Thinking Wisely, Planning Boldly: The Higher Education and Training of Royal Navy Officers, 1919-39

Thinking Wisely, Planning Boldly: The Higher Education and Training of Royal Navy Officers, 1919-39

by Joseph Moretz


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Thinking Wisely, Planning Boldly: The Higher Education and Training of Royal Navy Officers, 1919-39 by Joseph Moretz

"Thinking, Wisely, Planning Boldly" examines the style, content and manner of Royal Navy executive officer higher education and training between the World Wars. Based on official and private archival records, oral histories and the secondary literature extant, this book traces the changes the Navy made in how it prepared its midlevel officers following the First World War, contrasts this approach with that of the British Army and Royal Air Force and addresses the use the Royal Navy made of the officers so trained. In the process, the work offers a fundamental reappraisal of the inter war Royal Navy challenging many of the accepted conclusions rendered by earlier authors who failed to actually examine the style and content of officer education and did not weigh the many competing factors the service had to balance in any professional development program. Along the way, it offers insight into the relative centrality of the Battle of Jutland in inter war training and concludes that contrary to received wisdom its role was a secondary one at best and that the experience of most relevance in the Navy’s educational efforts was the Dardanelles campaign.

This work is original in scope and original in interpretation with no other book-length volume in print now or previously covering the subject. Beyond saying something valuable about the 1919-39 Royal Navy, it discusses issues that resound with contemporary military officers faced with the eternal question of what to teach, how to teach it, and the pitfalls faced in preparing officers in an uncertain world. It sheds fresh light on such noted figures as Admiral Sir Herbert Richmond and Major General J. F. C. Fuller and offers insight into such events as the Washington Naval Treaty and the Invergordon Mutiny not previously considered.

Though many writers have had much to say about inter war training, none actually took the time to examine what was taught, how instruction was imparted, and the aims that the Navy sought to achieve. Thinking Wisely, Planning Boldly fills the void and in the process speaks to the continuing issues facing professional military education.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781909982901
Publisher: Helion & Company, Limited
Publication date: 02/19/2015
Series: Modern Military History Series , #2
Pages: 528
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Joseph Moretz is an independent researcher and author whose primary focus is the evolution of naval thought and the development of joint doctrine in the British setting from 1882 onwards. Following a career in computing and telecommunications with the United States Department of Defense - culminating as the Director of Information Assurance with the Defense Contract Management Agency - the author retired in 2010. Holding both an MA and PhD in War Studies from King’s College London, he graduated with distinction from the United States Naval War College in 1989. Dr Moretz is a member of the British Commission for Military History, the Army Records Society, the Navy Records Society and the Society of Military History. Towards a Wider War is his third book and the second to be published by Helion & Company.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vi

List of Abbreviations viii

A Note on Sources x

Introduction 13

1 Regeneration: The Great War, the Official Histories It Begot and the Higher-Level Education and Training of Officers 31

2 Naval and Imperial Policies, Finance and the Limits of Education 88

3 Educating a Navy: The Staff Course and the Senior Officers' War Course 127

4 Educating a Navy: The Senior Officers' Technical Course and the Tactical Course 211

5 Amongst the Owls and the Hawks: The Joint Environment and the Limits of Inter-Service Education 265

6 Living with the Beast: The Imperial Defence College and the Education of Naval Officers 337

7 Of Admirals and Administrators: The Uses of an Educated Officer 401

8 Final Thoughts 478


I The Navy Estimates for 1918-19 - 1939 502

II The War College Estimates for 1920-21 - 1937 503

III The Staff College Estimates for 1919-20 - 1937 504

IV The Imperial Defence College Estimates for 1929-37 505

V The Truants: Naval Officers Who Avoided the Higher Education of the Service 506

Bibliography 512

Index 530

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