Fought between 1642 and 1651, these wars were primarily disputes between Crown and Parliament about how the British Isles should be governed. But they also had religious and social dimensions, and witnessed the creation of the first national standing army.
Nato has been the cornerstone of British defence planning for 70 years. Originally formed in the 1940s as a bulwark against communism, more recently it has been involved in peacekeeping roles and the ‘war on terror’.
In 1878-80, British-Indian forces fought a war to ensure that Afghanistan remained free from Russian interference. Although eventually successful, the British suffered several setbacks in their struggle to control the volatile country.
Between 1839 and 1842, British imperial forces fought a bitter war in Afghanistan. Initially successful, the British eventually withdrew having suffered one of the worst military disasters of the 19th century.
From 1943 to 1945, the Allies fought an attritional campaign in Italy against a resolute and skilful enemy. Far from being the ‘soft underbelly of Europe’, Italy became one of the Second World 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.