In the First World War, the cavalry could no longer deliver the decisive charges it had performed in the past. But it continued to carry out a variety of useful roles that contributed to British success.
For almost two years during the Second World War (1939-45), the Allies fought a bitter struggle in Italy against a determined and skilful enemy. Far from being the ‘soft underbelly of Europe’, Italy became one of the war’s most exhausting campaigns.
Fought between 1756 and 1763, this conflict can claim to be the original 'world war'. Franco-British fighting in North America and India became part of a general war in Europe with far-reaching consequences.
In 1775, Britain’s American colonies rebelled in a bid for independence. The British Army performed fairly well in battle against the rebels, but it was unable to prevent the loss of territory following French and Spanish entry into the war.
The Crimean War was fought by Britain, France, Turkey and Sardinia against Russia. For the British, the campaign was symbolised by military and logistical incompetence alongside the bravery and endurance of its soldiers.
British forces occupied Egypt in 1882 to safeguard the Suez Canal and British financial interests. This led to further intervention in the neighbouring Sudan, where two wars against rebellious Islamic tribesmen were fought in hostile desert conditions.
Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts was one of Britain’s most successful military commanders of the 19th century, winning victories during the Second Afghan War and revitalising the British campaign in the Boer War.
After initial successes in North Africa during the Second World War, Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck transferred to India as Commander-in-Chief. His unstinting logistical support there was vital to the Allied re-conquest of Burma.