Gun Fire (Number 35), edited by A.J. Peacock
A5 size booklet, 64 pages. (N6454X1)
The BEF on the Somme - Some Career Aspects (Part 1)
A Souvenir of Life in Bohemia
G.H. Malins - Some notes, some films and some trips
Notes and Queries
From the first inside page: At 7.30am on 1 July 1916 the British Army launched the biggest and most costly infantry attack in its history. This was only made possible by the massive expansion which the army had undergone since the outbreak of war. The person chiefly responsible for the expansion was the Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener. He had never intended that his 'New Army' should take on the full might ofthe German military in 1916, though in the event he was powerless to prevent it. Kitchener wished to confine the role of the BEF to that of 'defensive attrition' until it was fully trained and equipped. He did not expect this to be before 1917. By then, the French and Russian armies would have so weakened the German Army as to make it ripe for defeat. The BEF would enter the field to strike the decisive blow. They would be 'the last million men'. They would not only win the war but also decide the peace in the interests ofthe long term security of the British Empire. It was not to be. By the spring of 1916 it was the French Army which was ripe for defeat, not the German. The BEFwas compelled by the obligations of the French alliance to embark upon a strategy of 'offensive attrition' long before its forces were sufficiently trained or equipped and to play a full part in the erosion of German military power. he British have been counting the cost ever since.
The First World War was the greatest professional challenge in the British Army's history. It was also a unique professional opportunity. In an age markedly less mealy-mouthed than our own, British officers drank toasts to 'a bloody war and a sickly season'. The Great War provided opportunities for rapid promotion which the 18th century officer could barely dream of. In 1914 there were fewer than 13,000 officers in the British Army. By November 1918 there were 12,000 staff officers; the officer establishment of the Royal Regiment of Artillery alone was more than twice that of the whole British Army in 1914. The general outlines of this are well understood, but it has rarely been fleshed out in detail. In history, however, truth is often found in the detail. This article is a modest attempt to examine the impact of the British Army's expansion on the career opportunities of professional officers on the eve ofthe greatest battle in the army's history by analyzing the careers of the field commanders who carried out the attack on 1 July 1916....
Interestingly, an earlier edition of the journal explained the origins of the slang phrase 'Gun Fire', detailing how it was a term for the early cup of tea served out to troops in the morning before going on first parade. In the War recruits in training always had Gun Fire supplied to them, as the work before breakfast was often particularly gruelling.
Condition of the booklet is generally good. The cover has one or two minor scuffs, but the staple spine is intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound. Their is a small price sticker on the rear side cover.