I figured I should explain what I've been doing with my twitter feed this past few months.

I've been posting lots of threads on innovation and guns and at the same time I've done some stuff on Trump and memory/nostalgia & "infowar".

This might appear a bit odd...🙃

Like everyone else I am fed up of COVID (& like some I'm also fed up of Brexit) and so decided to change the conversation up.

So I've been posting on things that might help us escape the pain in the arse that is the pandemic....

This started with a discussion about guns!

I did my PhD research on military innovation and I used small arms as the vehicle for explaining how it worked.

However, then Trumpists do something daft & that takes me towards my more recent research interests...

My book on guns helped me think through how engineering expertise has been hollowed out as govts have sought to rebalance their relationship with industry.

& this realisation (alongside the small arms/Special Forces sales ecosystem) has also informed my latest work on contemporary information infrastructures and their relationship to media and war.

Anyway, I'll try and square my apparently distinct interests with y'all over the course of the year.

Especially as I find much to get enthusiastic about from both ends of my writing.

Anyway, always open to a chat on here. Just tag me.


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More from @warmatters

14 Jan
A thread on S.L.A. Marshall & the Ratio of Fire.

Marshall is controversial.

His central claim is that only 25% of soldiers in the line fired their weapons.

Several military historians have disputed this.

My own views on Marshall are framed by my work on Small Arms.

1/ ImageImage
If you've ever had anything to do with Knowledge Management then you'll know that Marshall gave us the After Action Review.

This method facilitated group discussion with a view to identifying what happened and how to do better.

It has shaped business & military practices.

In Marshall's case this created a feedback loop between inputs and outputs in which the soldier's (& not just the commander's) experience was also put at the centre of winning the battle [more on tech & OODA loops later].

Source: Army of None @paul_scharre

3/ Image
Read 24 tweets
12 Jan
The M1 Garand's design history had significant impact on the structure of post-SWW small arms discussions.

A thread on Colonel René Studler, American attitudes towards small arms & one of the central protagonists in ammunition standardisation post-war.

The central arguments about post-war ammunition standardisation stemmed from what I suspect was a personal rivalry between Studler and Brigadier JA Barlow (someone I discussed in this thread:

A basic biog of Studler can be found here:


Read 24 tweets
5 Jan
A thread about "The Ideal Calibre Panel".

This is the nickname for a panel of people involved in trying to identify the "ideal" calibre for small arms post-1945.

The Panel came into being following a recommendation of the Standard SAA Round Sub-Committee which met on 8 February 1945.

This was a sub-committee of the Standing Committee on Infantry Weapons Development, that was created following the GS policy to adopt rimless SAA.

1b/ WO32-10515
Note the framing as the identification of an "Ideal".

The use of this word is political.

It is designed to push the principal actors who had different views about small arms towards the solution being worked on by Brigadier Barlow and the Armament Design Establishment.

Read 24 tweets
5 Jan
Shall we do a guns thread today?

Yes I think we shall...
So while I was looking up stuff for this thread I found all sorts of interesting things.

Think of it as a little teaser from the Standing Committee on Infantry Weapon Development, 31st August 1943...


On weapon design and production quality.

Read 11 tweets
3 Jan
So I said that I'd pick up the story of Brigadier Barlow in a subsequent thread.

Alongside Colonel René Studler of the US Ordnance Corps, Brigader Barlow was instrumental in the post-war discussions of small arms ammunition and weapon standardisation.

He's even more instrumental than the "Ideal Calibre Panel" which was chaired by the operational researcher Dr Richard Beeching, also of the 1963, Reshaping of British Railways, report that Brits regularly go on about.

2/ ImageImage
Anyway to Barlow...

Barlow was Director of Artillery (small arms from late 1945 to mid-1953).

From well before the SWW he wrote a number of books on small arms and shooting, at least one of which came out in 4 or more editions.


Read 17 tweets
3 Jan

This is a great primer on how to do government comms during a pandemic.

It seems to me that this is especially important given that people’s experience of COVID is temporally asymmetrical.

By this I mean...
In 1921 people would have lived the experience of the flu before reading about it in the news.

In 2021 people read about CV before they get to experience it.

This messes with people’s sense of how “real” this thing is.
Read 7 tweets

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