View Full Version : Searching for first hand accounts of UW

12-29-2007, 05:52 PM
After my pesky dissertation is done (working on the Jedburghs in France) I think I want to read as many books I can find written by those who have experienced "small wars" and then attempted to set down their experiences as principles, doctrine, lessons learned, history, or literature. My current list includes T. E. Lawrence, Callwell, the USMC 1940 doctrine, Lansdale, Fall, Galula, Trinqueir, Churchill, and Che Guevara. What else is out there? Ultimately I'd like to go across cultures and eras. Anyone know of the Lost diaries of Crazy Horse? Anything from ancient China? Zulu warriors handbook? I now I'm perhaps getting a bit silly, but am trying to be inclusive as possible.


12-29-2007, 06:58 PM
Selous Scouts: Top Secret War

LtCol Ron Reid-Daly as told to Peter Stiff.

12-29-2007, 07:34 PM
The North American frontier provides some Native American examples that might apply. Strictly speaking, it may not meet the definition of UW but there are many examples of Native Americans in U.S. service with U.S. advisors.

Here's a couple: the Pawnee Battalion under Frank North; the Apache Scouts under Al Sieber and Tom Horn.



12-30-2007, 01:52 PM
Guerilla Days in Ireland by Tom Barry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Barry).

William F. Owen
12-30-2007, 03:51 PM
Guerilla Days in Ireland by Tom Barry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Barry).

Barry's Flying Column by Ewan Butler is a bit more balanced on Tom Barry.

The Operators by James Renee on 14 Intelligence Company in Ulster has some useful stuff.

Shoot to Kill by Mike Asher is outstanding about his experience as a Paratrooper in Northern Ireland, and life in the RUC.

Steve Blair
12-30-2007, 04:28 PM
The literature from the Frontier is pretty extensive, but you need to be careful with some of the NA accounts. You may also want to stray into anthropology to find some of the cultural and oral history studies that lurk there. Bird did some outstanding work on the Cheyenne, and the Apache have also come in for some good attention. There's a book called "Mountain Scouting" written by an officer who had extensive service in the Pacific Northwest that comes pretty close to a lessons learned piece, and some of John Gibbon's writing also qualifies. You may also want to go back through old issues of both the Cavalry Journal and the Army and Navy Journal. There were some interesting discussions of pack train operations in the Cavalry Journal in the 1880s, and scattered throughout the ANJ are letters and commentary about the Indian Wars. The Journal of the Military Service Institution of the UNited States (working from memory here, so the title may be somewhat different...I know that's close) also has some stuff, as it was one of the (if not the) first professional journal of the Army.

"Life and Manners in the Frontier Army" is another good study. It uses the novels of Charles King (an experienced 5th Cavalry officer who operated against the Apaches and Sioux) as sources to examine how the Frontier Army lived and (to a degree) operated in the field. Bourke's diaries have also been recently published and edited with commentary. I've used the first volume, and they make a good addition and correction to his "On the Border with Crook." A great deal of Ranald Mackenzie's official correspondence during his time with the 4th Cav in Texas has also been published, and there's some good stuff in there as well. Mackenzie was perhaps the most successful regimental officer on the Frontier, so his stuff is always worth a look.

12-30-2007, 04:47 PM

This site always has some interesting thoughts, links, book selections, and uh...

WARNING: NOT SAFE FOR WORK http://swedemeat.blogspot.com/


Mod comment: While we appreciate the referral Steve, members or casual visitors might not appreciatethe response from their spouse when the page pops up. Please refrain from posting this type of material in the open without a NSFW tage applied somewhere.

12-31-2007, 11:55 PM
I would suggest trying the site www.professionalsoldiers.com. It's a website dedicated to Special Forces. There are a lot of great resources to be found there. Also if I am not mistaken Ken White was member of the Jedburgh teams. :D


Ken White
01-01-2008, 01:31 AM
I would suggest trying the site www.professionalsoldiers.com. It's a website dedicated to Special Forces. There are a lot of great resources to be found there. Also if I am not mistaken Ken White was member of the Jedburgh teams. :D


I ain't THAT old...

