Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Warfare After Waterloo: Military History 1815 - 1918
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 13 Hours. (13 x 1 hour)
Seminars / Tutorials 9 Hours. (5 x 1hr 50 mins)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  60%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  40%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  60%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

- critically assess the legacies of Napoleonic warfare for a range of European countries and their armed services
- discuss the challenges encountered by European forces in operating in non-European contexts in the age of imperialism
- describe and analyze the key factors, agents historical trends and structural dynamics that influenced the changing shape, doctrines and fighting styles of various European and non-European armed forces in the period examined
- evaluate critically the roles of naval and land forces and their structure and recruitment in relation to differing national politico-strategic cultures and ways of war.

Brief description

This module allows students to examine the legacies of the Napoleonic Wars for the structures, recruitment and strategic thought of European armed forces, and to identify and illustrate trends in these areas and in technological changes impacting on armed forces, in and outside Europe, down to and during World War One (1914-18)


This module will take stock of the effects of the Napoleonic Wars on the organization of armed forces and the conduct of war; then discuss the impact of major 19th century technological changes including the coming of the electric telegraph, railways, steamships, and repeating, breech-loading rifles, machine-guns and artillery; examine the conduct of war in Europe and the United States in the 1850s-1870s; the experience of European armies in colonial 'small wars'; the evolution of general staffs and national conscription after 1871; concluding by examining strategy, doctrine, logistics and the use of new technologies in the Boer and Russo-Japanese wars and the First World War.

1 Legacies of Napoleon
2 The Concert of Europe and Limited War: the Crimea
3 The Wars of German Unification 1864-71
4 The American Civil War 1861-65
5 European Interventions in Africa & Colonial 'Small Wars'
6 and 7 Developments in Naval Warfare, 1815-1918
8 The Revolution in Armament, 1879-1914
9 Opening Moves in the Great War, August 1914
10 Trenchlock on the Western Front, 1915-16
11 France's War: 'Aux armes, citoyens...'
12 The Entente's Exhaustion, 1917
13 The Kaiser's Collapse, 1918

Seminars (1hr 50mins)

SEMINAR ONE (Legacies of Napoleonic warfare)
a) Command, operational systems, tactics
b) Strateic Thought : Clausewitz (I): war as politics; 'Absolute War vs. Real War'; the 'Paradoxical Trinity'
c) Strategic thought : Clausewitz (II): Friction; Attack vs. Defence; the People in Arms
d) Logistics and Intelligence: the Cinderellas of military organisations... and of military history?

SEMINAR TWO (Mid-19th C. Warfare)
a) Organising for War: general staffs, conscription and fortifications
b) The industrialisation of war: telegraphs, steamships, railways, rifles
c) The Crimea (1854-56) and Wars of German Unification
d) The American Civil War, 1861-65

SEMINAR THREE (Between sport and slaughter: armies and navies in 'Britannia's heyday', 1871-1914)
a) European Armies and the 'Native Encounter' (Case Study: The Zulu War, 1878-79)
b) The Leverage of Sea Power and the emergence of maritime strategic thought (Mahan & Corbett)
c) Things to Come? The Boer War (1899-1902) and Russo-Japanese War (1904-5)
d) Clash of Arms: The Battle of the Frontiers, Aug-Sept. 1914

SEMINAR FOUR (Towards Total War: The Western Front, 1914-18)
a) 'Trenchlock' and modern siege warfare: the supply/transport conundrum
b) Elan vital vs. Stormtroops? French & German approaches to winning on the Western Front
c) 'Who's in charge here?' Command, control and communications before portable radios and mobile phones
d) Battle tactics and the ascent of the 'learning curve': Arras, Messines and Ypres, April-November 1917

SEMINAR FIVE (Towards Total War: "Sideshows" and Sea Warfare)
a) 'Forgotten' Allied victory: the Western Front, July-Nov. 1918
b) The attractions of the Indirect Approach: Was Gallipoli a good idea badly executed, or a poor idea in the first place?
c) Why did the British public and R.N. officers feel so disappointed by the outcome of the Battle of Jutland (1916)?
d) How serious a threat to Britain was the 1917 German U-Boat offensive, and why?


The aim of this module is to provide students with the opportunity to study military developments, and historiographical debates about them, relating to warfare, the recruitment and organization of armed forces, the development of strategy and the impact of technological changes on armed forces and the conduct of operations, from the Napoleonic Wars' end (1815) to the close of World War One (1918).

Transferable skills

Students will be required to work independently on their preparation for seminars and the assessed elements of the module and make critical use of web-sites in their research and data-collection
Students will be required use IT in the module to word-process their essays and pre-circulate by e-mail attachment their bullet-point presentations for seminars
Students will be encouraged to use numerical data where appropriate in support of their oral and written arguments
Students will be expected to contribute to seminar discussions and to facilitate this, the Module Convenor assigns three or four students in each seminar group to prepare in advance, and distribute electronically, one-page bullet-point summaries of aspects of the seminar topic and to introduce the sub-topic by a short non-assessed presentation. A paired-off student (also pre-designated), for each presentation, is then called on as Respondent, before general discussion is opened for all seminar group members
Throughout the module students will need to manage their time effectively.

10 ECTS credits

Reading List

Recommended Text
David Gates (2001) Warfare in the Nineteenth Century Palgrave Primo search Reid, Brian Holden. The Civil War and the wars of the nineteenth century /Brian Holden Reid. Primo search Trevor Royle (1999) Crimea: The Great Crimean War, 1854-56 Little, Brown & Co Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6