Call for Papers:‘Allied fighting effectiveness in North Africa and Italy, 1942-1945’
Issues of Allied strategy aside, academic attention to the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations during the Second World War has not been commensurate with the scale and significance of the military operations conducted therein. Compared with other major campaigns of the conflict, most notably that of France and Northwest Europe during 1944-5, there has been a lesser focus in recent years on the issue of Allied fighting effectiveness at the operational and tactical levels of war in the North African, Sicilian and Italian campaigns.
Yet the breadth of operational and tactical experiences encountered in these campaigns was perhaps uniquely broad; each campaign full of contrasts. For example, battles in Italy could be characterised by a degree of attrition more common to 1916 than the Second World War; they could be static and bloody affairs which involved protracted efforts to break strongly-held defensive positions. Over the course of the campaign in Italy alone the British Army sustained more casualties than in any other theatre during the war. On the other hand, these campaigns witnessed bold amphibious strokes, accompanied by the innovative application of force in complex joint and combined operations. New approaches were evolved and refined at the operational and tactical levels of warfare; it was in these campaigns that the Allies learnt much of their trade before the invasion of Northwest Europe in mid-1944.
Encompassing the major campaigns of North Africa, Sicily and Italy from operation ‘Torch’ to the end of the war in Europe, this conference seeks to explore the intriguing dichotomy of the nature of battle in the Mediterranean theatre, whilst helping to emphasise its significance to the study of Second Word War military history.
Researchers working on any aspect of the Mediterranean campaign during the Second World War are welcomed to submit proposals for the conference. Papers will be grouped into panels of three and should each last 15-20 minutes in order to facilitate a roundtable discussion. The following subjects may be of particular interest:
• Tactical effectiveness: doctrine, training and experience; combined arms tactics; urban and mountain warfare; technology; morale and combat psychology.
• Operational art; command, control and communications; logistics.
• The war in the air: the counter-air battle, the employment of tactical airpower; the effectiveness of air-to-ground operations.
• Naval operations, specifically the development and evolution of amphibious technique.
• Intelligence, propaganda, partisans and irregular warfare.
• Inter-Allied cooperation and aspects of coalition warfare.
Applicants should please send a brief (500 word) abstract of their proposed paper, that provides the title and outline of research context, and a curriculum vitae to firstname.lastname@example.org by 25 April 2008.
This conference is conducted in partnership between the History of Warfare Group, Department of War Studies, King’s College London and the Imperial War Museum. It will take place on 18 July at King's College London and on 19th July at the Imperial War Museum.
Conference organisers: Andrew Hargreaves, Patrick Rose and Matthew Ford.
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