John Fuller Biography & Facts
Major-General John Frederick Charles "Boney" Fuller (1 September 1878 – 10 February 1966) was a senior British Army officer, military historian, and strategist, known as an early theorist of modern armoured warfare, including categorising principles of warfare. With 45 books and many articles, he was a highly prolific author whose ideas reached army officers and the interested public. He explored the business of fighting, in terms of the relationship between warfare and social, political, and economic factors in the civilian sector. Fuller emphasised the potential of new weapons, especially tanks and aircraft, to stun a surprised enemy psychologically.
Fuller supported the organised British fascist movement. He was also an occultist and Thelemite who wrote a number of works on esotericism and mysticism.
Fuller was born in Chichester, West Sussex, the son of an Anglican clergyman. After moving to Lausanne with his parents as a boy, he returned to England at the age of 11 without them; three years later, at "the somewhat advanced age of 14", he began attending Malvern College and, later trained for an army career at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, from 1897 to 1898. His nickname of "Boney", which he was to retain, is said to have come either from an admiration for Napoleon Bonaparte, or from an imperious manner combined with military brilliance which resembled Napoleon's.
Fuller was commissioned into the 1st Battalion of the Oxfordshire Light Infantry (the old 43rd Foot), and served in South Africa from 1899 to 1902. In the spring of 1904 Fuller was sent with his unit to India, where he contracted typhoid fever in autumn of 1905; he returned to England the next year on sick-leave, where he met the woman he married in December 1906. Instead of returning to India, he was reassigned to Volunteer units in England, serving as adjutant to the 2nd South Middlesex Volunteers (amalgamated into the Kensingtons during the Haldane Reforms) and helping to form the new 10th Middlesex. Fuller later claimed that his position with the 10th Middlesex inspired him to study soldiering seriously. In 1913, he was accepted into the Staff College, Camberley, starting work there in January 1914.During the First World War, Fuller was a staff officer with the Home Forces and with VII Corps in France, and from 1916 in the Headquarters of the Machine-Gun Corps' Heavy Branch which was later to become the Tank Corps. He helped plan the tank attack at the 20 November 1917 Battle of Cambrai and the tank operations for the Autumn offensives of 1918. His Plan 1919 for a fully mechanised offensive against the German army was never implemented. After 1918 he held various leading positions, notably as a commander of an experimental brigade at Aldershot.After the war Fuller collaborated with his junior B. H. Liddell Hart in developing new ideas for the mechanisation of armies, launching a crusade for the mechanisation and modernisation of the British Army. Chief instructor of Camberley Staff College from 1923, he became military assistant to the chief of the Imperial General Staff in 1926. In what came to be known as the "Tidworth Incident", Fuller turned down the command of the Experimental Mechanized Force, which was formed on 27 August 1927. The appointment also carried responsibility for a regular infantry brigade and the garrison of Tidworth Camp on Salisbury Plain. Fuller believed he would be unable to devote himself to the Experimental Mechanized Force and the development of mechanized warfare techniques without extra staff to assist him with the additional extraneous duties, which the War Office refused to allocate. He was promoted to major-general in 1930 and retired three years later to devote himself entirely to writing.
After retirement, Fuller served as a reporter during the Italian invasion of Ethiopia (1935) and the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). Impatient with what he considered the inability of democracy to adopt military reforms, Fuller became involved with Sir Oswald Mosley and the British fascist movement. As a member of the British Union of Fascists he sat on the party's Policy Directorate and was considered one of Mosley's closest allies. He was also a member of the clandestine far-right group the Nordic League.Fuller's ideas on mechanised warfare continued to be influential in the lead-up to the Second World War, ironically less with his countrymen than with the Nazis, notably Heinz Guderian who spent his own money to have Fuller's Provisional Instructions for Tank and Armoured Car Training translated. In the 1930s, the German Army implemented tactics similar in many ways to Fuller's analysis, which became known as Blitzkrieg. Like Fuller, theorists of Blitzkrieg partly based their approach on the theory that areas of large enemy activity should be bypassed to be eventually surrounded and destroyed. Blitzkrieg-style tactics were used by several nations throughout the Second World War, predominantly by the Germans in the invasion of Poland (1939), Western Europe (1940), and the Soviet Union (1941). While Germany and to some degree the Western Allies adopted Blitzkrieg ideas, they were not much used by the Red Army, which developed its armored warfare doctrine based on deep operations, which were developed by Soviet military theorists Marshal M. N. Tukhachevsky et al. in the 1920s based on their experiences in the First World War and the Russian Civil War.Fuller was the only foreigner present at Nazi Germany's first armed manoeuvres in 1935. Fuller frequently praised Adolf Hitler in his speeches and articles, once describing him as "that realistic idealist who has awakened the common sense of the British people by setting out to create a new Germany". On 20 April 1939, Fuller was an honoured guest at Hitler's 50th birthday parade, watching as "for three hours a completely mechanised and motorised army roared past the Führer." Afterwards Hitler asked, "I hope you were pleased with your children?" Fuller replied, "Your Excellency, they have grown up so quickly that I no longer recognise them."During the Second World War, 1939–1945, Fuller was under suspicion for his Nazi sympathies. He continued to speak out in favour of a peaceful settlement with Germany. Alan Brooke (in his war diaries, p. 201) comments that "the Director of Security called on him to discuss Boney Fuller and his Nazi activities", but Brooke commented that he did not think Fuller "had any unpatriotic intentions". Although he was not interned or arrested, he was the only officer of his rank not invited to return to service during the war. There was some suspicion that he was not incarcerated in May 1940 along with other leading officials of the BUF because of his association with General Edmund Ironside and other senior officers. Mosley himself admitted to "a little puzzlement" as to why Fuller had not been imprisoned.Fuller spent his last years believing that the .... Discover the John Fuller popular books. Find the top 100 most popular John Fuller books.