Few technological developments in the history of warfare have been as portentous as the appearance around the turn of the sixteenth century of effective heavy gunpowder ordnance on shipboard, which began a new era in sea warfare. Employed on Mediterranean war galleys and Portuguese caravels, the weapons marked the solution of a series of daunting technological problems discussed in this article, beginning with the appearance of gunpowder in Europe about 1300. Unlike developments on land, change was at first gradual, but shortly after 1400 the pace of development sharply accelerated to culminate in what may legitimately be termed a revolution in firepower at sea.
The introduction of the military revolution into armies of the British Isles by officers and soldiers who had served in mainland European armies during the religious and dynastic wars of the seventeenth century was retarded by a martial culture shaped by a chivalric revival characterized by an aristocratic preference for edged weapons over gunpowder weapons and tactics. Aristocratic officers were reluctant to accept the idea that military hierarchies had superseded social hierarchies or that in warfare they should pursue military objectives rather than personal honour. Except for the New Model Army, English military forces before 1688 were backward in developing styles of command and leadership appropriate to the changed conditions of modern warfare.
Discussions of the escalation in the intensity and lethality of European–Native American warfare lack a systematic catalog of Indian restraints on war, in contrast to the extensive literature on European warfare. This article surveys eastern Native American societies at war from roughly 1500 to 1800 for limits on destructive potential and intent. Although Indian societies were willing to seek to destroy an enemy, including indiscriminate killing, patterns of restraint inherent to their social authority, cultural values, and methods of warfare tended to limit escalation and the overall level of violence. The dissonance of patterns of restraint in Indian and European warfare contributed to Euro-Indian escalation.
This article examines how the French viewed British military preparations for a war against Germany in the 1930s. It focuses on declining French expectations of the effectiveness of British military support as the reality of Britain's small and ill-prepared Field Force became apparent as war approached. Nevertheless, France continued to place a high moral value on immediate British participation in the common fight, as a token of her commitment to the alliance and long-term potential. For that reason, careful monitoring of British military developments and strategic intentions remained central to France's preparations for a future war with Germany.
The historiography of Allied assistance to the Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) has paid little attention to deliveries made during the First Moscow Protocol period to the end of June 1942, during which Britain was the primary provider of aid. Whilst aid shipped during this period was limited compared to that for subsequent U.S.-dominated protocols, its significance has to be understood in the context of the military and economic situation faced by the Soviet Union during the first year of the war.
Between July 1951 and July 1953 the U.S. Army found itself attempting to support both a field army in Korea and the NSC 68 military buildup. During these years, however, the Army suffered from a crippling manpower dilemma, both in quantity and in quality, the result of a limited national mobilization and President Harry S. Truman's decision to cut the Army's budget without cutting its missions. This dilemma adversely affected combat effectiveness, readiness, and morale. For some career soldiers, the stresses of this period exposed aspects of the Army's institutional culture that they found disturbing.
In 1879 General William T. Sherman remarked that, although he had known Ulysses S. Grant for years, "to me he is a mystery, and I believe he is a mystery to himself." Over the last quarter-century many authors have claimed to have solved or at least shed fresh light on the mystery of Grant. For the most part, they have portrayed Grant as a great general and good man, dissenting strongly with the highly negative portrayal of Grant contained in William S. McFeely's 1981 Pulitzer Prize–winning study. This essay traces the evolution of Grant scholarship since 1981 and suggests possible lines of inquiry for future Grant scholars.
"Illuminating Strange Defeat and Pyrrhic Victory: The Historian Robert A. Doughty" is the first of a new genre of Journal of Military History articles designed to explore particular historiographical areas by focusing on the contributions of their most distinguished historians. In surveying the scholarship of Brigadier General (Rtd.) Robert A. Doughty as well as his role in shaping the History Department at the United States Military Academy, this article explores the evolution of English-language interpretations of the fall of France in 1940 and the French effort in the Great War while highlighting Doughty's efforts to teach the U.S. Army how to harness historical study in the interest of doctrinal development.
Until 1998, the Tentative Manual for Defense of Advanced Bases was lost at the National Records Center in Suitland, Maryland. Originally published in 1936 by the U.S. Marine Corps Schools, this document resurfaced at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., when Marine Corps records were being shifted among archival facilities. The Tentative Manual for Defense of Advanced Bases represented the culmination of decades of doctrinal thinking in the Marine Corps about the defense of island bases against enemy amphibious, naval, and aerial assaults. The passages excerpted in this research note demonstrate that the far-sighted marines correctly conceived of effective ways to defend American bases on Wake Island, Midway, Guadalcanal, and other islands in the Pacific War.