Lessons in Imperial Rule: Instructions for British Infantrymen on the Indian Frontier by Sir Andrew Skeen


Hardcover. Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket: Fine. 2008. Frontline Books. 

During the first half of the twentieth century, the mountainous North West Frontier represented one of the British Empire's most strategically important borders. For thousands of inexperienced British and Indian troops facing a local resistance the methods and lessons of their predecessors were vital for their survival.

General Sir Andrew Skeen's unofficial but authoritative textbook was written with these junior officers in mind. His work provided them with pragmatic and practical information on hill warfare in an accessible fashion. Skeen's understanding of frontier fighting remains as valuable to modern troops fighting local insurgents today as it was to successive generations of Imperial soldiers who faced tribal uprisings. His work became an unofficial textbook and was widely read in Britain and India. Despite the later introduction of armored cars, light tanks, and aircraft, it retains much of its value and it was recently reissued to the Pakistan army.

Britain's return to Afghanistan in 2001 alongside Coalition forces, and the Pakistan Army fighting in Waziristan, conjures inescapable parallels with earlier conflicts, and the Third Afghan war in particular. Remarkably many of the ideas and principles Skeen identified still hold true. Now as then, the arena of fighting was tough and unforgiving. The Afghans and Pashtuns have proved themselves incredibly resourceful, skilled, and resolute, demanding the very best expertise, tactics, and dedication from the Coalition troops. This book offers an evocative insight into the period and serves as a timely reminder of Britain's historic association with the North West Frontier and Afghanistan.