Huw J. Davies, "The Wandering Army: The Campaigns That Transformed the British Way of War" (Yale UP, 2022)


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In The Wandering Army: The Campaigns that Transformed the British Way of War (Yale University Press, 2022), Dr. Huw J. Davies presents a compelling history of the British Army in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—showing how the military gathered knowledge from campaigns across the globe.

At the outbreak of the War of Austrian Succession in 1742, the British Army’s military tactics were tired and outdated, stultified after three decades of peace. The army’s leadership was conservative, resistant to change, and unable to match new military techniques developing on the continent. Losses were cataclysmic and the force was in dire need of modernization—both in terms of strategy and in leadership and technology.

In this wide-ranging and highly original account, Dr. Davies traces the British Army’s accumulation of military knowledge across the following century. An essentially global force, British armies and soldiers continually gleaned and synthesized strategy from warzones the world over: from Europe to the Americas, Africa, and Asia. Dr. Davies records how the army and its officers put this globally acquired knowledge to use, exchanging information and developing into a remarkable vehicle of innovation—leading to the pinnacle of its military prowess in the nineteenth century.

This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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