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Anatomy of a Campaign: The British Fiasco in Norway, 1940

John Kiszely

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Cambridge University Press
01 August 2019
History; British & Irish history; Military history; Second World War
The British campaign in Norway in 1940 was an ignominious and abject failure. It is perhaps best known as the fiasco which directly led to the fall of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and his replacement by Winston Churchill. But what were the reasons for failure? Why did the decision makers, including Churchill, make such poor decisions and exercise such bad judgement? What other factors played a part? John Kiszely draws on his own experience of working at all levels in the military to assess the campaign as a whole, its context and evolution from strategic failures, intelligence blunders and German air superiority to the performance of the troops and the serious errors of judgement by those responsible for the higher direction of the war. The result helps us to understand not only the outcome of the Norwegian campaign but also why more recent military campaigns have found success so elusive.
By:   John Kiszely
Imprint:   Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 228mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 18mm
Weight:   640g
ISBN:   9781316646427
ISBN 10:   1316646424
Series:   Cambridge Military Histories
Pages:   390
Publication Date:   01 August 2019
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
1. Introduction; 2. 'A legitimate shadow'; 3. Deciding to decide; 4. Warning signs; 5. 'The major project'; 6. 'Hare-brained'; 7. Taking stock; 8. WESERUEBUNG; 9. 'Something must be done'; 10. The jigsaw puzzle; 11. 'Something must be done'; 12. 'Boldness is required'; 13. 'An even greater prize'; 14. Maurice; 15. Sickle; 16. 'We must get out'; 17. The third dimension; 18. 'In the name of God, go!'; 19. 'A good dividend'; 20. 'No time to lose'; 21. The long retreat; 22. Finale; 23. Conclusions.

John Kiszely served in the British Army for forty years, rising to the rank of lieutenant general. His operational service included Northern Ireland, the Falkland Islands, Bosnia and Iraq. He served three tours of duty in the Ministry of Defence, latterly as Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff. On leaving the Army he spent three years as a visiting professor in war studies at King's College London, and from 2014 to 2017 was a visiting research fellow on the Changing Character of War Programme at Pembroke College, Oxford.

Reviews for Anatomy of a Campaign: The British Fiasco in Norway, 1940

'Kiszely's work is a model of how to analyse the political, strategic and operational dimensions of such a campaign. As such, it provides a great deal to ponder on the nature of war and decision-making. In an era when the UK seems to have abandoned the attempt to produce official history and analyses of past campaigns, Kiszely's work demonstrates the value of assessing the key failures and lessons of military campaigns.' Niall Barr, RUSI Journal 'For those who are really interested in the study of war and the interrelationship between strategy, operations, and tactics, General Kiszely has written an extraordinarily important book. If military leaders fail to take the study of their profession seriously, they will inevitably find themselves incapable of connecting means to ends. Nor will they be able to provide sensible advice to politicians who have no background in military affairs or who, as occurred in Iraq in 2003, are willfully ignorant. Moreover, perhaps most disastrously, generals who have not taken the trouble to study their potential opponents will not understand the other side of the hill and, on the basis of the most facile assumptions, will send their troops into combat unprepared to deal with a living, adapting opponent.' Williamson Murray, Joint Force Quarterly 'Kiszely's volume (already recipient of the Duke of Westminster Gold Medal for best military writing from the [Royal United Services Institute]) reflects its author. Methodical, precise and reflective of the planning and organisational training of a professional British Army officer and cites Clausewitz. ... Clearly written and expressed, this is one of the best narratives on the subject available.' The Society of Friends of the National Army Museum Book Review Supplement 'The book is written in an engaging style, and short biographical sketches bring to life the major participants. The maps are excellent and an appendix with a useful timeline helps orient the reader ... The book is recommended for readers interested in World War II and especially for students at professional military education institutions.' Corbin Williamson, H-War `Kiszely's work is a model of how to analyse the political, strategic and operational dimensions of such a campaign. As such, it provides a great deal to ponder on the nature of war and decision-making. In an era when the UK seems to have abandoned the attempt to produce official history and analyses of past campaigns, Kiszely's work demonstrates the value of assessing the key failures and lessons of military campaigns.' Niall Barr, RUSI Journal `For those who are really interested in the study of war and the interrelationship between strategy, operations, and tactics, General Kiszely has written an extraordinarily important book. If military leaders fail to take the study of their profession seriously, they will inevitably find themselves incapable of connecting means to ends. Nor will they be able to provide sensible advice to politicians who have no background in military affairs or who, as occurred in Iraq in 2003, are willfully ignorant. Moreover, perhaps most disastrously, generals who have not taken the trouble to study their potential opponents will not understand the other side of the hill and, on the basis of the most facile assumptions, will send their troops into combat unprepared to deal with a living, adapting opponent.' Williamson Murray, Joint Force Quarterly 'Kiszely's volume (already recipient of the Duke of Westminster Gold Medal for best military writing from the [Royal United Services Institute]) reflects its author. Methodical, precise and reflective of the planning and organisational training of a professional British Army officer and cites Clausewitz. ... Clearly written and expressed, this is one of the best narratives on the subject available.' The Society of Friends of the National Army Museum Book Review Supplement `The book is written in an engaging style, and short biographical sketches bring to life the major participants. The maps are excellent and an appendix with a useful timeline helps orient the reader ... The book is recommended for readers interested in World War II and especially for students at professional military education institutions.' Corbin Williamson, H-War


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