Why was/is the British army so capable?

RogerRanger

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I am interested in the fact that the British army has successfully defeated the French in the War of the Spanish succession, defeated Napoleon and comparatively fared well against the Germans in WW1 and WW2. Whereas the American army hasn't done as well against other nations armies. It seems to be a cultural thing.

Even now everybody always talks about how the British/Canadians/Australians/New Zealanders 'punch above our weight'. My own view is that the British were protected from being overrun by foreign armies, so they had a much more aggressive mentality and were led by the British aristocracy very well. You also have the mix of English/Norman/Celtic troops as well.
 

Tonyukuk

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I am interested in the fact that the British army has successfully defeated the French in the War of the Spanish succession, defeated Napoleon and comparatively fared well against the Germans in WW1 and WW2. Whereas the American army hasn't done as well against other nations armies. It seems to be a cultural thing.

Even now everybody always talks about how the British/Canadians/Australians/New Zealanders 'punch above our weight'. My own view is that the British were protected from being overrun by foreign armies, so they had a much more aggressive mentality and were led by the British aristocracy very well. You also have the mix of English/Norman/Celtic troops as well.
I'd say that the UK and Japan are like twins. Two island nations adjacent to mainland empires/nations which posed a threat. Hence why both became so aggressive and expansionist. Obviously the UK did a much better job than Japan, but the similarities are obvious. Today, both nations are extremely successful. Funny how geography has a big impact on culture.


The British have fought for survival, expansion and resources, whereas the Americans are fighting for god knows what. They are overstretched and have no clear goal.
 

Ryder

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I am interested in the fact that the British army has successfully defeated the French in the War of the Spanish succession, defeated Napoleon and comparatively fared well against the Germans in WW1 and WW2. Whereas the American army hasn't done as well against other nations armies. It seems to be a cultural thing.

Even now everybody always talks about how the British/Canadians/Australians/New Zealanders 'punch above our weight'. My own view is that the British were protected from being overrun by foreign armies, so they had a much more aggressive mentality and were led by the British aristocracy very well. You also have the mix of English/Norman/Celtic troops as well.

The Navy is their most potent weapon.

Thats why the Nazis and Napoleon lost because they had no answer to the Royal Navy.
 

Zafer

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I am interested in the fact that the British army has successfully defeated the French in the War of the Spanish succession, defeated Napoleon and comparatively fared well against the Germans in WW1 and WW2. Whereas the American army hasn't done as well against other nations armies. It seems to be a cultural thing.

Even now everybody always talks about how the British/Canadians/Australians/New Zealanders 'punch above our weight'. My own view is that the British were protected from being overrun by foreign armies, so they had a much more aggressive mentality and were led by the British aristocracy very well. You also have the mix of English/Norman/Celtic troops as well.

Money and minds supporting the Brits found it useful to make their bets on them.
 

Ryder

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Royal Navy also played a role in the Germans and the Ottomans getting defeated in ww1 due to their blockades.

People dont realise how important logistics and supply lines are. Once those are cut the war effort turns against you.

Napoleon lost in Egypt because the Royal Navy blockaded him and destroyed his ships. While on the horizon the Ottoman Army was on the offensive. Napoleon could no longer fight in his quest for a middle eastern empire.

Also Trafalgar confirmed British naval superiority.
 

RogerRanger

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I'd say that the UK and Japan are like twins. Two island nations adjacent to mainland empires/nations which posed a threat. Hence why both became so aggressive and expansionist. Obviously the UK did a much better job than Japan, but the similarities are obvious. Today, both nations are extremely successful. Funny how geography has a big impact on culture.


The British have fought for survival, expansion and resources, whereas the Americans are fighting for god knows what. They are overstretched and have no clear goal.
The Americans are fighting to maintain the global system they created, that's way Britain fought in WW1 as well.

I don't think Britain and Japan are like twins, as the British are a much more open/trade bases society, whereas Japan is much more internal and bigoted. I like Japan, so I am not having a go. But they would just invade places, rape every woman and then kill all the men, as bad as the British were we never did anything like that. The Asians are systematic, and the European strategic.

Japan did a good job on its own, it defeated Britain/Holland/France in Asia, as well as a lot of Northern China and Korea. The block on the Japanese was the Russia army, which they didn't have a hope of defeating and the reinforced American fleet because they couldn't threaten the US at all. There is an argument that Japan was actually a greater threat to Britain than German in WW2, one which I agree with. In fact the entire British naval rearmament before WW2, was aimed at countering Japan, not Germany. We were build 11 carriers, 11 new battleships, dozens of cruisers/destroyers/subs. However that was put on hold because of WW2. I agree we are both extremely successful.
 

