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Title: The management of change : mechanizing the British Regular and Household Cavalry Regiments 1918-1942
Author: Salmon, Roger Edward
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2013
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The mechanization of British Cavalry regiments took place between the two World Wars and on into 1942. This thesis describes the process by which horsed cavalrymen were re-trained in armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) and the experiences of some of the regiments managing this change. Extensive use has been made of the oral testimonies of many of the soldiers involved, a number of whom are still living, as well as regimental and War Office archives. The reason given for the delay in cavalry mechanization, cited in some military histories, much influenced by Sir Basil Liddell Hart, was resistance from the cavalry to parting from their horses. This thesis refutes this assertion regarding the cavalry as a whole, but details the exceptions of two regiments that lobbied on their own behalf. The principal reason for the protracted process of mechanization, argued in the thesis, was the lack of suitable and sufficient AFVs. Examination of the Vickers papers have revealed that tank production was taking place during the mid-1930s, but for overseas clients. These tanks could, speculatively, have been procured for British units. Why this did not happen is examined, and the following factors considered: the influence of an Army Council member regarding the future usefulness of tanks, the pressure of public opinion, in which the Britain by Mass Observation archives have been illuminating, and the economic priorities of inter-war British Governments. Following the abandonment of the ‘10 Year Rule’ in 1932, a defence policy was formulated that gave the army the lowest priority for rearmament of the three services and this also impacted on cavalry mechanization.
Supervisor: Badsey, Stephen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available