Ο J. F.C.Fuller υπήρξε ανώτατος βρετανός επιτελάρχης και ένας από τους σημαντικότερους αναλυτές του 20ου αιώνα στους τομείς της στρατιωτικής ιστορίας, της στρατηγικής και των διεθνών σχέσεων. Έγραψε περισσότερα από 30 βιβλία πολλά από τα οποία θεωρούνται σταθμός στη διεθνή βιβλιογραφία.
Μερικά από τα έργα του είναι:
- A military History of the Western World: From the American Civil War to the end of World War II
- A military History of the Western World: From the earliest times to the Battle of Lepanto
- The Second World War, 1939-45: A strategical and tactical history
- Armament and History: The influence of armament on history from the dawn of classical warfare to the end of the Second World War
- Julius Caesar: Man, soldier and tyrant
- Grant and Lee: A study in personality and generalship
- The Conduct of War: 1789-1961: A study of the impact of the French, industrial and Russian revolutions on war and its conduct
- The Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant
Fuller was born in 1878, in Chichester, West Sussex, England. 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, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst from 1897 to 1898. He was commissioned into the 1st Battalion of the Oxfordshire Light Infantry (the old 43rd), 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 enteric 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 units in England, serving as an adjutant to the 2nd South Middlesex Volunteers (amalgamated into the 7th Middlesex during the Haldane Reforms) and helping form the 10th Middlesex, until he was accepted into the Staff College at Camberley in 1913 (starting work there in January 1914).
During World War I, he was a staff officer with the Home Forces and with 7 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 planned the tank attack at Cambrai in 1917 and the tank operations for the autumn offensives of 1918. His Plan 1919 for a fully mechanised army was never implemented in his lifetime, and after 1918 he held various leading positions, notably as a commander of an experimental brigade at Aldershot.
In the 1920s, he collaborated with his junior B. H. Liddell Hart in developing new ideas for the mechanisation of armies. However, in what came to be known as the “Tidworth Incident”, he turned down the command of the Experimental Mechanized Force which was formed in 1927. The appointment also carried responsibility for a regular infantry brigade and the garrison of Tidworth on Salisbury Plain. Fuller believed he would be unable to devote himself to the Experimental 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.
His ideas on mechanised warfare continued to be influential in the lead-up to World War II, ironically more with the Germans, notably Heinz Guderian, than with his countrymen. In the 1930s, the Wehrmacht implemented tactics similar in many ways to Fuller’s analysis, which became known as Blitzkrieg. Like Fuller, practitioners 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 World War II, predominantly by the Germans in the invasion of Poland, Western Europe and the Soviet Union. While Germany, and to some degree the Western Allies, adopted Blitzkrieg ideas, they were not much used by the Red Army which developed its armoured warfare doctrine based on deep operations. Deep operations was developed by Soviet military theorists, among them Marshal M. N. Tukhachevsky, during the 1920s based on their experiences in World War I and the Russian Civil War.
On his retirement in 1933, and 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. In the 1935 general election Fuller stood against the foreign minister and future Prime minister Anthony Eden. He was also a member of the clandestine far right group the Nordic League.
On 20 April 1939 Fuller was an honoured guest at Adolf Hitler‘s 50th birthday parade and watched 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.”