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University of New South Wales

1. Lee, Roger. British Battle Planning in 1916 and the Battle of Fromelles: a Case Study of an Evolving Skill.

Degree: Humanities & Social Sciences, 2013, University of New South Wales

Bad planning has become a standard explanation in the historiography of World War Ifor poor British battlefield performance. Often, poor planning is explicitly charged with being the cause of high casualties and tactical defeats. Rarely though are the failures of the plan identified in detail or with precision and even more rarely do the critics place the alleged failure of the plan into the context of what the plan was, what the limitations on the planners were and why elements of the plan allegedly failed.This thesis examines the process by which a military plan was developed and implemented by the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front in 1916. A battle plan was nothing more than a blueprint for bringing together at the right time and in the right place all the combat elements needed in order to give the attacking infantry the greatest chance of success. British battle planning had no doctrine and no Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to guide it. At each level of headquarters, planning was driven by different perspectives and requirements, factors seldom exposed in analyses of why battles unfolded the way they did. This study examines the battle planning process vertically, in that it follows the progress of a battle plan from its inception in the strategic designs of the supreme commander down through the various intermediate level commands at operational and tactical headquarters until it becomes the orders that sent the infantry forward into the attack. It does so by analysing the following in the context of a case study of the Battle of Fromelles, 19 July 1916:- Composition and nature of the specialist planning staff;- The strategic level concept and its strategic context;- The operational level plan in the context of the Somme campaign;- The higher or grand tactical plan at the Corps headquarters;- Conversion of the grand tactical plan into a Divisional plan; and- The detail of the Brigade plan to guide the attack.The Battle of Fromelles provided the structure of the study as its small scale enabled the process of the evolution of the plan to be followed, the factors that influenced and occasionally changed the intention or the explicit orders from superior headquarters to be identified and the clear separation of the original intentions and objectives from the eventualoutcomes. Advisors/Committee Members: Grey, Jeffrey, Humanities & Social Sciences, UNSW Canberra, UNSW, Dennis, Peter, Humanities & Social Sciences, UNSW Canberra, UNSW.

Subjects/Keywords: British battle planning; Battle planning 1916; World War One planning; Fromelles; Command and control; Battle staff system

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APA · Chicago · MLA · Vancouver · CSE | Export to Zotero / EndNote / Reference Manager

APA (6th Edition):

Lee, R. (2013). British Battle Planning in 1916 and the Battle of Fromelles: a Case Study of an Evolving Skill. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of New South Wales. Retrieved from http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/53030 ; https://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/fapi/datastream/unsworks:11708/SOURCE01?view=true

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Lee, Roger. “British Battle Planning in 1916 and the Battle of Fromelles: a Case Study of an Evolving Skill.” 2013. Doctoral Dissertation, University of New South Wales. Accessed January 17, 2021. http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/53030 ; https://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/fapi/datastream/unsworks:11708/SOURCE01?view=true.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Lee, Roger. “British Battle Planning in 1916 and the Battle of Fromelles: a Case Study of an Evolving Skill.” 2013. Web. 17 Jan 2021.

Vancouver:

Lee R. British Battle Planning in 1916 and the Battle of Fromelles: a Case Study of an Evolving Skill. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of New South Wales; 2013. [cited 2021 Jan 17]. Available from: http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/53030 ; https://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/fapi/datastream/unsworks:11708/SOURCE01?view=true.

Council of Science Editors:

Lee R. British Battle Planning in 1916 and the Battle of Fromelles: a Case Study of an Evolving Skill. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of New South Wales; 2013. Available from: http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/53030 ; https://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/fapi/datastream/unsworks:11708/SOURCE01?view=true

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