Doctrine and Reform in the British Cavalry 1880 - 1918

Badsey, Stephen
Date published: 
July 2008

This book fills a significant gap in the historiography of British military thought, doctrine and practice for the First World War (1914 - 18) and the generation beforehand, including the Boer War (1899 - 1902). It investigates a major doctrinal controversy: what the role and tactics of horsed soldiers were to be in the face of increasing firepower and demands placed upon them by the expansion of mass armies. It shows how doctrine developed subject to a large variety of factors including politics, defence economics, military sociology, military hierarchy, mass publicity, and not least the experience of the battlefield itself. It shows that, contrary to widely held modern beliefs, both in the Boer War and again in the First World War the cavalry of Britain and its Empire had developed doctrine that proved quite successful in dealing with the conditions that they faced on the battlefield.