The Second World War Experience Centre Lecture Series

15th October 2013 18:00, State Apartments

Citizen Soldiers: British troops and the experience of war in Northwest Europe - D-Day to Victory

Professor John Buckley 

Reception and refreshments commence in the State Apartments at 6pm with the lecture commencing at 6.40pm. The lecture will finish by 8pm and is followed by drinks until 8.45pm.

Tickets are £25 and can be purchased by contacting The Second World War Experience Centre on:

T: 01937 541274

The popular perception of the British soldier's experience of war in the first half of the twentieth century is that the First World War (the Somme and Passchendaele in particular) was a terrible bloodletting whilst the Second World War was a conflict fought much more by machines and technology. Yet, casualty rates in infantry units in Normandy in 1944 were higher than in any major campaign of the First World War, a tank's survivability halved every six seconds once under fire from German anti-tank guns, and the likelihood of a junior officer fighting throughout the campaign unscathed was around one-in-ten.

Whilst the campaign was highly successful, it nevertheless placed great stresses on the soldiers that were only partly alleviated by the use of losses and support morale. Even in the Rhineland battles of 1945 the British Army had to endure heavy losses and bitter fighting, now little recognised, at a time when the war, to all intents and purposes, appeared to be drawing to a close.

In this lecture, we will explore the realities of combat and life in the British Army of 1944-5 as it battled its way from the Normandy beaches to the Baltic, and reached a clearer understanding of the achievement of British soldiers in the most important campaign fought by the army in the Second World War.

Professor John Buckley is Professor of Military History at the History, Politics and War Studies Department, University of Wolverhampton. He has published on many aspects of military affairs in the interwar and Second World War eras, particularly and most recently on the British Army in Northwest Europe 1944-5.

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