The British Army: At ease with their heritage

Throughout its 350-year history the British army has been vulnerable to economic pressures and political interference. Its strength lies in the loyalty of its soldiers to their regiment or corps, argues Allan Mallinson.

Officers of the 17th Lancers photographed during the Crimean War, 1853-56 (Library of Congress / Roger Fenton)When I was military attaché in Rome an impressive Alpini brigadier asked me who were the ten greatest British generals. I thought for a moment then answered that there wouldn’t be much debate about the top five, but for the rest … He stopped me and with a sigh said: ‘The point is, we don’t have a single one. How do you think that makes an Italian officer feel?’

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