Author(s): Brian Lavery
On a typical day during the Second World War, Winston Churchill, as Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, issued numerous memos to the ministers and service commanders on many different subjects, on both the grand strategy and the detail of the war effort. It was not just his work rate and his self-confidence which allowed him to do this. He had a unique and intimate inside knowledge of all three services which allowed him to assess their real needs - a crucial task when money, material resources, and especially manpower, were reaching their limits. No defence minister in modern times has faced such severe problems. No-one else has ever been able to balance the needs of the services in such a way - most of them came from outside with little service experience, while for those trained inside one service it is almost impossible to gain inside knowledge at a lower level without a bias in favour of one service or another. But Churchill's knowledge of the three services was almost perfectly balanced by his experiences since he first joined the army in 1896. He made his share of mistakes as a war leader, but this unique balance served him, his cause and his country well.
Churchill: Warrior looks at how Churchill gained his unique insight into war strategy and administration, and the effect this had on his thinking and leadership. Each period (before, during and after the First World War, and in the Second World War) is divided into four parts - land, sea and air warfare, and combined operations. The conclusion deals with the effect of these experiences on his wartime leadership. Written in Brian Lavery's acclaimed, insightful and anecdotal style, a grand narrative unfolds starting with the Marlborough toy soldiers and the army class at Eton, which then leads us through those early military and journalistic experiences, the fascinating trials and lessons of the First World War, the criticism, and his tenacity which came into its own during the Second. It explores how some of Churchill's earliest innovations were to bear fruit decades later, how his uncompromising, but uniquely informed, hands-on approach, and his absolute belief in combined force in Normandy, led to a systemic victory against the odds.
Brian Lavery is one of Britain's leading naval historians and a prolific author. A Curator Emeritus at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, and a renowned expert on the sailing navy and the Royal Navy, in 2007 he won the prestigious Desmond Wettern Maritime Media Award. His naval writing was further honoured in 2008 with the Society of Nautical Research's Anderson Medal. His recent titles include Ship (2006), Royal Tars (2010), Conquest of the Ocean (2013), In Which They Served (2008), Churchill's Navy (2006), and the Sunday Times bestseller Empire of the Seas (2010).
Part I. Preparing for War 1. Becoming a Soldier 2. Wars and Words 3. South African Springboard 4. Ruling the Navy 5. Strategy and Tactics 6. Churchill at Work 7. Personnel 8. Materiel 9. The Naval Air Service 10. The Aircraft Part II. The Fortunes of War 11. The North Sea War 12. Antwerp 13. Defence and Attack in the Air 14. Armoured Car and Tank 15. The Underwater War 16. The Rest of the World 17. Plans for Attack 18. Work and Conflict 19. Forcing the Straits 20. Landing and Withdrawal 21. In the Trenches 22. The Ministry of Munitions Part III. Peace and War 23. The Old Army and the New 24. Saving the Air Force 25. A Role for the RAF 26. The World Crisis 27. An Iron Chancellor 28. Marlborough 29. The Study of Air Power 30. The Drift to War 31. Winston is Back 32. The Navy at War Part IV. Finest Hour and After 33. Finest Hour 34. War Leader 35. War on Land 36. War at Sea 37. Air Power in Operation 38. Air Support 39. Combined Operations Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index