7 Reasons Why The British Are So Good At Winning Wars

Think of global history, and the history of conflict especially, and a few nations stand out as having been especially successful. One of these is Great Britain. In fact, between the early 1500s and the mid-20th Century, Britain ruled over the largest empire in human history, at its height overseeing 23% of the entire world. One result of this is Britain has long had a reputation for winning wars – how could it not when it has defeated so many other nations? But really, there must be more to Britain’s military success than just that? Actually there is, and we’ll explain…

1. Britain Has Had A Powerful Army

A first reason why Britain has had so many successful wars is because it has always had a powerful army.

Throughout history, the British have had one of the largest military forces. This was especially true from 1600s through to the mid-20th Century. Admittedly now the British military is small compared to some global military powers, however Britain has long had one of the most significant militaries in the world. This has earned the British a reputation for being highly effective in combat.

As well has having a history of large armed forces, Britain has also had throughout its history, and today, a technologically advanced military. The UK was one of the first countries to industrialize and this allowed the British military to develop weapons and equipment that few other armies had. Especially in the 18th and 19th Centuries Britain was able to use this technological advantage to conquer nations and expand its empire. The memory of this period is one reason why Britain is seen as being good at wars.

2. Britain Has Led In Military Innovation

A second reason why Britian has a reputation for being successful in wars is because of its military innovation.

As we’ve said, the UK was one of the first countries to become industrialized. This allowed them to innovate militarily all the way back to the late 18th and into the 19th Centuries. Britian has also heavily funded military innovations throughout its history, allowing it to further develop weapons more advanced that her enemies. This has meant that, for centuries, Britain has been highly effective in many wars.

To this day Britain is still a world leader in military innovation. The UK has an advanced arms industry and the British government continues to fund research and development into new weaponry. One result of this is that Britain is still seen as being a country that is good at war.

3. The British Army Has Been Well Disciplined

A third reason why Britain has been so good in wars is because its army has been well disciplined.

For an army to fight effectively, it needs to be disciplined. Soldiers need to follow orders and command structures need to remain linear. Military leaders need to plan their battle tactics and then be sure that their strategy is carried out as it goes down the chain of command. Armies that lack discipline almost always lose battles.

The British army has long been a highly disciplined force. For centuries Britain has focused on having a professional armed forces. It’s also distilled discipline into its military ethos, and this has resulted in the British army being highly effective. There are many factors that have contributed to Britain’s history of military achievements, and still affect how the British army operates today – being well disciplined is definitely one of them.

4. The British Army Is Well Trained

Another reason why Britain has, and is, so good at winning wars is because its military is well trained.

Armies that are well trained fight better. Not only does training instil discipline, which we just covered, but it also ensures soldiers understand military tactics, how to use their weapons and equipment, and how to work together effectively. Military training is one of the key factors that makes an army effective.

Britain has had a professional, rather than a conscript army, for centuries. Only in time of massive conflicts, like World War One and Two, has Britain relied on conscription. One outcome of Britain’s professional fighting force is that it receives a high-level of training. The fact that the British army has focused for so long on high quality training means this is a key part of its military culture. It has also given the British army a deep understanding of military tactics and how they can be implemented. This is a major factor in why Britain has been so militarily effective.

5. Britain Has Chosen Which Wars To Fight

One reason why Britian has been so militarily successful is because it has picked which wars to fight carefully.

Britain is one of the countries in the world that has won the most wars. Yes, in many ways this demonstrates that the UK, throughout its history, has been incredibly good at fighting conflicts. However, if you look deeper at many of Britain’s military victories, their choice of wars – often against much weaker enemies, meant that Britain was almost certainly going to win. This is actually a key reason why Britain is seen as being so good at wars.

As well as carefully choosing which wars to fight, throughout history Britain has also been absent from some major conflicts. There are many historical reasons for this, including that these wars were not in Britain’s interest, but also that fighting them to win would require enormous military contributions. As a result, Britain has not fought some wars that it may have lost. This is also a vital factor in understanding why Britain is thought of as being a great military power.

6. Britain Often Fights Wars With Allies

A key reason why Britain has been so good at wars is because it often fights alongside its allies.

Britain has a long history of forming alliances. One of the first formal alliances between two nations was signed between Britain and Portugal in 1386. Since then, Britain has always maintained a wide network of global alliances. This has meant that when Britain has gone to war, it has rarely fought alone. The combined strength of Britain and her allies has meant that Britain has come out successful in many of the conflicts it has fought. This is one reason why many see Britain as being so militarily successful.

When allies fight together their strengths are combined. Multiple armies fighting on the same side against the same enemy have a much greater chance of winning. Britain has long known this, and it is a major reason why Britain has always formed strategic alliances. Throughout history, alliances with France, Prussia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States have all helped Britain in different wars. Britain’s alliances are an important factor for why it is so good at winning wars.

7. Britain Has A Long History Of Fighting Wars

A final reason why Britain is so good at winning wars is because it has a long history of conflict.

Britain has fought in 117 wars since the year 1800 – and this is only the last 200 years. Going even further back the Britain military regularly fought conflicts, both internationally and across the British isles. All in all, Britain has been involved in an enormous number of conflicts. This long history of fighting, and often winning, wars is why Britain is seen around the world as being so good as conflicts.

One result of Britain having a long history of conflicts is that it has learned from this history in order to become good at winning wars. The British military has developed tactics, trainings, equipment and weapons throughout its history based on the previous conflicts it has fought. Essentially, the more a nation goes to war the better at fighting wars it becomes. The fact that Britain has fought so many conflicts throughout its history is a big reason why it is so good at winning them.

Global Affairs Explained

Global Affairs Explained is an ongoing project aiming to provide concise guides to world events. Focusing on international relations, history, and geo-politics, Global Affairs Explained uses original research and data to answer questions often not covered by traditional media.

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