Principles of Strategy

Principles of Strategy with Hsitorical Illustrations, by Colonel William K. Naylor, general staff

"In time of war, when danger dread is nigh,
'God and the soldier' is the people's cry;
But peace restored, the country safely righted,
God is forgotten, and the soldier slighted."


On the reopening of The General Service Schools in September, 1919, and my return to my former position as Instructor in Strategy and Military History, I found that a desire had developed among American officers for American text-books.

To meet this expressed desire and to write a text-book that could be available during the course, I merely had an opportunity to assemble the notes I had used in the past, supplementing them with such reference to The World War as the time would permit.

Many of the illustrations used have been taken from our own Civil War. In some cases, illustrations from other text-book writers have been adopted. These illustrations have been verified and in many cases amplified.

In general, the form of von der Goltz's Conduct of War, which had been used in these schools as a text-book, has been followed. The introduction, and Chapter V, in so far as it deals with the German and French mobilizations ' of 1866-1870, have been taken largely from Derrecagaix's Modern War. The chapter on Finance follows closely Cordonnier's The Japanese in Manchuria.

To these writers I desire to give full credit; also to the following persons whose writings I have studied, making extracts, notations, and getting ideas therefrom:

War of Today—von Bernkardi.
The Principles of Strategy—Foch.
Operations of War—Hamley.
Military Operations and Maritime Preponderance—Callwell.
On War—von Clausewitz.
Germany in Defeat—de Souza.
Dardanelles Campaign—Nevmson.i -~
Military Memoirs of a Confederate—A lex a nder.
The Nation in Arms—von der Goltz.
La Conduite de la Guerre—Foch.
American Campaigns—Steele.
Organization and Tactics—Wagner.
Art of War—Jomini.
Letters on Strategy—Hohenlohe Ingelfingen.
Napoleon as a General—Count York von Wartenburg.
Campaign in Thrace—Howell.
Germany in the Next War—Bernhardi.

CHAPTER I. The Study of Military History and Strategy


A KNOWLEDGE of the art of war is indispensable to the officer. It was by placing himself in this frame of mind that Marshal Gouvion St. Cyr was able to char­acterize it as follows: "The art of war is an art for the general, a science for the officer and a trade for the sol­dier." The study of this art, then, should prepare the of­ficer to come to a rapid decision in the difficult situations arising in the field, less perhaps by the precepts and ex­amples with which it acquaints him, than by the method of reasoning, the force of will, the energy which it teaches him to develop, and the ability and willingness it incul­cates in him to make positive and clear cut decisions promptly. An eminent authority has denned the art of war as "The art of making use of the given means of fighting." In its broadest sense it includes all the activities that have their existence on account of war, such as the calling forth of troops and the mobilizing, equipping, training, concen­trating and actual fighting of them. In principle, the art of war should be enunciated in the form of maxims, such as those of Napoleon, and doctrines, such as those of von Bernhardi, and should constitute an ensemble capable of in­forming with precision the mind of the student upon the various questions it embraces; so that having the formula the student merely applies it and gets the result prescribed. In practice this is quite impossible and altogether absurd. We might at this point create a maxim as follows: It is not so much to know the rules of warfare as it is to know how to apply them. The circumstances under which military opera­tions are executed are so manifold that two situations exactly alike will hardly ever be discovered. Yet we do find campaigns where almost identical conditions and situations have existed and the outcome of and the general results at­tained by the application of the same strategical and tactical principles have been diametrically the opposite. Why is this? The answer must be given that there are other conditions and circumstances that influence the conduct of battles and campaigns than mere principles.

Some of these conditions and circumstances are those of morale and the training of troops, difference in leadership, difference in the support afforded by the people of the country, and so on. In other words, psychology. If there is any one thing that the Prussian system of training did not teach it was that. The art of war is not an exact science, but the Germans apparently thought it was. By all rules of the game, Belgium should not have been fool­ish enough to have resisted; South Africa should have thrown off the British yoke; the Indian princes should have taken up arms in revolt; and the United States, having no definite military policy, should not have been able to raise an army. The estimating of these conditions and circumstances is the true test of ability in the application of the principles and precepts of war. The use of the retreating defensive by the French, culminating in the battle of the Marne in the recent war, was only possible for the reason that the French people were with the government, body and soul, and had a heart in the war. The advance of the allies toward France in 1815 was along the same line, yet Napoleon was not able, nor did he dare to take up the de­fensive for the reason that the French people, as a na­tion, were tired of war and would not have submitted voluntarily to another invasion. So we see from this illus­tration, more or less fresh in our minds, that we may have two cases almost exactly alike and yet, for reasons other than strictly military, requiring the application of different principles. The difference in the capacity of commanders also exerts a great influence in the application of principles. An audacious general will take the offensive, although not without due preparation, while a weak and vacillating man will fall back on the defensive or, if he takes the offensive, do it without proper preparation. The plan of operations contemplated by Napoleon III for the invasion of Prussia in 1870 was almost exactly the
same that his illustrious uncle carried out in 1806 against the same foe. The plan in 1806 succeeded because a master was in command, but so much cannot be said for the plan and the commander in 1870. When Sherman, before Atlanta, heard that Hood had succeeded Johnston, he got ready for an attack and was not disappointed. He became familiar with Hood's sanguine and impetuous temperament while with him in the Corps at the United States Military Academy.

Napoleon's first and last campaigns offered exactly the same opportunity in the application of strategical princi­ples, yet he lost his last campaign for the reason that he did not have as competent subordinates as he did in his first. In his first campaign in 1796, he effected strategical penetration, driving the Austrians and Piedmontese asun­der and, as a result, Beaulieu retired toward Milan, away . from his ally, and that ally, Colli, retired toward Turin so that Napoleon was able to defeat each in detail. However, in 1815, in the Waterloo campaign where conditions were identical, the same thing occurred. Blucher retired toward his ally, and not toward Cologne and the Rhine frontier, as Napoleon expected, and swung around across the Dyle, uniting with Wellington, and consummated the overthrow of Bonaparte. Napoleon failed to select a proper man for independent command, for had he a Lannes or a Desaix instead of the incompetent Grouchy, the outcome of Waterloo would doubtless have been different, and that name would not forever afterwards have been a synonym for complete overthrow and disaster. In defense of Na­poleon we will have to admit that the field of selection at that stage of his career was rather limited. He himself has remarked that he was not as well served as he had reason to expect. While it may seem presumptuous to criticise the master, yet everyone will have to admit that Napoleon in 1815 was a victim of his own system, the "one man." Such a system does not build up subordinates who can and will act on their own initiative when thrown on their own re­sources. When the "one man" is not physically up to the requirements of the system, and Napoleon in 1815 was not physically the Napoleon of 1796, the subordinates grope around in the dark, not knowing whether to go east or west, north or south. Count D'Erlon on June 16th vacillated between Ligny and Quatre Bras when, had he gone to either place and participated in the action, a decisive victory would have been gained.

From this discussion we see that "a mere knowledge of strategy may be of doubtful value." The blind application of maxims with the expectation that good results will nec­essarily follow and that we already have the answer the moment we launch forward, has never developed a general of any consequence. In the valor of our ignorance we are too apt to place too high a value on the knowledge of the art of war and, just because we have generals who have delved into the theory, to think that we have Napoleons in practice. We have many generals who have risen to highest rank as commanders who possessed little or no academic military . education. Why is this ? It is because the knowledge of the art of war is very simple but not, at the same time, easy to master. To be a competent commander it is not "neces­sary to be a learned explorer of history or a publicist, but it is necessary to be well versed in the higher affairs of state." The general must be able to judge correctly tradi­tional tendencies, interests at stake, the immediate ques­tions at issue, the character of leading persons; he need not know minutely all the details of the various arms of the service, but he must know their powers and limitations. He need not be familiar with von der Goltz's Conduct of War, or Napoleon's War Maxims, the works of Hamley, von Bernhardi, Foch, et al., but unless he understands how to use the rules therein in practice, either consciously or sub­consciously, he will never rise above hopeless mediocrity. A natural born leader is developed and improved by the study of military art, but never is made thereby. We hear so often the statement, "He is a practical soldier, not a theorist." Too often he is neither. For one cannot be practical without knowing the theory, although that theory , may not have been learned in an academy. And right here we have the dividing line between military study as a science and military study as an art. There is a time when all the fruits of this study pass from the objective stage into that of the mind. In all professions the active agent learns his theory from books, some of them long since dis- carded and relegated to the musty back shelves of the li­brary ; afterwards he applies the principles to concrete cases and thereby makes his science an art.

The Study of Military History as a Substitute

The study of precedents has been carried so far in some schools that they eschew the study of the art of war as a science but leave the student to get his ideas from the read­ing of history, careful observation of extensive exercises with troops and by reflection. For their authority they cite Napoleon's 78th War Maxim: "Read and re-read the cam­paigns of Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Gustavus Adolphus, Turenne, Eugene and Frederick; take them for your model; that is the only way of becoming a great captain, to ob­tain the secrets of the art of war." But the student must not pursue his task from the point of the historian but from that of the soldier, only being a historian long enough to become informed as to what occurred and then as a sol­dier applying the lessons to concrete cases. The general character of this study should consist in the adoption of a practical method; that is, the application of the theoreti­cal knowledge to all military questions that can present themselves in practice. In order to give to this method its greatest efficacy it is essential to utilize the productive ca­pacity of the officers, so that practice may be benefited by scientific instructions, and that the developing facilities may be judiciously recognized. In time of war, deeds play a more important part than words; action surpasses thought; practice dominates theory. It is not sufficient then merely to grasp principles: it is. necessary to meditate upon them and to examine them thoroughly in their applications.

There is a considerable interval between knowledge of principles and the faculty of making them of service in com­ing to a decision. The method of study pursued should tend to abridge this interval. It is by so doing that an officer succeeds in acquiring the energy and force of will so im­portant in actual service. Men imbued with only ordinary strength of character can form a clear and energetic de­cision and put it into execution, if they have ac­quired the faculty of guiding their course with requisite circumspection and dispatch under difficult circumstances. The possession of this faculty is one of the results of study. Lacking it, irresolute persons, when thrown upon their own resources, display an entire collapse of the moral elements. The practical method should aim at exciting mental spontaneity in an officer. To sum it up, the principal aim of the study of military art is to improve the intelli­gence and judgment of the officer in combining instructions with the widest exercise of his moral faculties in practice. This end is gained by utilizing the lessons taught by experience.

It may be of interest to hear what Napoleon had to say on the subject. He wrote from Finkelstein, April 19, 1807, in about this mind: "A proper understanding of military art would necessitate a knowledge of the various plans of campaign adopted in the different periods of his­tory, whether for invasion or defense; the origin of suc­cesses, the causes of defeats, the commanders themselves, the memoirs in which may be found the details of the facts and the evidences of the results. This part of history, in­teresting for everyone, has a peculiar importance for mili­tary men. In the special school of the engineer may be learned the art of attacking and defending fortified places; but the art of war in its larger aspects cannot be taught because it has not been created if indeed it ever can be; nevertheless, a study of history that would make known to us how our frontiers have been defended in different wars by celebrated captains would be productive of great benefit. I have studied history a great deal, and often for want of a guide, have been forced to lose considerable time in use­less reading. Without this study, soldiers during many years of their career will lack the means of profiting by the mistakes which have occasioned reverses and of appreciating the dispositions that would have prevented them. The en­tire war of the Revolution is fertile in useful lessons; but to gather them, long application and extended research are requisite. This does not arise from the lack of a detailed record of the facts, for they have been written about everywhere and in every style; but because no one has applied himself to the task of making research easy and of point­ing out the way to make it with discrimination." From the study of military history we deduce our principles and then from the study of that same military history we see our principles tried out. It is true, as has been already stated, that one finds some campaigns won by reckless violation of the known and accepted principles and yet commanded by men who in event of disaster could not have plead ignor­ance. Had General R. E. Lee been defeated in the second Manassas campaign he would not have had any justifica­tion in preparing a defense for his movements. He violated nearly every known rule of strategy—he divided his army in the presence of a superior enemy; he surrendered the advantages of interior lines to Pope and rushed Jackson to Manassas Junction with 18,000 men, while he, with Long-street, was west of Thoroughfare Gap with about 25,000 and Pope was at Gainesville, between these two points, with a force double of either. When asked why he took these chances General Lee said: "The disparity of numbers jus­tified any risk." Had General Lee waited and been less active he would have had McClellan and Pope both on his hands at the same time and their total strength would have been about 130,000 as against his approximately 58,000 men. In this instance Lee showed that rare trait in a gen­eral of being able to judge capacity in a subordinate. He knew, that with Jackson, all that was necessary was merely to indicate a desire and the impetuous Stonewall would instantly put it into execution. If care is taken to look the matter up, it will be found that after the death of Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville, Lee never tried any more of his complicated movements nor attempted to turn the enemy out of position by wide detours.

Authorities agree that acquaintance with military his­tory is one of the most effectual means of learning the science and art of war in time of peace, and the most solid basis of assimilating its great principles. It should take into account the larger questions in the operations of war and the management of armies. It should bring the student in touch with the military art of the present time so that he will become familiar with active armies in the field. It should bring before him continually the relation between time and distance on the ground. It will prepare him to keep a clear head and a warm heart in danger, and finally, by studying military art in connection with the military his­tory of one's own country, it will exalt continually the senti­ments of patriotism.

From all this it may be accepted that the study of military art and science and that of military history are inseparable.

It may appear odd that most of the illustrations herein have been taken from past wars, particularly those of Napo­leon, with The World War so fresh before us. General Savoff, chief of staff of the Bulgarian army in its recent war with Turkey, says the following which justifies the selection: "As for the methods of war it must be remembered that the art of war has unchangeable principles. For that one must always go back to Napoleon I for the essential bases of the subject. The strategical principles of Napoleon I are unchangeable." The principles of military art are continu­ing, but tactics have changed, so in applying principles, one must always keep in mind the changes in tactics caused by state of development of weapons, the mediums of in­formation and communication, and the scientific improve­ment of all the war agencies. Another reason why we do not get all of our illustrations from The World War is that it is too soon after the events to know, with sufficient accuracy, exactly what happened everywhere, so it is not safe yet to apply our principles.

In the study of military art it often becomes necessary for the novice to delve into the voluminous works on the subject, such as Derrecagaix, Hamley, Bernhardi, von der Goltz, Foch and others, either to learn from the outset or to refresh the memory. Often these hooks are written in a language with which he is not familiar, or if translated, a copy of the translation is not available. The result gen­erally is that the novice becomes discouraged with the appar­ently endless task before him and either grows indifferent or gives up completely in despair. It is to overcome this dif­ficulty that the subject is presented in the form the ensu­ing course will take. It is but a short and concise presentation which indicates the way and points out the route that may be followed in further research.

In a great many of the books on this subject we find matters of logistics, mobilization and concentration dis­cussed in detail and which can only be understood by a careful study of a great many subjects foreign to the art of war. Such matters will only be touched on in so far as is necessary to bring out the subjects to be discussed. Bear in mind that, as already intimated, military science is not an exact science. One must always figure on a large factor of safety, for plans do not always work out exactly as in­tended. Take the middle of the road between extreme caution and audacity. The Germans in the recent struggle lost because their continued military study had made them think that their deductions and calculations were infallible. A little country like Belgium should not have had the audac­ity to stand against collosal Germany; but if it did have the audacity, it should not have been strong enough to have made any impression. Modern fortifications should not have been strong enough to have delayed the advance of an army supported by modern artillery. But the Belgians did have the audacity, they were strong enough to delay the Germans, and their fortifications at Liege were strong enough to hold up the advance for several days, with the result that the Ger­mans arrived on the Sambre to find the French and British Expeditionary Forces waiting for them. Take all the neces­sary precautions, take a liberal factor of safety, and then go ahead. Captain Mahan, in referring to the allegation that Nelson and Farragut were foolhardy, denied it and stated "the average man wants to be too much too sure of success before he will start." George B. McCIellan was a good illustration of a man who wanted to be perfectly sure of success. In modern war our curbstone strate­gist and vinegar barrel tactician has all the necessary con­fidence in himself, but no one else has. He can always fight the war better than the general in command and does not hesitate to say so, meanwhile keeping well away from the recruiting office. A famous orator, probably known to you, once announced in stentorian tones that e'er the sun sinks over the horizon on the day the President issues a call, a million men will spring to arms. He lulled many of his
hearers to sleep by his rhapsody and they awoke to find out that it was over a year after we had gotten into The World War before we had a million men in France.

A Roman general gave the following as his opinion of "military critics."