RogerRanger

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The Navy is their most potent weapon.

Thats why the Nazis and Napoleon lost because they had no answer to the Royal Navy.
Yes, but when the British army did fight in Europe it would just as good as any European army, that's my point. The US army and Japanese army have been less capable than the European armies. Whereas the British army was better than most and as good as any other, just smaller.
 

RogerRanger

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Royal Navy also played a role in the Germans and the Ottomans getting defeated in ww1 due to their blockades.

People dont realise how important logistics and supply lines are. Once those are cut the war effort turns against you.

Napoleon lost in Egypt because the Royal Navy blockaded him and destroyed his ships. While on the horizon the Ottoman Army was on the offensive. Napoleon could no longer fight in his quest for a middle eastern empire.

Also Trafalgar confirmed British naval superiority.
It did, then the 'strategic genius' Churchill decided to put 200,000 British troops on a beach overlooked by high cliffs and leave them their. Nobody did more to defeat the British Empire, than Churchill. In both WW.

I love the Egypt campaign in Napoleon total war.
 

Ryder

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It did, then the 'strategic genius' Churchill decided to put 200,000 British troops on a beach overlooked by high cliffs and leave them their. Nobody did more to defeat the British Empire, than Churchill. In both WW.

I love the Egypt campaign in Napoleon total war.

Churchill was half American right??

I think his mother was American?

Oh wow his mother was American. I never knew this.

This could explain why he was so close to the USA. Usa also have a naval ship named after winston churchill.

Winston Churchill also had numerous failures. His failure in Gallipoli has largely given him a negative image in Australia.

His usually blamed for sending soldiers to their deaths in the cliffs of Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire.

It is usually said that Churchill wanted to continue the campaign even at a greater cost because if they knocked the Ottomans down they also believe they could end the war but at an enormous cost.

Cliffs of Gallipoli was a nightmare for any soldier. It was a constant war of atrition.
 

RogerRanger

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Churchill was half American right??

I think his mother was American?

Oh wow his mother was American. I never knew this.

This could explain why he was so close to the USA. Usa also have a naval ship named after winston churchill.

Winston Churchill also had numerous failures. His failure in Gallipoli has largely given him a negative image in Australia.

His usually blamed for sending soldiers to their deaths in the cliffs of Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire.

It is usually said that Churchill wanted to continue the campaign even at a greater cost because if they knocked the Ottomans down they also believe they could end the war but at an enormous cost.

Cliffs of Gallipoli was a nightmare for any soldier. It was a constant war of atrition.
There are a number of theories about Churchill. One is his American mother, his fathers treatment of him. I think its a mix of both. There is also the idea that he way paid by Jewish interesting from some bank in the US as well. My own view is that he was just part of the English aristocracy, high IQ and a leader of men. So he could see things other people couldn't, would go in on his own and the nobody could see what he was doing. He was also a terrible politician.

Two things to add to Gallipoli, is that he went to northern Ireland to calm down the Loyalists in 1912, just made the situation worse. Then in WW2 he gave the Americans our Atlantic bases for 50 destroyers. So basically we lost Ireland and the North Atlantic because of him. He was a great wartime leader and great at speeches. However like Thatcher when you actually look at what he did, it was mostly bad. Whereas someone like chamberlain was mostly positive, he was the one who started British rearmament and made economic reforms.
 

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A lot had to do with the fact that they were inherently more secular and forward thinking than the other Armies of that time. Of course there was racism but the British Armed Forces were largely a meritocracy. Unlike say the American troops who AFAIK didn't allow African American troops and even during WW-2 African American troops couldn't get blood transfusion from a white soldier and vice versa.

You have an Empire and you pick the best soldiers. That's what they did. Also I think they kept religion out of it.
 

Ryder

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There are a number of theories about Churchill. One is his American mother, his fathers treatment of him. I think its a mix of both. There is also the idea that he way paid by Jewish interesting from some bank in the US as well. My own view is that he was just part of the English aristocracy, high IQ and a leader of men. So he could see things other people couldn't, would go in on his own and the nobody could see what he was doing. He was also a terrible politician.

Two things to add to Gallipoli, is that he went to northern Ireland to calm down the Loyalists in 1912, just made the situation worse. Then in WW2 he gave the Americans our Atlantic bases for 50 destroyers. So basically we lost Ireland and the North Atlantic because of him. He was a great wartime leader and great at speeches. However like Thatcher when you actually look at what he did, it was mostly bad. Whereas someone like chamberlain was mostly positive, he was the one who started British rearmament and made economic reforms.

Didnt chamberlain have a policy of appeasement?

Policy of him appeasing largely destroyed his image eventhough he wanted to avoid war and maintain the balance of power.
 

