PERSIAN MINISTRY OF WAR

Group of Training Manuals for the Persian Army.

[Cavalry Training Manual, Volume 2; Infantry Training Manual; Small Arms Training Manual; Rifle Cleaning & Maintenance Manual.]

Tehran: Matba'ah-i Majlis & Chapkhanah Ferdowsi, 1931 Stock Code: 81962
£450.00

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Notes

First editions, fragile and produced entirely for use in unforgiving climatic conditions, and consequently extremely uncommon survivals, with no copies on WorldCat. These training manuals are an example of the comprehensive efforts made under Reza Shah to modernise and train Persian soldiers for war. The Persian national army was set up in 1921 and "the achievement of Reza Khan in building a modern military force is noteworthy" (Encyclopedia Iranica). The government invested huge effort into the venture and "more than 33.5 percent of the total government revenues, excluding oil revenues which comprised a separate category, was spent on the military from 1921 to 1941" (A. Banani, The Modernization of Iran, 1921-1941, Stanford, 1961, p. 57). "The nascent military institutions were highly influenced by the style and organization which were prevalent in France" (Encyclopedia Iranica) and much of this manual seems to be inspired by the French army.

All four volumes have the "R. C., Helperby" book plate of Sir Robert Milnes-Coates, 3rd Baronet of Helperby Hall, son of the bibliophile and collector of Indian books Clive Coates. Milnes-Coates was an officer in the Trans Jordanian Frontier Force from 1937 to 1940 and it is possible that he consulted these manuals as examples of how to conduct military training in the Middle East. Loosely inserted into the volume on Rifle Cleaning and Maintenance is a note "to the most patient of travelling companions and may we one day go the same way. Mersey". It seems possible that this is a note from Chalres Clive Bigham, Second Viscount Mersey, whom Milnes-Coates could have known through his grandfather, Robert Crewe-Milnes, a fellow member with Bigham in the Roxburghe Club, and Secretary of State for Indian 1910-15. Bigham, Like Milnes-Coates, had travelled extensively in the Middle East and, in 1897, wrote a book entitled A Ride Through Western Asia.

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Description

4 volumes, small octavo. 3 in original wrappers with Persian titles and Pahlavi crest of the Persian lion with a sword, sun and crown to front panels, one contemporary cloth with the wrappers bound in, two folding errata tables at the end of Cavalry Training manual. Text in Farsi.

Illustrations

Cavalry Training Manual: 20 half-tone plates from photographs, numerous full-page diagrams; Infantry Training Manual: 27 half-tone plates, diagrams to the text; Small Arms Training Manual: 25 half-tone plates from photographs, several sketches & diagrams,

Condition

A little shabby, service-worn, but overall sound. Neat pencil translations into English throughout in the Infantry Training Manual and the manual on Rifle Cleaning & Maintenance, occasional pencil translations in the other two.

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