Virtual Lecture: Montgomery’s Functional Doctrine: the Doctrinal Development and Integration of Air Power

Lord Montgomery with members of his team.

27 June 2024

On Thursday 27th June 2024 at 6pm, Charles Forrester will examine the doctrinal development and integration of air power in terms of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s functional doctrine of late 1944. This talk will be hosted virtually via Crowdcast.

Talk Outline

This paper examines the doctrinal development and integration of air power in terms of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s functional doctrine of late 1944. Montgomery developed his views on the problems of fighting with infantry and tank divisions and supporting air power in several 21st Army Group pamphlets. They were the result of a process initiated by Montgomery, but that process included others.

Montgomery’s role in the process and authorship of earlier air power pamphlets in North Africa has rightly received much attention. However, the later ‘Montgomery’ pamphlet Some Notes on the Use of Air Power in support of Land Operations and Direct Air Support of December 1944, which takes the story forward into Northwest Europe, has tended to be neglected or overlooked. Looking at the process of producing this pamphlet brings in air force commanders and their contribution to this ostensibly ‘Army’ pamphlet.

However, the historiography is inconclusive on how much control Montgomery was actually willing to concede to the air commanders. This is because the process of producing this air power pamphlet has never been viewed in the context of Montgomery’s pamphlet production process as a whole. And this makes it difficult for us to get what Montgomery was essentially after in terms of this specific pamphlet.

It is necessary to examine the relationship between Montgomery’s different pamphlets and their combined purpose as well as their individual purposes. Looking to the final iteration of this pamphlet on air support examines which experiences, of which RAF commanders, were validated and also what Montgomery’s influence was in terms of the doctrinal development and integration of air power, to the final functional doctrine enunciated in his wartime pamphlets.

Further, this perfected model for the integration of air power would become a template for army air support for future decades, in many countries.

Location

This lecture will be livestreamed via the RAF Museum’s Crowdcast channel.

 

Tickets

This lecture is free but registration is required to attend. Follow the link below for quick and easy registration.

About Charles Forrester

Charles James Forrester FRHistS is an internationally recognised independent military historian. Nephew of the late LAC Thomas Morrissey, 36thLAA Battery, RAF Regiment, he has long been interested in military and air power history. Awarded an MA by Research (UNISA) for his thesis “Great Captains and the Challenge of Second Order Technology: Operational Strategy and the Motorisation of the British Army before 1940”, and a PhD (Leeds) for his thesis “Montgomery and his Legions: A Study of Operational Development, Innovation and Command in 21st Army Group, North-West Europe, 1944-45”; he is a member of the SMH, RHS, and the Gallipoli Association. He has authored a peer reviewed article on Montgomery’s role in the creation of the British 21st AG’s combined arms doctrine and a well-received book described by the JMH as “an essential addition to the historiography of the ETO and must reading for anyone wishing to explore the operations of 21st Army Group in 1944-45”. Charles has subsequently authored a forthcoming chapter on the experiences of British 21st AG commanders included in the improvement of techniques for armoured warfare and is currently working on an article on Montgomery’s and Air commanders’ ideas for the integration of air power (1944-45).


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