Qualified, but unprepared: Training for War at the Staff College in the 1930s

Edward Smalley


This article aims to show the Staff College at Camberley was an elite establishment for officer training in name only; it failed to select the best candidates for entry and it failed to teach students how to undertake either routine duties or operations relevant to continental conflict. The syllabus lacked clarity of purpose whilst the learning environment was largely devoid of pressure. This compounded the institution’s small output which prevented the army developing a pool of elite officers which could monopolise command within future expeditionary forces. Consequently, in 1939, both Camberley and its individual graduates were unprepared for war.

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