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  • Teaching some military history?

    I just began reading Adrian Goldsworthy's The Fall of Carthage and in his introduction he says that many primary schools no longer teach about military history. I am a high school history teacher and I am finding it difficult to infuse military history into lessons. I have a handful of students that want to know more about battles and tactics who come after school to inquire more. I know that there are some more that are interested, but they really need a kick in the pants to get the ball rolling. If I could touch on it a bit more in class it would hopefully light that fire. The problem is that military history is too complex and grasping the idea of how battles are won does not make sense to many of the students. It is the "naturals" who come to me after school. They are playing video games like Rome Total War or any number of hex based games or table top miniature games.

    So without any further fluff, does anyone know of some teaching resources online, or anywhere else for that matter, that can help me make military history more tangible and simpler to convey?

    Thanks
    "Aaah, the Luftwaffe, the Washington Senators of the History Channel."
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  • #2
    Which aspects/conflicts do you cover or are they interested in?

    I was just having a search around and theres a few but seem to be focused on specific subjects rather than a general scope of everything.
    Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline - General Monash

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Temujin
      Which aspects/conflicts do you cover or are they interested in?

      I was just having a search around and theres a few but seem to be focused on specific subjects rather than a general scope of everything.
      I've just started WWII. Specifically I've been looking for resources on ancient battles. Also, the American Civil War, War of Independence (Revolutionary War). I have not found anything on the French and Indian War (I don't know what Europe calls it, that's what we call it in the States). Anything would be helpful. Most everything I have found really only scratches the surface of the conflict. How battles are won and fought is just not a priority American history teaching.
      "Aaah, the Luftwaffe, the Washington Senators of the History Channel."
      -- Homer J. Simpson

      Comment


      • #4
        I found this site http://www.teacheroz.com/toc.htm an example of dont read a book by its cover, it looks pretty sappy but she has thousands of very well organized links that branch of so you can quickly get to the section you want.

        Of course it has all other history aspects but you can refine it easy enough.

        BTW, is the focus you want to present a conflict based approach, using tactics and the different armies in them, or sort of an evolution of warfare, soldiers and arms starting with the greeks and working your way through to the modern era you are trying achieve?
        Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline - General Monash

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by hillchurch
          So without any further fluff, does anyone know of some teaching resources online, or anywhere else for that matter, that can help me make military history more tangible and simpler to convey?Thanks
          Bill Speer <[email protected]> or <[email protected]> is one gent to talk to about using wargames in the classroom.

          See below for pictures of his students using TacOps and several board
          games.

          http://www.thefishingcoach.com/tacops.htm
          Best regards, Major H
          [email protected]

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by hillchurch
            I have not found anything on the French and Indian War (I don't know what Europe calls it, that's what we call it in the States).
            That's the Seven Year War I think.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by hillchurch
              I've just started WWII. Specifically I've been looking for resources on ancient battles. Also, the American Civil War, War of Independence (Revolutionary War). I have not found anything on the French and Indian War (I don't know what Europe calls it, that's what we call it in the States). Anything would be helpful. Most everything I have found really only scratches the surface of the conflict. How battles are won and fought is just not a priority American history teaching.
              I guess that answers my question. The same is over here, i don't think it is a bad thing, it may be too focused to have just tactics and arms etc as a general cirriculum class. As the results of them may or may not have as great a strategic affect as say a political or economic factor. However, if you have some eager minds there no reason why they shouldnt persue it.

              The site i pasted had some Greek and classic links in the main index. May i suggest, seeing that the examples you mentioned all have an element of guerrilla/partisan fighting in them that you start of with the Greek stuff around the time of the Persian invasions, maybe background that with the age of heroes from the Illyad era, then go into the Peloponesian battles between the Greeks.

              The Persian conflict shows the differencce in arms and unit types, Greek heavies against Persian light stuff. The Peloponesian Wars lets you introduce aspects of thallasacracy and naval warfare and effects on campaigns on land etc. Plus, inbetween the 2 Peloponesian wars theres a nice little Helot revolt against Sparta to kick of guerrilla warfare and understanding of that aspect.

              Then just follow through with both conventional arms and warfare and the nonconventional stuff that is in the material you already mentioned.

              Seeing how these kids are into that stuff now, they're probably going to consider service and chances are the non conventional stuff may be of use to them, from a conventional perspective.

              Anyway, thats if it ties in with what you are thinking and teaching, just thought i'd share some views on how i would approach a similar situation, but i am not a teacher.
              Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline - General Monash

              Comment


              • #8
                War games for teachers

                I wrote a couple of very simple war games entitled "Postcard from the Revolution" depicting the American Revolutionary War battles of Brandywine Creed and Germantown. (Yes, they are really postcards. www.enter.net/~mdesanto. Follow the Games link.)