RogerRanger

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Didnt chamberlain have a policy of appeasement?

Policy of him appeasing largely destroyed his image eventhough he wanted to avoid war and maintain the balance of power.
At that point Chamberlain knew Britain was in the process of rearmament, so he knew we couldn't win a war against Germany. He was delaying it as much as possible to give us time to rearm. The mistake Chamberlain made was not allying with Russia against Germany. He rather made the mistake of allying with Poland and France. Which led to a Russian/German alliance.

So the thing people bang on about Chamberlain doing was perfectly sensible. I like Chamberlain, through he was a terrible wartime leader. He was a good peacetime leader. I also Like Churchill too for different reasons. I don't like Thatcher at all, I don't like Major, I don't like Blair, I don't like Cameron or May. I like Brown and Johnson.
 

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At that point Chamberlain knew Britain was in the process of rearmament, so he knew we couldn't win a war against Germany. He was delaying it as much as possible to give us time to rearm. The mistake Chamberlain made was not allying with Russia against Germany. He rather made the mistake of allying with Poland and France. Which led to a Russian/German alliance.

So the thing people bang on about Chamberlain doing was perfectly sensible. I like Chamberlain, through he was a terrible wartime leader. He was a good peacetime leader. I also Like Churchill too for different reasons. I don't like Thatcher at all, I don't like Major, I don't like Blair, I don't like Cameron or May. I like Brown and Johnson.

Poland is the worst ally to have lmaooo
 

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They certainly were at that point. Getting double teamed from the Germans and Russians.

People forget that Poland also chipped away territory from its neighbours also how they participated in the partition of the Czechs.

No doubt Poland suffered under the Nazis and the Soviets but I hate the victimhood mentality when they also caused the Nazis to be emboldened when Poland was doing its own bs of taking land they were even willing to work with the Germans as long as they get what they want.

History has taught me one thing. Everybody is out there for their piece.
 

mulj

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Until 20th century beside already mentioned reasons like cultural/tribe background they were capable due advanced weaponised technology like long bow, rifles, guns as any other imperial force in history. for example british rifles were superior to french ones during napoleon/welington era wars.
in last century they had mixed performances due more countries caught with technology advances so we have example how japanese imperial army completely outclassed british one in asia.
 

RogerRanger

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Until 20th century beside already mentioned reasons like cultural/tribe background they were capable due advanced weaponised technology like long bow, rifles, guns as any other imperial force in history. for example british rifles were superior to french ones during napoleon/welington era wars.
in last century they had mixed performances due more countries caught with technology advances so we have example how japanese imperial army completely outclassed british one in asia.
Not really, the most of the British army was in Europe. And once the British got a hang of Jungle warfare they defeated the Japanese, with Bill Slim. What Asia shows me is that the British are very good at adapting. By the end of the war the British/Australia/New Zealanders were as good as anyone in jungle warfare, which continued in Malaya and Indo-China. Basically the British weren't prepared at all to fight the Japanese. The Japanese army was never very good at armoured warfare either. So outside of that environment they were basically useless. The British had to fight in Europe, North Africa, Jungles of Asia. Nobody in the war was fighting in so diverse area's and able to adapt. The Americans/French for example have never had success in Asia the way the British did.

The problem was the British navy got defeated by the Japanese. In WW1 the British took basically the entire German Empire. WW2 the British held their own against the Germans. Again what gets me is how the British learn and adapt. Its also the British generals and officer class being very good as well, thinking outside of the box.
 

mulj

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Not really, the most of the British army was in Europe. And once the British got a hang of Jungle warfare they defeated the Japanese, with Bill Slim. What Asia shows me is that the British are very good at adapting. By the end of the war the British/Australia/New Zealanders were as good as anyone in jungle warfare, which continued in Malaya and Indo-China. Basically the British weren't prepared at all to fight the Japanese. The Japanese army was never very good at armoured warfare either. So outside of that environment they were basically useless. The British had to fight in Europe, North Africa, Jungles of Asia. Nobody in the war was fighting in so diverse area's and able to adapt. The Americans/French for example have never had success in Asia the way the British did.

The problem was the British navy got defeated by the Japanese. In WW1 the British took basically the entire German Empire. WW2 the British held their own against the Germans. Again what gets me is how the British learn and adapt. Its also the British generals and officer class being very good as well, thinking outside of the box.
Mate, Japanese outclassed you and throw you out of southeast Asia into Burma and they contained you there until the end of the war, you were not factor there before USA came with full power. You know that Singapure was built to never fell but it did like house of cards.
You can not blame Japanese for your lack of anticipation and readiness when we talk about outcome.
 

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