Allan Mallinson

Eighty years on, the planning of Operation Neptune remains awesome

13 April 2024 9:00 am

The seaborne invasion went so smoothly, it might have been thought plain-sailing. But that was far from the truth. Nick Hewitt describes the meticulous forethought that preceded it

Why was the British army so ill-prepared to fight the second world war?

13 January 2024 9:00 am

After 1918, the general staff ceased to focus on who they might have to fight next and how, leading to the abysmal performance of the army in Norway and France in 1940

An ancient stalemate may provide lessons today

22 July 2023 9:00 am

History is always relevant, says Adrian Goldsworthy – and Rome’s long war with Parthia-Persia, ending in deadlock, should make Putin wary

Did the sinking of the Blücher in 1940 affect the outcome of the war?

25 March 2023 9:00 am

The answer is, we shall never know – but one Norwegian colonel’s quick decision may have ensured Churchill’s premiership and the success of Dunkirk

A young soldier’s noble vision: creating the Western Front Way 

12 November 2022 9:00 am

This profound and emotion-laden book ends, as did the first world war, in hope, and no little catharsis. It begins,…

The pacifists of the 1930s deserve greater understanding

7 May 2022 9:00 am

As I’ve occasionally come to think is the case with The Spectator, this book is perhaps best begun at the…

What I really said to Gordon Brown: Field Marshal Lord Guthrie sets the record straight

11 December 2021 9:00 am

A headline in the Mail on Sunday, taken up eagerly by the BBC’s Todayprogramme, claimed recently: ‘The SAS is getting…

Can the fiasco of the Dieppe Raid really be excused?

6 November 2021 9:00 am

In my mother’s final days we had a long conversation about the second world war. I asked if she’d ever…

Why did Hitler’s imperial dreams take Stalin by surprise?

15 May 2021 9:00 am

The most extraordinary thing, still, about Operation Barbarossa is the complete surprise the Wehrmacht achieved. In the early hours of…

Old men remember: reliving the horror of Tobruk

16 January 2021 9:00 am

‘Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,/ But he’ll remember, with advantages,/ What feats he did that day.’ Peter…

Break-out and betrayal in Occupied Europe

10 October 2020 9:00 am

Für dich, Tommy, ist der Krieg vorbei. However, many British servicemen, officers especially, didn’t want their war to be over.…

The Far East Campaign of 1941-5 is the new focus of Daniel Todman’s comprehensive history

4 April 2020 9:00 am

To begin not at the beginning but at the end of the beginning. Or rather, to begin at another beginning,…

In praise of Thomas Graham, unsung hero of the Peninsular War

7 September 2019 9:00 am

Why does a man join the army? The answer was probably more obvious in the 18th century than now, but…

Rorke’s Drift: a desperate brawl at a mission station up there with the great battle honours of the British army

Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat: the triumph of Rorke’s Drift

19 January 2019 9:00 am

On 22 January last year, the entrance whiteboard at London Underground’s Dollis Hill carried a brief factual statement: On this…

The assassination attempt on Napoleon, in the Rue Saint-Nicaise, Christmas Eve 1800

The history of Britain’s secret war on Napoleon is astonishing, inspiring and disturbing

22 September 2018 9:00 am

Laws and sausages, we know, are better not seen in the making; and neither are ‘black ops’. Waterloo may have…

The Marquis de Lafayette was inspired to fight in the American Revolutionary War

Why do people risk their lives to fight for a foreign cause?

17 February 2018 9:00 am

What’s the point of a cover if not to judge a book by? One look at the image on the…

Field Marshal Lord Bramall on why we should use force for peace

16 December 2017 9:00 am

It is always a delight to drive the country roads of Hampshire to see the man known throughout the army…

General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck in 1917

The German Lion of Africa

12 August 2017 9:00 am

What’s going on with book reviews? Here is the Pulitizer prizewinning (for ‘criticism’) Michael Dirda in the Washington Post, on…

A fighting chance

5 August 2017 9:00 am

‘We remember it not only for the rain that fell, the mud that weighed down the living and swallowed the…

An 18th-century engraving of Praetorian guards by Jacques Grasset de Saint Sauveur and L.F. Labrousse

Who will guard the guards?

4 March 2017 9:00 am

The history of an army is essentially the history of its deeds. The history of an army within an army…

Day of infamy

4 February 2017 9:00 am

On 7 December 1941, without declaration of war, 350 Japanese carrier-borne aircraft struck at the US Pacific Fleet at anchor…

Soldiers of the Queen

12 November 2016 9:00 am

It’s not immediately obvious, but the silhouette on the dust jacket — soldiers advancing in single file, on foot (‘boots…

Ce n’est pas la guerre

2 July 2016 9:00 am

On 1 July 1916, along a frontage of 18 miles, 100,000 British infantrymen — considerably more than the entire strength…

Pumped up and dangerous: going to war on drugs

21 May 2016 9:00 am

‘Of all civilisation’s occupational categories, that of soldier may be the most conducive to regular drug use.’ The problem with…

The Duke of Cumberland takes centre stage at Culloden

Culloden: the bloody end of the Jacobite dream

6 February 2016 9:00 am

What a wretched lot the Stuarts were, the later ones especially, the males at least. James II fled England without…