Major Gordon Corrigan MBE

Major Gordon Corrigan MBE

Popular military historian, author and TV personality

Major Gordon Corrigan MBE was an officer of the Royal Gurkha Rifles before retiring from the Army in 1998. He is now a military historian and the author of numerous books. His television appearances include The Gurkhas, Napoleon’s Waterloo and Battlefield Detectives, and so far he has presented five series on various aspects of military history. He is an Honorary Research Fellow of the Universities of Birmingham and Kent, a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, a Member of the British Commission for Military History and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Farriers.

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Q&A with Major Gordon

Who would you regard as the greatest military commander of all time?

Hannibal Barca, who commanded a polyglot army largely unpaid and cut off from home in a campaign lasting sixteen years that very nearly destroyed the nascent Roman Empire.

What piece of weaponry has been the most influential on the battlefield throughout history?

Gunpowder, because it enabled anyone to kill from a distance regardless of physical prowess.

What is the best book on military history you have ever read?

The Face of Battle by John Keegan. All of what he says in the book is obvious now, but at the time of publication in 1976 it was a seminal work and has influenced military historians ever since, despite his never having written anything else to compare.

What do you regard as the greatest mistake a military commander has ever made?

By OKW and Field Marshal Keitel in agreeing to go for Leningrad, Moscow and the Caucasus oil all at the same time. They should have masked Leningrad and gone for Moscow (when, had they captured it, the USSR government might have collapsed or sought a negotiated peace) and then gone for Baku, ignoring Stalingrad.

What do you consider as the greatest military myth that requires 'de-bunking'?

That the British generals of the First World War were incompetent butchers.

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