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Report on Foreign Manoeuvres. 1907–12.

Published: London: Prepared by the General Staff, War Office, 1908-13

Stock code: 66801

Price: £3,000

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First editions of an extremely uncommon series of confidential reports. The print-runs were between 550 to 800, but institutional holdings (just a single copy of an issue for 1906 in the IWM and one for 1912 at KCL; OCLC showing only an 1895 precursor to the series at NLW) are so sparse as to suggest that very few were ever issued. These copies have occasional ink-stamps of the Royal Army Medical Corps library. These are highly detailed, and important, reports from the British army’s observers at the manoeuvres of the major foreign powers – varying year to year, but including France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, China, Japan, Russia, Turkey and the United States – in the years leading up to the First World War. As well as remarking on the specifics of organization, tactics, and techniques, there are summaries drawing more general conclusions: the increasing realism of these operations; the importance of staff work; and the “greatly extended employment of mechanical transport.”

6 volumes, octavo. Original red cloth, title gilt to the spines and upper boards. Half-tone illustrations from photographs and line drawings to the text, diagrams, maps and plans, some folding. The whole group has evidently been string-tied with 1907 on the bottom and 1912 on the top, in fairly damp and dusty conditions, and consequently the lower board of the first volume is somewhat damped, with some damping through the last 10 or so leaves, and the upper board of the last is slightly grubby and string-notched at the centre of the four edges, however, that said, the overall condition, both externally and internally, is very good.

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