British Journal for Military History

The BJMH is a pioneering Open Access, peer-reviewed journal that brings high quality scholarship in military history to an audience beyond academia. 

"The birth of the British Journal for Military History will be as welcome as it is long overdue.

Sir Michael Howard

The past few decades have seen the appearance of a new generation of military historians. Some have been serving or retired members of the Armed Forces; some academics or aspiring academics; and some - most welcome of all – amateurs who write for the sheer love of it. The continuing demand for their work is evidenced in every major bookshop, where ‘Military History’ shelves often take up as much space as does mere ‘History’. Even those whose primary interest is not military history as such now realise that a knowledge of the subject is necessary if they are to understand the past, to say nothing of the present. Military history is now too important to be left to the military historians.

For the past few years military historians have been able to communicate with each another at the annual meetings of the British Commission for Military History and through its publication Mars and Clio. Now the BJMH will make their work available to a far wider readership and should attract an increasing number of contributors. It will be not only British, and not only military historians who will wish it well." 

Professor Sir Michael Howard

Portrait of Sir Michael Howard by Anthony Palliser:

Volume 2, Issue 2 - EDITORIAL

‘A pretty deplorable piece of work’

So said Michael Howard in his review of Alan Clark’s The Donkeys way back in 1961. Since then, of course, revisionist histories of the First World War have become the mainstream, shaping the work of a new generation of scholars and finally putting Private Baldrick’s ‘boom, boom, boom’ analysis to rest.

Such a state of affairs has been hard won, driven by the research and writing of a large number of scholars. Amongst these, several members of the British Commission for Military History have been instrumental: Correlli Barnett, Brian Bond, Paddy Griffiths, Peter Simkins, John Lee, Chris McCarthy, Ian Beckett, Gary Sheffield, David French, Hew Strachan, John Bourne, Charles Messenger, Paul Harris, Stephen Badsey, Bill Philpott, Michael Orr, Nigel Cave, Gordon Corrigan and Richard Holmes, the late President of the BCMH, have all played an important part in tempering criticism of the First World War with a greater understanding of how the war was fought.

As this issue attests, the result of these efforts has been multiple. In the first instance, the revisionists have contributed to an intellectual climate that has enabled current researchers to move beyond the mud, blood and poppycock. Thus in this issue we have papers on aesthetics and logistics; the operational plans of the Russians and the mobilisation of the Poles; the Indian Army and colonial mobilisation in Northern Rhodesia. Secondly, revisionist history has contributed to a mobilisation of the public who are now more engaged in matters relating to the First World War than ever before. Indeed, as Professor Richard Grayson shows in his article on crowdsourcing methods, ‘Citizen Historians’ now play an important part in the analysis of the historical record itself.

Lastly, contemporary scholars, some of whom are members of the British Commission for Military History, have been able to play a small part in helping the British Army reconsider the lessons of the First War. Here it is a pleasure to note that members of the Commission such as Mungo Melvin, Bill Philpott, Jonathan Boff, Jonathan Bailey, Spencer Jones, Bob Foley, John Ross, David Zabecki, Tim Gale, Tony Cowan and several others have all played important roles in shaping the perspectives of those who might be called on to fight in today’s conflicts.

Needless to say this won’t be the only issue of the BJMH to be focused on the events of 1914-18 but we are very pleased that this issue showcases how far the history of the First War has changed since Alan Clark published The Donkeys.


Vol 2, No 2 (2016)

Cover Page
COVER IMAGE: VCOs (Viceroy Commissioned Officers) and other ranks of the 57th Wilde's Rifles take aim in the trenches on the outskirts of Wytschaete, Belgium. A row of houses is just visible behind them, showing their proximity to the town. Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum © Jeanne Maze Churchill (Q 56325)

Full Issue

View or download the full issue PDF FULL ISSUE

Table of Contents


James E. Kitchen
Alisa Miller
Chris Phillips
Stephen Walsh
Paul Latawski
Rob Johnson
Edmund Yorke
Richard Grayson

Book Reviews

Richard Freeman, ‘Unsinkable’: Churchill and the First World War
Len Barnett
Sanders Marble, British Artillery of the Western Front in the First World War
Andrew Breer
Shawn T. Grimes, Strategy and War Planning in the British Navy, 1887-1918
Richard Dunley
Jenny Macleod, Great Battles: Gallipoli. With foreword by Hew Strachan
Edward J. Erickson
Stuart Hadaway, Pyramids and Fleshpots: The Egyptian, Senussi and Eastern Mediterranean Campaigns, 1914-16
Justin Fantauzzo
George Morton-Jack, The Indian Army on the Western Front: India’s Expeditionary Force to France and Belgium in the First World War
Spencer Jones
William Philpott, Attrition: Fighting the First World War
Michael Neiberg
Hans Ehlert, Michael Epkenhans, & Gerhard P. Gross (eds.). The Schlieffen Plan: International Perspectives on the German Strategy for World War I. Translation edited by David T. Zabecki
William D. O'Neil
Jonathan Krause, Early Trench Tactics in the French Army: The Second Battle of Artois, May-June 1915
Gary Sheffield
Tim Gale, The French Army’s Tank Force and Armoured Warfare in the Great War: the Artillerie Spéciale
Hew Strachan
Stephen Heathorn, Haig and Kitchener in Twentieth-Century Britain: Remembrance, Representation and Appropriation
Daniel Whittingham


ISSN: 2057-0422

Copyright © 2014, British Journal for Military History

Our logo is based on the combination of Mars & Clio, the Roman God of War and the Greek Muse of History. It is the official logo of the BCMH.