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Title: British infantry battalion commanders in the First World War
Author: Hodgkinson, Peter Eric
ISNI:       0000 0001 1036 3030
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2014
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The evolution of infantry battalion commanders in the First World War progressed from a pre-war system based mainly on promotion by seniority to one largely based on merit. It remained a weighted process, however, favouring the professional officer, particularly during the first two years, and biased against the Territorial. The quality of the pre-war officer appears higher than has been estimated. Average command lasted 8.5 months. Eleven per cent of COs were killed, ten per cent promoted, and 18 per cent invalided. The army practised quality control, removing 38 per cent from command, although reduction in removals as the war progressed indicates a refinement of quality. The army committed itself to professional development, teaching technical aspects of the CO role, as well as command and leadership. Citizens of 1914 with no previous military experience rose to command, this progress taking on average three years. Despite the social opening-up of the officer corps, these men tended to be from the professional class. By The Hundred Days, infantry battalion commanders were a mix of professional soldiers, pre-war auxiliaries and citizens - younger, fitter and richly experienced; many being quick thinkers, self-assured, and endowed with great personal courage and well-developed tactical ability.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: D501 World War I ; DA Great Britain