This biography of a living person relies too much on references to primary sources . (December 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Gary D. Sheffield (born 21 June 1961) is an English academic and military historian.He has published widely, specializing on the conduct of British Army operations in World War I, and frequently contributes to print and broadcast media on the subject.
The English people are a nation and an ethnic group native to England who speak the English language. The English identity is of early medieval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Angelcynn. Their ethnonym is derived from the Angles, one of the Germanic peoples who migrated to Great Britain around the 5th century AD. England is one of the countries of the United Kingdom, and the majority of people living there are British citizens.
Military history is a humanities discipline within the scope of general historical recording of armed conflict in the history of humanity, and its impact on the societies, cultures and economies thereof, as well as the resulting changes to local and international relationships.
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as, "the war to end all wars," it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the resulting 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
Sheffield was educated at Raynes Park High School in South-West London, before studying history at the University of Leeds (BA 1982, MA by research 1985) under Edward Spiers and Hugh Cecil.
Raynes Park High School is a co-educational comprehensive school which educates students aged 11 to 19. It is located in Raynes Park, England, coming under the London Borough of Merton
The University of Leeds is a public research university in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It was established in 1874 as the Yorkshire College of Science. In 1884 it merged with the Leeds School of Medicine and was renamed Yorkshire College. It became part of the federal Victoria University in 1887, joining Owens College and University College Liverpool. In 1903 a royal charter was granted to the University of Leeds by King Edward VII.
Following his MA, Sheffield became a lecturer in war studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1985, and studied at King's College, London under Brian Bond for a part-time PhD awarded in 1994.In 1999 he became a senior lecturer in the Defence Studies Department of King's College, London, and Land Warfare Historian on the Higher Command and Staff Course at the United Kingdom's Joint Services Command and Staff College.
War studies, sometimes called polemology, is the multi-disciplinary study of war. The word derives from Ancient Greek πόλεμος + -logy".
The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, commonly known simply as Sandhurst, is one of several military academies of the United Kingdom and is the British Army's initial officer training centre. It is located in the town of Sandhurst, Berkshire, though its ceremonial entrance is in Camberley, southwest of London. The Academy's stated aim is to be "the national centre of excellence for leadership". All British Army officers, including late-entry officers who were previously Warrant Officers, as well as other men and women from overseas, are trained at The Academy. Sandhurst is the British Army equivalent of the Britannia Royal Naval College and the Royal Air Force College Cranwell.
Brian James Bond is a British military historian and professor emeritus of military history at King's College London.
Sheffield is one of the leading proponents in his scholastic generation of the "Revisionist School" of thought with regard to the British Army High Command's conduct of military operations on the Western Front during World War 1.He posits that, far from the 20th Century's British post-war popular cultural image of the Generals who commanded the campaigns being inadequate to the task, and this inadequacy being the cause of an excessive scale of casualties to the troops under their orders, the British General Staff's direction of operations was fundamentally sound, and the high casualty numbers sustained by the British Army were unavoidable given the scale and nature of operations, and the circumstances that they were required to be conducted under.
The Western Front was the main theatre of war during the First World War. Following the outbreak of war in August 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne. Following the Race to the Sea, both sides dug in along a meandering line of fortified trenches, stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier with France, which changed little except during early 1917 and in 1918.
In 2001 he published a World War 1 revisionist book entitled Forgotten Victory: The First World War, Myths & Realities, drawing approval from the historian Niall Ferguson, who judged it to be "An iconoclastic tour-de-force",but condemnation from the British literary academic Frank McLynn, who, in a book review in The Independent , accused Sheffield with its text of being a 'single-minded Right-wing ideologist', who had 'tied himself in illogical knots' in an attempt to 'rescue (Douglas) Haig from the justifiable charge of being an incompetent butcher', and 'launder' his reputation in an 'eccentric and cocksure work', that was 'an insult to the memory of the soldiers who had died in droves under his command on the Western Front.'
Niall Campbell Ferguson is a Scottish historian and works as a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. Previously, he was a senior research fellow at Jesus College, Oxford, a visiting professor at the New College of the Humanities, and also taught at Harvard University and New York University.
