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About the Author
Major General Sir Earnest D. Swinton, K.B.E., C.B., D.S.O., was a noted English soldier, author
and professor. Considered by Field Marshal Earl Wavell as one of the most far-sighted officers the
British Army has produced, he wrote before World War I on the effects of air warfare, mining and
of psychological warfare. In 1914, Sir Swinton completely revolutionized warfare by his invention of
the tank; he, more than anyone else, was responsible for its introduction and development.

Major General E. D. Swinton
He served as Professor of Military History at Oxford from 1925 to 1939, and later as Commandant
of the Royal Tank Corps from 1934 to 1938 - earning the rank of Major General.
As a Captain, shortly after service in the Boer War, he wrote The Defence of Duffer’s Drift, using
the pseudonym, Lieutenant Backsight Forethought, or BF. Duffer’s Drift has become a military
classic on minor tactics in this century. In addition to Duffer’s Drift, and contributing to many
journals, he authored The Green Curve in 1909 and The Great Tab Dope in 1915, under the
pseudonym O’le Luk-Oie (Olaf shut-eye). His other works include The Study Of War in 1926 and
his final publication, An Eastern Odyssey written in 1935.

Background on The Boer War 1899-1902
The Boers, Dutch for farmer, first settled what is now Cape Province, Republic of South Africa in
1652. After Great Britain annexed this territory in 1806, many of the Boers departed on the “Great
Trek” and created the Republic of Natal, the Orange Free State, and the Transvaal. Gradual
commercial control by the British and discovery of gold and diamonds, among other things, served
to create hostility between the Boers and British, resulting in the South African War or Boer War
from 1899 to 1902.
The Boers initially outnumbered the British and were well equipped, scoring impressive victories in
the areas adjacent to their territories. Even though the Boer armies finally surrendered, apparent
victory for the British was retarded by extensive and coordinated guerilla warfare. The war was
finally ended by the systematic destruction of the Boer guerrilla units and hostilities were terminated
by the Treaty of Vereeniging in May 1902. The Boer territories were annexed by Great Britain and
were organized into the Union of South Africa eight years later.

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