"Lucius Aemilius, a Roman consul, who had been se­lected to conduct the war with the Macedonians, B. C. 168, went out from the Senate House into the assembly of the people and addressed them as follows:

" 'In every circle, and truly, at every table, there are people who lead armies into Macedonia; who know where the army ought to be placed; what posts ought to be oc­cupied by troops; when and through what pass Macedonia should be entered; where magazines should be formed; how provisions should be conveyed by land and sea; and when it is proper to engage the enemy, when to lie quiet. And they not only determine what is best to be done, but if any­thing is done in any other manner than what they have pointed out, they arraign the consul, as if he were on trial. These are great impediments to those who have the man­agement of affairs; for everyone cannot encounter injur­ious reports with the same constancy and firmness of mind as Fabius did, who chose to let his own authority be di­minished through the folly of the people rather than to mismanage the public business with a high reputation. I am not one of those who think that commanders ought never to receive advice; on the contrary, I should deem that man more proud than wise who did everything of his own single judgment. What then is my opinion? That com­manders should be counselled, chiefly, by persons of known talent; by those, especially, who are skilled in the art of war, and who have been taught by experience; and, next, by those who are present at the scene of action, who see the country, who see the enemy; who see the advantages that occasions offer, and who, embarked, as it were, in the same ship, are sharers of the danger. If, therefore, any one thinks himself qualified to give advice respecting the war which I am to conduct, which may prove advan­tageous to the public, let him not refuse his assistance to the state, but let him come with me into Macedonia. He shall be furnished by me with a ship, a horse, a tent; and
even with his traveling charges. But if he thinks this too much trouble, and prefers the repose of a city life to the toils of war, let him not, on land, assume the office of a pilot. The city, in itself, furnishes abundance of topics for conversation; let it confine its passion for talking, and rest assured, that we shall be content with such councils as shall be framed within our camp.' " (Livy, Book XLIV, Chapter 22.)

The most logical way to introduce clearness into the treatment of this subject is to pursue the order approach­ing nearest the reality of facts in war; that is to say, to follow an army in the principal events of its career, conse­quently to study its organization, its preparation for war, its mobilization, its transport service, its deployment upon the frontier, its strategic marches, and finally, its offensive and defensive operations.

The study of military art begins with a study of mili­tary history and then goes naturally into that of strategy and tactics, or grand tactics, as it is sometimes called. The history serves especially to illustrate the principles of strategy and tactics. In this form the facts disclosed strike the student more forcibly. Clausewitz says that historical illustrations may be of value if used first—merely to explain an idea. In every abstract consideration it is very easy to be misunderstood or not intelligible at all. When a speaker or author is afraid of this, an exemplifica­tion from military history ensures that speaker or author of being understood; second—the propounder may be enun­ciating certain theoretical principles and to show their ap­plication he cites a campaign or battle and then shows how his principles are illustrated; third—in another case the propounder may be making a statement, the correctness of the application of which may be doubted, so he shows by an historical illustration that it can and did happen; fourth —then again a propounder may cite several historical cases all along the same line from which to deduce a principle or establish a doctrine.

The division between tactics and strategy is generally known and everyone knows fairly well under which head to place any single act, without knowing very distinctly the grounds on which the classification is founded. The subjects under discussion naturally form the two grand branches of the science and rest upon principles whose elucidation, to insure clearness, require determinate order. These principles present two series of distinct ideas, the one relating to operations and the other to battles. The first, which are ordinarily the prelude to the conflict, belongs generally to the domain of strategy; the second relates to tactics. To under­stand more fully the application of the principles of strat­egy and tactics one should be familiar with the organi­zation of the armies at that time. This, however, can hardly be taken up in a study of a subject so limited as to time as this one, and yet it is particularly necessary to be familiar with organization in the study of tactics in bat­tle, for we all know that the tactics of 'the various arms have been influenced and changed by the introduction of high power weapons and advanced by improvements in the munitions of war.

It is hardly necessary, in passing, to more than touch on the different kinds of war, for in modern times we will have seen one kind worth while, and that one will be a rising of the nation in arms.

When we come to it, we will take up the question of a correct definition of strategy, but at the outset of the study it is only necessary to adopt a logical definition, and to indicate plainly the ideas forming the starting point. Dur­ing the past years, principally since the Franco-Prussian War, authors have been trying to frame numerous defini­tions of strategy and tactics. Some, desirous of finding in new arguments a remedy for past mistakes, have sought new theories on the art of war. Some deny that there is such a thing as strategy and attribute all success in war to numbers and to tactics. Others have considered the strategy as the conception and tactics as the execution of an idea. Some have called strategy the science of opera­tions and tactics that of battles. The Germans call strategy the "art of the general-in-chief." The term "strategy" is derived from the Greek strategos, meaning a general, hence the German definition.

According to M. Thiers "strategy should conceive the plan of campaign, take in with a single sweep the whole of the probable theater of war, mark out the line of operations, and direct the masses upon the decisive points. It is the duty of the tactician to regulate the order of marches, to place the forces for battle at the various points indicated by the strategist, to enter upon the action, sustain it, and maneuver so as to attain the end proposed." For the pur­poses of this study, the definition of Jomini seems to be sufficient. He says "strategy is the art of ma­neuvering armies in the theater of operations; tactics, the art of disposing them upon the battlefield." It will be un­derstood that this is an incomplete definition but serves the purpose until a more detailed discussion of the subject is taken in its proper place. As has already been stated, one should be well informed as to the strength of various ar­mies and their subdivisions. One should continually carry in the mind the changes that have taken place, and con­sider whether or not such changes will permit of the carry­ing out of the same strategy and tactics that were used a hundred years ago. Do you think that Napoleon could re­peat his campaign of February, 1814, where he took advan­tage of interior lines and defeated the superior forces of Blucher on four successive days at Champaubert, Montmir-ial, Chateau Thierry and Etoges ? Would not the introduc­tion of the airplane and radio made the quick movements and sudden surprises impossible? Again, to under­stand the real value of an army, we must take into ac­count its moral strength, the means of creating and de­veloping this quality, and the importance which it acquires amidst the actual tests of war. We must take up the prac­tical reasons that have made the modern organization preferable to those of the past.

In the study of a possible war between one country and another, one of the first things, if not the first, is to make a careful study of the probable theater of war, the re­sources of the enemy, and the adoption of a possible pro--ject of operations. From these considerations, together with a study of the hostile military organization, one will be able to decide whether the general plan will be the strategical offensive or defensive. A careful study of the relative merits of the strategic offensive and defensive would logically fol­low. Some authors will tell us that the strategical offensive is preferable while others will tell us that the defensive
strategically is preferable. This can only be decided after a careful study of the other conditions, such as the temper of the people, popularity of the war, and numbers of troops available at the outset.

Study of the Theater of Operations

The study of the theater of operations requires special attention. It is upon this study, and the more or less fav­orable conditions which it presents, that the choice of the lines of operations and the combinations of the campaign depends. The many changes that the territory has under­gone during the successive years must be carefully con­sidered. To give some idea of the direction in which one must look for changes it is but necessary to call attention to the improvement in the means of transmitting intelli­gence at the present time as compared with what it was twenty-five years ago. Again, we must take into considera­tion the marvelous improvement in fire arms and munitions of war of all kinds, and the new forms of fortifications that the engineering profession has developed. The introduction of the motor truck makes it practicable to concentrate at points where a few years ago it would not have been deemed possible owing to their supposed isolation. Frontier fortresses that would have made it impossible to advance by a certain route during the days of Napoleon might have no more effect on the modern advance than so many un­protected field works. During the years prior to the Franco-German War of 1870, the Germans had made a careful study of the probable theater of operations in France, and as it turned out had better maps of France than the French had themselves, not neglecting, however, maps of their own country. On the other hand, the French had most detailed maps of Germany but very incomplete maps of their own country.

They unquestionably studied the possible theater of op­erations but not the probable theater.

The study of the theater of operations naturally leads up to the study of the resources of the enemy. This of course applies most particularly to that part of the enemy's territory, or the territory of a neutral or ally, that is to be
the scene of the war. It should be known what the aver­age annual output of foodstuffs of all kinds, clothing and other material is. It is too apparent to require discussion that a highly productive section will maintain an invader and make it possible for him to exploit the country and lengthen the duration of the war, if successful on the bat­tlefield, for a longer period than he could in an unproduc­tive section. It will be of interest to know that both Grant in '63, before the Vicksburg campaign, and Sherman in '64 before his so-called "March to the Sea," had careful statis­tical reports made of the perspective theaters of operations, and their, movements were greatly influenced by them. The French army in '59, during the Wars of the Italian Unifi­cation, advanced into what was supposed to be a very pro­ductive wheat section of northern Italy. Relying on this condition the French army made no provision regarding flour, thinking to get it from mills in the country. Upon arrival it was discovered that, notwithstanding the country grew a great deal of wheat, most of it was shipped abroad since, due to the peculiar tastes of the people, very little was used at home.

Transportation peculiarities and conditions of general living are evidence of the resources of the enemy or of the theater of operations. Quite naturally a great many railroads indicate great commercial activity, while their absence in­dicates either the opposite or lack of progressiveness.

It is quite necessary to know the gauge of railroads, for if history is correctly written, when the Japanese secured possession of the East Chinese Railroad, they found that the rolling stock they had brought over to use in event of the capture of the railroad was of different gauge, and the entire line had to be reduced in gauge before Japanese transportation could be used.

Before passing to a discussion of a plan of operation and campaign, the question whether or not the war is to be offensive or defensive must be taken up. This is viewed from a strategical standpoint. What are the relative merits of each that will influence the selec­tion? Von Clausewitz favors the defensive. He gives as a reason that its adoption tends to conserve the energies, and that one gradually grows stronger; while the offensive, being a matter of conquest, spends the maximum force at the outset, and one gradually grows weaker. Willensen, as well as the majority of writers, favors the offensive. No rule can be laid down that will govern in a selection. In the present European War, the Germans from a purely military standpoint were more than justified in assuming strategic offensive and taking advantage of their superior readiness, for of what use was their large standing army if the diplomats were to be allowed to carry on their pro­crastinating policies, thereby giving the unprepared a chance to get ready and lessen this disparaging inequality? Na­poleon Bonaparte claimed that all his wars after the Empire were defensive, but that instead of waiting for the enemy to get the advantage he struck while the iron was hot. Mar­shal Foch says that he has always believed that to wage war is to take the offensive. There are several points to be taken up in considering the relative merits between the strategic offensive and defensive.

First: Terrain and position. Second: Surprise. Third: Advance from several directions. Fourth: Assistance ren­dered by the theater of war. Fifth: Support of the people (inhabitants). Sixth: Morale.

Unquestionably the defensive has the advantage of ter­rain, but the offensive has that of surprise, for it selects its own line of direction. The value of this element of sur­prise is doubtless less today than it was in the past, due to the introduction of the airplane and radiograph. The surprise will not be as complete but will be more dif­ficult to meet due to the increased size of the armies of to­day. A movement that one hundred years ago could be thwarted on twenty-four hours' notice, when armies were numbered by thousands, will be difficult to prevent on a week's notice with the modern armies numbered by the hun­dreds of thousands.

The surprise element in the modern war will evidence itself in the form of a strategic movement adopted. The de­fender will be looking for an advance against a certain part of the frontier and it will come from another, causing much loss of time shifting troops to meet it. There seems to be little doubt that in August, 1914, the French were taken somewhat by surprise in the direction adopted by the Germans in their advance across Belgium.

As to the advance in many columns, the assailant un­questionably has a decided advantage, yet the defender, if he is active, and will take advantage of his opportunities, may concentrate in mass against any one of these columns and defeat it in detail. The assistance of the theater of war is of value to both. For the offensive it carries the war away from home and makes someone else bear its bur­dens, and for the defensive it carries the unquestioned sentimental advantage of fighting for home and fireside. As to the value of the support of the people, one has but to look at Napoleon's Peninsula campaign. The people of Spain rising against the invader probably had more to do with the downfall of Napoleon than any other thing. The action of the Spaniards showed the inhabitants of overrun countries wherein lay their strength. It is said that one of the reasons why Napoleon failed to put in the Imperial Guard at Borodino was, because just before the psychological moment, he received a message telling of the defeat of Marmont by Wellington at Salamanca. The good moral effect of an offensive war is higher than that of a defensive. Napoleon in 1815 was unable to carry on a strategic defensive for the reason of the moral effect upon the French people. They would support a foreign war but they were sick of invasions.

One of the fatal differences between the defensive and the offensive is that the former, in order to win success, must triumph at all points while the assailant will generally win if successful at one point.

The offensive always possesses the most powerful means of bringing the intellectual and moral forces of its army into play. This is proven by the fact that in a ma­jority of cases the side on the offensive has won out in the war. The defensive lacks impulsion. It brings its forces together but does not push them forward.

The defensive creates an impression in the minds of the soldiers that their general is incompetent and his officers are afraid. The constant vigilance looking for the leads of the enemy and moving to meet them, wears down the command,
with the result that when the time comes for the counter­attack, enthusiasm is gone. Notwithstanding von Clause-witz, we will have to join with William II, the grandson of von Clausewitz's pupil, Kaiser William I, and decide that the offensive is preferable if preparation has been wisely and timely made.

Derrecagaix says "Everything considered, the offensive outranks the defensive." Von der Goltz says: "To make war is to attack," and Jomini sums it up by saying that "the offensive at the beginning of operations offers most favor­able means for making a combined movement upon a de­cisive point with overwhelming forces." This means, says he, "to take the initiative in the movements." The general who succeeds in winning this advantage to his side, is free to move his forces wherever expediency dictates.

Having considered the theater of operations and the re­sources of the enemy; and having come to a decision be­tween the strategic offensive and defensive, we will pass to a consideration of the project of operations.

Project or Plan of Operations

We see the project, or plan of operations, referred to by some writers as the plan of campaign, and that was the ancient name generally given it. In military affairs there will be certain groups of actions, in the same theater of war, consisting of concentrations, marches, occupations of positions, and combats that follow each other in logi­cal order, each successive one inseparably growing out of the preceding one. This group then would be called an op­eration and the plan would be called the plan of operations.

To illustrate with the present war: Germany, before the United States entered the war, had combats on two distinct fronts—on the west against England and France and on the east against Russia. Austria had Italy on the west, and Russia and Serbia on the east.

Their armies were in distinct fields of operations and the plan of each was different in many respects. Each plan would constitute a separate operation and have a separate oroject while the whole thing combined would constitute the campaign, and the combined projects would be the plan of campaign. Nor is a plan of campaign or project of operations limited to any period of time. Some writers have denned a campaign as any military events that take place in a calendar year, and, even as late as the Russo-Turkish War, we have campaigns referred to as winter and summer campaigns. Such fine distinctions are no longer drawn. We cannot draw a very definite distinction between an operation and a campaign other than to say that when the events within a theater or theaters of war form a certain combination unbroken as it progresses, it is usually properly called a campaign. And, when, as a result of some more or less great change or catastrophe, new com­binations begin to develop, or are developed, we have a break in that campaign and another begins.

For example, the operations of Rosecrans against Bragg, beginning with the former's advance from Murfrees-boro in August of 1863 to and including the battle of Chickamauga, should be called one campaign, yet we find the first maneuvers referred to as the Tullahoma campaign, when they should properly be called the operations in East Tennessee, or Rosecrans' operations against Bragg. The battle of Chickamauga, a logical result of the opera­tions in East Tennessee, should constitute a part of them, and the designation Chickamauga campaign, as some au­thors give it, be declared wrong. The whole affair from the advance from Murfreesboro until Rosecrans was shut up in Chattanooga constitutes one set of progressive events and should be called the campaign in East Tennessee and Georgia, between Rosecrans and Bragg. Some of the Southern writers do so call it.

Base of Operations

When an army sets out upon any expedition, whether it be to attack the enemy and his theater of war, or to take post on its own frontier, it continues in a state of neces­sary dependence on the sources from which it draws its subsistence and reinforcements, and must maintain its com­munications with them, as they are the conditions of its existence and preservation.

