The Western Front presented many challenges, in terms of firepower and mechanisation, that were beyond the military doctrine of the day. Victory would depend on the leadership of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) learning to harness all the attributes at their disposal.
The Army’s fighting capability was articulated in its doctrine, which then formed the basis for the training of its men. The process started with the recording of lessons. These were then selected and codified into doctrine, before being disseminated through the schools system.
The BEF was transformed through its formal process of learning. As a result, it was able to deliver more combat power, more of the time, which ultimately unhinged the enemy.
In this insightful talk, Brigadier James Cook will outline how mundane doctrine underpinned the Allies’ ultimate success on the Western Front, allowing the more glamorous factors of leadership, technology and luck to bring about victory in November 1918.
James Cook commissioned into the Royal Regiment of Artillery in 1995, before going on to serve with 29 Commando Regiment and commanding 105th Regiment Royal Artillery.
He then undertook a variety of staff and training appointments, including a stint as a Company Commander at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. As part of the General Staff, he has helped analyse both the future of warfare and how the Army manages its people.
Chairman of the Army Rugby Union, Brigadier Cook was appointed OBE for services to Army sport. He is also Chair of the Royal Artillery Historical Committee and recently completed his PhD on the British Army’s transformation during the First World War.