
    Last edited by tankgeezer; 09-11-2016 at 11:25 PM.

  14. #74
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    Default Re: Why is the British Military so good? ?

    That's an interesting biography from what was a comic character - I feel nostalgia coming on.

    Yes, noticed the chevrons. I usually look for that as an indicator in most things when I'm uncertain of the supposed nationality of characters.

    Thanks for the info. Very interesting. Don't think I ever saw the Korean War issues.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


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  15. #75
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    Default Re: Why is the British Military so good? ?

    I was a big fan of Sgt. Rock, Weird War, Sgt. Fury, and the Haunted Tank when I was a kid, read them all through the military as well. Haunted Tank may still be in publication too. The ghost of General Stuart transferred his flag to an Abrams last I saw.
    Last edited by tankgeezer; 09-12-2016 at 07:42 AM.

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