This dependence increases in intensity and extent in proportion to the size of the army. It is not necessary nor possible for an army to keep in touch with all of its own country; it is sufficient if it is in touch with that part of the country in its immediate rear and which is covered by its deployment. This part is referred to as its base of operations, or immediate base.. In this strip of country are located the supply depots and magazines in which the stores of various classes are kept. This, however, does not neces­sarily make the territory the base or source of supply, not unless the supplies are actually extracted from that terri­tory, for if the supplies come from elsewhere and are shipped in, that elsewhere becomes the base source of sup­ply or ultimate base and the territory under discussion the advance base. Likewise a strip of the enemy's country may become the base of operations or of supply, or both, if occupied and held. Formerly the designation "base of operations," was understood to apply to a definitely fixed geographical line, the possession of which was secured through special provisions, such as the construction of fortifications, bridgeheads, intrenched camps, etc. Often the operations of a whole campaign aimed only at gaining a base for the next one. Nations contented themselves with the capture of a few fortifications from which, perhaps not until the following year, the enemy's territory was to be invaded. Along the base, protected by fortifications, commissary storehouses were established, supplies of cloth­ing and footgear accumulated; and the ammunition for the whole campaign brought together. At the present time the conception of a base of operations is the zone from which the army gets its supplies, while the home country is the base of supply or ultimate base.

In the opinion of a great many military men, bases no longer exist, railroads having supplanted them. This view is incorrect. The true state of the case is that the changes that have taken place in recent times regarding transportation have modified, but not abolished, the idea of bases. Today, as formerly, before commencing active oper­ations, an army is obliged to collect supplies at points in its immediate rear, and from these the troops are to be fed during the first marches, and to these points will be sent back the disabled men and unserviceable material. These points will necessarily be chosen upon the lines of communi­cations, consequently at stations upon the important rail­ways; and they will form a line of centers regulating the .movement of armies.

In 1870, aside from the available resources of the various corps regions, the German army had, at the end of July, six weeks' provision collected in the principal places along the Rhine. This river was then, at least in appearance, its base of operations. But, in reality, these centers, of supply had no influence upon its operations, ex­cept as intermediate magazines between the corps and their home regions. They did not constitute the base of operations but the home region did.

It is interesting in this connection to read Moltke's memoir for the base of operations of the German armies in 1870.

Several combinations were contemplated. First, if the French took the offensive and advanced along the line of the Meuse and debouched on Cologne, the Germans were to concentrate along the Moselle to the south and threaten the line of communications of the French. Accordingly Moltke had designated the Rhenish provinces and the Mo­selle as the bases of operations in that contingency. Sec­ond, if the French violated the neutrality of Switzerland and advanced from the Metz-Strassburg line into the South Ger­man states for the purpose of separating them from North Germany and making an arrangement with them for an ad­vance on Prussia as Napoleon did in 1806, the Germans were to use the right bank of the Rhine as a base and the country north of the Main River. But when the French showed unmistakable signs of making this latter advance, the Germans found it more advantageous to threaten their left flank and communications from the north so they concentrated in the Bavarian Palatinate, which extends southeast of the lower Moselle, and with the region comprised between Treves and Landau as the base of operations ad­vanced against the Saar River line. This entire subject will be taken up in detail in the proper place later, so we will pass on, only delaying long enough to give a few rules as to selection of bases that seem to clear up the matter. They are, first, bear in mind that bases of operations have been transformed by the establishment of railroads; second, that the supplies formerly assembled upon bases will hence­forth be distributed along the railroads charged with army transport service; third, that bases of operations are gener­ally frontier zones which connect the armies with their country, and upon which they concentrate before the com­mencement of operations; fourth, that the direction of the base of operations with regard to the enemy's lines of oper­ations, increases in importance in the proportion as the masses become more numerous and the first conflicts more imminent; fifth, that an angular base of operations is always the most advantageous (Napoleon adopted such a one in 1805 and again in 1806) and it will be noticed that the German western frontier in the recent war and their western frontier as it was in 1870, is angular; sixth, there should be a sufficient number of railroads running from the interior of the country to the base of operations to assure the prompt concentration of the army; seventh, that the base of supply, source of supply or ultimate base of an army really is the country which furnishes its supplies, and the distributing zone is merely an advanced base; eighth, that the most advantageous bases of operations will be those which, while covering an army's communications, threaten most directly those of the adversary; that is to say, the right-angular base is the best and the straight line base probably the worst.

Turning to the Russo-Japanese War for an illustra­tion. Japan's base of supply was the whole of Japan, that of Russia, European Russia. The bases of operations were the concentration zones in the theater of operations. The line of communication from Japan to the armies was partly by sea, partly by rail, and partly by road. At each point . where one method of transport was exchanged for another, supplies were accumulated. The accumulations at Dalny and Antung were very large, owing to the danger to the sea transport, which could not work on schedule time in bad weather. Similarly, on the Russian side, great accu­mulations were formed at Liao Yang, Mukden, and Harbin, because of the small capacity of the Trans-Siberian Railway.


A decision having been made regarding the project of operations, and assuming it to contemplate a strategic offensive, let us take up the next logical step, and that is mobilization. Now just what is mobilization? It is the transition from a peace to a war footing, preparations being made beforehand to include the smallest details.

It may be accepted in a word that the mobilization is merely the passing from the peace to the war footing, and the best organizations are those which admit of this ex­pansion with the least confusion and least delay. Prior to the Franco-Prussian War mobilization was generally referred to as a "passing from a peace to a war footing," and concentration "the formation of the army."

A careful study of the mobilization of the German army in 1870 and a comparison of it with the French mobil­ization at the same time will probably as clearly show the , difference between a good mobilization and a poor one, as any illustration. The mobilization having been effected, the 1 transportation of the army to the frontier begins, and this is the concentration as distinguished from the mobilization. But if the first is not completed before the second starts both will be confused and the whole thing will be a chaotic mess. In France in 1870, we have a case illustrating this point of premature concentration. In our own country we have never had anything else, for as Upton says, when the others begin to concentrate we begin to legislate. A careful study ought to be made of the conditions in other countries, systems of other armies, the principles guiding them, the improvements attempted, and the results attained.

The results are of the greatest possible importance to us when they concern the condition of the enemy's army. Be­fore the war of 1866 the Prussian general staff knew un­questionably the bankrupt condition of the Austrian finance and, in 1870, Moltke must have known of the so-called inefficiency within the French army and that most of its strength was on paper.

Once the transportation to the frontier is effected, the concentration begins. It is necessary to execute an opera­tion which formerly did not exist, but which railroads have created, and for which the Germans have invented a new term, Aufmarsch. This is the strategical deployment.

The troops having reached the termini of the railroad, or landing place in case of oversea travel, it is necessary of course to get them away from the point of detrainment or disembarkment. In doing this, care must be taken to see that the various subdivisions can support themselves. This means several marches, generally short, the effect of which will be to locate each division in the place it is to occupy provisionally. These movements, however limited, constitute the strategic deployment. It is designed to put the army in immediate condition for service. And as von der Goltz says, it is essential that the troops be so disposed that all of them may be available and easily united when the neces­sity arises for striking heavy blows. It was by violating this precept, afterwards laid down by von der Goltz, that von Benedek encompassed his own defeat in 1866. The strate­gic deployment is preceded by the movement of the air service and independent cavalry divisions to the frontier either by rail, boat or road or a combination of two or three. How efficiently the cavalry of the Germans covered their recent strategic deployment in Europe is not well known, but it apparently covered very efficiently the early stages of the invasion. When the army has accomplished its stra­tegic deployment, nothing remains for it but to move for­ward. To do this it must undertake its first marches in proximity to the enemy and his frontier at a time when' his projects and intentions have not yet been divined, and when the field of hypothesis is frequently unlimited.

The only thing that is known positively is that hostilities have broken out. As to the form of the advance, it cannot be laid down in a rule that will fit any and all cases. The advance may be parallel, such as that of the German armies from the frontier to the French Nied in August, 1870, or it may be convergent, such as was adopted by the Japanese in the recent Russo-Japanese War, or again it may be divergent, such as the advance of the al­lies against Napoleon in 1814.

Prudence will, however, dictate some of the following measures, such as rapid marches, screening by cavalry, flank columns echeloned, suitable distribution in front and depth, dependent on circumstances.

One has but to look at the advance of the Germans through Belgium and compare it with their advance in 1866 and 1870 to see how well they have profited by past exper­ience. In 1866 their cavalry might as well have been home for all the information it obtained. It is true that some tac­tical information was gleaned, but in its strategic use the cavalry of 1866 was a failure. And in 1870 the lesson was not entirely learned, for the army of the Crown Prince com­pletely lost touch with MacMahon's army for several days after Woerth.

Crossing the Frontier

With the arrival on the actual frontier we may look for combats, if we have stolen a march on the enemy, and we doubtless have or we would not be on the offensive. Today, as all nations, except our own, have a general method of mobilization and concentration worked out, it is prob­able that the concentrations and deployments upon the frontier will be effected at the same time by the opposing armies.' In any case the difference will only be a few days, but it will probably be enough to reduce one or the other to the defensive. Witness the assumption of the defensive by the French during the German advance through Belgium.

After the passage of the frontier the combats will begin. After driving back the first hostile groups, the advance will continue with little interruption until the main covering detachments of the enemy are encountered. The enemy will probably make new dispositions after the first brushes and, if unsuccessful, will gradually fall back . either by a retreating defensive or a step by step defensive to his main line of defense. The scales will gradually fall from the invader's eyes and the line of operations of the invaded become apparent. The assailant will then under­take the marches conducting him to his principal objec­tive, and probably to his first great battle. Marches made under these conditions are essentially strategic marches, and they are always of the highest importance. It is now that the genius of the commander comes forward. It will demonstrate itself in the manner in which he estimates the situation and selects the strategic movements. And right here we have the subjects that arouse the most in­terest in the study of the art of war. The strategical frontal attack, penetration, attack of the wing, envelopment (wit­ness the attempts at strategic envelopment by General von Kluck's army), the turning movement and attacks in rear and flank. The direction of these strategic marches and the object to be accomplished lies with the commander, and he must decide on the merits of the case before him as he probably will not be able to find an exact precedent. With the exception of the present European War, with which we are slightly familiar, the most interesting strategic marches of recent years are those which led up to the battles of Koniggratz, Rezonville, Saint Privat, and more recently those that resulted in the seven days' fighting at Liao Yang. When the strategic marches have conducted us to the vi­cinity of the hostile masses, engagements are imminent and we are about to enter the domain of tactics.

Tactical superiority is the precondition for success. It is a general principle of all combat to be stronger at the critical point than the enemy. Napoleon said that he noticed that the Lord was generally on the side" of the heaviest battalions, and a commander that attacks today when he knows that he will be stronger tomorrow errs un­less he is fearful that the enemy will slip away from him. Now there are a number of forms of tactical offensive and defensive that have been isolated from the mass and have been given a definite name. We have the tactical frontal at­tack and breaking of the enemy's lines, tactical envelop­ment, tactical turning movement, tactical attacks in rear and on the flanks. The tactical frontal attacks with at­tempt to break the enemy's line will be resorted to in mod­ern warfare more than in the past for the reason that with large bodies of troops it will be difficult to envelop or turn without the defender learning of the movement and shifting his troops to meet it. This applies to turning movements and attacks in rear and on the flanks. However, we may have cases of turnings and envelopments in moun­tainous country where the topography conceals the turning column and makes it difficult to check it after discovery. Kuroki's army in its advance from Hamatan repeatedly turned the Russians, on the east front, out of position by the use of passes through the mountains.

The tactical offensive is the fitting culmination to the strategic offensive advance, and is generally the only way that decisive results can be obtained. However, we will come to two cases where the strategical offensive and tac­tical defensive are the proper combinations. In a word they are only possible when the defender is forced to attack.

We have taken up the strategical defensive in previous pages so it will not be necessary to more than refer to it now. It may be of the positive or negative kind, or the active or passive, but a true defensive is the one that con­templates a return to the offensive some time. As von der Goltz said, the defender, gradually falling back on his rein­forcements, becomes stronger while the assailant grows weaker by reason of detachments to guard his line of com­munications. There finally comes a time when the dis­parity of numbers is greatly reduced and then is the time for the defensive to make the counter. We have no better illustrations than the Atlanta campaign or Kuropatkin's operations in Manchuria. Both failed, however, by reason of the fact that the Confederates and Russians had gotten into the habit of falling back and either would not or could not give the proper counter. We will take up the various kinds of strategic defenses; for example, flank positions, such as those of Jackson at Groveton; interior lines, such as those of Napoleon in 1814, and the combined movements "where the defender is at the same time on the defensive and offensive. This latter is illustrated by the movements of the allies and Germans in Europe in The World War. The tactical defensive consists of entrenching a position and waiting for the enemy's play.


In this introduction, an outline has been given of the subject which will be taken up in detail in the following lectures and conferences. When the United States entered The World War some persons thought that we were taking up a brand new subject and that everything that had been studied before was more of a hindrance than an advantage.

The close resemblance of the application in France of the principles that had been studied for years past was amazing. We will doubtless learn many tactical lessons from the war due to the introduction of the various new weapons, but it is believed that the rules of strategy will emerge clothed in their own skin and easily recognizable. But there is one lesson we can certainly learn and that is: "When a nation has no staff of officers, and no principle of military organization, it will be difficult for it to form an army."—Napoleon's War Maxims, LXII. There is one thing certain and that is the country that is prepared for war has the unprepared at a great disadvantage. It is only by taking advantage of our opportunities that we beat the other man. And just because we are prepared, does it make war any more likely? As President Cleveland once said, there are some things more to be abhorred than war.

The French learned their lesson, and the mobilization of 1914 bore no resemblance to that of 1870. The War of 1870 demonstrated that no riches, no resources, no patriot­ism are worth much when arrayed against preparation.

President Roosevelt, in his message to Congress, very ably expressed it: "It must ever be kept in mind that war is not merely justifiable, but imperative upon honorable men and upon an honorable nation when peace is only to be obtained by the sacrifice of conscientious conviction or of national welfare. A just war is in the long run far bet­ter for a nation's soul than the most preposterous peace ob­tained by an acquiescence in wrong or injustice. It must be remembered that even to be defeated in war may be bet­ter than not to have fought at all."

That strategy is an art can no longer be doubted. Napoleon, in writing from St. Helena of the greatest captains of the past, stated that they fought according to rule and the natural principles of the art of war. "They have never ceased to make war a true science," he wrote, "and therefore models, which we should imitate in this re­spect. They have ascribed my greatest deeds to good for­tune, and they will not be slow in ascribing my misfortunes to my mistakes. But when I shall describe my campaigns, they will be astonished to see that in both instances my intelligence and abilities were invariably in harmony with the principle."

In closing, the homely definition of strategy is again repeated. It is the application of common sense to war. The difficulty lies in its execution, for we are dependent on an infinite number of factors such as weather, condition of roads, health of troops and so on. The great difficulty of execution is in deciding. When in doubt it is. a good rule to go forward, as has already been stated. Marshal Foch has said that he has always believed that to wage war is to attack. Napoleon has stated that it is a mistake to underestimate an opponent. "Always consider the en­emy at least your equal in prowess, but consider yourself enough better to take the offensive." There are three decisions to be made—the right one, which is the best, the wrong one, which is next best, and no decision, which is the worst of all.

CHAPTER II. The Positive Nature of War


A DEFINITION of war has rarely been correctly given. In his work on Modern Strategy, Colonel James defines it as "the endeavor to gain by violence an object which can not be attained by other means." This definition would apply equally to robbery or burglary. The true definition is a question for the international lawyer to decide.

General Orders No. 100, 1863, Art. 20, defines war as follows: "Public war is a state of armed hostility between sovereign nations or governments." It is a law and a requi­site of civilized existence that men live in political, con­tinuous societies, forming organized units called states or nations, whose constituents hear, enjoy, and suffer, advance and retrograde together in peace and in war.
The object of war is to bring about the complete sub­mission of the enemy as soon as possible by means of reg­ulated violence. Military necessity justifies a resort to all the measures which are indispensable for securing this object and which are not forbidden by the modern laws and customs of war.

Bernhardi states that "War is the father of al! things. A biological necessity of the first importance, a regulative element in the life of mankind which cannot be dispensed with, since, without it an unhealthy development would follow, which excludes every advancement of the race, and therefore all real civilization." The German conception seems to have been that war should be principally charac­terized by its ruthlessness. "Necessity knows no law," as von Eethmann Hollweg stated as a justification for the violation of Belgium's neutrality. A solemn written cov­enant became "a scrap of paper." Too often war conforms to the following definition: "It is the means by which a sovereign state enforces an unjust claim against another." War has but one means of action—"force." No other exists; but its exercise should be manifested only by wounds, death and legalized destruction. Moral force serves only to render the employment of physical force more efficacious. "The use of force in war is absolute."

War, however, has but one aim—to overthrow the en­emy and render him incapable of continuing resistance.

"During peace, nations try to attain their ends by nego­tiations' through their ordinary diplomatic representatives or by means of special missions; in war, they seek to do so by armed forces."