Honest. :D

01-01-2008, 02:51 AM
but no Ken so I can vouch for the fact that he's not on their roster.... Thanks to everyone for the tips. Keep 'em comin'!

01-01-2008, 03:12 AM
I would suggest trying the site www.professionalsoldiers.com. It's a website dedicated to Special Forces. There are a lot of great resources to be found there. Also if I am not mistaken Ken White was member of the Jedburgh teams. :D


Sir, Great site, just make sure you read the stickies and follow their rules. We're bad on violators here - they're unmerciful. :D

Umar Al-Mokhtār
01-03-2008, 06:49 PM

If you’re serious about the “cross-cultural” aspect try these:

The Anatomy of the Zulu Army: From Shaka to Cetshway, 1818-1879 by Ian Knight. Ian is a prolific write on the Zulu War.

How Can Man Die Better: The Secrets of Isandlwana Revealed by Mike Snook.

Like Wolves on the Fold: The Defence of Rorke's Drift by Mike Snook.

Into the Jaws of Death: Epic Fights of the Victorian Army by Mike Snook.

Forty Miles a Day on Beans and Hay: The Enlisted Soldier Fighting the Indian Wars by Don Rickey is a good read.

On the literature side, John W. Thomason’s “Fix Bayonets! and other stories” while concentrating on Marines in WWI (the Fix Bayonets! part) there are several vignettes on Marines in Haiti and Nicaragua during the Banana Wars.

01-04-2008, 04:57 PM
The Elite: The story of the Rhodesian SAS by Barbara Cole

Koevoet by Jim Hooper (US journalist embedded with SW African COIN unit, in the conflict over nowadays Namibia)

They Live by the Sword: 32 Buffalo Battalion (of the SADF) by Col. Jan Breytenbach (fighting in Angola & SW Africa; very different to Selous Scouts)

SAS Operation Oman by Col Tony Jeapes (Dhofar campaign early '70s)

SAS The Jungle Frontier (borneo campaign early '60s) by Peter Dickens

The Conquest of Morocco by Douglas Porch (French colonial wars)

The Wars of French Decolinization by Anthony Clayton

The Frontier Scouts by Charles Chevenix Trench (British Empire NW Frontier)

Street Without Joy by Bernard Fall (Indochina 1945-early 60's)

Some of these titles have appeared on another thread.


01-04-2008, 06:49 PM
No Mean Soldier by Peter Macaleese (Para & SF in British, Rhodesian & South African armies, then a mercenary)

Soldier Sahibs: The men who made the NW Frontier by Charles Allen (superb book for India 1839-1858, focus on small units and the leaders)


01-04-2008, 07:46 PM
however this is an interesting read.

Mars Learning: The Marine Corp's Development of Small Wars Doctrine, 1915-1940 by Keith B. Bickel. The focus is on lessons learned from Haiti, Dom Rep and Nicaragua, as well as how experience from the field made its way into the 1940 Small Wars Manual.

01-04-2008, 07:48 PM
I ain't THAT old...

Honest. :D

I could of sworn I'd read a posting of yours on another thread, about some Drill named Von Steuben training you in close order drill.

01-05-2008, 12:49 AM
C'mon now. He's not that old. I do believe that he learned French from the Maquis, however.


Ken White
01-05-2008, 02:02 AM
Von Steuben gave up and sent me to Morgan who said I could snoop and poop; been scoutin' ever since... ;)

Ol' UBoat is partly right, some former Maquisards TRIED to teach me French (unfortunately at the same time their fellow German Legionaires were trying to teach me Deutsch so I now get both languages tangled along with Han Gul and English). I can, however ask for beer, cigarettes and ... uh, other necessities of life -- in seven languages, one of which is not English... :D