He discusses in fascinating detail what the land forces did or nearly had to do. But, despite touching on the air and naval elements in the introduction, the author (Andrew Stewart Reader in Conflict and Diplomacy, Defence Studies Department, King’s College London) fails to return to them and their roles.
Squadron Leader E.A. McNab, Commanding Officer, with a Hawker Hurricane I aircraft of No.1 (F) Squadron, RCAF. Northolt, England. September 12th, 1940. [Dept. of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / e005176200) Via Taylor Empire Airways.]
Taking our specialty, the air element alone, overlooking (among other notable contributions) the involvement of 1 (Fighter) Squadron RCAF in the Battle of Britain, or, missing that 10 Squadron RAAF was in Britain on the declaration of war and was immediately loaned (by the Australian Prime Minister Menzies no less) to Britain's RAF Coastal Command for the duration, shows the author's excellence in land forces isn't carried over to the air and marine elements.
Four original Sunderland flying boat captains of 10 Squadron RAAF at Pembroke Dock, Wales, in December 1939. [AWM 128163 - From The Australian Government site 'Australia's War 1939-45' here.]
To add New Zealand, 75(NZ) Squadron was operational in May 1940, adding weight to Bomber Command. (Detail here.)
Aircrews of No. 75 (New Zealand) Squadron RAF walking past a Vickers Wellington Mark I at RAF Feltwell, Norfolk, UK, before a night raid to Hamburg, Germany. [IWM via Wikipedia]
Further, the presence of three Canadian army co-operation Lysander Squadrons, awaiting action in the event of invasion in 1940, is directly applicable to his thesis of the ground forces' plans.
A focus on just the four Dominions – Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa is clearly stated, and reasonable, but the contributions of many others in the British Empire of the time, notably India (among many other smaller places) should get at least a line in the 'ideal' long article.
In an exercise of army cooperation at RAF Odiham, Lysander pilots of No. 400 Squadron RCAF rush to climb into the cockpits of their Lysanders, having just received their operational orders from an Army Liaison Officer standing at the desk at left. In the combat arena, the Lysander proved to be capable, but also vulnerable, resulting in a quick withdrawal from front line service. [Imperial War Museum via Vintage Wings of Canada, Here.]
In the original article, using illustrations sources from 1943 - 1945 for a focus on 1939 - 1940 is also poor. (Here, being an online blog, I've been able to link to other feature article online with illustrations and details on the subject aircraft and units mentioned.)
Generally History Today hits a high standard, and the land forces story seems, to me, to be well laid out here, and well worth reading, with many thought provoking nugget of what a horror invasion would have been.
Likewise the internal political elements that each Dominion faced, and a notable lack of consistent planning or even treatment from Britain in the care and recognition of the sovereignty of these forces is well covered, though, again, air elements (and I presume naval) would add more layers of understanding. Then there is avoiding hindsight.
He says, on a British report: "...one observer in the Foreign Office remarked: 'The Australians remain terrified of the Japanese.'" That disdain was the tone of the time. Hindsight, however tells us that Britain (and everyone else not actually fighting the Japanese in 1939) badly underestimated them. Australia ended up desperately needing its own armed forces back from British use to defend their homeland in early 1942, of course. In these areas the article does well to present the tone and expectations of the time, with an historian's accuracy.
one observer in the Foreign Office remarked: ‘The Australians remain terrified of the Japanese.’ - See more at: http://www.historytoday.com/andrew-stewart/battle-britain#sthash.StGsh2IU.dpuf
A better introduction may have been all that was needed, otherwise a proper focus on the air element is missing. I suspect a naval historian would take a similar view.