Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke 1929-1941.
"Alanbrooke - undoubtedly the greatest soldier that England has produced since Wellington". This quote by General MacArthur gives some indication of the high regard that Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke was held in by the senior men of World War II.
In this short essay I shall be looking at Alanbrooke from the year 1929 to 1941 and the events that shaped him and developed his leadership style and command skills. I will show how these experiences and his leadership qualities led to him becoming the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) and arguably Britain's most influential soldier of World War II.
Firstly I will look at his time as an instructor and his involvement in training establishments. I will then look at his time in command of the new Anti-Aircraft Corps. I will also show how his skill and ability to remain calm under pressure led to the successful withdrawal from Dunkirk while Commander II Corps British Expeditionary Force (BEF). Then his time as Commander in Chief Home Forces which he held before going on to become Chief of the Imperial General Staff.
Alanbrooke was going through a lonely time in early 1929, he was still under emotional strain after the death of his wife, four years previous, and promotion progress in the Royal Artillery looked slow. He was considering leaving the Army to immigrate to New Zealand when he was promoted to Brigadier and given the post of Commandant of the School of Artillery at Larkhill.
Immediately he set about making improvements at the facility. He had buildings pulled down and roads repaired and fought to get the finances to develop the camp with suitable accommodation and shops. Within a very short period of time he had improved the quality of life for the soldiers and civilians. His changes were not confined to improving the welfare of the men but he also made many changes to the training programme.