These special missions are largely engaged in smooth­ing out the difficulties that arise between the countries they represent.

However, it will never be practicable to avoid entirely those questions in which each of the contesting parties be­lieves that it is impossible to give way without dealing him­self a fatal blow.

Peace conferences have encouraged the world to believe that in them was to be found the panacea for all international ailments and the means of avoiding war. Many hold to this idea with pathetic determination. Minor differences which do not affect the honor or existence of a state may be set-. tied in this way, but when it is a question vitally affecting the natural growth of the state, politically or commercially, the struggle seems inevitable.

"War is the outcome of the policy pursued in peace. It is a continuation of politics; only the means for the at­tainment of the object have changed."

In the past the reason most often arising, which has brought about war, is the attempt of governments to form homogenous and independent states that could not be created without violating previous possession and oblit­erating racial customs, language, and lines. The seething cauldron of the Balkans has been the result of dividing up people along geographical and not natural lines. The far-sighted Bismarck, at the Congress of Berlin, was in favor of such a division, for he, in his sagacity, knew that per­petual strife would result; and he, too, may have dreamed of a Mittel Europa arising from the ashes of these nations. The great strength of the British Empire and the reason for the satisfaction of her colonies is that she sedulously en­deavors to preserve all that is good of native customs, and the integrity of local boundaries.

Questions of power and influence, even more than na­tional jealousy and rivalry, may acquire such an importance that political wisdom and diplomatic skill seek in vain a peaceful adjustment. A violent solution through war be­comes unavoidable.

"The idea of making war impossible through courts of arbitration has led to no practical result because the power which could enforce unconditional and universal respect for the decisions of such courts is lacking." Ex­perience has shown that even in civil law, a statute without a penalty clause is not worth the paper it is written upon; and this defect applies equally well to disputes between nations. Few people or nations do right solely for right's sake.

"The best means, then, to preserve peace is to be found in a thorough military organization, for the strong are not so readily attacked as the weak." With the size and power of modern armies the damage resulting from the encounter increases, the responsibility for deciding on war becomes more serious, and, consequently, this decision is not lightly made.

Weak states, surrounded by powerful neighbors, are in perpetual peril of annihilation and absorption. They consequently should not take up an attitude likely to invite aggression from stronger powers, nor should they seek by arms to do that for which their armament is inadequate.

The Boers, in 1899, threw down the gauntlet to the Briton when they themselves could not muster more than 80,000 fighting men. It is true that President Kruger expected intervention,, a condition that generally follows military success on a no uncertain scale. Feeble Denmark, in 1864, did not escape despoliation by Prussia, even though she was passive, and the provinces of Schleswig and Hol-stein were taken from her only to be returned when her despoilers were in turn overcome. Many wars have been waged in the past solely for the aggrandizement of the aggressor. Frederick the Great wanted Silesia, so he began the first Silesian War. Cavour sent the Italians to fight in Crimea, not that his country had any cause of offense against Russia, but because he aimed at raising its position among nations, and hoped for future aid in working out his scheme for the unification of Italy under the House of Savoy.

Napoleon III desired the Westphalian coal fields; Frenchmen wished for the frontier of the Rhine and had their over-weening military vanity offended by the Prus­sian victories over Austria in 1866. Bismarck was not adverse to a war with France, and rendered it inevitable by deliberately altering a telegram, because he believed that the conflict would consolidate Germany and aggrandize Prussia. Germany, in the recent war, looking for her "place in the sun," could only be seeking it politically, for commercially, by legitimate means, she was crowding out her greatest competitor, Great Britain.

States which through neglect or indifference allow their military organization and means of defense to decline, con­jure up a danger through their own fault and from which they will some day reap inevitable ruin and destruction.

In democratic nations the people are supposed to be the arbiters of their own destinies, and are, as history shows, often carried away by a sudden wave of sentiment which forces them into a position where war is inevitable. We have as illustrations the war between the United States and Spain in 1898, and the Siam and Fashoda incidents, which in recent years nearly embroiled Great Britain and France.
In countries where public opinion has such a great power, preparation is more necessary.

"The best military organization is that which makes all the intellectual and material resources of the nation available for the purpose of carrying a war to a successful issue."

The day of the mercenary is over, for in modern war the very strength of nations is at a test and it would not be justifiable nor wise to attempt a' defense of the whole with a part.

The form of the organization in each state largely depends on the internal conditions of the country as well as upon international rivalry. These conditions change with the gradual evolution of the national character and desire.

In the United States a compulsory system of service such as Germany had would not be tolerated. Yet in France, where grim necessity forced her to have at all times an army able to cope with her common enemy, she had a similar form of service, even though a democratic nation.

In 1863, the enforcement of the Federal draft laws in our own country, even after the victory at Gettysburg, was met with riots in our metropolis; yet in 1917, the draft laws were enacted almost unanimously and enforced with little or no opposition. Times had changed and the internal conditions of the country made it possible.

The form under which most of the military organiza­tions of the present day appear is that of a skeleton army. A certain number of men able to bear arms are retained in the permanent organizations which functions as a police force to care for obstreperous boundaries, foreign posses­sions such as colonies, and to serve as instructors in the various schools and camps, where the citizen is trained in his duty as a soldier. At the same time this army furnishes a framework or nucleus around which the citizen soldiers assemble to expand units from peace to war strength. Few states rely solely or in part on a militia system, for such systems can only be justifiable when a country is so located as to render attacks by an army ready for battle impos­sible; and few states, if any, are so located. A recruiting system by voluntary enlistments is obsolescent, and few countries employ it.

Compulsory service is the rule in Europe. Both Eng­land and the United States had to resort to it to raise the required number of men in The World War. Universal training has been adopted by Switzerland and Argentine, and works effectively. It is the true service for a de­mocracy, and will be effective in this country if exceptions other than physical are not made. It brings the son or relative of the law maker, and the son or relative of the law obeyer in close touch; likewise the sons of the rich and the poor* the learned and the ignorant. A war fought by troops so selected cannot be called "a rich man's war, but a poor man's fight," and the Congress that declares war, and the rich man whose wealth increases thereby, will have the blood of their own kind on their heads if they force a war unnecessarily.

We now pass to the subject of the special nature of modern wars. In times past we have had wars known as religious, of conquest, and wars caused by ruptures in reigning houses. Even in modern times we have wars for humanity, such as the Spanish-American, and wars in which only a section of a country is concerned, such as the local upheavals in China.

But in this age, a "war appears generally under its natural form—that is, as a bloody conflict between nations, in which each side strives for the complete overthrow or, if possible, the annihilation of the opponent."

To attempt to frighten an enemy merely by massing troops on his frontier, or by a show of invasion, or as one well known writer says, "To gain victory without battle, through the mere power of maneuver" will no, longer ac­complish its purpose.

"The experience of the Napoleonic wars has taught us that actions of the above nature immediately lose their effect as soon as the opponent resolves to make war in earnest and to strike with a sharp sword."

The case often arises, however, where it is better judg­ment not to join battle, particularly if the enemy is doing exactly what you want.

General Meade was unquestionably correct in not at­tacking Lee when the latter was in position along the Antietam after Gettysburg. Lee was showing every symptom of returning to Virginia, a thing vital to the Federal cause. It would have been folly to have caused any diversion by a battle that offered equal opportunities to each side, for Lee's army after Gettysburg was far from being annihilated.

Dumouriez has frequently been blamed for having merely followed up the Prussians after Valmy, instead of bringing them again to battle. France had fixed as the object of the war against Prussia the liberation of French soil, and when, therefore, the day after Valmy, the Prussian army began to retreat toward the Rhine, Dumouriez could see that his plan of campaign was successful. In these conditions, to have delivered battle would have been, in case of victory, a pure waste of men; in case of defeat, a gratuitous blunder that would have compromised a fav­orable situation and perhaps have incited the Prussians to resume their march on Paris.

The Battle of Jutland

A recent report of Admiral von Scheer states that Sir John Jellicoe had a golden opportunity to destroy the Ger­man fleet at the battle of Jutland, but failed to take advan­tage of his opportunity by permitting the German fleet to return to its base. In this report, comes the intimation that the British failed. Before we subscribe to this statement and condemn Jellicoe, let us analyze. First: what was the grand strategic object of the allied fleet? It was to deny the use of the sea to Germany. This could be accomplished in a number of ways. It so happened that the way pre­senting itself in the North Sea was to "bottle up the German Grand Fleet and keep it bottled up." The sortie made by the German Grand Fleet that led to the battle of Jutland may have been made for any of a dozen reasons, which one is neither here nor there. The task of the British fleet was to maintain control of the sea and could best be done by driving the German fleet back into port. If the latter could be cut off and sunk, so much the better; but in default of that, the mission was fulfilled as soon as the German fleet returned. To have attempted to destroy the German fleet, regardless of risk, could not have had a very great bearing on the outcome of the war in event of success. But in the event of failure and the loss of such a number of British capital ships as would have thrown the balance of power on the side of Germany, it would have been a gratuitous blun­der which would have accomplished nothing and might have lost the war for the allies. It is never fair to condemn any commander for an apparent failure until the matter has been studied from the viewpoint of other events.

"The idea that in modern times two nations will enter a conflict without putting forth their full strength and without contemplating the overthrow of the opponent, but, on the contrary, may employ only a portion of their forces in order to advance to a certain point, the possession of which is the only matter of interest to them—is as improb­able as armed conflicts without a decisive battle."

We do have cases in which a weak state has violated the rights of a powerful neighbor and declines to make amends or to repudiate the acts of their offending citizens if such are the offenders. We then see the stronger neighbor invading the weaker country and seizing the capital or an important seaport to await compliance with the proffered demands. Such an expedition was sent against Pekin in 1900 and by the United States against Vera Cruz in 1914. The foregoing practice is found more often in colonial wars.

Wars at present are not waged for trifling causes, yet should a government for selfish reasons jeopardize a portion of the armed forces or a section of the country, the balance of the people, although not desiring war, will not blandly see their brethren injured, but will rush to their support. During the Civil War in the United States, while many of the Southern States were not in sympathy with the atti­tude of South Carolina, yet, when force was used by the Federal government, they at once sprung to the assistance of their sister state.

The desire of every nation at war in modern times is to bring the war to a victorious conclusion as quickly as possible, for the demands of modern civilization are so great that war soon approaches a cost that leaves both contest­ants impoverished and worse off than they would have been had there been no war.

War is generally ended either by complete overthrow or destruction, or by the moral effect of a disaster to a por­tion of the forces.

The moral effect of the entry of the United States into the recent war probably had as much of an influence as any other feature.

"When, therefore, we refer to the overthrow of the opponent we mean that through defeat of a portion of his forces we induce him to give up all chances of a later favor­able turn in the campaign; and by destruction we mean the act of producing such a physical and moral condition that he, for the present, feels himself unable to continue the struggle."

As long as we have the principle of nationality as the dominant one in modern nations, and national, territorial and commercial integrity are to be maintained, we will have, in event of trouble, the nation in arms and the war will retain its absolute character.

CHAPTER III. Methods of Waging War


"The art of war is divided into two parts, namely, strategy and tactics.
"Strategy deals with the military considerations which determine the choice of the offensive and defensive, the selection of the country in which to fight, and the objects against which armies should be directed.
"The object of strategy is to bring the troops into action in the decisive direction and in the greatest possible strength.
"The sole aim of strategy is 'to bring about the combat under as favorable conditions us possible.' "

AS PREVIOUSLY STATED, the word "strategy" is de­rived from the Greek word strategos, meaning a ,general. Some writers, principally German, therefore de­fine strategy as the art of generalship. This definition is unsatisfactory, for many of the most brilliant exhibitions of generalship have occurred on the field of battle and clearly in the domain of tactics. Recall Napoleon at Aus-terlitz, Wellington at Salamanca, or Marshal Foch at the first battle of the Marne.

Strategy has been defined as the art of moving armies in the theater of operations; but this definition is open to the objection that troops actually engaged in battle are in the theater of operations, so that in this definition tactics is swallowed up by strategy. Another definition of strategy is that it is the art of moving troops not in the presence of the enemy. This answer is not satisfactory, for the cul­minating point of nearly all strategy is the field of battle where you are unquestionably in the presence of the enemy. Strategy has been defined also as the art of taking an enemy at a disadvantage. This is not satisfactory, for no one can say that the use of gas for the first time at Ypres did not take the British and French at a disadvantage; yet there was no strategy about it. Again, it has been defined as "tlx art of assembling and moving armies and fleets for the purpose of furthering the interests of one's own government in a political strife with another." One writer defines strategy as "the art of assembling and moving armies and fleets to carry out the purposes of the war." Ham-ley says that "the theater of war is the province of strategy —the field of battle is the province of tactics." A definition given by Helmuth von Moltke is that "Strategy is the ap­plication of common sense to war." This is an admirable definition, but should not be restricted in its use to strategy alone. The definition of Wagner is quite a good one, as it covers both strategy and tactics: "Strategy is the art of moving an army in the theater of operations, with a view of placing it in such a position, relative to the enemy, as to increase the probability of victory, increase the conse­quence of victory and lessen the consequences of defeat."
Strategy may be called the art of directing armies; tactics, the science of troop leading.

The difference between strategy and tactics has been, discussed at length here for the reason that these terms ap­pear in all text-books and an exact knowledge facilitates a general survey of the art of war.

Thus we speak of the strategical and tactical offensive, and of the strategical and the tactical defensive.

From these terms we derive our various combinations which become the subject for special consideration.

Offensive and Defensive

"There are two principal ways of waging war, namely, offensively and defensively. That one of the combatants who resolves to advance, seek out the enemy and defeat him and thus compel him to yield, we call the assailant. The one who wards off the enterprises directed against him we call the defender."

He who thinks solely of parrying can at the best merely avert defeat. However, we often have had cases in the past of the defender winning a war, but in those cases other elements have entered, such as famine, disease, weather, and guerrilla warfare.

The invasion of Europe by the Turks in about 1683 was brought to an end by the Poles, under John Sobieski, with the assistance of their ally, famine, After Valmy, the Duke of Brunswick's army withdrew from France more on account of the dysentery that had broken out among the troops than on account of the activity of the Repub­lican army. The invasion of Russia in 1812, and the oc­cupation of Spain by Napoleon's armies failed respectively on account of weather and the rising of the people "en masse."

In all these cases the invader was forced to withdraw, notwithstanding he suffered no check from an offensive stroke of the defender's army.

There are two general types of defensives, namely, the active, or the true defensive, and the passive.

The true defensive contemplates a counter-stroke, some­times called "the decisive counter-attack, or the offensive-defensive." Such was the case of the British at Waterloo.

The passive defensive consists in complete inertia, merely checking the enemy while depending for relief on the assistance or intervention of allies, or a favorable dis­pensation of providence in the form of severe weather or an epidemic of disease. We have the best illustration of a merely passive defensive in the battle of New Orleans. This method was adopted by Jackson, not from choice, but from force of circumstances, for he had, a few days before, tried an offensive on a small scale and had learned that his men would only fight successfully behind a parapet.

On this subject Jomini gays: "The principa1 advan­tage of the defensive lies in the fact that it is able to select its own theater of war. But it cannot draw all possible advantages from the situation by a simple passive defense." "For this it is necessary to adopt an active defense, now holding the army in waiting, now seizing a favorable junc­ture, to make an attack. The best results are thus obtained. In choosing this character of defense, the advantage of having a theater of war prepared in advance is united with the initiative of the movements."

"Do not adopt the defensive," said Napoleon in his cor­respondence, "if it is possible for you to do otherwise. If you are reduced to this extremity let it be to gain time, to await reinforcements, to form your soldiers, to seek alliances, to lead the enemy to a distance from his base of operations; but have an eventual offensive as the constant aim of your movements." He said in another place "the whole art of war consists, on the one hand, in a well planned and extremely prudent defense; on the other, in a bold and rapid initiative."

It often happens that a country, being fully convinced of the righteousness of its cause, may prefer to assume the defensive until the hostile acts clearly show the enemy's intentions before assuming the offensive.

The Prussians, in 1806, assumed voluntarily the de­fensive, taking up a position to cover their somewhat luke­warm ally, Saxony, in advance of the Elbe, the natural line of defense of the old Prussian dominion against a French invasion. In 1866, at the outset, they also stood volun­tarily on the defensive and waited for the situation to develop.

The true way to wage war is to take the offensive, and if forced to assume the defensive, it must only be temporary.

Marshal Foch has said that he has always believed that to wage war is to take the offensive.

