Lectures on Land Warfare; A tactical Manual for the Use of Infantry Officers
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Transcriber's note:

There is no author cited on the book's title page; however, the book's spine shows "A Field Officer"

Page numbers in this book are indicated by numbers enclosed in curly braces, e.g. {99}. They have been located where page breaks occurred in the original book. For its Index, a page number has been placed only at the start of that section.

Footnotes have been renumbered sequentially and moved to the end of their respective chapters. The book's Index has a number of references to footnotes, e.g. the "(note)" entry under "Boer War." In such cases, check the referenced page to see which footnote(s) are relevant.



An examination of the Principles which underlie the Art of Warfare, with illustrations of the Principles by examples taken from Military History, from the Battle of Thermopylae B.C. 480, to the Battle of the Sambre November 1-11, 1918

London William Clowes and Sons, Ltd. 94 Jermyn Street, S.W.1 1922

First printed March, 1922



The Lectures in this volume are based upon the official Text-books issued by the Imperial General Staff and upon the works of recognised authorities on the Art of Warfare.

The aim of the Author is to examine the Principles which underlie the Art of Warfare, and to provide illustrations from Military History of the successes which have attended knowledge and intelligent application of Text-book Principles, and of the disasters which have accompanied ignorance or neglect of the teaching provided by the Text-books. The "dry bones" of the official publications are clothed with materials which may be supplemented at will by the student of Military History, and the Lectures may thus, it is hoped, be of assistance to Infantry Officers, either in the course of their own studies, or as a convenient groundwork upon which the instruction of others may be based.

The scope of the work may be gathered from the Table of Contents and from the Index, and it will be seen that the general Principles underlying the Art of Warfare are included in the scheme, while advantage has been taken of the revision of the official Text-books to incorporate in the Lectures the lessons gained from the experience of leaders in the Great War.

Upwards of 230 citations are made of "Battle incidents," and, as an example of the Author's methods, attention may perhaps be directed to the reinforcement of the Text-book Principle of co-operation and mutual support by the citation of an instance, on the grand {viii} scale, by Army Corps (during the First Battle of the Marne), and on the minor scale, by tanks, bombers, aircraft, and riflemen (during the First Battle of the Somme); to the successful application of established Principles by the Advanced Guard Commander at Nachod, and to the neglect of those Principles by "Jeb" Stuart at Evelington Heights, and by the Prussian Advanced Guard Commanders in 1870; and to the value of Musketry Training by instancing the successes achieved at the Heights of Abraham, at Bunker Hill, Coruna, and at Fredericksburg, which were repeated during the Retreat from Mons and at the Second Battle of the Somme.

While every effort has been made to achieve accuracy in citation, and to avoid ambiguity or error in the enunciation of Principles, the Author will be very grateful if his readers will notify to him (at the address of the Publishers) any inaccuracies or omissions which may come under their notice.

LONDON, March, 1922.




CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF BATTLES CITED . . . . . . . . . . . . . xv-xvii

PUBLICATIONS CITED IN THE LECTURES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xix

THE ART OF WARFARE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-5

Principles of War—Popular fallacies—Authorities quoted in support of Fixed Principles (Gen. B. Taylor, C. S. Army; Marshal Foch; Marshal Haig)—Necessity for Study (Gen. Sir E. B. Hamley; Marshal French; Marshal Foch; Napoleon)—"Common Sense" (Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis; General Grant)—"Higher Ranks" Fallacy (Col. Henderson; Gen. Sir E. B. Hamley)—Necessity for Study proved (Col. Henderson).

STRATEGY AND TACTICS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-23

Definitions—Theatre of Operations the Kingdom of Strategy; Field of Battle the Province of Tactics—Tactics subservient to Strategy (Lord Roberts's Advance; First Battle of Somme; First Battle of Cambrai; Gen. Lew Wallace at the Monocacy; Marshal Grouchy at Wavre)—Moral—Idiosyncracies of leaders (Napoleon at Austerlitz; Wellington at Sauroren; Lee and Jackson versus Abraham Lincoln)—National Moral (Foch, quoted)—Discipline and Mobility (Battle of Hastings)—Marching Power (Stonewall Jackson)—Time—Weather—Health—Human Nature (Fabius and Roman people; McClellan and his Government; Thomas at Nashville; Roberts in South Africa)—The Spirit of France ("Nous sommes trahis" of 1870 and cheers of the poilus in 1917)—Great Britain—America—Lord Roberts's previous warning ("Germany strikes when Germany's hour has struck")—Col. Henderson on moral of British and American troops—"The Contemptible Little Army"—The New Armies (Tribute from Marshal Haig endorsed by Marshal Foch)—Changes in Methods of Warfare—Value of official Text-books.

THE BATTLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24-32

The Battle is the "only argument" of War—Characteristics of the Battle (Issue uncertain; Human factor; Value of Reserves; Superiority at point of Attack)—Lee's "partial attacks" at Malvern Hill of no avail—Phases of the Battle—Information and the Initiative (Salamanca; First Battle of the Marne; Battle of Baccarat)—Development of the Battle (Surprise; "Like a bolt from the blue" as at Chancellorsville or First Battle of Cambrai; Marshal Foch on value of Surprise)—The Decisive Blow—Arbela.


HOW BATTLES ARE INFLUENCED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33-44

Commander's influence by his Orders and by his employment of Reserves—Subordinates must "bring to fruit the scheme of the higher command"—The "fog of battle"—Information—Co-operation (on grand scale at First Battle of the Marne; on minor scale at Gneudecourt)—Fire Tactics—Value of withholding fire (Heights of Abraham; Bunker Hill; Fredericksburg; Retreat from Mons)—Enfilade and Reverse Fire (The Bluff in Ypres Salient)—Movement—Advancing under Fire—Withdrawing under Fire in "Delaying Action"—Holding on (Untimely surrender at Soissons; Stubborn defence at First and Second Battles of Ypres; Trones Wood; Bourlon Village; Polygon Wood; Givenchy)—Covering Fire—Fire and Movement inseparably associated.

TYPES OF BATTLE ACTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45-50

Three distinct systems—The Defensive Battle seldom effects positive results (Gettysburg; Fredericksburg)—The Offensive Battle (Marlborough; Frederick the Great; Napoleon; Wellington; Grant; Franco-Prussian War; Battle of Blenheim described)—The Defensive-Offensive Battle (Marengo; Austerlitz; Dresden; Vittoria; Orthez; Toulouse; Waterloo; Final Battles of the Great War; Battle of Waterloo described)—Opportunities for "restoring" the battle (Antietam)—Chancellorsville a great Defensive-Offensive Battle—Passing from the "guard" to the "thrust" (Second Battle of the Marne).

THE ATTACK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51-69

Culminating point of all manoeuvres—Quick decision required or "Position Warfare" will supervene—Second Battle of the Somme—Methods of Attack—Two plans—Decisive blow on pre-determined spot or in direction ascertained by fighting—Strength of the Attack—Disposition of the Troops—Forward Body, Supports and Local Reserves—General Reserve—The Commander's Plans—The Position of Assembly (Banks's single column defeated by Forrest in Red River Valley)—The Attacking Force (St. Privat; Plevna)—The Decisive Attack—Advantages and Disadvantages of Frontal and Flank Attacks—Decisive Attack must be followed up (Gettysburg; Chattanooga)—Detailing the Units—Artillery in Attack (Verneville; Colenso; mobility and protection of modern Artillery)—Cavalry in Attack (Appomattox and Paardeberg; Ramadie; Bagdadieh; Gaines's Mill; Gettysburg; First Battle of Cambrai; Battle of Amiens; Second Battle of Le Cateau; Archangel Front; Battle of the Sambre)—Royal Engineers—Medical Arrangements—Supply—Commander's Position—Battle Reports—Reorganisation and Pursuit ("Success must be followed up until the enemy's power is ruined.")

FORMATION OF INFANTRY FOR THE ATTACK . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70-75

The Platoon (Square and Diamond Formations; Ground Scouts; Flank Scouts; Behind a Barrage)—The Platoon Commander ("Appreciating the situation")—The Company—The Company Commander—The Battalion—The Battalion Commander (Personal examples; Monchy le Preux; Battle of Cambrai; Second Battle of the Somme).


DEFENSIVE ACTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76-97

Counter-attack the soul of Defence—Reasons for adopting defensive attitude (Chancellorsville)—Defensive-Offensive Battles (Marengo, Austerlitz, and Waterloo)—Obligatory Defensive—(Nachod; Thermopylae; Horatius Codes; Second Battle of the Somme; Rorke's Drift; Le Quesnoy)—Voluntary occupation for future use (Salamanca; Soissons; Hal and Tubize)—Delaying Action—The Offensive Spirit—Defence in Modern Warfare—Inventions have strengthened the Defence (Quotations from Marshals Foch and French and from "F. S. R.")—Position Warfare and its characteristics—Entrenchments (Torres Vedras)—Defensive Systems—Choosing a position (Framework of artillery and machine guns filled in with defensive posts manned by Infantry)—The Outpost Zone—The Battle Position—The "Semi-Permanent" System—Pill-boxes and Concrete Forts—Common characteristics of Defensive Action—The Active Defence—Position must suit plans—Must not be too extensive or too narrow (Conde-Mons-Binche Line; Retreat from Mons; Ypres)—Field of Fire—Flanks—Cover—Artillery positions—Depth—Lateral Communications—Lines of Withdrawal—Changes of Base (Retreat from Mons; Seven Days' Battle; Campaign in the Wilderness)—Luring victorious enemy away from battlefield (Grouchy at Wavre)—Line for Decisive Counter-Attack (Ramillies; Belgians behind River Gette)—Dividing the Troops—Troops to hold the Position—Role of Local Reserves (Talavera; Fredericksburg)—General Reserve for Decisive Counter-Attack (Spottsylvania)—Artillery positions—Division into Sectors—Position of General Reserve (Second Battle of the Somme)—Position and Action of the Cavalry (Rolica, Chancellorsville; Gettysburg; Sadowa; Rezonville; Balaclava; First Battle of Le Cateau; Retreat from Mons; Cugny; No German Cavalry available in Second Battle of the Somme to counteract defensive action of British squadrons)—Rallying Place—Reorganisation and Pursuit after Decisive Counter-attack.

PROTECTION AND RECONNAISSANCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98-101

Marshal Foch on "Surprise"—Detachments provided to protect Main Body—Close connection between Protection and Reconnaissance—Radius of Reconnoitre increased by Aircraft—Position Warfare (Air Photographs; Observation Posts; Patrols; Raiding Parties; Entrenchments; Box Respirators; Camouflage)—Manoeuvre Warfare (Protection from Aircraft; Advanced Guard; Flank Guard; Rear Guard; Outposts).