Francis James McLynn FRHistS FRGS, known as Frank McLynn, is a British author, biographer, historian and journalist. He is noted for critically acclaimed biographies of Napoleon Bonaparte, Robert Louis Stevenson, Carl Jung, Richard Francis Burton and Henry Morton Stanley.
The Independent is a British online newspaper. Established in 1986 as a politically independent national morning newspaper published in London. It was controlled by Tony O'Reilly's Independent News & Media from 1997 until it was sold to Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev in 2010. The last printed edition of The Independent was published on Saturday 26 March 2016, leaving only its digital editions.
In 2005 Sheffield was appointed Professor of Modern History at King's College, London, and the following year was appointed the first professor of War Studies at the University of Birmingham.In 2013 he was appointed professor of War Studies at the University of Wolverhampton.
The University of Birmingham is a public research university located in Edgbaston, Birmingham, United Kingdom. It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Queen's College, Birmingham and Mason Science College, making it the first English civic or 'red brick' university to receive its own royal charter. It is a founding member of both the Russell Group of British research universities and the international network of research universities, Universitas 21.
The University of Wolverhampton is a public university located on four campuses across the West Midlands, Shropshire and Staffordshire in England. The roots of the university lie in the Wolverhampton Tradesmen's and Mechanics' Institute founded in 1827 and the 19th-century growth of the Wolverhampton Free Library (1870), which developed technical, scientific, commercial and general classes. This merged in 1969 with the Municipal School of Art, originally founded in 1851, to form the Wolverhampton Polytechnic.
In 2011 he published his second book on Field Marshal the Earl Douglas Haig, entitled The Chief: Douglas Haig and the British Army (Aurum Press, 2011). Reviewing the book in the The Daily Telegraph the historian Nigel H. Jones commented on its 'solid scholarship and admirable advocacy', yet added that (with reference to Sheffield's thesis that the extremely high casualty rate sustained by the British Army in pursuance of Haig's orders can be partly explained by his understandable lack of experience in such matters in the years 1914 to 1917): 'the nagging thought remains: what a terrible shame it was that Haig’s progress along his learning curve had to be greased by such deep floods of blood.'
Sheffield is a member of the Advisory Board of the Journal of the Royal United Services Institute, Visiting Professor at the Humanities Research Institute of the University of Buckingham, member of the academic Advisory Panel of the National Army Museum, and a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Trust.
Sheffield is President of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides.In 2009 Sheffield became a Vice President of The Western Front Association, and in 2019 he became its President. He is variously credited as Gary Sheffield, G. Sheffield and G. D. Sheffield.
The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British Empire and French Third Republic against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the upper reaches of the River Somme in France. The battle was intended to hasten a victory for the Allies and was the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front. More than three million men fought in the battle and one million men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history. Trench warfare gave the Germans an advantage because they dug their trenches deeper than the Allied forces which gave them a better line of sight for warfare. The Battle of the Somme also has the distinction of being the first battle fought with tanks. Tanks were still in the early stages of development and many broke down when used in September.
Field Marshal Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig, was a senior officer of the British Army. During the First World War, he commanded the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) on the Western Front from late 1915 until the end of the war. He was commander during the Battle of the Somme, the Battle of Arras, the Third Battle of Ypres, the German Spring Offensive, and the Hundred Days Offensive.
The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was the British Army sent to the Western Front during the First World War. Planning for a British Expeditionary Force began with the Haldane reforms of the British Army carried out by the Secretary of State for War Richard Haldane following the Second Boer War (1899–1902).
The Reserve Army was a field army of the British Army and part of the British Expeditionary Force during the First World War. On 1 April 1916, Lieutenant-General Sir Hubert Gough was moved from the command of I Corps and took over the Reserve Corps, which in June before the Battle of the Somme, was expanded and renamed Reserve Army. The army fought on the northern flank of the Fourth Army during the battle and became the Fifth Army on 30 October.
