Ralph Bennett


Bennett, Ralph. Behind the Battle: Intelligence in the War with Germany, 1939-45. London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1994.

Hunt, I&NS 9.4, notes that Bennett is a historian who worked at Bletchley Park. It is "natural ... that he would concentrate on Sigint, and particularly on Ultra." He presents a "synthesis, lucid despite its necessary concision, which brings together the main conceptions of Allied and German Grand Strategy." He is "scathing about one supposed source of intelligence: espionage. Agent information produced nothing of any value throughout the war."

The "campaigns in Italy and NW Europe are admirably covered. Deception gets good billing.... It is [in] the accuracy of his analysis of the influence of Intelligence on Grand Strategy that Bennett's great merit lies." This book will take "its place with the author's other books among the classics of military history."

For Kruh, Cryptologia 19.1, Behind the Battle fills the absence of a review of the entire field of military intelligence available to the Allies in a "commendable fashion."


Bennett, Ralph. "Fortitude, Ultra and the 'Need to Know.'" Intelligence and National Security 4, no. 3 (Jul. 1989): 482-502.

Clark comment: Bennett argues that the linkage between the Fortitude deception plan and Ultra intelligence is perhaps less clear than it has been presented. Sexton says this article is "well worth reading."

[UK/WWII/Ultra; WWII/Eur/D-Day][c]

Bennett, Ralph. Intelligence Investigations: How Ultra Changed History. London: Frank Cass, 1996.

Clark comment: This is a collection of 10 previously published essays. For those with an interest in World War II and/or Ultra but without access to the journals in which Bennett tends to publish, Intelligence Investigations would be an excellent place to begin a useful acquaintance. Stafford, I&NS 13.2, notes that Bennett's introduction to the volume "provides a balance sheet of where we are now" in the study of Ultra's impact on the course of World War II.


Bennett, Ralph. "Intelligence and Strategy in the Second World War." In British and American Approaches to Intelligence, ed. K.G. Robertson, 130-150. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 1987.


Bennett, Ralph. "Knight's Move at Dravar: Ultra and the Attempt on Tito's Life, 15 May 1944." Journal of Contemporary History 22 (Apr. 1987): 195-207.

Clark comment: The author raises and, then, answers in the negative the question of whether Ultra gave the Allies foreknowledge of the Germans' effort to kill Tito. Sexton finds this article "[e]specially valuable for Bennett's insights on the handling of ULTRA and its limitations."

[UK/WWII/Services/SOE & Ultra; WWII/OSS/Balkans/Yugo]

Bennett, Ralph

1. Ultra and Mediterranean Strategy. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1989. New York: Morrow, 1989.

Sexton says that this "[c]omprehensive study" of the impact of Ultra on Allied strategy covers the campaigns in Greece, Crete, Iraq, Syria, the Western Desert, North Africa, Sicily and Italy. The work stands "as a model for historians." To Ferris, I&NS 6.2, this "is the best ... book yet written" on Ultra's effect on any aspect of the war. Ultra is presented as "only one of many Allied sources of secret information."

2. "Intelligence and Strategy: Some Observations on the War in the Mediterranean, 1941-1945." Intelligence and National Security 5, no. 2 (Apr. 1990): 444-464.

This is a concise presentation of the main findings of Bennett's Ultra and Mediterranean Strategy (see above).

[OtherCountries/Greece/WWII; UK/WWII/Med]

Bennett, Ralph. "Ultra and Some Command Decisions." Journal of Contemporary History 16 (Jan. 1981): 131-151.


Bennett, Ralph. Ultra in the West: The Normandy Campaign 1944-45. London: Hutchinson, 1979. New York: Scribner's, 1980.

According to Constantinides, Bennett seeks "to portray the Allied campaign of 1944-45 solely through the intelligence provided by Ultra, to show how forecasts of enemy action were derived from it, and to deduce Ultra's contribution to victory.... [T]he book deserves the accolade 'well done.'" Pforzheimer comments that "details sometimes make this book heavy going," but "it is highly regarded by many historians and specialists in the field."


Bennett, Ralph. "The 'Vienna Alternative', 1944: Reality or Illusion." Intelligence and National Security 3, no. 2 (Apr. 1988): 251-271.


Bennett, Ralph. "World War II Intelligence: The Last 10 Years' Work Reviewed." Defense Analysis 3, no. 2 (Jun. 1987): 103-117.


Bennett, Ralph, Sir William Deakin, Sir David Hunt, and Sir Peter Wilkinson. "Mihailovic and Tito." Intelligence and National Security 10, no. 3 (Jul. 1995): 527-529.

In essence, this statement argues that the switch of support from Mihailovic to Tito was the result of intelligence, including Ultra decrypts, showing that Tito was doing more to fight the Germans.

[UK/WWII/Services/SOE; WWII/OSS/Balkans/Yugo]

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