THE ADVANCED GUARD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102-113

"I never expected it" a disgraceful admission—Every moving force requires a Guard—Strength (Numbers employed depend upon size of force protected and tactical situation; Strategical Advanced Guard enables Tactical Advanced Guard to be reduced)—Distance—In Advances (Dash and resolution required but interests of Main Body paramount)—In Retreats—Training must be realistic—Tactical Principles (Vanguard for Reconnaissance; Main Guard for Resistance; Communication essential; Error at Sulphur Springs; Success at Fredericksburg and First Battle of the Marne; False tactics of Prussian Advanced Guards in 1870-1871; Excellent work at Nachod)—Advanced Guard Problems (seven examples, including "Jeb" Stuart at Evelington Heights).


FLANK ATTACKS AND FLANK GUARDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114-118

Vulnerability of Flanks and necessity for Guards—Who furnishes them—Tactics similar to those prescribed for Advanced Guards—Lines of Communications—Convoys—Raids on the Lines of Communications (Gen. Turner Ashby; "Jeb" Stuart; Stonewall Jackson's skill; Col. Madritov's Raid; Sannah's Post; Ramdam).

THE REAR GUARD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119-128

Nature of Rear Guard work—Strength—Composition— Distribution—Distance—Tactical Principles (Rear Party watches; Main Guard fights for Time; Sannah's Post)—Training—Eye for Ground (Napoleon; Gen. R. E. Lee)—Examples of Rear Guard Work (First Battle of Le Cateau and the Retreat from Mons; Second Battle of the Somme; Les Boeufs; Le Quesnoy; Rolica; Coruna; Value of Musketry; Bristow Station; J. V. Moreau).

OUTPOSTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129-140

Outposts prevent interference with plans and provide security by Observation and Resistance—Strength—Observation (Aircraft; Mobile Patrols; Outpost Companies)—Resistance (Infantry, Artillery, and Machine guns; Sentry Groups, Piquets, Supports, and Reserves)—Distance (Effective fire of various arms the controlling factor)—Outpost Commander—Information and Orders—The Outpost Line of Resistance—The Outpost Company (Piquets, Supports, Detached Posts, Reserves; the Piquet Commander; Patrols; Sentry Groups)—Day and Night Work—Disasters through neglect of Tactical Principles (Chateau of Chambord; Tweefontein)—Battle Outposts (Broenbeek; Fredericksburg).

TACTICAL RECONNAISSANCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141-143

Reconnaissance for Attack—Intelligence Officers—Reconnaissance by Raids—Position Warfare—Reconnaissance for Defence—Position Warfare.

NIGHT OPERATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144-154

Reason for Operations by Night (Secrecy; Frederick the Great's Coat)—Night Marches (Direction; Protection; Secrecy; Connection)—"Rules of Thumb"—Night Advances (Surprise; Direction; Position of Deployment; Connection)—Night Assaults (First Battle of the Somme; Serre Hill; Vimy Ridge; Messines-Wytschaete; Villers Bretonneux; Morlancourt; Spottsylvania)—Limitations of Night Assaults—Smoke and its advantages and disadvantages—Successful and unsuccessful Night Assaults (Rappahannock Station—Peiwar Kotal—Tel-el-Kebir; Stormberg; Magersfontein)—Position of Deployment—Distinguishing Badges, etc.—Watchword—Precautions against Checks—Secrecy—"Rules of Thumb."


FIGHTING IN CLOSE COUNTRY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155-163

Restrictions on view and on movement—Advantages for Attack against Defence—Savage Warfare (Isandhlwana; Rorke's Drift; Tofrik; Toski; Teutoberger Wald)—Civilised Warfare (Villages and Woods attract troops; Gravelotte; Spicheren; Worth; the Wilderness; Sedan; Defence of Bazeilles; Noisseville)—Attack on Woods (Tanks; Gauche; Villers Guislain; Messines)—Advancing from captured position—Defence of Woods—Fighting patrols—Attack on Villages (Tanks; Light Mortars)—Defence of Villages (Delaying Action; Providing a "funnel").

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE VARIOUS ARMS . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164-177

Close combination of all arms required—Infantry (Extent and limitations of mobility; the decisive arm in battle; the Rifle and Bayonet; the Lewis gun; Ranges of rifles and machine guns; Grenades; Hand Grenades; Rifle Grenades; Light Mortars; Machine guns)—Mounted Troops (Cavalry; Mounted Rifles; Cyclists)—Artillery—Light Artillery (Pack Guns; Pack Howitzers; Horse Artillery: Field Guns; Field Howitzers)—Light Guns against Aircraft and Tanks—Medium Artillery—(Medium Guns; Medium Howitzers)—Heavy Artillery (Heavy Guns; Heavy Howitzers)—Super-Heavy Artillery (Super-Heavy Guns; Super-Heavy Howitzers)—Table of Artillery Ranges—Mortars and Light Mortars—Royal Engineers—Tanks—Aircraft (Aeroplanes; Kite Balloons)—Gas—Smoke.

OPERATION ORDERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178-179

Orders should be written when possible—Should be "fool proof"—Ambiguity to be avoided—The enemy are . . . My intention is . . . You will—Initiative not to be hampered.

INDEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181-189




Defence of Sublician Bridge (Legendary) 77 Pass of Thermopylae (B.C. 480) 77 Battle of Arbela (B.C. 331) 32 ——— Cannae (B.C. 216) 14 Defeat of Varus by Arminius (A.D. 9) 156-157 Battle of Stamford Bridge (Sept. 25, 1066) 12 ——— Hastings (Oct. 14, 1066) 11-12 ——— Blenheim (Aug. 2, 1704) 46-47 ——— Ramillies (May 23, 1706) 46, 91 ——— Malplaquet (Sept. 11, 1709) 46 ——— Leuthen (Dec. 5, 1757) 46 Heights of Abraham (Sept. 13, 1759) 38 Battle of Bunker Hill (June 17, 1775) 38 ——— Ettlingen (July 9-10, 1796) 128 ——— Marengo (June 14, 1800) 47, 76 ——— Hohenlinden (Dec. 3, 1800) 128 ——— Austerlitz (Dec. 2, 1805) 9-10, 47, 76, 125 ——— Jena (Oct. 14, 1806) 125 ——— Rolica (Aug. 17, 1808) 95, 127 ——— Coruna (Jan. 16, 1809) 127-128 ——— Talavera (July 27-28, 1809) 92 Lines of Torres Vedras (Oct.-Nov. 1810) 82-83 Battle of Salamanca (July 22, 1812) 27, 78 ——— Vittoria (June 21, 1813) 47 ——— Sauroren (July 28, 1813) 10 ——— Dresden (Aug. 26-27, 1813) 47, 89 ——— Orthez (Feb. 27, 1814) 47 Defence of Soissons (March 3, 1814) 41, 78 Battle of Toulouse (April 10, 1814) 47 ——- Quatre Bras (June 16, 1815) 48 ——— Ligny (June 16, 1815) 8, 47, 90-91 ——— Waterloo (June 18, 1815) 8, 47-48, 76, 79 ——— Wavre (June 18-19, 1815) 8, 91 ——— Balaclava (Oct. 26, 1854) 96 Shenandoah Valley Campaign (1862) 3, 4, 12, 117 Battle of McDowell (May 8, 1862) 12 ——— Cross Keys (June 6, 1862) 117 Seven Days' Battle (June-July, 1862) 14, 90 Battle of Gaines's Mill (June 27, 1862) 14, 65 ——— Malvern Hill (July 1-3, 1862) 15, 25-26, 65, 112, 117


Battle of Evelington Heights (July 3, 1862) 112-113 ——— Bull Run (2) (Aug. 28, 1862) 12 ——— Antietam (Sept. 17, 1862) 14, 15, 48 ——— Fredericksburg (Nov. 15, 1862) 14, 22, 38, 46, 92, 108, 139-140 ——— Chancellorsville (May 2-3, 1863) 12, 30, 48, 76, 95, 117 ——— Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863) 15, 45, 61, 95-96, 117 ——— Sulphur Springs (Oct. 12, 1863) 108 ——— Bristow Station (Oct. 14, 1863) 128 ——— Rappahannock Station (Nov. 7, 1863) 151 ——— Chattanooga (Nov. 25, 1863) 61-62 ——— Pleasant Hill (April, 1864) 59 ——— The Wilderness (May 12, 1864) 90, 93, 97, 117, 125-126, 149-150, 158 ——— Monocacy (July 8, 1864) 7 ——— Nashville (Dec. 15-16, 1864) 15 ——— Appomattox (April 9, 1865) 15, 64 ——— Nachod (June 27, 1866) 18, 77, 110 ——— Sadowa (July 3, 1866) 96 ——— Spicheren (Aug. 6, 1870) 108-109, 158 ——— Worth (Aug. 6, 1870) 109, 158, 159 ——— Colombey (Aug. 14, 1870) 109-110 ——— Rezonville (Aug. 16, 1870) 96 ——— Gravelotte (Aug. 18, 1870) 158 ——— Verneville (Aug. 18, 1870) 63 ——— St. Privat (Aug. 18, 1870) 60 ——— Noisseville (Aug. 31, 1870) 159 ——— Sedan (Sept. 1, 1870) 16, 159 ——— Metz (Oct. 27, 1870) 16 ——— Chambord (Dec. 9, 1870) 138 ——— Plevna (Dec. 10, 1877) 60 ——— Peiwar Kotal (Dec. 2, 1878) 151 ——— Isandhlwana (Jan. 22, 1879) 78, 156 ——— Rorke's Drift (Jan. 22, 1879) 77-78, 156 ——— Tel-el-Kebir (Sept. 13, 1882) 153-154 ——— Tofrik (March 22, 1885) 156 ——— Toski (Aug. 3, 1889) 156 ——— Adowa (Feb. 26, 1896) 22 ——— Stormberg (Dec. 10, 1899) 152 ——— Magersfontein (Dec. 10-11, 1899) 152 ——— Colenso (Dec. 15, 1899) 63 ——— Ramdam (Feb. 13, 1900) 118 ——— Paardeberg (Feb. 27, 1900) 16, 64 ——— Sannah's Post (March 31, 1900) 118, 124 ——— Tweefontein (Dec. 24, 1901) 138 ——— The Yalu (May 1, 1904) 117-118

