Skip to content

About me

My research focuses on the military history of the First World War, particularly the German army. I was awarded a PhD by King’s College London and have developed my thesis into a book, Holding Out: The German Army and Operational Command in 1917, published in CUP’s Cambridge Military Histories series. There’s more about the book here.

I have lectured and written widely on the German army in the First World War. I’m a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the British Commission for Military History, the Society for Military History, the Army Records Society and the Western Front Association. Before retiring, I was a British diplomat for over 30 years, with postings in Beijing (Peking when I was there!), Hong Kong twice, Brussels and The Hague.

There’s more about my research on and about me in this interview with Professors Brian Feltman and Bill Allison for their podcast Military Historians are People, Too – including some Terrible Confessions.

You can follow me on Twitter at @TonyCowan5 and you can contact me here.


A Picture of German Unity? Federal Contingents in the German Army, 1916-1917. Includes a chapter I wrote on the federal nature of the German army in the First World War, describing its significant effects on battlefield performance and administrative efficiency.

The Catastrophe of 8 August 1918. Includes the editor’s introduction I wrote for this translation of the German official monograph on the first day of the battle of Amiens, the ‘Black Day’ of the German army.

Site last updated: 10 July 2024