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- DescriptionErnest Dunlop Swinton is a military professional with experience in the Boer War who wrote this famous short book based on a series of thoughts he had on how an infantry unit with only 50 men could defend a river crossing. Through the perspective of a young Lieutenant, you are given the terrain features, the political situation, conflict with civilians and limits on your own military support. There is a brief history of the war with the Dutch and then your Lieutenant receives his assignment. With the use of maps, there are six scenarios of the Lieutenants approach to defending the crossing (drift). Each scenario is acted out and with each of the first five scenarios there are several lessons learned such as the effect of enfilading fire, the limitations of a simple trench, the use of the military crest versus being located on top of the hill, the effect the local sympathetic population may have on aiding guerrilla fighters, the effect of surprise, disguising your defense from view, proper posting of sentries and responsibilities, how to combat artillery, dealing with multiple directions of attack, using the terrain to advantage and on. As the Lieutenant in each scenario learns from his mistakes, he alters the outcome to his advantage but only incrementally. Only at the end and sixth scenario does he get it right but with realistic loss. The same map is introduced in each scenario with defense features matching the new defensive tactics. The Defence of Duffer's Drift is a fascinating book for all interested in basic infantry tactics, which has been used as a training manual for militaries worldwide. This is a very readable book that can be read in less than 2 hours time. Applicable to any war but this book would be interesting to read with an account of Rappahanck Station, which was a spearhead position held by Confederates in advance of Lee's line on November 7, 1863 where Meade's forces overwhelmed the defenders and took almost 3,000 prisoners. Duffer's Drift would be very applicable in that situation.
- Author BiographyMajor General Sir Ernest Dunlop Swinton (1868-1951) was a military writer and British Army officer. Swinton is credited with influencing the development and adoption of the tank by the British during the First World War. He is also known for popularising the term no-mans land. Swinton was born in Bangalore, India in 1868. He was educated at University College School, Rugby School, Cheltenham College, Blackheath Proprietary School and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He became an officer in the Corps of Royal Engineers in 1888, serving in India and becoming Lieutenant in 1891. He received the Distinguished Service Order during the Second Boer War. After the war, he wrote his book on small unit tactics, The Defense of Duffer's Drift, a military classic on minor tactics that has been used by the United States military to train its officers. In the years leading up to the First World War, he served as a staff officer and as an official historian of the Russo-Japanese War. The War Minister, Lord Kitchener appointed Swinton as the official British war correspondent on the Western Front. Journalists were not allowed at the front and Swinton's reports were censored leading to an effectively uncontroversial although even-handed reporting.
- Author(s)Ernest Dunlop Swinton
- Date of Publication22/08/2013
- FormatPaperback / softback
- SubjectMilitary History
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- Content Noteblack & white illustrations
- Weight77 g
- Width140 mm
- Height216 mm
- Spine3 mm
- Format DetailsTrade paperback (US),Unsewn / adhesive bound
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