The Great War

Battle of Le Gateau (Aug. 1914) 126 ——— River Gette (Aug. 1914) 91 Conde-Mons-Binche (Aug. 22-23, 1914) 87 Battle of Charleroi (Aug. 23, 1914) 88 ——— Baccarat (Aug. 25, 1914) 28 Retreat from Mons (Aug. 1914) 19, 38, 87-88, 90, 96, 127, 165


First Battle of the Marne (Sept. 1914) 27-29, 36-37, 52, 108 First Battle of Ypres (Oct. 20-Nov. 20, 1914) 19, 20, 41-42, 88 Second Battle of Ypres (April 22-May 18, 1915) 20, 42, 176 Defence of Verdun (Feb.-Aug. 1916) 7, 16 Battle of Ypres Salient (March 2, 1916) 39 First Battle of the Somme (July 1-Nov. 18, 1916) 7, 13, 22, 37, 42, 53, 148, 171, 175, 176-177 Battle of Serre Hill (Feb. 10-11, 1917) 148-149 ——— Messines (June 7, 1917) 20, 149, 160 Chemin des Dames (April-July, 1917) 16 Battle of Vimy (April 9, 1917) 149 ——— Arras (April 9-June 7, 1917) 170 Monchy le Preux (April 14, 1917) 75 Third Battle of Ypres (Sept. 26, 1917) 42-43, 139 Battle of Broenbeek (Oct. 9, 1917) 139 First Battle of Cambrai (Nov. 20, 1917) 7, 30, 42, 66, 75, 160 The Piave Line (Italy) (Nov. 25, 1917) 7 Second Battle of the Somme (March 21-April 11, 1918) 20, 34, 43, 52-53, 56, 66, 75, 77, 78, 95, 96, 126-127, 174 Battle of Villers-Bretonneux (April 24-25, 1918) 149 ——— Morlancourt (June 10, 1918) 149 Second Battle of the Marne (July 18, 1918) 49 Battle of Amiens (Aug. 8-13, 1918) 21, 66 ——— Bapaume (Aug. 21-Sept. 1, 1918) 21 ——— Havrincourt and Epehy (Sept. 12-18, 1918) 21 Second Battle of Cambrai (Sept. 27-Oct. 5, 1918) 21, 170 Battle of Flanders (Sept. 28-Oct. 14, 1918) 21 Second Battle of Le Cateau (Oct. 6-12, 1918) 21, 66, 96 Battle of the Selle (Oct. 17-25, 1918) 21 ——— Sambre (Nov. 1-11, 1918) 21, 65, 67 Armistice Day (Nov. 11, 1918) 65, 169


Battle of Ramadie (Sept. 27-29, 1917) 64 ——— Bagdadieh (March 26, 1918) 64-65

North Russia

Archangel Province (Aug.-Sept. 1918) 66-67



"Field Service Regulations," Parts I. and II.

"Infantry Training," Parts I. and II.

CLERY, Major-General Sir C. F., K.C.B.: "Minor Tactics."

CREASY, Sir Edward: "Fifteen Decisive Battles at the World."

FOCH, Marechal Ferdinand: "Principles of War."

FRENCH OF YPRES, Field-Marshal Earl, K.P.: "1914."

GRANT, General Ulysses S., United States Army: "Memoirs."

HAIG OF BEMERSYDE, Field-Marshal Earl, K.T.: "Sir D. Haig's Dispatches."

HAKING, Lieut.-General Sir R. C. B., G.B.E.: "Staff Bides, etc."

HAMLEY, General Sir E. B., K.C.B.: "Operations of War."

HENDERSON, Colonel G. F. R., C.B.: "Stonewall Jackson." "The Science of War."

NAPIER, Sir William Francis Patrick, K.C.B.; "History of the Peninsular War."


SWINTON, Major-General E. D., C.B.: "The Green Curve."

TAYLOR, General R., Confederate States Army: "Destruction and Reconstruction."




"The Art of War, like every other art, possesses its theory, its principles; otherwise, it would not be an art."—MARSHAL FOCH.

The Art of War, like any other art, is based upon certain fixed principles, and there is no short cut which hurries the student to his goal. The long and laborious line of study is the only safe way, and there are many pitfalls to be avoided on the road. One of these pitfalls is dug by those who maintain, whenever a new war breaks out, that all previous warlike knowledge must be thrown on the scrap-heap and attention paid only to the problems of the hour. Another is the alluring trap that Warfare is "merely a matter of common sense"; and a third is the oft-expressed idea that knowledge is required of the General, and that compliance with orders is sufficient for the Subaltern Officer.

KNOWLEDGE OF PRINCIPLES ESSENTIAL.—With regard to the first of these difficulties, the opinions of recognised authorities on the Art of Warfare may be consulted. "The cardinal principles on which the art of war is based are few and unchangeable, resembling in this the code of morality; but their application varies with the theatre of the war, the genius and temper of the people engaged, and the kind of arms employed" (General R. Taylor, C.S. Army). "Although the manifold inventions of modern times have given to warfare {2} a wider scope and fresh materials, it remains obedient to the same laws as in the past; but it applies these laws with means more numerous, more powerful, and more delicate" (Marshal Foch). "This war has given us no new principles; but different mechanical appliances—and in particular the rapid improvement and multiplication of aeroplanes, the use of immense numbers of machine guns and Lewis guns, the employment of vast quantities of barbed wire as effective obstacles, the enormous expansion of artillery, and the provision of great masses of motor transport—have introduced new problems of considerable complexity concerning the effective co-operation of the different arms and services. Much thought has had to be bestowed upon determining how new devices could be combined in the best manner with the machinery already working" (Marshal Haig).

The laws of war are not in themselves difficult to understand, but their successful application on the field of battle requires that they should be carefully studied and considered in all their aspects. "The mind can only be trained to this by close study of campaigns, and by the solution of definite problems on maps and on the ground" (General Sir E. B. Hamley). "A lifelong experience of military study and thought has taught me that the principle of the tactical employment of troops must be instinctive. I know that in putting the Science of War into practice it is necessary that its main tenets should form, so to speak, part of one's flesh and blood. In war there is little time to think, and the right thing to do must come like a flash—it must present itself to the mind as perfectly obvious" (Marshal French). The same idea is expressed by the Generalissimo of the largest victorious force that was ever controlled by one mind. "Generally speaking, grave situations partially obscure even a bright intellect. It is therefore with a fully equipped mind that one ought to start in order to make war or even to understand {3} war. No study is possible on the battlefield; one does there simply what one can in order to apply what one knows. In order to do even a little one has to know a great deal, and to know it well. . . . The right solution imposes itself; namely, the application, according to circumstances, of fixed principles. . . . Incapacity and ignorance cannot be called extenuating circumstances, for knowledge is within the reach of all" (Marshal Foch); and in the words of Napoleon's own maxim: "The only way to learn the art of war is to read and re-read the campaigns of the great captains."

THE "COMMON-SENSE" FALLACY.—The fallacy that warfare is "merely a matter of common sense" has been exposed by Colonel G. F. R. Henderson, in his contrast of the conduct of the American Civil War of 1861-1865, when it was controlled by President Lincoln and his Cabinet in Washington, and when it was handed over without reserve to a professional soldier in the field (General Grant). Few mortals have possessed "common sense" in greater abundance than Abraham Lincoln, and yet he permitted interference with his generals' plans, which were frequently brought to nought by such interference, and but for a like hindrance of the Confederate generals by Jefferson Davis this well-intentioned "common sense" would have been even more disastrous. "Men who, aware of their ignorance, would probably have shrunk from assuming charge of a squad of infantry in action had no hesitation whatever in attempting to direct a mighty army" (Henderson, "Stonewall Jackson").

In June, 1863, the Confederate Armies were scattered from Strasburg (in the Valley) to Fredericksburg (in Spottsylvania); General Hooker, commanding the Army of the Potomac in the field, begged to be allowed to attack Lee's Corps in detail. Success was certain, but permission was refused. The one and only idea of the Federal Government was to keep the Army of the Potomac between Lee and the Federal Capital.


THE "HIGHER RANKS" FALLACY.—The same writer has also protested vehemently against the idea that the practice of strategy in the field is confined to the higher ranks. "Every officer in charge of a detached force or flying column, every officer who for the time being has to act independently, every officer in charge of a patrol, is constantly brought face to face with strategical considerations; and success or failure, even where the force is insignificant, will depend upon his familiarity with strategical principles" ("The Science of War"). In the same way, General Sir E. B. Hamley, in "The Operations of War Explained," points out that a commander who cannot look beyond the local situation is not competent to command a detachment, however small. In addition, it must be remembered that superior knowledge of the art of war, thorough acquaintance with duty, and large experience, seldom fail to command submission and respect. Troops fight with marked success when they feel that their leader "knows his job," and in every Army troops are the critics of their leaders. The achievements of Jackson's forces in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862 were almost superhuman, but under Stonewall Jackson the apparently impossible tasks were undertaken and achieved. General Ewell, one of Jackson's commanders, stated that he shivered whenever one of Stonewall's couriers approached him. "I was always expecting him to order me to assault the North Pole! But, if he had ordered, we should have done it!"

THE NECESSITY FOR STUDY.—It is not pretended by any sane writer that study alone will make a perfect officer, for it is universally recognised that no amount of theoretical training can supply the knowledge gained by direct and immediate association with troops in the field; nor is it claimed that study will make a dull man brilliant, or confer resolution and rapid decision on one who is timid and irresolute by nature. But "the quick, {5} the resolute, the daring, deciding and acting rapidly, as is their nature, will be all the more likely to decide and act correctly in proportion as they have studied the art they are called upon to practise" ("The Science of War"). Theory, applied to the profession of arms, is to some a word of most obnoxious sound, but it is obnoxious only to those who refuse to listen to the advice, or to take warning from the practice, of Napoleon, of Wellington, of Foch, and of many of the most famous generals of history. "A man thoroughly penetrated with the spirit of Napoleon's warfare would hardly fail in all circumstances to make his enemy's communications his first objective; and if Wellington's tactical methods had become a second nature to him it would be strange indeed if he were seduced into delivering a purely frontal attack. . . . The same tactical principles regulate the combat of a large force and a small, and it is the thorough grasp of the principles, combined with courage and coolness, that makes a capable leader, whether of a platoon or an army corps" ("The Science of War").



