Douglas Haig is famous in Military circles and his legacy lives on and is studied by young Officers at Sandhurst, described by many as being ‘brilliant to the top of his Army boots’.
David Lloyd George’s however described him and many of the Military leaders during this time as ‘donkeys’: moustachioed incompetents who sent the ‘lions’ of the Poor Bloody Infantry to their deaths in futile battles.
The media have echoed this description in several films and television documentaries and with a British casualty list of millions; one could be forgiven for agreeing with the sceptics.
So why do today’s young military leaders still study his tactics and decisions? Perhaps one undeniable fact is that Britain and its allies won the First World War and it’s as simple as that.
Haig’s army played the leading role in defeating the German forces in the crucial battles of 1918. In terms of the numbers of German divisions engaged, the numbers of prisoners and guns captured the importance of the stakes and the toughness of the enemy, the 1918 ‘Hundred Days’ campaign rates as the greatest series of victories ever in British history.