                I am working with a friend who teaches high school history on a series of booklets with an overview of a conflict and a small war game depicting a decisive battle from that conflict. We are starting with the Thirty Years War. (Three books, one for each phase of the war.) After that, anything else should be easy!

                My goal with the history will be to tell the story of the people involved. To explain why they fought instead of just who. I also plan to talk a bit about the technology of the time, but the main story is about greed, lust for power and fanatacism (sp).

                Do you think something like this would be useful for a teacher? The booklets are designed to cost between two and three dollars each to print at Kinkos, so you could print enough for a whole class for less than a normal box board game.
                Mike DeSanto
                www.enter.net/~mdesanto

                A Human never stands so tall,
                as when stooping to help a small
                computer. - Infocom motto

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Boonierat
                  That's the Seven Year War I think.
                  Correct.
                  http://canadiangenealogyandresearch.ca

                  Soviet and Canadian medal collector!

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                  • #10
                    Thanks everyone for your input. Every little bit helps. If you come across anything, if you can, just pass it my way. Thanks a million.
                    "Aaah, the Luftwaffe, the Washington Senators of the History Channel."
                    -- Homer J. Simpson

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MajorH
                      Bill Speer <[email protected]> or <[email protected]> is one gent to talk to about using wargames in the classroom.

                      See below for pictures of his students using TacOps and several board
                      games.

                      http://www.thefishingcoach.com/tacops.htm
                      Thanks for this. I'll be contacting him in the future.
                      "Aaah, the Luftwaffe, the Washington Senators of the History Channel."
                      -- Homer J. Simpson

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Dont know if this ideas of much use to you but here it is,as saw an interesting game spome time ago

                        Give the kids a background to the war your teaching e.g us civil war

                        Give them the option to be a commander and ask them to plan a campaign. The game runs alittle like kriegspiel, the kids tell you what they want to do, but also have to give reasons as to why they will be successfull for example- my corps will push on to hagerstown quickly and push out the union garrison- why, because the roads are dry,we captured lots of new shoes for the men and the garrison is weak due to forrests raids on union supply lines... Then as umpire you make a decision on what is likely to happen,and report back to the kids.

                        Maybe this will give em a reason to want to read and research, makes them think of strategy and tactics and has a bit of fun competition.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by hillchurch
                          I just began reading Adrian Goldsworthy's The Fall of Carthage and in his introduction he says that many primary schools no longer teach about military history. I am a high school history teacher and I am finding it difficult to infuse military history into lessons. I have a handful of students that want to know more about battles and tactics who come after school to inquire more. I know that there are some more that are interested, but they really need a kick in the pants to get the ball rolling. If I could touch on it a bit more in class it would hopefully light that fire. The problem is that military history is too complex and grasping the idea of how battles are won does not make sense to many of the students. It is the "naturals" who come to me after school. They are playing video games like Rome Total War or any number of hex based games or table top miniature games.

                          So without any further fluff, does anyone know of some teaching resources online, or anywhere else for that matter, that can help me make military history more tangible and simpler to convey?

                          Thanks
                          For your "naturals" how about this web site or the ACG magazine. I know that Eric the editor has said that one of his goals is to help make history more accessable to the next generation of historians. There's already a solid base of regular forum members that are not out of high school, so they don't have to feel like it's just "old farts" (like me) on the site. For myself (and I don't think I'm alone in this), I enjoy urging that next generation forward.
                          Lance W.

                          Peace through superior firepower.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi Eric. I agree with the others plus I was thinking along the lines of Targetboy, teaching about the people behind the campaigns, not only the leaders, but the ordinary men and women, be they professionals, volunteers, drafted, nurses, etc. maybe people they've heard of in their own family that have gone to war. That way you might capture the imagination of boys and girls, as well as help them find some middle ground in their thinking, for example there would be those who already just see the 'shoot em up' side of videos and games, and there would be those who just aren't interested and don't like the idea. If you can angle it to the human side maybe you can get something happening.

                            The tactical side would be hard to teach to everyone. Maybe setting up a boardgame, getting the most interested and experienced kids to play a simple game while the others offer suggestions as to what is happening and what should happen next.

                            Plus the other thought I had, depending on whether your school allows it, but perhaps an excursion to a war museum, and/or one of those gaming places or set-ups where everything is done in miniature, like a model railway sort of thing. There's something about interactive learning and excursions that always made me a lot more interested in things.

                            Just a few thoughts. Good luck !
                            Mim
                            "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Now I'm merely playing devil's advocate here, but I think that there may be an issue of Political Correctness when it comes to teaching kids military tactics and things like that. I could see parents being uncomfortable with that. Now my question to Hillchurch is this: How rigid is your curriculum? For example in New York State, teachers have to follow a rigid state curriculum because it conducts State exams (Regents tests) in practically every subject, every year. So many teachers in New York can only teach the state curriculum, and they don't have much room to put their own flavor into what they teach their students.
                              "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

                              George W. Bush

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