With friends like these: The Germans

With friends like these: The Germans

In this video, we look at how changing national interests have affected Britain's military relationship with Germany from the 18th century to the present day.

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Coatee worn at Waterloo by Brigade-Major Thomas Noel Harris, 1815

Waterloo coatee's provenance confirmed

In 2015, the National Army Museum was presented with a rare coatee worn by Major Thomas Harris at the Battle of Waterloo. A combination of historical evidence and modern forensic analysis was used to confirm its authenticity.

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Captain Nigel Clogstoun-Willmott, c1944

Nigel Clogstoun-Willmott: Covert beach surveyor

During the Second World War, Nigel Clogstoun-Willmott founded the Combined Operations Pilotage Parties to undertake covert beach reconnaissance. This proved vital for the success of Allied seaborne invasions.

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A British officer with the Armenians, Baku, August 1918

Dunsterforce in the Caucasus

In 1918, the British assembled a handpicked unit to carry out a daring secret mission to the Caucasus. Their aim was to unify into an effective force the various anti-Bolshevik and anti-Turkish groups fighting there.

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Private William Bowyer of 1/1st Buckinghamshire Yeomanry (Royal Bucks Hussars), 1915

Senussi Revolt

During the First World War, the British position in Egypt was threatened by rebellious Senussi Bedouin tribesmen. The campaign against them took place in the unforgiving climate of the Western Desert.

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The Nigerian Regiment Artillery with a field gun,

West Africa campaign

In February 1916, the Allies finally completed the conquest of Germany’s West African colonies. One of the First World War’s forgotten sideshows, this campaign was fought in hostile terrain and disease-ridden jungles.

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Captain Roger Courtney, 1943

Roger Courtney: SBS pioneer

Major Roger ‘Jumbo’ Courtney founded the Special Boat Section during the Second World War. This became one of Britain’s most important Special Forces and was a parent unit of the modern Special Boat Service.

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A six-inch howitzer of 127th Siege Battery, Royal Artillery, Salonika, 1917

Salonika campaign

From 1915 to 1918, British troops were part of a multi-national Allied force fighting the Bulgarians and their allies in the Balkans. Despite harsh conditions, they eventually brought the campaign to a successful conclusion.

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Indian troops passing through a communication trench on the Mesopotamian Front, 1917.

The Commonwealth and the First World War

Over 3 million soldiers and labourers from across the Empire and Commonwealth served alongside the British Army in the First World War.

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V Beach at Cape Helles, April 1915

Gallipoli campaign

Gallipoli was the first major amphibious operation in modern warfare. In 1915 British Empire and French troops landed on the Ottoman-held peninsula in the Dardanelles Straits with disastrous consequences for the Allies.

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The South African Engineer Corps bury a comrade, 1915

South-West African campaign

On 9 July 1915, enemy forces in German South-West Africa (now Namibia) surrendered to the Allies. This marked the final stage of a short but successful campaign of manoeuvre fought in extremely harsh conditions.

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Landing troops from transports at Lao Shan Bay, September 1914

Siege of Tsingtao

In the autumn of 1914, British soldiers fought alongside the Japanese in China. Their goal was the German naval base at Tsingtao, which finally fell in November after a two-month siege.

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A 15-inch howitzer being prepared for action on the Somme, 1 July 1916

1916: Year of attrition

1916 witnessed two of the longest and most notorious battles of the First World War. Both resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties for both the Allies and Germans on the Western Front.

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