Great Britain's Failure to Innovate During the Interwar Years

Topics: Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, British Empire Pages: 4 (1200 words) Published: February 2, 2014
Despite being the leader in military innovation at the end of World War I, Great Britain failed to maintain this status during the interwar years. In 1918, Great Britain led the world in armored equipment and doctrine. Also, they were clearly the most innovative nation with regard to naval aviation. Their willingness to devote the resources to these programs and their desire to create a strategic advantage over the Germans pushed them ahead of other major powers. However, Britain lost their innovative lead in armored warfare and naval aviation between World War I and World War II due to organizational design, doctrinal issues and fiscal constraints.

British military organizational design failed to create an environment of cooperation and equitable status among the services necessary for innovation. The Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Navy held a higher priority than the British Army but they experienced difficulty in working together. British Army leaders resisted changes within the regimental design. These organizational flaws degraded innovation in armored and naval aircraft warfare.

The regimental system of the British hampered improvement in armored capabilities. Disagreement among mechanization proponents often led to a lack of enthusiasm among senior military leaders. Despite the attempts of some leaders during the interwar period, the British lacked an ability to understand operations above battalion level. The British officer education system contributed to this inability because it was deeply rooted in the regimental mindset. Additionally, the army was responsible for imperial defense. Most ground units rotated to colonial constabulary duty where motorization or mechanization was either unneeded or logistically unsupportable.

Dual control of British naval aviation by the RAF and the Royal Navy led to overwhelming problems for the Fleet Air Arm. The navy had suffered a tremendous loss of experienced personnel when the RAF was formed. After...

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