"The British Infantry 1660-1945" is author Frederick Myatt's extended 1983 essay on the evolution of infantry as a key component of the British Army. Myatt was a veteran of the Second World War and of the post-war British Army training establishment, and a military historian. The presentation in "British Infantry" falls into the gray area between popular history and more serious scholarship.
After an awkward first chapter on the pre-historic roots of the infantry, Myatt's narrative gets properly underway with the mustering of the first permanent infantry units during the English Civil War and the Restoration of the British Monarchy. The suceeding chapters cover interal rebellions in Britain (the '15 and the '45) and the Seven Years War on the continent. A major portion of the narrative is reserved for the Napoleonic Wars, in particular the British experience under Wellington in the Peninsular War. A century of imperial policing follows the Battle of Waterloo, interupted by the Crimean War and the South African War. Coverage of the First and Second World Wars close out the book.
Myatt's emphasis is on the organization, equipping and general employment of infantry units. This narrative tends inevitably to focus on the evolving use of the famed British regimental system, as regiments expand from single to multiple battalions and back again during and after major conflicts. The British infantry is awarded due credit for its generally decisive role in Britain's many wars. Myatt notes that military reform generally lagged behind actual battlefield requirements of the moment; shortfalls were often made good by good discipline and exceptional morale.
"The British Infantry 1660-1945" is recommended as an excellent general reader for the casual enthusiast and for the more serious student looking for an introduction to the topic.