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Learning to Fight

Learning to Fight
Military Innovation and Change in the British Army, 1914–1918

£31.99

Part of Cambridge Military Histories

  • Publication planned for: November 2017
  • availability: Not yet published - available from November 2017
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107190795

£ 31.99
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  • Learning, innovation and adaptation are not concepts that we necessarily associate with the British army of the First World War. Yet the need to learn from mistakes, to exploit new opportunities and to adapt to complex situations are enduring and timeless. This revealing work is the first institutional examination of the army's process for learning during the First World War. Drawing on organisational learning and management theories, Aimée Fox critiques existing approaches to military learning in wartime. Focused around a series of case studies, the book ranges across multiple operational theatres and positions the army within a broader context in terms of its relationships with allies and civilians to reveal that learning was more complex and thoroughgoing than initially thought. It grapples with the army's failings and shortcomings, explores its successes and acknowledges the inherent difficulties of learning in a desperate and lethally competitive environment.

    • Analyses multiple operational theatres, allowing readers to better understand the challenges facing the British army during the war
    • Proposes a new model for learning in military organisations which will appeal to anyone interested in the challenges of learning in complex organisations
    • Provides a new and illuminating case study on organisational learning and innovation that demonstrates how innovation is not the preserve of modern military forces
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Advance praise: 'Sheds new light on the extent to which the British army in the First World War was a learning organisation. Essential reading for anyone involved or interested in the transformation of today`s armed forces to meet new circumstances and future threats.' Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszely, author of Anatomy of a Campaign: The British Fiasco in Norway, 1940

    Advance praise: 'Adapting to changing complex environments, rather than seeking to control them, will be fundamental.' So said UK Defence's Future Force Concept in 2017. Dr Fox's timely, well researched, thought provoking and thoroughly readable book helps remind us that the future imperative for Armed Forces to be able to learn, adapt and change, both tactically and institutionally, quicker than an adversary are far from being just twenty-first century concerns. One hundred years ago the same imperative existed. This book helps unpack how the British Army of the First World War went about turning words - innovation, adaptability, agility and learning - into deeds, both tactically and institutionally. As we commemorate the end of the First World War in 2018, Dr Fox's book is a timely reminder that history has an important role in helping us with our Future Force design and its ethos.' Major General 'Mitch' Mitchell, Director, UK Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre

    Advance praise: 'Aimée Fox's analyses of innovation in the First World War advance our understanding of that critical time period, but she goes much further, offering critical lessons for today's military leaders as well. Learning to Fight is that rare book that can speak equally well to both the past and the present.' Michael S. Neiberg, author of Path to War: How the First World War Created Modern America

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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: November 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107190795
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • contains: 3 b/w illus. 1 table
    • availability: Not yet published - available from November 2017
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    Part I. The Practice of Learning:
    1. The legacy of the past
    2. A networked army
    3. Disseminating learning
    Part II. Learning in Practice:
    4. Inter-theatre
    5. Allies
    6. Civilian expertise
    7. Integrating newcomers
    Conclusion.

  • Author

    Aimée Fox, King's College London
    Aimée Fox is a Lecturer in Defence Studies at King's College London. Her research interests centre on organisational learning, change and administration in the British army of the First World War.

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