The offensive possesses the most powerful means of bringing the intellectual and moral forces of the army into play. This is proven by the number of victories put down to its account. The assailant presses forward, confident in his plans and in his ability to carry them out. He selects his mark, and all his efforts thus take a settled direction. At the same time his designs, in the progress of events, become productive. The very fact that the offensive has more activity than the defensive is much in its favor, for between two adversaries equal at the outset, the more active will prevail.

The following are a few of the advantages the defender has over the assailant:

1. He can select the locality in which to fight.
2. He can manage his fire so as to cover all approaches while utilizing cover.
3. He presents a smaller and less conspicuous target.
4. He can bring a heavier and more accurate fire to bear.
5. He is not near the danger of exhausting his ammunition supply.
6. Increased range of modern weapons forces the assailant to deploy sooner.
7. The roads in rear are better, which facilitates supply.
8. Supports and reinforcements can more easily be sent forward.
9. Derives the greatest benefit from mechanical devices.

The great advantage to the assailant is his free choice in the selection of the direction of his attack. He can distribute his forces in the best way to suit a definite case.

The defender must hold his troops in a semi-position of readiness, which taxes their indurance. The assailant can prepare his enterprise with a distinct end in view, and employ his whole force in compliance with a uniform plan; he can, "as regards time, space and tactics, make use of the time the defender needs for reconnoitering, making up his mind and initiating his counter-measures to perfect his own arrangements. By the choice of the direction of attack, the further advantage is gained of being able to concen­trate and use effectively a great numerical superiority in the decisive direction before the enemy can arrange his de­fense in sufficient strength. The assailant can further con­duct his attack so as to prevent the special advantages of the defense from asserting themselves.

Jomini states that a general as his first principle must "seize the offensive and permanently retain the initiative, forcing the enemy thereby to conform to his actions. Anni­hilation of the hostile army in battle and pursuit is the only guiding star for all military thinking, and he direets his observations above all to the mode in which those forces must be employed and moved in order to gain this object in as complete a manner as possible."


Napoleon has claimed that all his wars after 1803 were defensive, but that instead of remaining on the defensive, he at once took the initiative in order to forestall the enemy.

In the summer of 1899, the British failed to make adequate preparations to meet the military situation in South Africa, although it was patent to all that the Boers were arming for offensive purposes. The Japanese, on the other hand, took the initiative in 1904 because they perfectly well understood that the Russian negotiations had no fur­ther aim than to gain time.

The Boers in 1899 by promptly taking the initiative completely upset the British plan of campaign, which was based on holding Natal defensively while the main army invaded the Free State. As a result, Sir George White was surrounded at Ladysmith, and a large force had to be employed simply to release him.

We may accept it as a maxim that one must never vol­untarily surrender the initiative.

A practical tactician once said "an ounce of bulge is better than a pound of tactics," and this very inelegant ex­pression must not be lost sight of.


Of course, it will be understood that by the offensive and defensive we do not mean that one side does nothing but attack and the other nothing but parry. It generally is the case that at various places in an extended battle each side will be on the offensive and defensive at the same time on different parts of the battlefield, yet the general atti­tude of one will be offensive and of the other, defensive.

The strategical and the tactical offensive may be combined by an advance of the army into the theater of war, and after finding the enemy, proceeding to an attack on the field of battle. But, on the other hand, we might permit the strategical offensive to be followed by the tactical de­fensive, by allowing the enemy to become the aggressor on the battlefield after having advanced to meet him. In this case the enemy is said to be on the strategical defensive and tactical offensive.

A combination of strategic and tactical defensive means complete passivity.

We cannot reduce the principles of the conduct of war to an exact science, but there are certain combinations of movements that bring about a certain result more often than not. Willisen, a contemporary of Clausewitz, has tabulated them as follows:

Vital Phases Strategic defensive and tactical defensive Strategic defensive and tactical offensive Strategic offensive and tactical defensive Strategic offensive and tactical offensive
In Event of Victory Complete draw Victory on the battlefield without results for the whole campaign of war Favorable general situation for a victory, which, however, will be without result because the enemy's capacity to fight remains intact Annihilation of the enemy and conquest of his country
In Event of Defeat Own annihilation and loss of territory Retreat in order to resume again the tactical offensive Warding off the consequences by a favorable strategic position Temporary abandonment of what has been begun


Strategical Defensive and Tactical Defensive

In Event of Victory

Osman Pasha at Plevna was on the strategic and tac­tical defensive, and yet, after having driven back the Rus­sians in the three separate attacks on the city, the outcome was a draw.

In Event of Defeat

At Henry and Donelson, the Confederates were on the strategic and tactical defensive, but after their defeat at Donelson, they not only lost their army by capture, but also western Kentucky and part of Tennessee.

Strategical Defensive and Tactical Offensive

In Event of Victory

Lee, at Chancellorsville, was on the strategical defen­sive and tactical offensive. He drove back the forces of Hooker. However, the Confederates were not much better off when Hooker got back into his lines than they were be­fore the attack.

In Event of Defeat

Bragg, at Stones Hiver, was on the strategic defensive and tactical offensive, yet after his defeat was forced to fall back across the Tennessee River and later at Chick-amauga again assumed the tactical offensive.

The Confederate army during the Atlanta campaign was on the strategic defensive, but at Peach Tree, with the change in commanders, the Confederates took the tactical offensive, and, even though defeated, were able to send Hood's army on the final invasion of the North.

Strategical Offensive and Tactical Defensive

In Event of Victory

While we cannot say that Lee after Antietam was in a favorable strategic position with a river at his back, yet he doubtless warded off the consequence of his defeat by the strength his tactical position gave to his strategic situation.

In Event of Defeat

As a result of an unwarranted assumption of this combination, Hooker was defeated at Chancellorsville and was forced to retreat across the Rappahannock River. The Army of the Potomac was prevented from again resuming the tactical offensive by Lee's unsuccessful invasion of the North.

The Serbs in The World War assumed the stragetical offensive after their successes on the Shabatz and Jadar Rivers and invaded hostile territory when they were forced back on the tactical defensive, but moving to their main positions resumed the tactical offensive at the engagement known as the "Battle of the Serbian Ridges."

Strategical Offensive and Tactical Offensive

In Event of Victory

This is the combination productive of the greatest re­sults. We have many illustrations. At Paardeburg, in the Boer War, Lord Roberts was on the strategic and tactical offensive and not only captured Cronje's army, but overran that section of the Orange Free State in which his army was operating.

Grant, at Henry and Donelson, and the Central Powers in case of Russia, Roumania, and Serbia, were on the stra­tegical and tactical offensive and not only destroyed hostile opposition but took over the military control of the territory.

In Event of Defeat

The temporary abandonment of the enterprise. Such was the British situation in Arabia, and, on repeated occa­sions at other places, during the recent war; the party at­tacking, when it failed, merely got ready for another effort.

There is a general impression given out by certain text-book writers that the general or the general staff is absolutely a free agent in selecting the line of action. We must never forget that politics still play a part, and it is not what the general wants—it is what the political au­thority demands and what the people will stand for.

As already stated, Napoleon would have liked to have stood on the defensive in 1815, until his veterans arrived from Spain, yet such an action would have involved an invas­ion of a part of France, a thing the people would not tolerate. Politics, in the American Civil War, demanded that a Fed­eral army be continually kept actually between the Con­federates and Washington.

Grant's movement down the west bank of the Missis­sippi River during the Vicksburg campaign was forced upon him, for the political situation in the North, with an election not far off, would permit of nothing that looked like a retrograde movement. Grant wanted to go north after he learned of the condition of the country across the river from Vicksburg, and make a trial on the east bank, but this would have looked like a retreat.

Vigorously ambitious nations and states do not lack positive purposes in which they are politically aggressive; and in their desire for new territory, for the extension of their political institutions on behalf of a union with people of their own blood held under foreign domination, or to open up trade routes and intercourse closed up by a neigh­boring state, will invariably assume the strategical and tactical offensive. Such was the case with Germany in The World War. Being ambitious she desired the extension of her political institutions, and promptly took the initiative to accomplish it.

A nation, which in its historical development has ar­rived at a point of rest, will invariably be on the strategic and tactical defensive. It will merely await the action of the more aggressive nation, surrendering to it all of the "trumps," so to speak, and inevitably meeting defeat. We have examples in the case of Greece, Persia and China in the past.

The nation on the strategic offensive should follow with a tactical offensive; otherwise the slowing up may, metaphorically speaking, result in the breaking off of the sharp point already imbedded.


There are two exceptions, however, where the party on the strategical offensive is justified in combining with it the tactical defensive.

First Case.—When the line of strategical advance enables the assailant to place himself on the main artery of communications of the enemy and thereby to deprive the latter of his means of subsistence and compel him to fight to live, we may say that a tactical defensive may be com­bined with the strategical offensive.

In the Marengo campaign of 1800, Napoleon, by his debouchment through the Alps, was able to place his army astride Melas' communications. Melas had the choice of attacking or starving. He chose the former, but being unsuccessful, was forced to sue for peace.

Second Case.—When, due to a peculiar political and international situation, it is imperative that the assailant be ejected from invaded territory, he is justified in combin­ing the strategical offensive with the tactical defensive. A great many writers claim that General Lee, during the Gettysburg campaign, should have fallen back on the tac­tical defensive and made Meade attack him. The Federal government had no too strong a hold on the people, and the enforcement of the draft law, together with the feeling, in some sections, that the war was unjust, was making the war unpopular. Also, it was generally understood that all the Confederates needed to secure foreign recognition was a victory on Northern soil. Such being the case, it was im­perative that Lee be driven back across the Potomac River. Lee would have had a better chance of defeating Meade by dropping back on the tactical defensive, and, after Meade had shattered his army by an unsuccessful attack, to have fallen on him with a vigorous counter-stroke.

The organizations of armies plays an important part in the matter. The side that mobilizes first will doubtlessly wish to make a rapid advance; the other side will be forced to take the defensive, even if only for the moment. Each side will therefore find its role by circumstances over which it has no control and be obliged to accept the situation.

However, it does no harm to become familiar with the salient features of each form of strategy and tactics, so that, if forced to assume either one involuntarily, one may know what can be expected from the various combinations.

CHAPTER IV. The Leading Principles of Strategy


To begin with, we must assume that the enemy, "whose motives are similar to our own, will assemble his troops into one vast army in order to deliver, with united forces, blows which shall be as decisive as possible." Na­poleon's XLIV War Maxim states that "Nothing is more im­portant in war than unity in the command; thus when there is war against one power there should be but one army, acting on one line, and lead by one chief."

"In case the great size of the entire land forces of a state necessitates the formation of several groups, because in one mass the whole might be too unwieldy, several of these bodies will receive instructions looking to mutual action."

We will be able to recognize the body that is intended for decisive action. This may be learned from various circumstances; for example, from the strength of the force; from the decisive direction of its advance; from the im­portance of its commander; from the superiority in quality of the troops making up the force. With a force such as Germany had, one may expect to find the Guard and Imperial Crown Prince with the main army. The first, on account of its dependability, and the second from the desire the Hohenzollerns had to have the next ruler in the military "limelight" as much' as possible. It is obvious that with the failure or overthrow of this main force all others must suffer accordingly. It is possible that they, hearing of the defeat of the main army, may give up without resistance. Such was the case in 1866 after the defeat of Von Benedek at Sadowa. From this we derive our first principle of strategy—"Make the hostile main army the objective." This of course does not prevent a series of preliminary engagements leading up to the main encounter. There may be a number of fortresses blocking the way to the main army, such as those at Liege, Namur, Maubeuge, Verdun and other places. These must be re­duced or isolated. Each force may try to interrupt the other's concentration by sending out strategic cavalry, but these engagements are only preliminary. We have no bet­ter illustration of the dire results from the violation of this principle than in the action of Eurnside in not attacking Lee's army camped around Culpepper Court House in the fall of 18C2, but attempting to move quickly via Fredericks-burg on Richmond. The fall of Richmond would probably have meant nothing to the Confederacy at that time with Lee's army still in the field, and might have resulted in the "bottling up" of the victorious troops.

In the selection of an objective, as between a geograph­ical point and a mobile army, the choice generally goes to the latter, although there have been cases when the cap­ture of the geographical point, for political reasons, meant the end of the struggle. The seizure of the capital generally is followed by a revolution and a change of government. There have been many cases, however, where the capture of the capital has not brought about peace. The capture of Washington in the War of 1812 made scarcely any im­pression upon the American forces, yet had the same city been captured after First Bull Run, the Southern indepen­dence might have been recognized. In 1757, an Austrian general of Hussars entered Berlin and levied a contribu­tion on the city, but being forced to abandon it on the approach of the Prussian King, the incident produced no result. The capture of the Belgian capital, while sub­jecting the inhabitants to much discomfiture, did not cause the Belgians to sue for peace. Napoleon held Madrid for four years and the Austrians held Belgrade for a similar period in The World War, yet those acts did not bring the war to a successful conclusion. It often happens that, even after the fall of the capital, a subsequent victory in the field is necessary to bring the enemy to terms. After the capture of Vienna by Napoleon in 1805 and 1809, it required Austerlitz and Wagram, respectively, to force the Austrians to sue for peace.

It is a mooted question in The World War whether Paris or Marshal Joffre's main army should have been the objective of the Germans. In no country does the capital mean more to the people than in France, and it will never . be known what the outcome would have been had the Germans captured Paris. A glance at the railroad map of France will show that, in addition to its sentimental value, Paris is of a decided commercial importance, as it is the hub of the entire railroad system of the country. The capture of the capital would have paralyzed railway traffic.

An Illustration of the Violation of the Leading Principle of Strategy That was not Justified

The Russians, in 1877, thought proper to violate this principle. Urged by political considerations, they decided, after the passage of the Danube, to neglect a Turkish army of 100,000 men on their left at Rasgrad, and a force of about 40,000 men holding the Valley of the Vid on their right, but to make Adrianople their first objective, march­ing straight upon it. The resistance organized by Osman Pasha upon the flank of their line of operations arrested their progress, subjected them to numerous checks, and forced them into several unanticipated engagements. Plevna, which was almost devoid of strategic significance at the beginning of the campaign, soon, through the energy dis­played by the Turkish general, acquired signal importance, and thus became the decisive object.

Illustration That was Justified

In 1814, the allied armies of Bohemia and Silesia had taken Paris for their objective. At the moment when Na­poleon, abandoning the direct defense of his capital, turned upon their communications, they contented themselves with placing an army corps in his front, and continued their march. The allied generals chose to neglect the enemy's main force, taking for their objective the principle strategic point in the theater of operations. In this case their de­termination was not an error. They knew that their adver­sary's forces were very weak; moreover, an intercepted letter had apprised them of the fact that Napoleon himself
doubted the success of his own operations; and, finally they were quite certain that once the capital fell into their hands, they could bring about Napoleon's dethronement. The march upon Paris assured the allied armies a result more in con­formity with the aim of the war, more prompt and more decisive than could be obtained by a continuance of the struggle with Napoleon in the field; for, in taking away his crown, they deprived him of his last resources.

Another Illustration That was Justified

In 1849, Hungary, engaged in insurrection, appointed Gorgei, formerly a captain, to the position of commander-in-chief. After three months' campaign, he succeeded in driving the Austrian army commanded by Prince Windsch-graetz from the Theiss to the Danube. The Imperial forces, wishing to oppose the passage of the river, took position on the 5th of April beyond Pesth. Leaving a containing force to make demonstrations in the Imperial front, Gorgei marched upon Komorn by the left bank of the river for the purpose of debouching on the Austrians' rear. On the 10th of the month, he took Waitzen, north of Budapest; on the 18th, Leva, forcing the passage of the Grau River at Nagy-Sarlo, and succeeded in raising the siege of Komorn on the 22d. The Austrians, seeing their line of retreat threat­ened, fell back to Pressburg. At the same time their armies in the west were driven into the quadrilateral. Their con­tinuous reverses decided them to accept the assistance of the Russians, who entered Hungary June 17th by way of Dulka Pass. General Hainau, who had superseded Wind-schgraetz, was obliged to choose, first of all, an objective favoring co-operation with his allies. If he should form a junction with the Russians, he would uncover Vienna. This city was at the point of falling into the hands of Gorgei. Hainau therefore decided to make Budapest his first objec­tive and capture it instead of using Gorgei's main army as his first objective. Budapest, at this time, was the seat of the provisional government of the Hungarians and the center of the revolutionary intrigue. All communications of the country centered here and it was the most important cross­ing of the Danube. In marching on Budapest, the Austrians would have control of the country comprised between the Danube, the frontier of Syria, the Drave River and the Muhr. They could also form a junction with the Russians by way of Foldwar. They had two lines of operations; one on the north bank of the Danube, which could be blocked by the Hungarians at Komorn, and the other on the south bank with left resting on the river. Hainau decided to move by the south bank, for he could leave a garrison at Pressburg and along- the Waag, and the enemy would have to attack this line before he could threaten Vienna. This movement suf­ficed to make the Hungarians fall back and caught them between the Russians and the Austrians. This is but another example illustrating the fact that sometimes it is better to make a geographical point the objective rather than the hostile main army.

