I studied History and Natural Sciences at Queens’ College Cambridge, and did my PhD in the War Studies Department. I was a founding member and the former co-director of the Wargaming Network (WN) in the School of Security Studies.
I held research fellowships at Harvard University and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. I played a leading role in establishing King's academic partnerships with the Joint Services Command and Staff College and the Royal College of Defence Studies, as well as chairing the University of London's Military Education Committee.
My areas of interest cover:
- Conflict simulation
- Air power
- Ancient Warfare
- World War Two
I have written or edited 15 books and monographs and several dozen articles and chapters on a wide range of military topics. My recent publications include:
'Airpower in British Popular Culture', RUSI Journal, 163/1, September 2018
'Air Power in Asymmetric Warfare', in Irregular Warfare in Historical Perspectives (Tokyo: NIDS International Forum on War History Proceedings, 2018)
'Air Power, Media and Popular Culture', in John Olsen (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Air Power (London: Routledge, 2018)
(with J Curry, D Ruggiero & M Young), 'Modelling the Outcomes of International Crises using Confrontation Analysis', Simulation & Gaming, 48/3, 2017
Wargames as an Academic Instrument', in Pat Harrigan & Matthew Kirschenbaum (eds.) Zones of Control: Perspectives on Wargaming (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2016)
'Wargaming in higher education: Contributions and challenges', Arts and Humanities in Higher Education 14/4, October 2015
(with John Curry & Tim Price), 'Commercial-Off-the-Shelf-Technology in UK Military Training', Simulation & Gaming, 46/2, June 2015
'UK Aerospace Power in Future Force 2020', Royal Air Force Air Power Review 18/1, Spring 2015
'Air Power's Second Century: Growing Dominance or Faded Glory?', Journal of the JAPCC, 15, Spring 2012
Simulating War: Studying Conflict through Simulation Games (Bloomsbury, January 2012. Revised paperback edition published in spring 2014.)
‘The Benefits and Limits of Computerisation in Conflict Simulation’, Literary & Linguistic Computing, 26/3, September 2011
‘The Current and Future Utility of Air and Space Power’, Royal Air Force Air Power Review, 13/3, Autumn/Winter 2010.
‘The Future of UK Air Power’, RUSI Journal, 154/5, October 2009
'The Strategic Impact of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles’, in Owen Barnes (ed.), Air Power – UAVs: The Wider Context' (London: Ministry of Defence, 2009)
‘Why the Allies Won the Air War, 1939-1945’, in Claus-Christian Szejnmann (ed.), Rethinking History, Dictatorship and War, (London: Continuum, 2009)
Lost Battles: Reconstructing the Great Clashes of the Ancient World Hambledon Continuum (November 2007) Revised paperback edition published in spring 2009.
Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Warfare Edited by Philip Sabin (King's College London); Hans van Wees (UCL); Michael Whitby (Warwick). Cambridge University Press (November 2007). This work received the 2009 Distinguished Reference Book Award from the Society for Military History in the USA.
Visit the Research Portal for more details
I teach and convene the following modules:
- 5SSW2005 World War Two in Europe
- 6SSW2029 Warfare in the Ancient World
- 7SSWM144 Conflict Simulation
Expertise and Public Engagement
My past research interests have included British defence planning and public opinion about defence, but my main focus now is on the analytical modelling of warfare as a dynamic strategic and tactical contest. I have used this analytical approach to study two areas in particular – the air power contests of the 20th century, and the great land battles of the ancient world.
You can find more details about my research on the web pages devoted to two major recent books on Lost Battles and on Simulating War. I am a consultant in this area for the UK Ministry of Defence, and I co-organise the annual Connections UK conference for wargames professionals from around the world. I was recently contracted by the British Army's new Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research to design a Camberley Kriegsspiel with which officers may practise battlegroup tactics.
The highly innovative use of simulation and gaming techniques for the modelling of past conflicts extends also to my teaching, especially in the MA option which is detailed further on the Conflict Simulation page.
I am a long-standing member of the Chief of the Air Staff's Air Power Workshop, appear regularly on radio and television, and have lectured throughout Europe and North America as well as further afield in countries ranging from Japan and Korea to Chile.
Wargaming & Conflict Simulation
An aspect of War Studies literature which has hitherto received little academic attention is the corpus of several thousand conflict simulation games published in recent decades. Further details of these simulation games may be found at www.grognard.com and at www.consimworld.com.
I have been working in this field for many years, as detailed further in this document and in the major 2012 book on Simulating War. Find out more on the Conflict Simulation page.
I am a consultant on the subject for the UK Ministry of Defence, lecture internationally on the topic, and co-organise the annual Connections UK conference for over 100 wargames professionals from around the world, as detailed here.
In September 2003, I began teaching a radical new option course on conflict simulation within the Department's MA programmes. Find out more on the Conflict Simulation page.