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Haig’s Intelligence GHQ and the German Army, 1916–1918

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  • Haig’s Intelligence GHQ and the German Army, 1916–1918

    Hi

    Hope this is of interest (the book of the same name has been out for over 2yrs)

    Haig’s Intelligence is an important new study of Douglas Haig’s controversial
    command during the First World War. Based on extensive new
    research, it addresses a perennial question about the British army on the
    Western Front between 1916 and 1918: why did they think they were
    winning? Jim Beach reveals how the British perceived the German army
    through a study of the development of the British intelligence system, its
    personnel and the ways in which intelligence was gathered. He also
    examines how intelligence shaped strategy and operations by exploring
    the influence of intelligence in creating perceptions of the enemy. He
    shows for the first time exactly what the British knew about their
    opponent, when and how, and, in so doing, sheds significant new light
    on continuing controversies about the British army’s conduct of operations
    in France and Belgium and the relationship between Haig and his
    chief intelligence officer, John Charteris.
    http://assets.cambridge.org/97811070...rontmatter.pdf

    Regards

    Andy H
    "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

    "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

  • #2
    Andy H - Ref your Churchillian footnote quote; even Christ told/warned His Apostles and disciples that they would attract enemies.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Wooden Wonder View Post
      Andy H - Ref your Churchillian footnote quote; even Christ told/warned His Apostles and disciples that they would attract enemies.
      Hi WW

      If it was good enough and true enough for Christ and Churchill, then I can certainly vouch for its validity and accuracy versus my own life experiences.

      Regards

      Andy H
      "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

      "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

      Comment


      • #4
        I have Beach's book and have heard him lecture. A very good source but like many I would use it in conjunction with others.
        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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        • #5
          Perhaps the most crucial aspect of Army Intelligence is the Dissemination Phase where the Int Staff have the task of "selling" their product effectively to the Commander.

          If this is not performed effectively then the intelligence proffered is likely to be ignored, or dismissed as irrelevent.
          "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
          Samuel Johnson.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post
            Perhaps the most crucial aspect of Army Intelligence is the Dissemination Phase where the Int Staff have the task of "selling" their product effectively to the Commander.

            If this is not performed effectively then the intelligence proffered is likely to be ignored, or dismissed as irrelevent.
            Shouldn't have to "sell" they should communicate clearly including any uncertainties and ambiguities. History shows what happens when a dodgey dossier is sold.
            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MarkV View Post
              Shouldn't have to "sell" they should communicate clearly including any uncertainties and ambiguities. History shows what happens when a dodgey dossier is sold.
              Yep. 1916 Battle of the Somme, 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Sometimes it's just an over-optimistic interpretation of data, other times it's a deliberate emphasis on data that supports one interpretation over another.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                Shouldn't have to "sell" they should communicate clearly including any uncertainties and ambiguities. History shows what happens when a dodgey dossier is sold.
                Conversely,history is also littered with examples where commanders have ignored the advice of their Int staff with tragic results.
                Witness Market Garden in WW2.
                (Actually "sell" was the mot juste during my service with the Australian Intelligence Corps . The other aspects of the "Intelligence Cycle":- Direction,Collection and Interpretation, is comparatively straight-forward, effective dissemination is the true art, especially where it conflicts with any cherished preconceptions ).
                "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                Samuel Johnson.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Andy H View Post
                  Hi

                  Hope this is of interest (the book of the same name has been out for over 2yrs)


                  http://assets.cambridge.org/97811070...rontmatter.pdf

                  Regards

                  Andy H
                  Thanks for that Andy, a book like that is long overdue to get a better idea of why the BEF operated as it did in the last couple years of the war. It may help to clear up possible misconceptions as well.

                  Its only been touched upon in the books I've been able to get my hands on that Charteris was providing overly optimistic reports to Haig but with scant supporting evidence. Perhaps the reports weren't as rosy as stated and Haig just heard what he wanted to hear?

                  The other angle is the dynamics between Lloyd-George and Haig. George Macdonogh was Head of Intelligence in London. He had the ear of Lloyd George and supposedly his reports weren't nearly as rosy as the reports Charteris was providing Haig. Could that explain why LG was suspect of Haig and led him to ginergly release troops to him after 3rd Ypres?

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                  • #10
                    Looks interesting

                    Shouldn't have to "sell" they should communicate clearly including any uncertainties and ambiguities. History shows what happens when a dodgey dossier is sold.
                    Unfortunately, Intel as much as anything else has to be 'sold' in the sense that there are conflicting opinions and confidences and the one most effectively argued might well be the one believed. It's only after the event that anyone can really judge how accurate it was.
                    History is not tragedy; to understand historical reality, it is sometimes better to not know the end of the story.

                    Pierre Vidal-Naquet

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