"The surest means of vanquishing the hostile main army lies in the concentration of a superior force; for nobody can, with certainty, claim in advance that he will have the better general at the head of his army, or that his troops will be braver than the enemy." Some writers claim that it is unscientific to figure that the enemy is not your equal in prowess unless you know the fact to be true. It is an old war maxim handed down by Shonshi, a Chinese general, who lived 552 B. C, "to study well your opponent and know his limitations." Unless you know that the gen­eral commanding the enemy's forces is of inferior quality, you have no right to assume it. There is no question but von Moltke played upon the weakness of von Benedek in 1866, for the latter had admitted to his sovereign that he was no strategist in the following words: "Sire, I am no strategist." Napoleon's opponents were of the opinion that his arrival upon the battlefield was equivalent to rein­forcements of a corps.

The XXIX War Maxim of Napoleon reads as follows: "When about to deliver battle, it is the general rule to con­centrate all your forces, and to neglect none; one battalion often decides the day."

From this we derive our second principle of strategy, namely: "To have, if possible, all the forces assembled at the hour of decisive action. A single battalion may turn the scale in battle."

Rule for Detachments or Doctrine of Economy

"It would appear that every separation, and every de­tachment from the main force is faulty. Such, however, is not the case. All great successes carry the smaller ones with them. Yet we cannot ignore secondary objectives, for we cannot be sure as to the exact point where the issue is to be decided. The surrender of some point of minor sig­nificance may result in its surprise by the enemy, thereby enabling him to carry out his main mission more effec­tively." In South Africa, the Boers committed the error of detaching too many small groups from their main armies, with the result that these detachments could not be recalled in time to exert any influence on the main battles.' The British detachments were justified as they contributed to the main operations by holding out superior numbers, al­though these detachments were not primarily made for that purpose.

We must assume that detachments are unavoidable and it is only a question of justifying them. So we may state the rule as follows:

"Detachments are justifiable when they contribute to the main issue by holding out superior numbers from the decisive action or when they can be withdrawn in time to participate in that action." The detachment under Johnston, in the Valley of the Shenandoah, is an apt illustration, for Johnston not only held out Patterson, but was able to with­draw in time to participate in the first battle of Manassas. The opposite was Patterson's case.

Napoleon came very near losing the battle of Marengo by detaching Desaix who returned only just in time. This may have been what inspired his XXVIII War Maxim: "A detachment must not be made on the eve of battle, for in the night the situation may change—either by move­ments of the enemy towards retreat, or by the arrival of large reinforcements which will allow it even to take the offensive—and render the premature disposition made, futile."

Disadvantages of Large Concentrations

The concentration of large masses subjects the troops to many hardships, such as inadequate shelter and camping facilities with the probability of epidemic diseases " breaking out. In 1914-15 the Serbs lost about 200,000 men from typhoid fever.
The questions of supply are simplified to a certain ex­tent, yet the scarcity of suitable roads in sufficient quan­tities may complicate the concentration.

It should be borne in mind that large masses are moved only with extreme 'difficulty, and, in a war of movement, the same difficulties repeat themselves at every halt for the night and every time camp is broken.

It is a rule that columns marching on the same road should not be so long that the head can be defeated before the rear can be brought to its assistance. European writers claim that a column marching on the same road should not exceed 30,000 or 40,000 men. This means that an army cannot march on a single road, but must advance in parallel columns, camping separately, but in such a way that they may be united at the decisive moment, or at least be brought into active co-operation.

A good rule to follow is: "Separate to camp and con­centrate to fight."

. Napoleon's advice to his brother Joseph, when he was about to enter Italy to get possession of Naples was: "I say to you again, do not divide your forces. Let your en­tire army cross the Apennines, and let your three corps be directed upon Naples, and so disposed as to be able to unite upon the same field of battle in a single day."

"The conduct of modern war, therefore, appears under the form of continual separating and assembling masses of troops."

Von der Goltz states "that the triumph of the art of separation and concentration is to have all the available forces concentrated on the day of decisive battle, without causing them to suffer beforehand through continuous over­crowding."

Uninterrupted Flow of Events

Owing to the sensitiveness of our highly developed com­mercial life, warfare must move forward with an uninter­rupted flow of events. When an army after a repulse is unable to respond with a counter-stroke, you may look for a dissolution of the forces and peace. When the Germans were unable to assume an offensive somewhere after their repulse on the Marne in the summer of 1918, their ultimate defeat was only a question of time. The expense of modern war is so great that uninterrupted employment of the forces is imperative. The long pauses, for example, ces­sation during the winter, that characterized ancient wars, will no longer obtain except in rare cases, as when condi­tions of climate prevent action; such was the case in Flan­ders in The World War.

In the Russo-Turkish war of 1878, after the second attack on Plevna, its fall was delayed for four months.

Turkey, after repelling the attackers, was too weak for the counter-stroke. She should never have committed her­self to an appeal to arms unless certain of help from allies. This original error, therefore, in deciding upon war, brought about the exception.

The same thing happened in South Africa, but here again we notice special conditions. On account of the character of their troops, the Boers were not able to take by force the fortified places into which they drove the English divisions in the first attacks.

The British stuck stubbornly to their positions. The activity of the offensive thus came to a standstill. For the first four months the British attempts at succor came to naught, due to the incompetence of her leaders and the steadfast bravery of the Boers. Reinforcements, with Rob­erts and Kitchener, arrived before the decisive blow was struck.

These conditions will hardly happen in a war between two great powers, yet in Manchuria in the Russo-Japanese War there was a complete cessation of hostilities for the month of July and a few days in August, while the Japanese reinforced their 1st, 2d and 4th Armies.


The party with the greatest endurance in war enjoys a decisive advantage.

As an illustration take the case of the enemy's princi­pal army defeated, a greater part of his territory overrun, and yet the victor forced to grant a comparatively favorable peace to the defeated enemy. The Russo-Japanese War is an example. Japan was the unquestioned victor on nearly every battlefield, but due to the lack of financial resources was forced to sign a peace and forego any indemnity. It has been said that, Japan was gaining Manchuria and losing her own country, for foreign loans had absorbed all her revenues and she could not float an internal loan.

In a country of such a vast extent as Russia, and with such a scattered population, depending so little on the outside sources of supply, it is possible to defeat several of her armies and not bring her people to their knees. Napoleon found that out at Borodino.

"But when a country is highly commercial, after the defeat of its main armies, and the great cities and centers have been seized, the people are apt to demand peace at any price rather than. suffer from the interruptton of their ordinary course of affairs. The case of Belgium in the recent war appears as an exception. You are doubtless familiar with our own Hartford convention that met near the close of the War of 1812 to protest against the embargo that cut off the oversea intercourse of those concerned. The convention was in favor of seceding and suing for a sep­arate peace in preference to this interruption of their commercial life."

After two years of the Civil War in the United States, there was an element, principally in the east, who, feeling the pressure of the war, clamored loudly for peace through the Chicago Tribune and New York World.

So we see that_social. commercial, and political conditions play –an important part. "It is only when two states are of approximately the same nature that the defeat of the hostile main army carries with it the attainment of the further purpose, the immediate exaction of peace."

The most remarkable case was the defeat of Austria in the Six Weeks' War.

It took Prussia three months to bring the French people to their knees in 1870 after the defeat of the French armies. Neither Napoleon in 1812 in his war with Russia, nor the Confederates in the United States in the sixties were able to bring the war home to the enemy's people after the defeat of the main armies.

We should always consider what steps are necessary after the defeat of the hostile main army to coerce the people into a peace. These depend upon circumstances, such as the nature of the country and people. It may be the threatening of the capital, as was the case in the Russo-Turkish War of 1878. It may be the seizure of certain harbors, commercial centers, important lines of traffic, fortifications and arsenals, or anything important to the existence of the people. It may be by blockade, the method adopted by the Federal government with great effect against the Southern States from 1861 to 1865, or it may be by the occupying of certain sections of the enemy's country, as is now being done along the Rhine.

The distinguishing characteristics of modern war are then:

1. "Calling forth the military resources of a country to such an extent that, after victory, an advantageous peace may also be forced from the enemy, and that as quickly as possible.

2. "Preparation of all the forces immediately at the beginning of the war.

3. "Unceasing progress, without delay, until the organized resistance of the opponent is broken in decisive battles; and only after that, until the conclusion of peace, a calmer course, with less injury to the instrument of war."

Politics, which caused the war, will now have a de­cided influence upon the treaty of peace.

CHAPTER V. Preparation for War



No army can take the field from a peace footing with­out additional preparation. This results from the fact that nations, in time of peace, keep together only a nucleus of the troops to be used in time of war. Many of the units do not exist at all, and entirely new bodies must be formed.

Reserves must be called to the colors, drafts of men and animals made, the means of transport increased and a vast amount of stores procured. To do this, often a draft law must be created and passed, or other means of raising men devised; factories must be built, and others manufacturing products utilized in peace converted to war materiel pro­ducers. All this takes time and the country that has anticipated the least must take a maximum of time with a maximum of effort when the emergency arises.

Up to the latter part of the 18th century, armies were a mere aggregation of battalions and regiments; but as they grew in size, this cumbersome arrangement was modified. Prior to the 16th century, it was not customary to raise forces larger than a company. The "lance"— that is, the fully armored knight with his retinue of a squire, a page and three or four mounted men—formed the principal elements of every military force. The modern organization is the outgrowth of the 16th when war became the pastime of monarchs and bore no semblance of a national character. As a result, war became a business and mercenaries were hired. Inasmuch as the process originated in Italy, we find most of our terms derived from the Italian. Companies and troops were organized. A company in a military sense meant a gathering of feudal retainers or mercenaries, who followed their lord to the wars, and meant a band commanded by a captain (caput, head). From among these mercenaries the idea of armies sprang. The word "company" is derived from the old French word compaignie; the Latin word companionem (companion) from cum-panis (with bread), implying an intimate association of men in one mass. The word "troop" is of uncertain origin and probably comes from the word turba (a crowd), or the Teutonic word treiben (drive) or a drove. The company consisted of several hundred men, but this number was reduced to about 100, as it was not thought that a larger number could be controlled by one man.

The captain was generally a man of poor pedagogic ability, so some one had to be selected to take his place, who had greater ability as an instructor and less influence. This man was called a servient, or one who serves, and from this term we derive the name sergeant, our first staff officer.

It soon became apparent that companies and troops would have to be moulded into some larger force in order to co-ordinate their efforts, so a regiment was formed, the word being a derivation from regimen, meaning "to rule."

The regiment was ruled by an officer called in Italian „, colonnello (little column), which referred to the little com­pany of the colonel which rode at the head of the organiza­tion. This colonel, having little or no education, was a poor administrator, so must needs have some one to repre­sent him, so a lieutenant (locum tenens), being known as a lieutenant colonel, was appointed; and the captain, being as ignorant of his duties as the colonel, also had an assistant (locum tenens) and known as lieutenant.

The term battalion came into use later and was derived from the Italian battaglia, meaning a battle array. It originally meant a unit consisting of several regiments, but later on, as it became customary to fight by battalions, that unit was reduced and the two terms, regiment and battalion, changed places. The term brigade was first used by Maurice of Nassau, who drew up his army in the Swiss fashion in three lines, styled "van," "battle," and "rear." The word "brigade" is a corruption of the Italian briga, and French brigue (a quarrel), and means "a band of opposing combatants."

The sergeants drilling and instructing their companies required a staff officer to supervise their efforts, so another officer was added, namely, sergeant major. He regulated the march of the regiment, its maneuvers in battle, and the issuance of orders. When organizations fought in larger numbers it became necessary to have some one of experience to draw up the army in line of battle, a difficult task in the days before maneuvering became known. This officer was called the sergeant major general.

As the time went on, the term sergeant was dropped from two titles, sergeant major and sergeant major general, leaving as we have today, a major and a major general, which officers in an European army command, respectively, battalions and brigades.

The staff work of the army in the 16th century was performed by an officer called in France the major general des logis, or the major general of quarters, since, among other duties, he allotted quarters. This title was later short­ened to major general, by which name the chief staff officer of the army has since been known. In German, the term was translated quartier meister-general, or quartermaster gen­eral in English.

The wide scattering of troops over a large frontage made it impossible for the general to exercise supervision, particularly in the case of supplies; so at the close of the 18th century, due to the fact that the army had to be di­vided into portions for administrative purposes, a new or­ganization came into being, called a division.

The power of independent actions thus conferred on these divisions, which were in fact miniature armies, led to a want of concert in their movements and of coordination in their action; while at the same time, as armies in­creased in size, the number of divisions became too great for the commander-in-chief to control properly. So the corps d'armee was introduced by Napoleon as a permanent organization. In Japan and the United States, the division is the administrative unit, but with the continental army it is the corps.

The most mooted question in these organizations is the strength of the company and the number of regiments to the brigade, and brigades to the division. With the company, the strength should be governed by the amount of training, being smaller where the troops are ill trained and hard to handle, and larger when the reverse conditions exist.

Regarding the number of larger subordinate units in the brigade and division, authorities differ. Those favoring the three-unit formation base their choice on the proposition that it gives the commander of the whole due importance over his subordinate commanders, and insures his retaining an adequate command whenever he wishes to detach one of his units. This would not be the case were there only two units in the whole, for, if one were detached, the commander of the whole would be left exercising command over the other unit, already adequately commanded. With the two-regiment brigade and the two-brigade division, the question of command is simplified by one-third.

Most continental countries favor the two-regiment brigade and the two-brigade division. This is due to the fact that were a third regiment assigned to the brigade and a third brigade to the division, without a reduction in the size of these organizations, it would be somewhat awkward for them to fulfill the conditions of ready concentration in battle. Consensus of opinion seems to be that where the regiments and brigades are large the two subdivisions idea is better and where they are small the three-subdivision idea.

There is another reason of a tactical nature that rec­ommends the two-subdivision idea in the brigade and divi­sion. In modern warfare such as was fought in Europe, a division will generally operate as a part of a corps. Such being the case, it will have, in event of attack, the duty of tactical penetration. Inasmuch as this will be a blow straight ahead, there will be a minimum of maneuvering, so what is needed is one force to strike and one for relief. There would be a maximum distribution in depth, which is necessary.

It must be remembered that the prime function of the division in France was to penetrate, of the corps or separ­ate division was to envelop, while the army both enveloped and turned. Where there is to be maneuvering, there should be a third unit; where there is no maneuvering, it would be idle and in the way.

Modern opinion favors a division of from 12,000 to 16,000 infantry. The following table shows the approx­imate infantry strength of the divisions in the larger coun­tries at the beginning of The World War:

United States .........................14,500
France ...............................12,000 to 18,000
Italy ................................... 12,000
Japan .................................12,000
Germany ............................ 12,000
Russia ................................14,000
Austria-Hungary ..................16,000
England .............................12,000

The organization should be determined by each country in time of peace, and after mature consideration of the characteristics of the citizens who will form this organization, amount of training they will probaby have, kind of officers who will command, etc.

Any country in deciding upon a military organization should first consider its military policy. Taking the United States as an illustration: Our general policy is one of non-aggression; such being the case, in event of war with an oversea nation, our general strategical plan, at least at the outset, would be of a defensive nature in so far as leaving this continent is concerned. We then should make our organization such as will work most effectively in the ter­rain peculiar to the Western Hemisphere. Inasmuch as the war would unquestionably be one of movement, generally known as open warfare, our organization should be such as would facilitate the maximum of maneuvering. Unques­tionably the three units formation is the best for that purpose. The whole organization of the smaller units should be on the basis of responsibility regulating control; that is, a commander who is responsible for the success of a unit should have sole command of the various branches of the service in the unit he commands. With the untrained officers and soldiers that we would have, large size units would be difficult to handle, so our units should perforce be small. In the question of transportation, we should give more consideration to animal-drawn than to motor, for the reason that motor transport pre-supposes good roads in sufficient numbers. Our experience in France should not cause us to think that motor transport would be the rule over here, for our roads in no way compare to those of France. We should remember that in this country cavalry can be used with a division, so just because it was not used in France should not be taken as a criterion. Light artillery is more suited than heavy artillery, on account of the ex­treme difficulty in moving heavy guns.