DEFINITIONS.—Strategy and Tactics have often been treated by non-military writers as if they were independent branches of the soldier's profession, but while they may indeed be separately defined it will be found in practice that they cannot be separately considered. The theatre of operations is the kingdom of Strategy, the province of Tactics is the field of battle, but when the battlefield is reached it so far transcends in importance every other point in the theatre of operations that no tactical end is worth aiming at in preference to striking with all available strength at the field force of the enemy, and this, it will be seen, is the goal of all strategical combinations. "Strategy must ever be striving for Tactical success; Tactics must ever keep in mind the Strategical situation and must constantly aim at creating fresh Strategical opportunities. Tactics without Strategy resembles a man without legs; Strategy without Tactics is like a man without arms" (General Sir E. B. Hamley). "To seek out the enemy's armies—the centre of the adversary's power—in order to beat and destroy them; to adopt, with this sole end in view, the direction and tactics which will lead to it in the quickest and safest way: such is the whole mental attitude of modern war. No Strategy can henceforth prevail over that which aims at ensuring Tactical results, victory by fighting" (Marshal Foch).

Local successes on the field of battle often have effects that are felt throughout the theatre of operations. Lord Roberts's advance on Pretoria relieved the pressure on Kimberley in the west and on Ladysmith in the east, and these centres are upwards of 300 miles apart. The {7} First Battle of the Somme (July 1, 1916) not only relieved the pressure on Verdun but held in position large enemy forces which would otherwise have been employed against our Allies in the East. General Byng's surprise attack at Cambrai (November 20, 1917) was followed by a determined counter-attack by the Germans on November 30, which appeared to nullify the results achieved from November 20 to 25; but "there is evidence that German divisions intended for the Italian theatre were diverted to the Cambrai front, and it is probable that the further concentration of German forces against Italy was suspended for at least two weeks at a most critical period, when our Allies were making their first stand on the Piave Line" (Sir D. Haig's Dispatches).

A tactical defeat may sometimes be risked to serve a strategic end. In June, 1864, General Hunter was operating with a Federal army in the Shenandoah Valley, and owing to shortage of supplies was forced to fall back. In so doing he uncovered the National Capital, and General Early was sent by the Confederate Commander-in-Chief to capture Washington. General Grant took immediate steps to protect the capital by the dispatch of troops, and to further this end, General Lew Wallace,[1] on his own initiative, confronted Early's corps at the Monocacy on July 8, 1864. He met the enemy and was defeated, but he delayed Early's corps until the troops sent by Grant were in position. "If Early had been but one day earlier he might have entered the capital before the arrival of the reinforcements I had sent. General Wallace contributed on this occasion, by the defeat of the troops under him, a greater benefit to the cause than often falls to the lot of a commander of an equal force to render by means of a victory" (Grant's "Memoirs"). A tactical success may be not only useless, but actually inopportune, if it is out of accord with the plans of the higher command. On the morning of June 18, 1815, Marshal Grouchy was in {8} pursuit of the Prussians whom Napoleon had defeated on June 16 at Ligny. Although urged "to march to the sound of the cannon" (at Waterloo), Grouchy pushed on eastwards, where he found Thielmann's Prussian Corps of 16,000 men holding the passage across the Dyle at Wavre. The Battle of Wavre was begun at 4 p.m. on June 18, and by 11 a.m. on the next day Grouchy was victorious. But his victory was barren. His tactical achievement was useless to the higher command and had exposed his own force to considerable danger. As he sat down to pen a vainglorious dispatch to the Emperor, he received the news that Napoleon was a fugitive and the Imperial Army defeated and scattered. Grouchy's feeble and false manoeuvres had permitted Bluecher to join forces with Wellington. To the Emperor's dismay it was the Prussians who came from the eastward to the sound of the cannon: "C'est les Prussiens qui viennent!"

MORAL.—It is seen that Strategy may be defined as the art of concentrating troops at the required strength, at the required time, at the required place, for the purpose of overthrowing the enemy's main armies; while Tactics may be defined as the art of arranging and handling troops so concentrated for the purpose of defeating the enemy when encountered. But although Strategy may be considered as the art of bringing an opponent to battle, and Tactics as the art of defeating him in action, there are excluded from these definitions many considerations which influence a commander in the field.

The art of war does not commence with a strategical reconnaissance from the air, or the saddle, to ascertain whether, and if so in what locality and in what strength, hostile troops are being concentrated. From information so obtained, the physical force of an enemy may indeed be determined; but "in war (said Napoleon) moral force is to the physical (that is, to numbers and {9} armament) as three to one," and upwards of a hundred years later the same idea has again been expressed. "To understand war you must go beyond its instruments and materials; you must study in the book of history, conscientiously analysed, armies, troops in movement and in action, with their needs, their passions, their devotions, their capacities of all kinds. That is the essence of the subject, that is the point of departure for a reasonable study of the art of war" (Marshal Foch). And while dealing with moral force it must be remembered that the moral force of opposing leaders of nations or of armies is at least as important as that of the nations or armies themselves, for a war is a struggle between human intelligences rather than between masses of men. "There have been soldiers' battles but never a soldiers' campaign" ("The Science of War"). "It was not the Roman legions which conquered Gaul, it was Caesar. It was not the French Army which reached the Weser and the Inn, it was Turenne" (Napoleon). A commander must, therefore, take into account the character, the moral fibre, as well as the ability and the means at the disposal of his adversary. He must project his mind to his adversary's council chamber, and putting himself in his place must conjecture how a man of that character and of that ability will act under the given circumstances.

History supplies many examples of mental activity of this kind.[2] Napoleon predicted the impetuous onset of the Russian left wing against his right at Austerlitz, Dec. 2, 1805, because he knew the temperament of the Tsar Alexander. At Austerlitz, the most brilliant of all his battles, Napoleon had 70,000 troops and was confronted by 80,000 Austrians and Russians drawn up on the Heights of Pratzen. His plan was to draw the weight of the Russian attack against his right—which was so disposed as to invite the headstrong and {10} self-confident Tsar "to administer a lesson in generalship to Napoleon"—and then to launch a superior attack against the Heights, which contained a village and a knoll, the key to the position; and finally to hurl his General Reserve in a decisive counter-attack on the Russians when they were involved in battle with his right wing. When the rattle of musketry and booming of the guns showed that his right was engaged, Napoleon launched Murat, Bernadotte, and Soult against the allied centre; when Soult was master of the village and the knoll, and as the broken remnants of the enemy's centre were streaming down the reverse slopes of the Pratzen Ridge, the French centre wheeled round to the right and threw itself upon the flank and rear of the Russians, who were still heavily engaged in their original attack. These operations were completely successful and over 40,000 of the opposing armies were accounted for. Wellington defeated Soult at Sauroren in the Pyrenees (July 28, 1813) by taking advantage of a minor incident. He had ridden forward to see the disposition of the French forces, and as his men cheered him all along the line, he turned to his staff and said, "Soult is a very cautious commander. He will delay his attack to find out what those cheers mean; that will give time for the Sixth Division to arrive and I shall beat him"—and the event turned out exactly as he had predicted. Generals R. E. Lee and T. J. Jackson frequently played upon the nervousness of President Lincoln for the safety of Washington, and by threatening to cross the Potomac induced him to withdraw troops that were advancing against Richmond.

NATIONAL MORAL.—The moral fibre of the nation and of the troops must also be taken into consideration. "The common theory that, in order to win, an army must have superiority of rifles and cannon, better bases, more wisely chosen positions, is radically false. For it leaves out of account the most important part of the {11} problem, that which animates it and makes it live, man—with his moral, intellectual, and physical qualities" (Marshal Foch).

DISCIPLINE AND MORALITY.—The discipline, courage, and endurance of the troops, as well as the cause for which they are fighting, are at least of equal importance to their armament and numbers. "If their discipline and leading be defective, Providence seldom sides with the big battalions . . . and troops that cannot march are untrustworthy auxiliaries" ("The Science of War"). "An army which cannot march well is almost certain to be outmanoeuvred. A general whose strategy is based upon time calculations that are rendered inaccurate by the breakdown of the marching power of his troops runs grave risk of disaster. It is therefore necessary that the question of marching should be studied, not only by generals and staff officers, but by regimental officers and men. It is on the latter that the hardships and exertions fall, and their cheerful endurance can best be ensured by teaching them the great results attainable by an army which can move faster and further than its adversary, as well as the dangers incurred by an army which allows itself to be out-marched. . . . Superior mobility alone enabled Frederick the Great to move 'like a panther round an ox' so as to place his army across the enemy's flank. The discipline of his troops enabled him to apply the principles of combination" (General Sir E. B. Hamley). "Nothing compensates for absence of discipline; and the constant watchfulness that is necessary in war, even when danger seems remote, can only be secured by discipline, which makes of duty a habit" (General R. Taylor, C.S. Army). At the Battle of Hastings (Oct. 14, 1066) lack of discipline and disobedience of orders changed the fate of the English nation and brought about the Norman Conquest. Harold, the English king, had defeated the forces of Harold Hadraade, {12} King of Norway, at Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire (Sept. 25, 1066). Four days later, Duke William of Normandy landed in Pevensey Bay, with 60,000 horse and foot. Harold hastened south to meet him with troops exhausted by battle and marching. After halting six days in London to collect reinforcements, the English force entrenched itself on the hill of Sautlache and awaited attack. The Normans were unable to penetrate the abattis, but they gained the victory which changed the whole history of the English race by the stratagem of a feigned retreat. Harold's undisciplined auxiliaries, contrary to direct orders (which were obeyed by the "regular" troops in the centre), swarmed out of the palisades in pursuit of the fleeing Normans, who suddenly turned about and penetrated the English lines mingled with the discomfited auxiliaries. Had the "irregulars" shown the same sense of discipline as the "regulars" there had been no Norman Conquest.

With regard to marching, General T. J. Jackson once observed, in reply to an allusion to his severe marching, that "it is better to lose one man in marching than five in fighting." Acting on this principle he invariably surprised his enemy, the most notable instances being his surprise of Milroy at McDowell, of Banks and Fremont in the Valley, of McClellan's right at Gaines's Mill, of Pope at the Second Manassas, and his last and greatest of Hooker at Chancellorsville.

TIME.—Time is often a supreme factor in warfare, and the superior mobility of troops will gain for their commander a great strategical advantage. Reserves are of little value if they cannot be concentrated at the right spot at the right moment, and steamships, railways, and mechanical transport thus play an important part in war. The mobility of infantry is often the deciding factor in battle, and campaigns have been won by the legs of soldiers as much as by their arms.


