Combined operations in the American War of Independence and the Naval War of 1812 in the North American theatre: a comparative study of strategy, tactics and effectiveness
AuthorsHardman, Michael David
AffiliationFaculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences
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AbstractThis thesis examines the use of combined operations in the American War of Independence and the Naval War of 1812, hereafter referred to as the War of 1812. It compares the use of combined operations in both wars and examines the extent to which the use of combined operations contributed to the very different outcomes of the two wars. However, certain factors such as weather or chance referred to in this thesis as thematic constraints intervened to prevent the success of combined operations. By examining combined operations in both of these conflicts, and also the influence of the thematic constraints on combined operations, various lessons and conclusions can be drawn about combined operations as a distinct art of war by the early nineteenth century. The first war resulted in a clear British defeat and the loss of the thirteen colonies in North America. The second war ended in a political stalemate in which neither side lost any territory. This thesis demonstrates that combined operations and the associated thematic constraints were overwhelmingly influential in determining the different outcomes of the two wars. The thesis examines the lexicographical problems which arise in the definition of the term ‘combined operations’ and arrives at a working definition. It then argues that the objective of combined operations was to deliver a victory, but that the fog and friction of war intervened under certain circumstances in the form of the thematic constraints. Their presence could be sufficient to cause the combined operation to fail. The thematic constraints were not all equally important. Some like political constraints or defects in leadership were more important than others. The relative importance of the thematic constraints to each other and the criterion used to assess their relative importance are discussed in detail below. The thematic constraints could operate in isolation, such as weather, or in conjunction with other thematic constraints. They could intervene at the planning level to prevent the successful formulation of a combined operations plan, or more usually, at the operational level to prevent the combined operation from being successfully implemented. This thesis argues that combined operations and the thematic constraints were overwhelmingly influential in determining the outcomes of the two wars. It acknowledges the thematic constraints as a group of factors which overwhelmingly influenced the outcome of combined operations. It does so in a structured format which allows for a comparison of the thematic constraints in the conduct of combined operations and in doing so it develops and builds upon the existing historiography.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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