[British Armed Forces]. Infantry training book.

[England, early 1920s].

Folio (205 x 330 mm). 152, (6) pp. on ruled notebook paper. Followed by 104 blank pages. In blue pen with red underlinings of headlines and most important terms. With 2 hand-drawn maps of Palestine and India. Contemporary half cloth over papered boards.


Manuscript lecture notes of a British Army officer from the interwar period: a fine example of education in theoretical warfare. Particularly interesting for the descriptions of historical battles used as examples when teaching tactics and strategy, including not only early operations such as the 1704 Battle of Blenheim during the War of the Spanish Succession and the 1806 Battle of Jena against Napoleon, but also recent campaigns like 'Operation Michael', conducted by the German general Erich Ludendorff against Allied Forces on the Western front near Cambrai in March 1918, or the British Palestine Campaign and the movements of General Edmund Allenby towards the end of World War I: "Within 4 days whole of 2nd Turkish Army had been destroyed & Haifa captured" (p. 18). The subject matter of these lecture notes indicates a great deal of self-awareness among the British Army, reflecting on their own campaigns, victories and defeats. A section captioned "Lessons from the War" illustrates this critical mindset, not least acknowledging the difficulties posed to military administration in British India due to "the enormous distances to be traversed, and the lack of good communications" (p. 142).

The book further includes a history of the British War Office, the Territorial Force, and the Indian Army, along with notes on the administration of a railway and the role of the Royal Air Force, stressing that "in future wars command of the air will be essential to success, because victory will go to that power" (p. 26).

Prepared by Lt. John Leese of the Second North Staffordshire Regiment, with his ownership to upper cover. Several loosely inserted handouts and newspaper clippings place the otherwise not dated manuscript in the early 1920s. An original group photograph showing the instructional staff of the Machine Gun Training Centre at Grantham in 1916 is loosely inserted. A major in the Machine Gun Corps during World War I, Leese probably received his training there.

Binding somewhat worn, interior very well preserved. Inserted handouts worn around edges.