WEATHER.—The weather is an important factor in war, and its influence appears to have increased in modern times. Mists and fogs militate against observation by aircraft, and poor visibility interferes with the work of artillery. Roads are broken up by the weight of modern traffic, and in a shelled area the craters become impassable after a few days rain, making the supply of food, stores and ammunition a serious problem. Such conditions multiply the difficulties of attack, as the ground of the encounter consists principally of hastily dug trenches which become running streams of mud; and they assist the defence, as the pursuit is delayed, while the ground behind the defending force is less liable to be churned up by shell fire. The bad weather of September, 1916, caused a delay in the Allied advance against Sailly-Saillesel and Le Transloy and made it necessary to abandon the plan at the moment when previous successes seemed to have brought it within the grasp of the commanders. As the season advanced and the bad weather continued the plans of the Allies had to be reduced, and the brilliant successes already achieved afforded some indication of what might have been accomplished had the weather permitted the plans to be carried out as originally intended.

HEALTH.—"Wars may be won or lost by the standard of health and moral of the opposing forces. Moral depends to a very large extent upon the feeding and general well-being of the troops. Badly supplied troops will invariably be low in moral, and an army ravaged by disease ceases to be a fighting force. The feeding and health of the fighting forces are dependent upon the rearward services, and so it may be argued that with the rearward services rests victory or defeat" (Marshal Haig).

HUMAN NATURE.—Human nature is affected by discipline, fear, hunger, confidence in or distrust of leaders, and by a variety of other influences, and human {14} nature is more important than armament and numbers. "No great deeds have ever been performed by an army in which the qualities of courage and steadfast endurance are wanting" (General Sir E. B. Hamley), and the steadfast endurance of a nation and of its leaders is also a factor of supreme importance. Time occupied in preparation for battle, or in manoeuvring for the "weather gauge," is seldom wasted; but it involves the risk of a weak-kneed executive yielding to popular clamour. Against the strategical and tactical genius of Hannibal, Quintus Fabius Maximus invoked the aid of time to afford him opportunities to strike. His "Fabian Tactics" have become proverbial, and earned for him at the time the opprobrious epithet "Cunctator," which the epigram[3] of Ennius has immortalised in his honour. Popular clamour led to a division of authority with Varro, and to the disaster of Cannae (B.C. 216). General G. B. McClellan was recalled from the Army of the Potomac on account of his failure to convert the drawn battle of the Antietam (Sept. 17, 1862) into a victory, and the army was handed over to General Burnside, who suffered defeat at Fredericksburg (Dec. 13, 1862) with terrible slaughter. "But the stout heart of the American nation quickly rallied, and inspired by the loyal determination of Abraham Lincoln the United States turned once more to their apparently hopeless task" (Colonel G. F. R. Henderson). McClellan's forte was organisation, and although at first slow in the field, he had assembled and trained a magnificent fighting force, with which he was "feeling his way to victory." He suffered defeat indeed at Gaines's Mill (June 27, 1862), the first act in the drama of the Seven Days' Battle around Richmond. Day after day he fell back through swamp and forest, battling with Lee's victorious troops. But there was no further disaster. Under the most adverse and dispiriting circumstances the Army of the Potomac fairly held their own until {15} they reached the impregnable position of Malvern Hill. There McClellan turned at bay and repulsed with heavy slaughter the disjointed attacks of the Army of Northern Virginia. He had withdrawn his army intact and had effected a change of base, unknown to the Confederate General Staff, from the York River to the James. This proved his strategic power, as did the dispositions at Malvern Hill (July 1, 1862) his tactical ability, and his work was accomplished in spite of the intrigues of politicians and the opposition of the executive, and in face of the military genius of Generals R. E. Lee and T. J. Jackson. At the Antietam he forced the Confederates to give battle, and although tactically indecisive, the engagement caused the withdrawal of Lee's army into Virginia. McClellan's successors were far less competent, and the magnificent Army of the Potomac met with frequent disasters, until it formed the solid nucleus of the forces of General Meade, which inflicted upon Lee his first defeat and saved the Union at Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863), and finally under Grant, in conjunction with the Armies of the West, crushed the life out of the Confederacy at Appomattox.

General G. H. Thomas, in command of the U.S. Army of the Cumberland, refused battle with the Confederates in Nashville until he had prepared cavalry and made every other arrangement for pursuit. Constancy of purpose was the salient feature of Thomas's military character. He would not fight until he was ready. The civil authorities urgently demanded that he should advance. So great was the tension that Grant finally sent General J. A. Logan to supersede Thomas; but before Logan arrived Thomas had won the Battle of Nashville (Dec. 15-16, 1864), the most crushing victory of the war.

Lord Roberts landed in Cape Town on Jan. 10, 1900, and popular expectation was degenerating into impatience when a co-ordinated advance of French's cavalry and the Sixth and Ninth Infantry Divisions {16} resulted in the relief of beleagured cities distant from the field of battle, and in the surrender on the field of Cronje's force at Paardeberg (Feb. 27, 1900), on the anniversary of Majuba.

THE SPIRIT OF FRANCE.—In all calculations on which a declaration of war is based the moral fibre of the actual and potential enemy nations is fully considered. It is difficult to imagine that the Headquarters Staff of the German and Austrian Armies failed to bring under review the moral of the nations against whom their armies were to be launched in July, 1914. The Spirit of France had shown no signs of deterioration, but was to be quelled by a rapid advance through neutral territories, to bring about a bewildered collapse, as in 1870, before the Russian mobilisation was complete, and "Nous sommes trahis" was again to be heard from the disheartened troops. But the calm determination of the commander and his generals in the dark days of August, 1914, prevented the bewildered collapse, and the Defence of Verdun from February to August, 1916, and the cheers of the poilus, as they recaptured the Chemin des Dames in April-July, 1917, replaced the capitulation of Sedan and of Metz and the "Nous sommes trahis" of 1870.

GREAT BRITAIN.—Britain was not expected to take an active part in the struggle, and if she did the affairs of Ireland, the Suffragette movement, and the general decadence of the nation would prevent a whole-hearted prosecution of the war. A small force only could be sent to Europe; it would be swallowed up in the "bewildered collapse," and no reinforcements could be spared. The extent of the miscalculation is shown in Mr. Lloyd George's speech in the House of Commons on July 3, 1919, in which the Prime Minister stated that the British Empire had put 7,700,000 men under arms, had raised 9,500,000,000 pounds in taxes and loans, and had suffered upwards of 8,000,000 casualties on land and {17} sea. It was also shown that during the last two years of the war the British armies had borne the brunt of the heaviest fighting on the Western Front in France and at the same time had destroyed the armed forces of the Turkish Empire in the East. The risk of compelling Britain to take part was undertaken, and the first great strategical blunder of the war was committed.

AMERICA.—In the third year of the War America had gradually been brought into the arena, and a further miscalculation arrayed the hundred millions of a free and united nation against the autocracies of Central Europe.

LORD ROBERTS.—Other brains than German had considered the possibility of an armed conflict in Europe. For many years Lord Roberts had advocated universal military service in the United Kingdom, as a procedure beneficial in itself, and imperative on account of the clear intentions of the Headquarters Staff of the German Army. "Germany strikes when Germany's hour has struck," was his warning note, and although apparently unheeded by the nation, his warning was not without effect upon the training of the Regular Army.

COLONEL HENDERSON.—Military writers in the United Kingdom had also considered the possibility of a conflict with the armed forces of Germany, and in all their treatises the moral of the nation was passed under review. Colonel G. F. R. Henderson, in "The Science of War," had even envisaged a struggle in which not only the troops of Britain and the Overseas Dominions but those of the United States would take part, and his estimate of the moral of the race on both sides of the Atlantic, and in both hemispheres, was fully justified by the events of the War. Colonel Henderson found in the race something more than toughness in its moral fibre, for he adds, "Tactical ability is the birthright of {18} our race. . . . In a conflict on the vastest scale (the American Civil War) the tactics of the American troops, at a very early period, were superior to those of the Prussians in 1866. In Strategy, controlled as it was on both sides by the civil governments and not by the military chiefs, grave errors were committed, but on the field of battle the racial instinct asserted itself. Nor were the larger tactical manoeuvres even of 1870 an improvement on those of the American campaigns. . . . But in 1878, Skobeleff, the first of European generals to master the problem of the offensive, knew the American War 'by heart,' and in his successful assaults on the Turkish redoubts he followed the plan of the American generals on both sides, when attempting to carry such positions; to follow up the assaulting columns with fresh troops, without waiting for the first column to be repulsed." After the Civil War, General Forrest, a cavalry leader of the Confederate States Army, was asked to what he attributed his success in so many actions. He replied: "Well, I reckon I got there first with the most men," thereby stating in a nutshell the key to the Art of War. "At Nachod, the Austrian commander had numbers on his side, yet he sent into action part only of his forces, and it was by numbers that he was beaten" (Marshal Foch). With regard to the moral of the race Colonel Henderson makes this emphatic statement: "In the last nine months of the American Civil War, time and again, according to all precedent, one side or the other ought to have been whipped, but it declined to be anything of the sort. The losses show this. This was due in no small measure to the quality which the troops on both sides inherited from the stock that furnished his infantry to the Duke of Wellington. Never to know when they were beaten was a characteristic of both North and South."

THE CONTEMPTIBLE LITTLE ARMY.—In place of the general decadence of the British race, upon which the German Staff appear to have relied, this characteristic {19} quality of endurance was exhibited by French's "Contemptible Little Army" during the Retreat from Mons in August, 1914, at the First Battle of Ypres (October 20, 1914), and at the Second Battle of Ypres (April 22, 1915). Of his "Contemptible Little Army" Marshal French writes in his book, "1914": "The British Army had indeed suffered severely, and had performed a herculean task in reaching its present position in such fighting form, and its moral had withstood the ordeal. I think the Germans were probably justified in doubting our offensive powers, but the thing they forgot was the nation from which we spring."

THE NEW ARMIES.—From 1915 to 1918 the New Armies, raised, equipped, and trained during the War, and representing the Empire in arms, displayed the same inherent quality, and disproved for ever the charge of decadence that had been brought against the British race. "That these troops should have accomplished so much under such conditions, and against an army and a nation whose chief concern for so many years had been preparation for war, constitutes a feat of which the history of our nation records no equal. . . . Troops from every part of the British Isles and from every Dominion and quarter of the Empire, whether Regulars, Territorials, or men of the New Armies, have borne a share in the battle. . . . Among all the long roll of victories borne on the colours of our regiments, there has never been a higher test of the endurance and resolution of our Infantry. They have shown themselves worthy of the highest traditions of our race, and of the proud records of former wars" (Sir D. Haig's Dispatch, December 23, 1916).

