Arming the British Home Guard, 1940-1944

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Holmes, Prof E R Clarke, D M 2011-09-19T16:12:49Z 2011-09-19T16:12:49Z 2011-09-19
dc.description.abstract The Second World War saw British society mobilised to an unprecedented extent to meet the threat of Total War. ‘Total Defence’ was manifest in organisations such as the ARP and Home Guard. What sets the Home Guard apart was its combatant role. This thesis examines the arms provided for the Home Guard, and concludes that its combat power has been seriously underestimated. It benefitted from huge quantities of high quality smallarms purchased from the United States, which were not issued to the Regular Army, because they chambered American ammunition. What is extraordinary is that these weapons are always characterised as ancient relics, yet the oldest of them was years younger, in real and design terms, than the British Army equivalent. In 1940 Britain lacked the capacity to manufacture arms in the quantities needed to repair the losses of Dunkirk and meet the needs of the expanding armed forces. The remedy was unorthodox weaponry such as the ‘Sticky Bomb’ and the ‘Blacker Bombard’. These are always associated with the Home Guard, yet saw active service against the Africa Corps. These unconventional weapons were more capable than many modern authors suggest, but they suffer from an impenetrable ‘orthodox view’ that characterises Home Guard weapons as ancient, whimsical and inefficient. This has its origins in the Local Defence Volunteers’ disappointment when the Government failed to meet its promise to arm every volunteer; their dismay at receiving foreign equipment; the way in which the media portrayed the Home Guard; and the fact that the great threats the Home Guard existed to combat – invasion and subversion – appeared to be illusory, making the Home Guard itself seem quixotic. This study strips away that conventional narrative, and exposes a Home Guard that was well equipped for its tasks – frequently better equipped than other components of Home Defence. en_UK
dc.rights ©Cranfield University 2010. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright owner. en_UK
dc.title Arming the British Home Guard, 1940-1944 en_UK
dc.type Thesis or dissertation en_UK
dc.type.qualificationlevel Doctoral en_UK
dc.type.qualificationname PhD en_UK
dc.publisher.department Security Studies Institute Department of Management and SecurityT AND SECURITY en_UK

Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record

Search CERES


My Account