The Battle of Arras was a British offensive on the Western Front during World War I. From 9 April to 16 May 1917, British troops attacked German defences near the French city of Arras on the Western Front. The British achieved the longest advance since trench warfare had begun, surpassing the record set by the French Sixth Army on 1 July 1916. The British advance slowed in the next few days and the German defence recovered. The battle became a costly stalemate for both sides and by the end of the battle, the British Third and First Army had suffered about 160,000 and the German 6th Army about 125,000 casualties.
Sir John Edmond Gough, was a late 19th-early 20th Century British Army General, and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
"Lions led by donkeys" is a phrase popularly used to describe the British infantry of the First World War and to blame the generals who led them. The contention is that the brave soldiers (lions) were sent to their deaths by incompetent and indifferent leaders (donkeys). The phrase was the source of the title of one of the most scathing examinations of British First World War generals, The Donkeys—a study of Western Front offensives—by politician and writer of military histories Alan Clark. The book was representative of much of the First World War history produced in the 1960s and was not outside the mainstream—Basil Liddell Hart vetted Clark's drafts—and helped to form a popular view of the First World War in the decades that followed. However, the work's viewpoint of incompetent military leaders was never accepted by some mainstream historians, and both the book and its viewpoint have been subject to attempts at revisionism.
General Henry Sinclair Horne, 1st Baron Horne, was a military officer in the British Army, most notable for his generalship during the First World War. He was the only British artillery officer to command an army in the war.
The Battle of Le Cateau was fought on 26 August 1914, after the British and French retreated from the Battle of Mons and had set up defensive positions in a fighting withdrawal against the German advance at Le Cateau-Cambrésis. Although the Germans were victorious, the rearguard action was successful in that it allowed the majority of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) to escape to Saint-Quentin.
The Second Battle of the Somme of 1918 was fought during the First World War on the Western Front from late August to early September, in the basin of the River Somme. It was part of a series of successful counter-offensives in response to the German Spring Offensive, after a pause for redeployment and supply.
John Alfred Terraine was an English military historian, and a TV screenwriter. He is best known as the lead screenwriter for the landmark 1960s BBC-TV documentary The Great War, about the First World War, and for his defense of British General Douglas Haig – who commanded the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front from late 1915 until the end of the war – against charges that he was "The Butcher of the Somme".
General Sir Richard Cyril Byrne Haking was a British general who commanded XI Corps in the First World War.
The Battle of Neuve Chapelle took place in the First World War in the Artois region of France. The attack was intended to cause a rupture in the German lines, which would then be exploited with a rush to the Aubers Ridge and possibly Lille. A French assault at Vimy Ridge on the Artois plateau was also planned to threaten the road, rail and canal junctions at La Bassée from the south, as the British attacked from the north. The British attackers broke through German defences in a salient at the village Neuve-Chapelle but the success could not be exploited.
General Sir Walter Pipon Braithwaite, was a British Army officer who held senior commands during the First World War. After being dismissed from his position as Chief of Staff for the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, he received some acclaim as a competent divisional commander on the Western Front. After the war, he was commissioned to produce a report analysing the performance of British staff officers during the conflict.
Brigadier General John Charteris (1877–1946) was a British Army officer. During World War 1 he was the Chief of Intelligence at the British Expeditionary Force General Head Quarters from 1915 to 1918. In later life he was a Unionist Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Dumfriesshire.
The Fifth Battle of Ypres, also called the Advance of Flanders and the Battle of the Peaks of Flanders is an informal name used to identify a series of battles in northern France and southern Belgium from late September to October 1918.
The British Army during World War I fought the largest and most costly war in its long history. Unlike the French and German Armies, the British Army was made up exclusively of volunteers—as opposed to conscripts—at the beginning of the conflict. Furthermore, the British Army was considerably smaller than its French and German counterparts.
The Society for Army Historical Research (SAHR) is a learned society, founded in 1921 to foster "interest in the history and traditions of British and Commonwealth armies, and to encourage research in these fields." It is one of the oldest societies of its kind. Past members include notable British Field Marshals Wavell, Auchinleck and Templer. The current president is Lieutenant-General Sir Barney White-Spunner and Major-General Ashley Truluck is Chairman of its Council. The Patron of the Society is Field Marshal the Duke of Kent.