"Our new and hastily trained armies have shown once again that they are capable of meeting and beating the enemy's best troops, even under conditions which favoured his defence to a degree which it required the greatest endurance, determination, and heroism to {20} overcome" (Sir D. Haig's Dispatch, December 25, 1917). "It is no disparagement of the gallant deeds performed on other fronts to say that, in the stubborn struggle for the line of hills which stretches from Wytschaete to Passchendaele, the great armies that to-day are shouldering the burden of our Empire have shown themselves worthy of the regiments which, in October and November of 1914, made Ypres take rank for ever amongst the most glorious of British battles" (Sir D. Haig's Dispatch, December 25, 1917). "The British infantryman has always had the reputation of fighting his best in an uphill battle, and time and again in the history of our country, by sheer tenacity and determination of purpose, has won victory from a numerically superior foe. Thrown once more upon the defensive by circumstances over which he had no control, but which will not persist, he has shown himself to possess in full measure the traditional qualities of his race" (Sir D. Haig's Dispatch, July 20, 1918). "Throughout this long period of incessant fighting against greatly superior numbers the behaviour of all arms of the British forces engaged was magnificent. What they achieved is best described in the words of the French General (Maistre) under whose orders they came, who wrote of them: 'They have enabled us to establish a barrier against which the hostile waves have beaten and shattered themselves. Cela aucun des temoins francais ne l'oubliera'" (Sir D. Haig's Dispatch, December 21, 1918).

After four years of fighting, at the close of a defensive campaign of the utmost severity, protracted by the efforts of the enemy from March 21-July 17, 1918, the New Armies passed from the guard to the thrust. They were everywhere victorious, and in nine pitched battles they captured upwards of 175,000 prisoners and 2,600 guns.

"In order to estimate the ardour and endurance of these troops during this final stage, it will be enough to mention the dates and importance of the main events—


"Battle of Amiens (Aug. 8-13) in which the IV. Army took 22,000 prisoners and more than 400 guns.

"Battle of Bapaume (Aug. 21-Sept. 1) III. Army and Left Wing of IV. Army: 34,000 prisoners, 270 guns.

"Battle of the Scarpe (Aug. 26-Sept. 3) I. Army: 16,000 prisoners, 200 guns.

"Battle of Haerincourt and Epehy (Sept. 12-18) IV. and III. Armies: 12,000 prisoners, 100 guns.

"Battle of Cambrai and the Hindenburg Line (Sept. 27-Oct. 5) IV., III., and I. Armies. Ended in the breaking of the Hindenburg Line and in the capture of 35,000 prisoners and 380 guns.

"Battle of Flanders (Sept. 28-Oct. 14) II. Army: 5,000 prisoners, 100 guns.

"Battle of Le Cateau (Oct. 6-12) IV., III., and I. Armies: 12,000 prisoners, 250 guns.

"Battle of the Selle (Oct. 17-25) IV. and III. Armies: 20,000 prisoners, 475 guns.

"Battle of the Sambre (Nov. 1-11) IV., III., and I. Armies: 19,000 prisoners, 450 guns."

(Marshal Foch.)

CHANGES IN METHOD.—The principles which underlie the Art of War would thus appear to be based on constant factors, but the methods of their application are susceptible to change, for in their application the principles are subject to the influence of successive inventions. Gunpowder abolished the bow and arrow and the knight in armour; the bayonet affixed to the musket superseded the pike; the rifle outranged the musket; the breech-loader and the magazine attachment progressively increased the rate of fire; smokeless powder rendered a firing line almost invisible; the flat trajectory of the small-arms bullet increased the danger-zone in an advance; the increased power, mobility, and accuracy of the field gun[4] rendered certain {22} formations obsolete in the attack; the general advance in the rate and accuracy of fire from rifles, machine guns, and artillery made attack on a strongly organised position possible only when surprise in the time and place of the thrust neutralises the advantages of the defence, or when an overwhelming barrage of shells and bullets covers the advance and smothers the enemy's resistance. The advent of a third service, by the addition of the Air to the Sea and Land Services, increased the facilities for reconnaissance[5] and added to the difficulties of concealing movement during the hours of daylight. These and similar influences have brought about changes in certain respects, amongst which the most pronounced is the increased use of field entrenchments, and tactical methods have been evolved to meet the necessities of the case, or modified to suit the new requirements.[6]

But no inventions can shift the burden of war from the shoulders of the infantryman. "Despite the enormous development of mechanical invention in every phase of warfare, the place which the infantryman has always held as the main substance and foundation of an army is as secure to-day as in any period of history. The infantryman remains the backbone of defence and the spearhead of the attack. At no time has the reputation of the British infantryman been higher, or his achievement more worthy of his renown. . . . Immense as the influence of mechanical devices may be, they cannot by themselves decide a campaign. Their true role is that of assisting the infantryman. . . . They cannot replace him. Only by the rifle and bayonet of the infantryman can the decisive victory be won" (Sir D. Haig's Dispatches).


THE TEXT-BOOKS.—Changes in tactical methods are recorded from time to time in circulars issued by the General Staff, to be embodied eventually in the official text-books. These text-books ("Infantry Training" and "Field Service Regulations") are the foundation upon which the study of Infantry Tactics should be based, and of these books Colonel G. F. R. Henderson has left behind him the following opinion: "That portion of our own text-books which refers to Infantry in Attack and Defence is merely the essence of Tactics. There is no single sentence that is not of primary importance, no single principle laid down that can be violated with impunity, no single instruction that should not be practised over and over again." After four years of warfare, in which the principles enunciated in the text-books had been put to the most searching of all tests (i.e. practical application in War), the General Staff of the Army was able to preface a list of its recent publications with the following exhortation: "It must be remembered that the principles laid down in Field Service Regulations and in Infantry Training are still the basis of all sound knowledge."

At the close of the final victorious campaign, Marshal Haig emphasised the truth of this claim: "The longer the war lasted the more emphatically has it been realised that our original organisation and training were based on correct principles. The danger of altering them too much, to deal with some temporary phase, has been greater than the risk of adjusting them too little. . . . The experience gained in this war alone, without the study and practice of lessons learned from other campaigns, could not have sufficed to meet the ever-changing tactics which have characterised the fighting. There was required also the sound basis of military knowledge supplied by our Training Manuals and Staff Colleges."

[1] Author of "Ben Hur."

[2] For an example in military fiction, see The Second Degree in "The Green Curve."

[3] "Unus homo nobis cunctando restituit rem."

[4] The term "field gun" was limited to the 18-pounder until the Boer War, when heavy guns were used as mobile artillery. In the Great War, mechanical transport brought into the field of battle guns of the largest calibre. Quick-firing field guns were first used by the Abyssinians against the Italians at the Battle of Adowa (February 29, 1896).

[5] Reconnoitring balloons were first used by the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Fredericksburg (December 12, 1862). Aeroplanes were used in warfare for the first time in 1911, during the Italo-Turkish campaign in Tripoli, North Africa.

[6] Heavily armoured cars, known as "Tanks," were introduced during the First Battle of the Somme, September 15, 1916.



"Theoretically, a well conducted battle is a decisive attack successfully carried out."—MARSHAL FOCH.

"The Art of War, in order to arrive at its aim (which is to impose its will upon the enemy), knows but one means, the destruction of the adversary's organised forces. So we arrive at the battle, the only argument of war, the only proper end that may be given to strategical operations, and we begin by establishing the fact that to accomplish the aim of war the battle cannot be purely defensive. The results of a defensive battle are exclusively negative; it may check the enemy in his march; it may prevent him from achieving his immediate aim; but it never leads to his destruction, and so is powerless to achieve the wished-for victory. Therefore, every defensive battle must terminate with an offensive action or there will be no result" (Marshal Foch).

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE BATTLE.—No two battles are precisely similar, but there are certain characteristics common to every battle.

In the first place, the issue is almost always uncertain, for events which no human sagacity could provide against may occur to defeat the wisest plans. The best chances, therefore, are on the side of the commander who is provided with sufficient means to achieve his object, who forms his plans with the greatest sagacity, and executes them with the greatest ability. Decisive success has followed the combinations of great commanders, and in the long run victory pays homage to knowledge of the principles which underlie the art of war. {25}

In the second place, the human factor always plays its part in battle. Troops lacking in discipline are liable to panic in face of a sudden disaster, and even the best troops are liable to become unsteady if their flank is gained.

In the third place, a comparatively small body of fresh troops thrown into action at the right moment against greater numbers, if the latter are exhausted by fighting, may achieve a success out of all proportion to their numbers. For this reason a prudent commander will endeavour to retain under his control some portion of his reserves, to be thrown in after his adversary has exhausted his own reserve power.

To be superior at the point of attack is the Art of Warfare in a nutshell, and for this reason attacks on separate points of a position must be properly synchronised to be effective. The unbeaten enemy will otherwise possess a mobile reserve with which to reinforce threatened points. The attacks must be so timed that he throws them in piecemeal or fails to reach the point mainly threatened.

McClellan's position with the Army of the Potomac on Malvern Hill (July 1, 1862) was a desperate position to attack in front, but it could have been turned on the right. The hill dominated the ground to the north, and also the road on which Lee's Army of Northern Virginia was approaching, and was crowned with numerous heavy guns, against which Lee's artillery was powerless. It was Lee's intention to open with an attack by a division, supported by two brigades, on the right of the position, and when this force was at grips with the Army of the Potomac, to assault the centre with a bayonet charge. About 5 p.m. the sound of cheering was heard near the right of the position, and mistaking this for the signal, General D. H. Hill launched the attack on the centre. The first line of defence was carried, but the Northern Army was unoccupied in the other parts of the line, and reinforcements quickly {26} beat off the attack with heavy loss. After this attack had failed, Magruder's division arrived in position and the attack on the right flank was delivered with similar results. Both attacks were carried out with superb courage, but partial blows of this nature are without the first elements of success, and McClellan's movements were not again molested.

PHASES OF THE BATTLE.—There are three principal phases of every battle. Information must be obtained by observation and by fighting; advantage must be taken of information so obtained to strike where the blow or blows will be most effective; success obtained by fighting must be developed until the enemy is annihilated.

