Major General Orde Charles Wingate (1903-1944) is one of the most controversial British military commanders of the last hundred years. This controversy stems from two broad sources: the first of these was his idiosyncratic and occasionally tempestuous personality; the second is the alleged ‘radicalism’ of his military ideas, both of which contributed to a series of feuds and acrimonies with other senior officers in the British Army. Wingate first came to the notice of his seniors when he organised the Special Night Squads, a specialist counterterrorist force comprising British soldiers and Jewish police, in Palestine in 1938; in 1940-41, he planned and commanded covert operations, in cooperation with local guerrillas, inside Italian-occupied Ethiopia; he is best remembered in the UK, however, for his command of Long Range Penetration Groups, or ‘Chindits’, in Burma in 1943-44. The Chindit operations in particular split opinion in the literature, debates in which centre upon their cost-effectiveness and their actual worth, and many imply that they marked a major departure from British military thought and practice hitherto. Some post-war authors have attempted to present Wingate as ‘ahead of his time’, a forerunner of various late twentieth and twenty-first century models of warfare. However, a survey of Wingate’s own papers – closed to the public until 1995 – and other contemporary documents and testimony, reveals an organically evolving and increasingly coherent body of military ideas consistent with the military thought and practice of the British Army in the theatres where Wingate served, that did not mark a radical departure from them until almost the end of his career. Wingate was firmly ‘of his time’, and not of any other.
|Date of Award||13 Jul 2007|
|Supervisor||Martin Alexander (Supervisor) & Colin McInnes (Supervisor)|
Orde Wingate and the British Army, 1922-1944: Military Thought and Practice Compared and Contrasted
Anglim, S. J. (Author). 13 Jul 2007
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis › Doctor of Philosophy