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Lessons of the Boer War

This is a discussion on Lessons of the Boer War within the Military History forums, part of the Armed Services category; Attached video explains the invaluable lessons the British Army learned during the Boer War with the Afrikaaners that served them so well against the Germans ...


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Old January 2nd, 2017, 02:27 PM   #1
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Lessons of the Boer War

Attached video explains the invaluable lessons the British Army learned during the Boer War with the Afrikaaners that served them so well against the Germans in WWI:


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Old January 2nd, 2017, 03:56 PM   #2
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Best trained? Most probably.

Best equipped? Very likely.

Best organized? Probably not, decidedly not at the strategic level. It was head and shoulders above the level it was in 1899, but it was a far cry from the organizations of the two major powers on continent, Germany and France.

The Imperial German General Staff, along with the unit staff organization, was probably the most efficient staff organization in existence, then or now, with the French General Staff a close second. The French General staff was an almost carbon copy of the German staff organization, having been taught the value of such an organization in 1870. The Americans, who did not have a General Staff, as such, studied both the British and French staff organizations, and chose the French as the better of the two. That is what we copied to create our General Staff.

That's why we have G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-4, and the associated lower unit staff S-1, S-2, S-3 and S-4, as opposed to the British G-Branch (similar to the G-3 or S-3), A-branch (S-1) and Q-Branch (S-4). It is interesting to note the British organization does not have a dedicated Intelligence section (G or S-2), its roles and responsibilities being rolled into G-Branch.

The other major thing about the German General Staff that was different from both the French and British staff organizations was innovative thinking and initiative were fostered at the institutional level. The French and British gave lip service to this type of behavior but as often as not did not promote it. This is why the Germans came up with infiltration tactics first, and men like Hans Guderian got traction with the idea of mobile warfare, while in Britain, the real innovators of mobile warfare, J. F. C. Fuller, Giffard Martel and B.H. Liddell Hart,, met deaf ears. (Almost all of Guderian's work is heavily based on the earlier work from the the three note British theorists.)

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