Information and the Initiative.—Much work requires to be done in the air and on the land before the rival armies come face to face. Aircraft and the independent cavalry (advanced mounted troops and fast tanks detached from divisions for the purpose), endeavour to ascertain whether, and if so in what locality and in what strength, troops are being concentrated by the enemy. From information so obtained the Headquarters Staff are able to conjecture the intentions and aims of the enemy, and the extent to which their own intentions and aims have been perceived by the enemy. After the enemy is encountered this information is at the service of the Commander of the troops, but it will generally require to be supplemented by fighting. On each side the commander will be striving to obtain the initiative, to impose his will upon his opponent, for the commander who loses the initiative is compelled to conform to the plans and movements of his adversary, instead of bringing into operation plans and movements better suited to his own purposes. Each is scheming to obtain or retain the liberty of manoeuvre, in the same way as, in the days of sailing ships, a naval commander strove to get the "weather gauge" in every encounter.

The initiative won by the Strategy of one commander {27} is sometimes wrested from him by the Tactics of his adversary. This was exemplified at the Battle of Salamanca (July 22, 1812). Wellington, the generalissimo of the Anglo-Portuguese forces, had decided to withdraw behind the River Tormes to the stronghold Ciudad Rodrigo, and had dispatched his train to that centre. The French Commander (Marmont), in his eagerness to intercept Wellington's line of retreat, moved part of his force to the Heights of Miranda, thus threatening Wellington's right and rear, but leaving a gap of two miles between the detached force and his main army. Wellington noted the fresh disposition of Marmont's army through his telescope, and exclaiming, "That will do!" he abandoned all idea of the withdrawal which had been forced upon him by Marmont's previous manoeuvres, and hurled part of his force against the detached body (which was defeated before Marmont could send assistance) and at the same time barred the progress of the main army, which was forced to leave the field. Wellington afterwards declared, "I never saw an army receive such a beating." If the Spanish General in alliance with Wellington had not, contrary to the most explicit instructions, evacuated the Castle of Alba de Tormes (which commanded the fords over which the French retreated), "not one-third of Marmont's army would have escaped" (Napier).

As at Salamanca, where the liberty of manoeuvre which had been won by the Strategy of Marmont was wrested from him by the Tactics of Wellington, so at the final phase of the First Battle of the Marne (September, 1914), the initiative was regained by tactical adroitness. Rapidity of action was the great German asset, while that of Russia was an inexhaustible supply of troops. To obtain a quick decision the Germans went to every length. Of the main routes for the invasion of France chosen for their armies, two led through the neutral territories of Luxemburg and Belgium, and only one through France, and their advance there broke {28} down, almost at the first, at the only point where it was legitimately conducted, for the German armies failed to pierce the French Front at the Gap of Charmes (Vosges), and their defeat at the Battle of Baccarat (August 25, 1914) led to the decisive defeat at the First Battle of the Marne. They then abandoned, for the moment, all hopes of a quick decision in a war of manoeuvre and retiring to their prepared lines of defence on the Aisne, relied upon methodically prepared and regularly constructed trench systems, and upon the hand grenade, the trench mortar, and the other weapons of close combat, for superiority in a long campaign of trench siege warfare, which endured until the collapse of Russia in 1917 freed for an offensive movement on the requisite scale in 1918 upwards of 1,500,000 men. At the First Battle of the Marne, the five German armies, which were following up the Franco-British left and centre, were extended from Amiens to Verdun, but on September 8, 1914, the German I. Army (General von Kluck) was so placed by the impetuosity of the march that a wide gap separated it from the remainder of the German forces. To the north-west of Paris a new French Army, collected from the Metropolitan garrison and from the south-eastern frontier, had been assembled and pushed out in motor transports by the zeal and intelligence of the Military Governor of Paris (General Gallieni); and to avoid this menace to his flank and line of communications, and to regain touch with the other German armies, one of which (under the Crown Prince) was unsuccessfully engaged in battle, General von Kluck adopted the extremely hazardous course of a flank march, across the front of the Franco-British left wing. Upon receiving intelligence of this manoeuvre from the Air Service in Paris, General Joffre, seeing the opportunity of gaining the initiative, ordered an advance to the attack on September 6, and the First Battle of the Marne, which resulted from this order, changed the character of the fighting on the {29} Western Front. The decisive blow was strategical rather than tactical. It was delivered on a battlefield of 6,000 square miles, and involved, throughout that area, a struggle of six great armies, numbering in all 700,000 troops, against a similar number of armies of at least equal strength. No counter-attack on such a scale had previously been delivered in any campaign, and the scarcely interrupted advance of the German armies received a permanent check, while the strategic aim of the German Staff, namely, the speedy annihilation in the field of the Franco-British armies, had to be definitely abandoned.

DEVELOPMENT OF THE BATTLE.—The "atmosphere" of battle is thus depicted in "The Science of War": "When two armies are face to face and one is superior in numbers to the other, the commander of the smaller army is confronted by two problems. If the superior army is not yet concentrated, or is so distributed that the different parts cannot readily support each other, it may be defeated in detail. If the superior army is already concentrated, its commander may be induced, by one means or another, to make detachments, and thus to be weak everywhere. The first problem is solved by rapidity of manoeuvre, surprise marches, secrecy, feints to bewilder the adversary in his concentration, and action on unexpected lines. The second, by skilful threatening of points for the defence of which the adversary will detach forces; by concealment of his dispositions; and by drawing the adversary into terrain where part only of his superior forces can be employed." "The power of striking 'like a bolt from the blue' is of the greatest value in war. Surprise was the foundation of almost all the great strategical combinations of the past, as it will be of those to come. The first thought and the last of the great general is to outwit his adversary and to strike where he is least expected. To what Federal soldier did it occur on the {30} morning of Chancellorsville (May 2-8, 1863) that Lee, confronted by 90,000 Northerners, would detach Stonewall Jackson with more than half his own force of 43,000 to attack his adversary in the rear" ("The Science of War"). Surprise was the chief cause of success in the First Battle of Cambrai (November 20, 1917) when General Sir Julian Byng launched the III. Army at dawn against the highly organised defensive position known as the "Hindenburg Line." The wire entanglements in front of this position were exceptionally deep, and had not been broken by gun-fire. Behind them the Germans were resting in apparent security and such information as they were able to obtain by raiding reconnaissances was not corroborated by the fierce and prolonged artillery bombardment which was at that time regarded as the inseparable prelude to an attack in force. The advance was preceded by battalions of Tanks, with Infantry in close support, and was followed by Cavalry, to round up fugitives and disorganise reinforcements. The artillery had previously been strengthened and was directed against the support and reserve lines, to prevent the Germans from massing for counter-attacks and to break up their formations. Aircraft carried out reconnaissance during the battle from a low altitude and harassed the defenders with fire action. An advance was made into the strongest part of the German defensive system on a twenty-mile front to a depth of five miles, and secured upwards of 11,000 prisoners, 150 guns, and considerable quantities of stores and materials, and although after-events neutralised the initial successes, the advance of November 20, 1917, will ever remain an example of the value of surprise in war. "Surprise strikes with terror even those who are by far the stronger. A new weapon of war may ensure it, or a sudden appearance of a force larger than the adversary's, or a concentration of forces upon a point at which the adversary is not ready instantaneously to parry the blow. But if the methods {31} be various, the aim is always to produce the same moral effect upon the enemy—terror—by creating in him at the swift apparition of unexpected and incontestably powerful means, the sentiment of impotence, the conviction that he cannot conquer—that is to say, that he is conquered. And this supreme blow of unexpected vigour need not be directed upon the whole of the enemy's army. For an army is an animate and organised being, a collection of organs, of which the loss even of a single one leads to death" (Marshal Foch). At almost any period of the battle, and in almost every phase of fighting, surprise can be brought about by a sudden and unexpected outburst of effective machine gun or other form of fire. "A sudden effective fire will have a particularly demoralising effect on the enemy; it is often advantageous, therefore, to seek for surprise effects of this sort by temporarily withholding fire" ("Infantry Training, 1921").

THE DECISIVE BLOW.—The preparatory action and the development usually take the form of a converging movement of separated forces, so timed as to strike the adversary's front and flank simultaneously, in order to threaten the enemy's line of communications, for the line of supply is as vital to the existence of an army as the heart to the life of a human being. "Perhaps no situation is more pitiable than that of a commander who has permitted an enemy to sever his communications. He sees the end of his resources at hand, but not the means to replenish them" (General Sir E. B. Hamley). The decisive blow will be delivered by the General Reserve, which will be secretly concentrated and launched as secretly as possible; and the commander of the whole force will so distribute his troops that about half his available force can be kept in hand for this decisive blow, on a part of the enemy's front if sufficient penetration has been effected, or on a flank. The point chosen becomes the vital {32} point, and success there means success at all points. Once routed, the enemy must be relentlessly pursued and prevented from regaining order and moral.

A battle was fought in the year B.C. 331, nearly 2,300 years ago, at Arbela,[1] in Mesopotamia, the Eastern theatre of operations in the Great War of 1914-18, and it deserves study to show the eternal nature of the main principles which underlie the Art of War. Alexander the Great invaded the territories of Darius, King of the Medes and Persians, with the strategic aim of defeating his adversary's main armies in a decisive battle. The Macedonian forces were preceded by an Advanced Guard of Cavalry, and from information obtained by the Vanguard, Alexander was made aware of the strength and position of the Persian forces. By a careful reconnaissance of the ground in company with his Corps Commanders, Alexander was able to forestall a projected movement, and by advancing in two lines of battle in such a way that his troops could at any moment be thrown into a compact figure fringed with spears, which formed an impenetrable hedge against cavalry, he found a remedy for the disadvantages of the ground, which afforded no protection to either of his flanks. After advancing in these two lines Alexander manoeuvred his troops into a phalanx, or wedge-shaped figure, and this wedge he drove into the masses of the enemy to force the wings asunder. In spite of local reverses in parts of the field, the depth and weight of the main attack carried it through the enemy's forces: the survivors were captured or dispersed, and the victory was complete.

[1] The site of this battle was probably Gaugamela, about 60 miles from the present Arbil, which is 40 miles from Mosul, on the Baghdad road.



Once troops are launched in battle their success or failure depends upon such influences as the commander can bring to bear, upon the co-operation of his subordinate commanders, and upon the moral and training of the troops engaged.

