Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: An analysis of the rise, use, evolution and value of Anglo-American commando and special forces formations 1939-1945
Author: Hargreaves, Andrew Lennox
ISNI:       0000 0004 2692 5570
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Despite the seemingly never failing popularity of the subject in non-scholarly works of popular history, the academic study of specialist formations and irregular warfare has remained as broadly elusive and as specialist as the practitioners of special operations themselves. This thesis serves as a holistic study of the development, application and value of Anglo-American commando and special forces formations, 1943-1945. Placing the development and use of these units within the broader context of the Anglo-American `special relationship' reveals a close, almost symbiotic, bond between Britain and the United States. This relationship, characterised at all levels by a spirit of interdependency and cooperation, was instrumental in how many of these units were conceived and consequently evolved. Although of a mutually supportive nature, it is fair to suggest that the US profited more from a close alliance in these fields than did the British. By the time the US entered the war Britain had already developed a range of unconventional forces and had begun to amass significant experience in their application. The willingness of the British to share this experience and guide their ally's first forays into this field was of the utmost importance to American developments. British support would continue throughout the war to broadly outlast the more general decline of Britain's strategic contribution; it would take time before the US, having gradually forged many of their own unique approaches towards these units, were able to approach the British volume of irregular operations. Despite such clear allied commonality, an analysis of the Anglo-American attitudes towards the inception, organisation, expansion, use and disbandment of the varied commandos and special forces ultimately reveals notable points of divergence between the policies and perceptions of the two allies. This work serves to examine and evaluate how and why Britain and the US, respectively, went about conceiving both commandos and special forces and serves to chart the evolution of their use. Analysing the roles and employment of these formations, charting the evolution of their command and control, and investigating the notion of `correct' use, this study also serves to examine the impact of these formations on the course of the Second World War and, through an assessment of their merits and failings, presents a favourable overall conclusion as towards the value and cost-effective nature of these units
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available