The amount of preparation is an open secret in nearly every country. No country need think that other states are ignorant of its military condition and establishment.

This preparation is stimulated by the rivalry existing in time of peace and by fear of the consequences of ne­glect in event of war.


Mobilization is the first step in the assembling of the army. It may be denned as the transition from peace to a war footing prepared beforehand to include the smallest details.

The practice should be to keep in store all the neces­sary supplies which, when the army must be transferred to a war footing, can no longer be procured, or the acquisition of which would require so much time that the completion of the preparation of the whole force would be delayed there­by. "The ideal of perfection in this regard is that the army should be ready to march as soon as the last soldier called out has taken his place under the colors."

The great advantage of a prompt mobilization is.that it enables a country to surprise an enemy and does not betray the purpose until it is too late for the enemy to over­come the advantages gained. A prospective enemy does not become certain that we have decided upon war before its outbreak.

A recital of the methods of a few of the nations that have given the subject the most study will be of benefit, particularly to a country that has no policy at all. As al­ready stated, when other nations concentrate we begin to legislate. "When a nation has no staff of officers and no principle of military organization, it will be difficult for it to form an army."

This war maxim is as true today as when written and the fact that the United States has never been on the losing side in any war cannot be credited to the superiority of her military policy. In all our wars our mobilization has been a matter of extemporizing to offset lack of preparation. In none of our wars have all our troops been thoroughly equipped before going into combat. In the Mexican War, we even sent unequipped troops to General Scott at Jalapa, when we should have known that no equipment or clothing was available at that place. In the Spanish-American War, some of our units never were mobilized in a strict sense. Orders providing for certain company organiza­tion and equipment were not issued until after the protocol was signed. In the recent war, our shortcomings are too well known to require elucidation and we only await govern­mental license before referring to them with freedom.

We know most about French mobilization. From it we can learn many lessons, it was the only allied mobiliza­tion that even approached symmetry.

A brief glance at the attempt at mobilization in 1870 will show us some of the errors the French avoided in 1914. Needless to say, in the recent war, they did not combine mobilization and concentration.

In France, before 1866, it was customary to effect the calling out of reserves and the formation of the armies simultaneously. At the same time that one order returned the men of the reserve and of the second portion to the colors, another directed various permanent bodies to the frontier, and grouped them according to a table prepared in advance. This system, which had its advantages when it was a question of assembling an army of only 100,000 men, exposed the country to serious complications when it was necessary to put the whole national forces upon a war footing within three or four weeks. These defects, ' taken in connection with the feebleness of the effectives, placed the French in the presence of the Germans in a very precarious condition as to inferiority.

Subsequent to 1866, due to the feeling aroused by the German success, instructions regarding mobilization had been changed and improved.

Mobilization of 1868

On September 9, 1868, Marshal Niel, then Minister of War, addressed to the military authorities new instruc­tions for their guidance. They radically changed existing regulations and suppressed the intervention of sub-intend-ants and prefects in the work of sending out notices of the time and place of assembly to the reservists.

Before this, the commandant of the recruiting bureau sent the list of reservists to the sub-intendants, who pre­pared the orders and sent them to the prefects. The latter classified these orders by parishes and dispatched them by post to the mayors of each cantonment. The mayors for­warded them to those interested. It is apparent that this was a very long procedure, especially in a populous community. At Lille, for example, the sub-intendant was com­pelled to make out 5,000 such orders. Another thing, the mayors and prefects were far from offering the same guarantees as the military authorities for the accomplish­ment of the work.

Beginning with 1868, the recruiting bureau replaced the sub-intendancy, and the gendarmerie supplied the places of the civil authorities. The suppression of the three interme­diaries, while simplifying the operation, abridged, by six or eight days, the time elapsing between the dispatch of the summons and the arrival of the reservists.

Thenceforth the passage from peace to war footing was carried out in the following order:

Enrollment in the Reserves

Upon completion of the soldier's service with the colors, his corps commander forwarded his certificate of enrollment to the commandant of the recruiting bureau, who placed his name upon muster rolls and prepared his order of individual summons, in anticipation of the calling out of reserves. These summons were kept ready, and required only to be dated and sent out. . .

Calling out the Reserves

Immediately upon the declaration of war by the Cham­bers, two general movements took place, extending over the entire country—one for the calling out of the reserves, the other for the formation of the array. The first movement embraced three stages: first, from the man's home to the departure rendezvous; second, from the rendezvous to the corps depot; third, from the corps depot to the regiments. The second movement, or that relating to the for­mation of the army, included only the transportation of the troops from the garrison places to the frontier.

Operation Attending the Calling in of Reserves

The order calling the reserves to active service was sent by telegraph direct from the War Ministry to the mili­tary authorities and to the commandants of recruiting bureaus.

Then followed the dispatch of summons to the members of the reserves. (The individual muster orders prepared in advance, and arranged by classes and categories, were dated and signed by the commandant of the bureau, then trans­mitted to the commander of the gendarmerie, who arranging them according to cantons and parishes, placed them in the hands of the gendarmerie charged with their speedy dis­tribution to the individual reserve men.)

Formation and Forwarding of Detachments

This order (summons) indicated to the soldier of the reserve the day on which he was to report to the depart­ment rendezvous (recruiting station). The dates were so calculated as to avoid all delay.

The reserve men, once assembled at the rendezvous (recruiting station), were formed.into detachments, under direction of officers and noncommissioned officers sent from the regiments to receive them, reviewed, and forwarded by rail to the corps depots.

Upon reaching the depots, these men were incorporated, clothed, equipped, armed, and sent as rapidly as possible to their regiments, under conduct of the noncommissioned offi­cers of their respective groups. These operations, very simple as far as the military authorities were concerned, in execution produced many complications, caused by the dispersion over the entire territory of the active forces, the reserves, and the magazines.

Corps Depot

In the depots the reservists found, as a rule, clothing, shoes, and arms in sufficient quantities. But the equipage was not always adequate to supply the wants. Camp equipage in particular was wanting. In addition the author­ities were swamped with the paper work of filling up the active battalions and organizing fourth battalions as depot organizations.

The regiments were not kept in their depot districts, so that even though it was a good thing to have a man serve in an organization in which he had friends, it did not add to mobilization to have the depot at one end of the Empire, while the regiment was at the other.

Likewise, the mobilization contemplated the organiza­tion of corps and divisions after the said mobilization had started. This caused added confusion. It is a fact that in France the largest bodies that had ever been together for some time had been regiments.

This, of course, excepts the Chalons Corps that was kept continually mobilized in the entrenched camp at that place. The following will illustrate some of the results of this system:

The 23d Regiment at Chalons had its depot at Ajaccio.
The 98th at Dunkirk had its depot at Lyons.
The 86th at Lyons had its depot at Saint Malo.

It was estimated that it would take 15 days to get the men equipped and to the regiments. This proved in­sufficient time in almost every case.

There was great confusion in getting the reservists from the depot to the regiment. To cite one case: The re­serve men of the 2d Regiment of Zouaves, living in the north, were obliged to proceed to Marseilles, and from there to Oran, then back again to Marseilles, and finally to rejoin their regiment in the east, thus travelling 1,200 miles by rail, and making two sea voyages of three days each, before reaching their destination.

Another instance was that of the 53d Regiment at Eelfort.

A detachment of recruits was sent to it on July 18th from Lille. The detachment arrived at Gap on the 28th, having still five days to make on foot. Here it remained until August 30th. It was stopped at Lyons because the location of its regiment by this time was unknown. On October 1st, it was sent to Orleans to assist in forming the 27th "Regiment de Marche," arrived there on the 11th, and was forced into battle. So you see,, setting out on the 18th of July, this detachment did not get into action until three months thereafter and in the meantime the regiment for which it was intended had passed out of existence and disappeared in the storm.

Mobilization of 1914

The French army of 1914 had been the subject of many experiments since 1870 and every effort had been made to correct faults. The law governing it was passed in its pres­ent form in 1913 and was framed to reduce the disparity of France as against the rapidly increasing man-power of Germany. Unlike Germany she called practically her whole able-bodied male population to arms. A Frenchman found fit for service joined the colors at the age of 20, spent 3 years in the regular army, 11 in the regular reserve, 7 in the territorial army, 7 in the territorial reserve, and did not become free from service until he had attained the age of 48.

The mobilization of the regular force, which had a peace strength of 673,000, was done practically by the in­corporation of the men from the regular reserve. The remaining reservists were organized into reserve units, similar to the regulars, and the others kept, as a last reserve, at the depots. Roughly speaking, the system gave France, a month or so after the beginning of war, 4,000,000 trained men of whom 700,000 were regulars, 700,000 formed the reserves required to put the regulars on a war footing, 700,000 were embodied in the territorial army, 700,000 in the territorial depot reserve and 700,000 in the territorial surplus. Thus the first line consisted of 1,500,000, the second line 500,000 and the reserve 2,000,000. There were 21 army corps areas, 20 of which were in France and 1 in Algeria. Apart from the corps, there were 8 independent cavalry divisions and a number of separate colonial organizations. The French army was thoroughly democratic, there being no select class from which officers were drawn, as in 1870. While the discipline seemed lax and there was a great deal of camaraderie between the officers and men, the realization of the seriousness of the task made everyone do his best to prevent delays in mobilization.

When the telegram for mobilization was received by the respective mayors, they at once proceeded to the "Mairie" and got out their bulletins, already prepared, broke the seals, filled in the date of the first day of mobilization, and then had them posted at conspicuous places in and about their towns. Every reservist glanced at his identification book to see on what day he was to report and where, although the latter he already knew. As an illustration of the machine-like precision with which the mobilization was effected we will take as an illustration one of the line regiments: In the barracks yards were located a number of posts, one for each company. As the men came in, those belonging to the same company grouped themselves around their com­pany posts until a sufficient number had arrived when, con­ducted by their corporals, they went to draw clothing and equipments. A large schedule was posted at a central point in each organization showing by hour exactly what was to be done. The same orderly system was followed in assem­bling animals, motor transport, and other agencies. Just as soon as the smaller units were actually mobilized they were sent to the next higher unit. The railroads had their sche­dules prepared in advance so that there was no confusion. An official of the Pennsylvania Railroad, who was in one of the principal cities of France, said that the railroads were operated so systematically and with so little confusion that had it not been for the presence of soldiers no one would have known that a mobilization was being carried out.

Mobilization of the German Army

Experience gained in the campaigns of 1864 and 1866 demonstrated that with the masses composing modern ar­mies, speed in mobilization was one of the first conditions of success. Therefore, since the war in Bohemia, mobiliza­tion had become a subject of constant study by the Prus­sian general staff. The work undertaken seemed to have had a double aim: the separation of the field forces from the landwehr; the reduction of the time necessary to assemble the reserves. Moreover, since the earlier days, Prussia adapted the organization of her armies to the requirement of mobilization.

Thus grew up the Prussian system, and the first conse­quence of the system was the elaboration, in time of peace, of all details of mobilization, and especially of the role of each unit, each group, each service, each individual; the various duties had been rigorously marked out, and for a long time, every measure of military legislation brought about improvement. Thus the mobilization of 1866 was effected after the plans established in consequence of the reorganization in 1860. The plans of 1870 were drawn up and carried out conformable to projects drawn up after the Bohemian campaign. Those of the present day were drawn up from and influenced by the experience of 1870.

Independent of the plan of mobilization, the Prussian general staff renewed from year to year, for the military authorities interested, an order of mobilization which re­mained in force from April 1st to the Slst of March of the year following and which indicated to each one his duty from day to day for this important operation.
Tables relating to time and manner of moving the bod­ies of troops, and to transport trains, were part of the plan. The mobilization rested upon the fruitful principles of the division of labor and decentralization. Each army corps, each organized troop, each unit, each service, was mobilized as a whole, dependent wholly upon itself. The responsi­bility was thus divided among the different elements of the hierarchy, and these concurred in obtaining the greatest precision, even in the smallest detail.

Mobilization Plan of 1870 in Detail

The German plan for mobilization commenced by in­dicating the way in which the effectives were to be organized upon a war footing, and the measures to be taken to reach the regulation figures.

On these data were based the tables prescribing the distribution of the field forces, and the depot and garrison troops.

These tables went into effect only upon the approval of the War Minister.

The designation of points of mobilization came next.

As a rule each group or service was mobilized in its own region.

The headquarters of the landwehr battalion districts played a promiment part in these combinations.

Directions concerning horses and material, and reg­ulations governing the replacement of the military author­ities completed these plans, which were accompanied by de­tailed tables and instructions.

The operation of the mobilization comprised five suc­cessive periods:

1. The call for men and the requisition for the proper complement of remounts.
2. The movement of men and remounts toward the centers of mobilization.
3. The formation of the field troops.
4. The formation of the depot troops.
5. The formation of the garrison troops.

The call for men and horses resulted from the order for mobilization.

Notice of mobilization was at once telegraphed by the War Ministry to the commanders of the landwehr battalion districts, who were directed to summon the reserves. These commanders, with the aid of the civil authorities, sent out written summons, which were always kept ready, notifying each reservist and landwehr man when and where to join. A delay of tiventy-four hours was granted them and by the fifth day the greater part of the reservists had reached the designated points. Then they were formed into detach­ments and forwarded under noncommissioned officers to their regiments.

On the fourth day, the commissions for the purchase of remounts assembled at the points indicated. On the fol­lowing day, the owners of horses presented themselves with their animals, which were inspected, paid for, and delivered to the officers sent to receive them. The men and horses were in general directed upon the main bodies on the day after their arrival at local headquarters, that is, on the sixth or seventh day.

In the meantime, the regiments emptied their maga­zines, prepared arms, clothing, munitions, provisions, etc., and organized the depot cadres.

These operations were carried on with methodical ac­tivity, and when the reservists arrived, they were immed­iately clothed, equipped, armed and incorporated. Twenty-four hours later they were prepared to take the field, or, as a rule, on the seventh day of mobilization. This was also the time when the remounts of the new complement were received at the points of assembly. And on the eighth day, as a rule, the artillery and train teams were nearly completed.

A fundamental principle served to regulate the organ­ization of the war effectives; the reservists must enter not only the regiments in which they received instruction and were trained, but the same battalion and the same company. The affection developed for the flag under which the recruit had been instructed in the calling of the soldier and for the group of comrades of his early service, was kept alive, and gave added cohesion to a regiment at the outset of the campaign.

The Guard alone did not conform to the system of regional mobilization, but drew its effectives from all parts of the kingdom.

The special arms and various services received their complement of men from the whole of the corps region in which they were located.
In this system, the calling together of the reservists to the headquarters of the battalion districts, and their dis­patch to their respective regiments, required but a short space of time; and as the materiel was already at the mobil­ization centers, there was a certainty that they would meet neither obstacles nor embarrassments of any kind while en route.

The assemblage thus took place without friction, with­out loss of time, without difficulty of any kind.

While the reservists were rejoining their regiments, it was necessary to proceed to the formation of the supplemen­tary units. In this respect the infantry and cavary had only to organize their depot troops, but the task of the special arms was more burdensome.

The artillery was obliged to prepare its munition col­umns, its parks, and its depots of reserve munitions; the engineers their bridge equippage, their implement columns, their companies of pontoniers and sappers, their railroad and telegraph sections:

The train had its supply columns, its sanitary detach­ments, its horse depots, ambulances, etc.

The cadres of these new units were in existence in time of peace, and came into active operation at the very com­mencement of the mobilization, aiding in the preparation of their respective groups.

When the various commands had reached their full effectives, formed their depots, and organized their sup­plementary services, their mobilization was complete. The time required varied according to the arms of the service. In 1866, the infantry regiments of the line took from 9 to 14 days to reach a war footing; those of the Guard from 14 to 15 days; those of the cavalry from 15 to 17 days; and the artillery regiments of the Guard, 20 days.

Notwithstanding the rapidity of these movements, the improvement brought about after 1866' still further diminished this time and the infantry regiments, in 1870, took 7 to 9 days, cavalry from 9 to 11 days, and the other services 15 days to mobilize.

After the formation of the field forces came that of garrison troops. A part of the latter, called the first aug­mentation, were designed to act as territorial guard; of the remainder, called the second augmentation, some were to take the field with the active army, others to maintain the communications, while others still were assigned to the de­fense of the fortified places, and were called landwehr men. These were summoned to report at their district head­quarters while the last detachments of the reservists were being dispatched to their regiments. They were immedi­ately formed into battalions and, on the day following their arrival, put in motion to the places to be garrisoned or the designated points of concentration.

They thus passed under the authority of the com­manders of army corps or the governor-general, remaining in the territory, as the case might be.