THE COMMANDER'S INFLUENCE is shown, first in his orders for the operations, and later by the method in which he employs the forces retained in his hand for the decisive blow. Personal control, by the commander, of troops committed to battle, is not only impossible but should be unnecessary, as such control and leading is the function of his subordinates, who should be fully acquainted with his intentions and must be trusted to carry them into execution. Other, and more important, duties have to be undertaken by the commander, and it is essential that he should not allow his attention to be diverted from his main object by local incidents, which are matters for his subordinates to deal with. "A sound system of command is based upon three facts: an army cannot be effectively controlled by direct orders from headquarters; the man on the spot is the best judge of the situation; intelligent co-operation is of infinitely more value than mechanical obedience" ("The Science of War"). A campaign resolves itself into a struggle between human intelligences. Each commander will endeavour to defeat his adversary in battle, and his principal weapon is his General Reserve. If he can exhaust the reserve power of his adversary, while maintaining his own intact, he can proceed to victory at his own time, and he will endeavour to exhaust the hostile reserves by causing {34} them to be thrown in piecemeal, in ignorance of the spot where the decisive blow is to fall. During the campaign on the Western Front in 1918 the Allies were able to conserve their strength throughout the attacks from March 21 to July 15, and when they passed from the guard to the thrust they extended their front of attack from day to day, calculating correctly that this gradual extension would mislead the enemy as to where the main blow would fall, and would cause him to throw in his reserves piecemeal.

"The subordinate commanders must bring to fruit with all the means at their disposal the scheme of the higher command, therefore they must, above all, understand that thought and then make of their means the use best suited to circumstances—of which, however, they are the only judge. . . . The Commander-in-Chief cannot take the place of his subordinates—he cannot think and decide for them. In order to think straight and to decide rightly it would be necessary for him to see through their eyes, to look at things from the place in which they actually stand, to be everywhere at the same moment" (Marshal Foch). Students of military history will remember that the Prussian Commander-in-Chief and his Chief Staff Officer, during the highly successful campaign of 1870-71, did not come within sound of the guns until five pitched battles had been fought by their subordinate commanders. Outside the fog of battle, with its absorbing interests and distractions, the commander can retain his sense of proportion[1] and can decide where and when he will make his final effort. News of the battle reaches him from his immediate subordinates, and from the accounts of successes and failures he is able to judge the weaknesses and strength of his own and his adversary's dispositions, to use part of his reserves as reinforcements, {35} if he must, or to husband them with confidence in the success of the operations, until the time comes for him to launch them for the final blow.

INFORMATION.—In order that the commander's influence may be exerted to the best advantage it is essential that all vital information should reach him promptly, and that his orders should be communicated without delay. Subordinate commanders must keep their superiors and commanders of neighbouring units regularly informed as to the progress of the battle, and of important changes in the situation as they occur. Runners, who can be trusted to carry a verbal message or written order, are attached to each unit engaged and to its headquarters. Higher units than battalions can usually depend on the Signal Service for intercommunication, but whenever necessary, a supply of runners and mounted orderlies must be available for their use. This ensures co-operation, and enables mutual support to be rendered. Information received must be transmitted at once to all whom it concerns, and orders received from superiors must be communicated without delay to commanders of all units affected.

CO-OPERATION.—"Co-operation when in contact with the enemy is no easy matter to bring about. There are, however, three means of overcoming the difficulty: constant communication between the units; thorough reconnaissance of the ground over which the movements are to be made; clear and well-considered orders" ("The Science of War"). Each commander who issues orders for Attack or Defence should assemble his subordinate commanders, if possible in view of the ground over which the troops are to operate, explain his orders, and satisfy himself that each subordinate understands his respective task. "Combination depends on the efficiency of the chain of control connecting the brain of the commander through all grades down to the {36} corporal's squad; on the intelligence of subordinate leaders in grasping and applying the commander's plans; on the discipline which ensures intelligent obedience to the directing will; and on the mobility which gives rapid effect to that will, and permits advantage to be taken of fleeting opportunities. Every fresh development in the means of transmitting orders and information rapidly, permits of an extension of the commander's influence, and makes more perfect combination possible and over wider areas" (General Sir E. B. Hamley). Even when, and particularly when, forces are engaged in battle, reconnaissance must be carried on and information gained must be communicated at once. It will frequently happen that a suitable moment for the decisive attack, or decisive counter-stroke, will be found only after long and severe fighting. Systematic arrangements for obtaining, sifting, and transmitting information throughout the battle are therefore of the highest importance. Information must be gained not only by troops and aircraft actually engaged, but by supports and reserves, who will often be able to see what is invisible to the forward troops. In such cases, more than in any other, information must be communicated at once. By intelligent observation superintending commanders can co-operate with one another, can anticipate situations as they develop, and decide at the time what steps will be necessary to meet them. A general reconnaissance will be in progress during every modern battle by observers in aircraft and in observation balloons. In addition, local reconnaissance by means of patrols and scouts will usually discover an opening that might otherwise be lost, and may warn a commander of an intended movement against him, which might otherwise develop into a disagreeable surprise.

Co-operation and Mutual Support were developed in their highest form by the Allied Corps Commanders in the First Battle of the Marne (August-September, 1914). {37} In this campaign close on 1,500,000 troops were engaged on both sides, and the Corps Commanders, particularly those of the French VI. Army (Manoury), III. Army (Sarrail), and the Military Governor of Paris (Gallieni), were continuously in touch with one another, and frequently rendered assistance, unasked, by fire and by movement. Co-operation of a novel kind was exhibited on a minor scale during the First Battle of the Somme. An attack was launched on Gueudecourt (September 26, 1916) by the 21st Division, and a protecting trench was captured as a preliminary to the larger movement. A tank, followed up by infantry bombers, proceeded along the parapet of the trench firing its machine guns, while an aeroplane swooped over the trench firing its Lewis guns. The survivors in the trench surrendered, and the garrison was collected by supporting infantry, who advanced in response to signals from the aeroplane.

FIRE TACTICS.—It has already been noted that the battle is the only argument of war; it is also the final test of training, and on the battlefield no part of the syllabus is more severely tested than that devoted to musketry. The fire tactics of an army, its combination of fire and movement, the direction and control by the leaders and the fire discipline of the rank and file, make for success or failure on the field of battle. The fire must be directed by the fire unit commander against an objective chosen with intelligence and accurately defined; it must be controlled by the sub-unit commander, who must be able to recognise the objectives indicated, to regulate the rate of fire, and to keep touch with the state of the ammunition supply. Fire discipline must be maintained, so that there is the strictest compliance with verbal orders and signals, and application on the battlefield of the habits inculcated during the training period. The time when fire is to be opened is often left to the discretion of the fire-unit commander, but, generally speaking, fire should be opened by an {38} attacking force only when a further advance without opening fire is impossible; and even in defence, when access to the ammunition reserve is likely to be far easier than in an attack, withholding fire until close range is reached is generally more effective than opening at a longer range. The tactical value of a withering fire at close range from a hitherto passive defender has again and again been proved in battle. On the Heights of Abraham (September 13, 1759) General Wolfe had assembled his troops and he awaited Montcalm's attack. Not a shot was fired by the defenders until the attacking force was within forty paces, and three minutes later a bayonet charge into the broken foe swept the French helplessly before it. At the Battle of Bunker Hill (June 17, 1775) the American colonists inflicted a loss of 46 per cent. on the assaulting British force, by reserving their fire "until the badges and buttons of the tunics could be clearly identified." At the Battle of Fredericksburg (December 13, 1862) General Meagher's Irish Brigade of the U.S. Army of the Potomac assaulted Marye's Hill, 1,200 strong. The defending Confederates reserved their fire until the assailants were 100 yards from their position and drove them off with a loss of 937 out of the 1,200. In August, 1914, the British Regular Army, during the Retreat from Mons, reserved their fire until the Germans arrived at the most deadly point of their rifles' trajectory, and again and again drove off all except the dead and mortally wounded. Throughout the Great War, troops fully trained in the British system of musketry and using the short magazine Lee Enfield rifle, proved beyond dispute the values of the system and of the weapon. In a review of the methods adopted to check the great German offensive in the spring of 1918, a circular issued by the General Staff states: "Rapid rifle fire was the decisive factor in these operations. The men had confidence in their rifles and knew how to use them."

Superiority of fire can only be gained by the close {39} co-operation of the artillery and infantry at every stage of the battle, and unless infantry co-operate, the artillery is not likely to produce any decisive effect. Long-range machine-gun fire is an important auxiliary to the artillery in covering and supporting the advance of attacking infantry. Enfilade fire, the most telling of all, is more easily brought to bear than of old owing to the increase in the effective range and in the rate of fire. Supports and local reserves will usually co-operate most effectively with forward troops by bringing fire to bear upon the flank of such bodies of the enemy as are holding up a movement by frontal fire. During the counter-attack for the recapture of The Bluff, in the Ypres Salient (March 2, 1916) by troops of the 3rd and 17th Divisions, the right and centre gained their objectives. The left attacking party, at the first attempt, failed to reach the German trenches, but those who had penetrated to the German line on the right realised the situation and brought a Lewis gun to bear on the enemy's line of resistance, completely enfilading his trenches, and thus enabling the left company to reach its goal.

MOVEMENT.—The influence of movement is inseparable from that of fire, as it enables fire to be opened and is a means of escaping the full effects of fire; while it is often possible to move one unit only in conjunction with the fire of another. It can also be used to relieve one unit from the effects of fire concentrated upon it by moving another unit against the enemy. A steady and rapid advance of troops has the twofold effect of closing to a range from which an ascendency in the fire-fight can be secured, and also of reducing the losses of the advancing force, for if the troops remained stationary in the open under heavy fire, at a known range, the losses would clearly be greater than if they advanced, and would be suffered without gaining ground towards the objective, while the closer the {40} assaulting line gets to the objective, and the steadier its advance, the less confidence will the enemy have in their power to stem the advance, and the fewer casualties will be suffered in consequence. No "sealed pattern" is laid down as to the movement and formation of infantry under fire, but certain definite principles are put forward in the text-books. Where security is the first need, as in the case of protecting forces (advanced, flank, or rear guards), movement should be effected by bounds from one tactical position to another under covering fire from supporting troops; where the objective is the primary consideration, security must be subordinated to the need of reaching the objective. Against artillery fire, or long-range infantry fire, the formation recommended by the text-books is small shallow columns, each on a narrow front, such as platoons in fours or sections in file, arranged on an irregular front, so that the range from the enemy's guns to each is different. Troops coming suddenly under such fire will avoid casualties more easily by moving forward and outwards in this way rather than by remaining under such cover as may be improvised in a position the exact range of which is obviously known to the enemy. Against effective machine-gun or rifle fire deployment into line, or into "arrowhead" formation with the flanks thrown well back, is preferable to a single line extended at so many paces interval, as it is scarcely more vulnerable and is infinitely easier to control.

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