Module Identifier IP35320  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Professor Martin S Alexander  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Course delivery Lecture   16 Hours. (16 x 1 hour)  
  Seminars / Tutorials   8 Hours. (5 x 90 mins)  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours  60%
Semester Assessment Essay: 1 x 2,500 word coursework  40%
Supplementary Exam Students may, subject to Faculty approval, have the opportunity to resit this module, normally during the supplementary examination period. For further clarification please contact the Teaching Programme Administrator in the Department of International Politics. 

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)



1 Legacies of Napoleon
(Areas of Study: Napoleon's system of operational manoeuvres; how his opponents had eventually adapted to cope with him; guerrillas and `people's war' in the Napoleonic era; conscripts vs. professionals; the theories of Clausewitz)

2 The Concert of Europe and Limited War: the Crimea
(Areas of Study: the `Concert of Europe' and the practice of Limited War; the `Balance of Power' and how to uphold it; were the British generals in the Crimea `Butchers and Bunglers'?; disease and the health of armies; impacts of new technologies; replay of Napoleonic war or foretaste of `modern' war ?)

3 The Wars of German Unification 1864-71
(Areas of Study: the evolution of battle tactics as a result of new weapons; the Elder Moltke and the rise of the Prussian Great General Staff; German operational methods and the `kesselschlacht'; sources of Austrian and French weakness,1866/1870; `Volkskrieg'/People's War in 1871)

4 The American Civil War 1861-65
(Areas of Study: amateurs at war and the problem of improvising mass citizen armies; the impact of railways; the effects of terrain; reasons for the move to a `raiding' strategy; Confederate superior generalship versus Northern industrial muscle; attritional war: the strategies of U.S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman)

5-6 European Interventions in Africa & Colonial `Small Wars'
Lecture and video screening
(Areas of Study: Logistics problems in colonial campaigning; distance, disease and communications; limitations inherent in the Victorian concept of pacification, colonisation and `indirect rule'; weapons and tactics; the circumstances in which non-Europeans could win - case study: The Zulu War 1878-79)

7-8 Developments in Naval Warfare, 1815-1918
(Areas of Study: wooden walls to steel dreadnoughts: a revolution in shipbuilding; the rise of naval theorists - Mahan and Corbett; the `Jeune ecole' in France and the debate on composition of fleets for winning and exercising sea-control; the rise and impact of torpedoes and submarines; armour versus big guns: naval arms races; naval bases, dockyards and coaling stations: navies and empires; Jutland - `missed opportunity'; trade defence in time of war: the U-Boat campaigns of 1915 and 1917 and the rediscovery of the convoy)

9 The Revolution in Armament, 1879-1914
(Areas of Study: role of the 2nd Industrial revolution and its impact on armaments development; specific developments in arms technology; impact of technology on logistics, communication and administration; implications for strategy and tactics; military reforms and the creation of professional general staffs)

10 Opening Moves in the Great War, August 1914
(Areas of Study: Anglo-French planning and strategy; expectations and realities of war in 1914; impact of technological and industrial development on warfare; `War by Timetable'; the problem of ammunition expenditure and re-supply; the `Race for the Sea' and end of mobility)

11-12 Trenchlock on the Western Front, 1915-16
Lecture and video screening
(Areas of Study: The phenomenon of `Trenchlock'; the development of mass civilian armies; the `Shell Shortage' crisis; the rise of artillery; the persistence of `breakthrough' strategic thinking and the realities of attrition; trench and artillery weapons development; assessing the Somme)

13 France's War: `Aux armes, citoyens'
(Areas of study: the spirit of the offensive and the weakness of French artillery; Joffre's Plan XVII and the miscalculations of 1914; bearing the brunt: 1915; Verdun, 1916: `They Shall Not Pass!'; the failure of the Nivelle offensive and the French mutinies, 1917; new commanders, new techniques: Petain, Estienne, Debeney, tanks and the Air Division: the restoration of French military effectiveness in 1918)

14 Entente's Exhaustion, 1917
(Areas of Study: From Arras to Ypres; the power of defence; the development of modern deep battle and the operational `set-piece' attack; changes in tactics and the creation of the platoon system; logistics and the `industralisation' of war; the soldiers' experience of war; assessing Cambrai)

15-16 The Kaiser's Collapse, 1918
Lecture and video-screening
(Areas of Study; The Entente in defence and the problem of manpower; the German spring offensives; development in Entente command, control, co-operation and strategy; `The Yanks are coming'; The Entente bites back: July-August 1918; the development of the `symphony' of all-arms co-operation; the restoration of mobility? - Sept.-Nov. 1918; Reflections on WW1   


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 Lists

** Recommended Text
David Gates (2001) Warfare in the Nineteenth Century Palgrave
Reid, Brian Holden. The Civil War and the wars of the nineteenth century /Brian Holden Reid. 0304363642
Trevor Royle (1999) Crimea: The Great Crimean War, 1854-56 Little, Brown & Co


This module is at CQFW Level 6