The last couple of weeks have seen me working furiously on a couple of projects that will now come, hopefully, to fruition.
Well it had to happen eventually. I have just signed the contract for my first book. It is an edited collection based on a symposium that I co-organised at the Centre for War Studies, University of Birmingham. I am editing it with two friends and colleagues, Stuart Mitchell and Dr Michael LoCicero, who also helped organise the symposium. The book is entitled A Military Transformed? Transformation and Innovation in the British Military, 1792 to 1945. It should be out in 2013 and is being published by Helion and Company. You find more details about it on the Birmingham War Studies blog where we will be blogging our experience of editing the book.
In addition to editing the book, I am also contributing a chapter. This is based on my MPhil thesis and is on the development of command and control and aerial bombardment for Combined Operations. It is entitled, ‘Operation JUBILEE and the Transformation of Air Support for Combined Operations: The Case of Command and Control and Aerial Bombardment’. Here is the abstract:
Operation JUBILEE, the raid on Dieppe on 19 August 1942, has remained an area of intensive and divisive debate amongst historians. Debate remains over questions relating to the reasons for the operation, authorisation for the raid, and the argument over lessons learnt. One area of the operations that has received scant attention from historians is the question about the performance of the RAF during the operation. What attention has been paid to the role of air power has concentrated on the issue of the lack of air bombardment in support of the raid. Brain Loring Villa has remarked that ‘There was a degree of callousness in Portal’s allowing a largely Canadian force to go in without the bomber support they needed.’ However, this concentration on the issue of bombardment ignores the state of Combined Operations doctrine in the early years of the Second World War, which stressed the importance of ‘Control of the Air’.
However, Operation JUBILEE has been criticised for Mountbatten’s claim over the ‘Lessons Learnt’ from the raid on the impact this had on Operation OVERLORD. Therefore, this essay examines the ‘Lessons Learnt’ thesis with reference to the transformation of air support for Combined Operations. It will contend that JUBILEE formed an important catalyst to changing thoughts over the use of air power in Combined Operations. It will do this by examining the development of Command and Control systems and the use of aerial bombardment. It will illustrate that Dieppe formed an important element of the experience being gained in 1942/43. This essay argues that while there may not be a direct link to Operation OVERLORD in 1944 operations at Dieppe had an impact during 1943 and needs to be considered as one line of development in parallel with those from other theatres of war.
The other project has been a journal article that I am planning to submit to War in History. Again the article is based on research for my MPhil but also incorporates some information I have found for my PhD. The article is entitled, ‘To Control the Air? The Royal Air Force and Combined Operations Doctrine in the Inter-War Period’. I would be interested to hear people thoughts on the process of publishing in an academic journal. Here is the abstract:
John Terraine wrote of the RAF that, ‘It may be said, without straining verity, that bombing was what the RAF was all about…It is chiefly for that reason…that cooperating with the army and navy went right out of fashion between the wars.’ This article seeks to challenge that claim by demonstrating that in the field of Combined Operations the RAF was both aware and involved in the development of a coherent doctrine that took account of the impact that air power was having on the conduct of war. Indeed, it was the very question of whether or not Combined Operations could succeed in the face of air power that most vexed the services in the inter-war years. It will show that the RAF’s belief in ‘Control of the Air’ was the right view and subsequently proven by those Combined Operations conducted during the Second World War.
 John Terraine ‘Theory and Practice of Air War: The Royal Air Force’ in Horst Boog (Ed.) The Conduct of the Air War in the Second World War: An International Comparison (Oxford: Berg, 1992) p. 470