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|Document Type: ||Thesis or dissertation|
|Title: ||British Cavalry on the Western Front 1916-1918|
|Authors: ||Kenyon, David|
|Supervisors: ||Holmes, Prof E. R.|
|Issue Date: ||2008|
|Abstract: ||This thesis examines the activities and effectiveness of the British, Indian and
Canadian cavalry which formed part of the British Expeditionary Force in France and
Flanders (The ‘Western Front’) during the First World War. The study concentrates on
the period from January 1916 to November 1918, focusing on four major Allied
The Somme, July-November 1916
Arras, April 1917
Cambrai, November-December 1917
Amiens and the ‘100 Days’, August-November 1918
Other episodes of cavalry fighting associated with these offensives are also considered.
It is argued in this study that the contribution of cavalry to the fighting on the Western
Front has been consistently underestimated by historians, a trend which began with the
Official History of the conflict and continues in even the most modern scholarship. The
arm has been characterised as vulnerable to modern weapons, out of date, of little use in
combat, and an unnecessary burden on scarce resources.
Through analysis of the performance of mounted units in these battles, using data
principally obtained from the unit War Diaries, as well as other primary sources, it is
argued that cavalry were both much more heavily involved in fighting on the Western
Front, and more effective, than has previously been acknowledged. The problems which
constrained the performance of the cavalry are also exa mined. These included the
limited understanding of their potential among senior officers, as well as command and
control problems at lower levels. Issues concerning tactics, equipment, and interaction
with other arms, (in particular tanks) are also examined.
The evolution of the cavalry arm is also considered in the context of the evolution of
the B.E.F. as a whole, and its part in the changing face of the conflict is examined, both
as an agent of change, and as a beneficiary of wider developments in how the war was
|Appears in Collections:||PhD, EngD, MPhil and MSc by research theses - Cranfield Defence and Security, Shrivenham|
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