ONLINE: 'Haig and the Principles of War' by Phil Watson, MA
09 Jan
Caption: Field Marshal Douglas Haig with King George V, General Henry Rawlinson, Marshal Ferdinand Foch, Marshal Philippe Pétain photgraphed on 12th August 1918, during the Hundred Days Offensive. Courtesy: IWM Q9251.

About this talk: Phil looks at the Principles of War and asks whether they can be applied to the Great War. The answer is 'yes' because they are almost the same today as they were in 1914. Phil examines how the BEF applied these principles, through the prism of Douglas Haig, in both his Corps and Army commander roles. Phil will connect what Haig learned at staff college, and wrote about in his essays, books, and letters. There is no doubt that Haig was completely conversant with the principles of war and sought to apply them (at least before his appointment as C-in-C). Phil also examines Haig's preferred command philosophy, based on decentralising wherever possible the decision-making process. More than just an entertaining lecture, the talk aims to equip the audience with analytical tools which can be used to assess other commanders and other actions.

Caption: Major (Ret'd) Phil Watson, MA - see below for details of his latest book 'Their Greatest Hour'.

About the speaker: Retired Lancer major, Phil Watson returns to NW Kent after giving our two best-ever attended talks, 'Lance -v- Lance 1914 - The Last Lance Actions of the Great War' (Feb 2022) and 'The Myths of Audregnies' (Jan 2023). Phil joined the 9/12 Lancers in 1976 and was commissioned from the ranks in 1988. After various staff appointments, he returned to regimental duties to command Headquarters Squadron. He left the 9/12L in 2012 after 35 years-service and was appointed Assistant Regimental Secretary, a mainly welfare role. He is an adult volunteer with Lincolnshire ACF, after completing three years as the commandant for Leicestershire, Northampton, and Rutland. He is also Chair of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, for Leicester and Rutland. Currently he is completing his master’s at Wolverhampton University under Prof Gary Sheffield and Dr Spencer Jones. His main research interest is the regiment's last two mounted lance actions (during the Retreat from Mons). They are examined in his books, The Last Charges, published by the regimental trustees in 2016, and Audregnies: The Flank Guard Action and the First Cavalry Charge of the Great War, published by Helion in 2019.

This online talk: opens at 19:20 for a 19:30 start, ending at about 20:30. Participating is quick and easy. The only equipment you need is a computer, or a tablet, or a smart phone. Simply email for your link and the passcode. We'll also automatically add you to the mailing list to keep you updated with future events.

Click on this link to Phil's eBay page to get his latest book. The foreword is by Queen Camilla, whose Lancer father features in the story.


 Caption: Sun Tzu (544-496 BC) was a Chinese general, strategist, philosopher and writer. As the author of 'The Art of War'. from which the quote comes, he developed early principles of war.


09 Jan 2024 19:20