The foregoing brief description was the plan of the German mobilization of 1870, and probably the one for the present war did not differ greatly from it. During the War of 1870, South Germany mobilized along the same lines.

Germany was organized into 25 army corps which, except the Guard Corps, were recruited on the territorial basis.

A soldier began his service at 20 and spent 2 years with dismounted and 3 years with mounted troops. He then passed to the regular reserve for 5 or 4 years, according to arm. This period of 7 years being completed, the soldier went into the landwehr first levy for 5 years, thence to the landwehr second levy until he was 39 years old. He then passed to the first levy landstrum, where he remained until 45. The landstrum second levy consisted of untrained men of 'all ages. The ersatz reserve consisted of all men not selected for military training. This system gave Germany a force of 7,000,000 men, 4,000,000 of whom had actually served with the colors.

Failure to Complete Mobilization in Recent War

In The World War, Germany, in her mad rush to run over the Belgian forces and get across Belgium, sent von Emmich forward with three divisions, one from each corps, before mobilization was complete. They lacked ade­quate equipment, transport and siege artillery. On the 3d of August, they were in Belgian territory, but it was not until the evening of the 13th that the last fort at Liege fell and then not until siege artillery had been brought up from the rear. Likewise a half mobilized force was sent into upper Alsace at about the same time. It was also driven back by the advancing French, who were not driven back themselves until strong German forces had.been sent against them.

The Concentration

The time gained by a rapid mobilization might be again lost if the assemblage of troops proceeded too slowly. This assemblage or concentration must therefore be prepared in all its details. Inexperienced people may think that it is impossible to foresee just where the concentration should take place. The plan of operations prepared by the general staff in times of peace fixes the point of assemblage to be taken up in event of a war against any one enemy or a combination of enemies. In the selection of this point the railroads, dirt roads and water routes will exert a decided influence. By careful study, a combination of inarches and conveyance by motor, rail and water may be worked out, in consequence of which all the troops will be able to arrive at their destinations without loss of time. The rapidity of the concentration is regulated solely by the capacity of the railroads. In the recent war the Central Powers had a great advantage in that all the railroad lines of Germany, while being sited in a measure for commercial reasons, the probable future military situation always governed in each selection. The superiority of railroads was particularly marked on the east front where Russia was so unprepared.

The whole railroad net in Germany was divided into 26 lines or administration districts comprising in addition to the trunk lines, the adjoining branch lines. There were six lines connecting North and South Germany and rocade lines along both the east front and the Rhine.

The necessary articles for fitting out all fourth-class carriages and suitable vans for the transportation of masses of men and horses were kept in time of peace. The per­fection of the German railroad system enabled Germany to concentrate at any point on either front in half the time it took the allies, and her interior position enabled her to shift troops from one front to another.
When all the railroads in the zone of assembly are trans­porting daily all the troops that can be carried, it can be said that the concentration has been well arranged.

The all important feature of the preparation is to have suitable quartering facilities at mobilization points, and these mobilization points so located as to favor to the utmost embarkation and transportation to the frontier or seaboard. The desire to distribute evenly these camps over the entire country should never be catered to at the expense of proper concentration. A political distribution is ab initio bad. Ample equipment of all railroad lines with rolling stock is important so that the greatest number of trains that the nature of the road permits may be run. A complete network of railroads in accordance with military considera­tions is imperative, but can hardly be constructed in time to be of use at the first mobilization unless built before war. The capacity of two or more railroads should be used to their fullest extent, even if the roads converge for some distance in a single track. The railroad net in South Africa was what enabled the British to overcome finally the Boers, for without it, they could not have followed up their suc­cesses—getting forward troops and supplies. The rivalry be­tween neighboring states has caused the construction of purely strategical railroads. Strategical railroads are a special feature of modern times.

The Trans-Siberian Railroad was one of the latest and most important strategic lines constructed, and, while it had great commercial value, its principal importance was that it brought the east and west closer together in a military sense.

In many European countries the time required to con­centrate in the past has been reckoned almost in hours. In the United States if we use as our unit of time measure­ment the week, we will arrive at a more accurate figure.

In The World War, if France had been able to complete her concentration three days sooner than Germany, she could have invested Metz and Thionville, separated Strass-burg from its communications and crossed the river Saar before Germany was ready. The result would have been that the Germans would have had to start their concen­tration back about where they started it in 1870. Aside from the material advantage to France, think of the moral effect upon emotional people like the French.

Apparently Germany's concentration was effected in advance of the French, and the Germans were en route to Paris, and very nearly got there, before they could be stopped.

The advantage of completing the strategical concen­tration first is that it affords an opportunity to break up the hostile concentration by force. This is comparatively easy where a portion of the forces are moved by sea. Even with­out a superior fleet, ships under prompt and bold leaders can create great havoc and subject the enemy to severe losses, which have a greater effect because they occur before the actual fighting has begun.

Recognizing this danger, Turkey, in the war with Greece, gave up entirely the use of the sea, which had been her greatest assistance in 1877-78.

The most recent illustration is the unrestricted U-boat warfare which gave such a great promise, but which so com­pletely failed.


On land the interruption of the enemy's concentration constitutes a wide field of activity for large bodies of cav­alry. This requires that in time of peace the cavalry must garrison the places near the frontier so that it can get a good start the moment war is declared.

Some states, on account of the shape of their territory, are limited to one or two railroads in their concentration march on the frontier.

Consequently, it is necessary to make arrangements to protect these roads in advance. Troops are placed along them at the outset.

Also, plans should be made to protect the principal engineering works, river and valley crossings, tunnels and important stations from raid by cavalry or aircraft of any kind.

In event of war on our Pacific coast one of our first duties should be to place guards over the tunnels through which the railroads make their entrance into the Puget Sound district. . .

Selective Service in the United States

It would be extremely difficult to give a complete out­line of the selective service law in the United States, and its operation, without making this lecture'so long that one might forget its purpose and think that it was devoted to selective service alone.

The willingness of the American people to accept this measure, apparently so repugnant to the principles of dem­ocracy, is one of the most remarkable features in the his­tory of the United States in preparation for war. And, moreover, the government did not wait until the war had progressed for a considerable period of time, until a large class of volunteers had been developed, or until it had been demonstrated that no recruits could be obtained in any other way, before passing the law. The law was put through at once, before any distinction could grow up. A few months after the law went into operation there was scarcely any difference between the two classes of service.

The record of desertions for the war shows a smaller percentage among the selected men.

The first law, passed May 18, 1917, required all men who had attained the age of 21 and had not attained the age of 31 to register. This registration took place on June 5, 1917.

It was effected about as follows: The registration, selection and induction were in charge of the provost mar­shal general, appointed mainly for that purpose.

Local boards were appointed in every county, or sim­ilar subdivision of the various states, for approximately each 30,000 of the population in every city of 30,000 or over, according to the last census. District boards were appointed for every Federal judicial district and territory and the District of Columbia. These bqards had appellate and original jurisdiction, the latter in certain specified cases pertaining to claims for deferred classification.

Upon registration done either in person or by mail, the registrant was furnished a registration certificate and a questionnaire, the latter to be returned in a specific time. All citizens or persons who had declared their intention of becoming citizens were required to register. With those residing abroad it was optional. Each registration card was given a serial number and these numbers were checked against a master list of numbers from 1 to 10,500, drawn by lot under the direction of the Secretary of War", to de­termine the order number. Upon registration, the regis­trant's name was entered upon a classification list. Upon return of the questionnaire, all registrants were classified in one of five classes and notified as to the classification.

On a date fixed by the provost marshal, Class I regis­trants appeared for physical examination by the physician of the local board. Classes II, III, and IV were only to be examined when specially ordered.

Appeals were allowed within a certain time to the dis­trict board which determined upon a final classification.

Appeal from the local board could be made in certain cases to a medical advisory board, or even to the district board. Upon final completion of the examination, the re'g-istrant was notified as to its result.


The provost marshal general notified the various state adjutants general of their quotas, they in turn notified the local boards, and the latter summoned the men by the order of induction mailed which gave the place of reporting and the hour. The men reported, were organized into parties, and sent by rail to a designated mobilization camp or cantonment. The local board wired the mobilization camp or cantonment of the departure and sent duplicate mobilization papers by registered mail.

The second registration took place one year after the first and included all men who had attained the age of 21 years in the 12 months intervening.

10,679,814 registered on both these dates with a result that 2,666,867 were inducted.

The third registration on September 12, 1918, extended the age up to 45 and down to 18.

This registration produced 13,228,762 of whom only 120,157 were irtducted.

Alaska, Hawaii and Porto Rico inducted 23,272.

The entire military force for the war was approxi­mately 4,000,000 or 4,800,000, counting the Navy and Mar­ine Corps.

527,000, or 13 per cent were regular; 382,000, or 10 per cent, were National Guard and 3,091,000, or 77 per cent, were National Army.
The service law of France differs from that of the United States in that she inducts all males up to middle age, assigning those needed for combat duty and the re­mainder to service in munition plants, on farms, etc., but all are soldiers.

Under our law, men needed as workers in the munition factories, on farms, on railroads, in ship building, etc., were either exempted at the outset or, if enrolled and needed later for industrial work, were furloughed.

This resulted in the man who remained behind getting a vastly larger wage than the man who went to the front and risked his life.

Which is the tairef of the two systems, namely, the one which makes them all soldiers or the one which makes only those who risk their lives?

At mobilization camps, the recruits were again exam­ined and those physically not up to the standard were rejected.

The great delay in the mobilization was in the securing of equipment, principally ordnance, aircraft and motor vehicles; notwithstanding the United States had over 1,000-000 men in France in about a year after entering the war, and over 2,000,000 by the 11th of November, 1918, of whom 1,390,000 saw service in the front line.

From 70 to 80 per cent of the men from the agricul­tural states, namely, those in the middle west or one-fourth of the Union, passed both physical examinations, which was the largest percentage, showing that the best material comes from the farming communities.

The states given over principally to industries had a lower percentage due to the alien born population who were not physically up to the standard of the native born. Country boys were better physically than city boys, and whites than blacks.


The average American soldier who fought in France had six months' training in the United States, two months' overseas before entering the line and one month in a quiet sector before going into battle. Forty-two divisions in all were sent to France.


In a country so poorly prepared for war as the United States was upon her entry, it was not so much a question of getting together the men, as the clothing, arms, equipment, etc.

Notwithstanding the regardless expenditure of money, the United States would have suffered materially had it not been for the assistance afforded her by her allies, particularly in the furnishing of machine guns, aircraft, auto­matic rifles, and artillery. Over $14,000,000,000 were spent on the army proper—44 per cent on quartermaster property and stores; 29 per cent by the ordnance department; 6 per cent by the air service; 4 per cent by the engineers; 2 per cent by the medical corps; 2 per cent by the signal corps and miscellaneous; 13 per cent for pay.

By the middle of July, 1918, there were enough ma­chine guns for the entire army and there were more than enough automaties.

Of missile weapons in the Meuse-Argonne offensive, the principal shortage was in pistols and revolvers.

In August of 1918, there were enough light and heavy guns for the combat units in France, namely, 3,500 guns, of which 2,417 were used in the Meuse-Argonne. It is true, however, that of these guns only 477 were of American manufacture.

There was a shortage of motor truck tonnage, there being but about 50 per cent available.

2698 airplanes were sent to the zone of the advance of which 667 were of American manufacture.

On November 11, 1918, the United States had 574 bal­loons which was 283 more than the total number of Ger­man, French, English and Belgian balloons.

While no one would have the audacity to belittle what the United States did in The World War, when she finally got started, at which time she was in a fair way to eclipse all other nations, yet we cannot escape the fact that, had it not been for the assistance that our allies rendered us in holding off the Germans while we were getting ready, the story might have been different.
Modern war has proven that it is easier to induct man power than to obtain the material which makes soldiers; but once you get the material it is a cold question of man power, pure and simple.

CHAPTER VI. War and Finance


THERE are two things that go together in the life of nations as closely connected and linked as the famous Siamese twins. They are war and money.

Money, being the root of all evil, is the direct or in­direct cause of war. War without money cannot long survive. It is a beautiful thought that one is fighting for a prin­ciple, but just the same, any war has itself linked up with the hope of financial gain or fear of financial loss.

To make war three things are necessary, as Monte-cuculi, even in his generation would say: First, money, second, money; third, money. The World War is no ex­ception to the rule. In the war in Manchuria finance fought as many battles as the soldiers. The Peace of Ports­mouth, though it did not satisfy the Japanese, was accepted by them because their finances, not their army, were ex­hausted.
Formerly the cost of wars to the state which engaged in them was relatively small, but the money question was nevertheless of primary importance.

"Frederick William I, by leaving his son Frederick II a war treasure of 1,350,000 pounds, enabled him to carry on the Silesian War, or at least to hold out until Louis XV sent subsidies."

"The Seven Years' War was prepared by Maria Theresa on the basis of subsidies that she obtained from the King of France through the agency of her bonne amie, Mme. de Pompadour, and Elizabeth of Russia only joined the coali­tion after Maria Theresa had passed on to her a little of this financial manna."

Without the English subsidies Frederick II would not have been able to have made headway against the coalition.

"In the 17th century, though war was costly, peace as a rule was not. In peace, armies were disbanded, while new ones were levied for new wars." Frederick William I was the first to make peace more costly by keeping his army practically at full strength.

Today a condition of armed peace impoverishes the states that maintain it, while the others run the risk of being ruined and of disappearing altogether. In propor­tion as war becomes more scientific it comes less within the province of impoverished soldiers. Armies are no longer levied but appear in the form of cadres and soldiers to which other cadres and properly trained sodiers are sent.
"Armies no longer are hired as in the days of the con-dottieri. They are composed of men serving from a sense of duty; they contain the purest blood of the nation; their military value depends upon instruction and training, and that implies expense." We nowadays may rewrite Monte-cuculi's phrase thus: "To preserve peace three things are necessary: First, money; second, money; third, money."

In 1905-6, England spent 22 per cent of her income for military purposes, France 28 per cent and the German Empire 14J per cent. Germany has always kept a war chest. In 1870 it contained 4,500,000 pounds. At the be­ginning of this war she had an available reserve of 6,000,000 pounds. Other nations have followed Germany's example. Gold was heaped in the vault of the Bank of France, but bank-notes were issued to circulate and draw interest secured by this gold. The German funds, however, were hoarded in vaults and taken out of circulation. Had the 6,000,000 pounds in the citadel of Spandau been used as a basis of note issue since 1871, they would have become 20,000,000 pounds by the time the war began in 1914.

It would be quite impossible to hoard up enough money to pay for all expenses in war, so the holding out of a lesser sum might lull a nation into a false sense of financial security, the average man not knowing how much a war will cost.

"The day before the Franco-German War began, Prus­sia had 4,500,000 pounds in her war chest. Other sources yielded 2,750,000 pounds more. This sum was so far below the cost that other sources of revenue had to be sought. Bis­marck appealed to German patriotism and received as a result of voluntary subscription about 300 dollars. All Europe laughed."

Bismarck opened a 5 per cent loan of 18,000,000 pounds issued at 88 and redeemable in 18 years. Little over half was taken, so Bismarck had to go to London for help, where he negotiated a loan of 50,000,000 pounds.

It is curious to observe that the Germans, so loath to lend money to their own government, showed themselves very eager to loan it to France.

When the delegation of Tours, on October 27-29, 1870, contracted the Morgan loan, which enabled it to form the Army of the "Defense Nationale," German money flowed freely into French coffers. Bismarck was very wroth; "he directed the prosecution of several Frankfurt bankers whom he accused of having facilitated the loan, which, to quote the words of the charge, had enabled France to constitute the Army of the Loire, and maintain the war longer and with greater energy."

Watching Finance to Discover Indications of Approaching War

A close observation of the fluctuations of foreign na­tions' finances nowadays is of the highest importance. It is one of the characteristics of modern war.

"Take Japan after the Treaty of Shimonoseki, when, after revision by the European powers, she found herself euchred out of Port Arthur and receiving instead Formosa and 37,700,000 pounds.

Japan had to accept, but, notwithstanding, she at once pooled out her indemnity to England and with the money obtained began to augment her war power.

Along with this came new taxes—tobacco tax, income tax and stamp tax. Her "speeding up" went on at such a rate that her revenues were increased 7,800,000 pounds. Tax payers protested and upset four ministries in three years. What was the meaning? It was not for a defen­sive war that Japan was subjecting herself to such sacri­fices, for no one was threatening her. It was therefore in order to attack. To attack whom? If Russia had asked her the question she might have seen that she herself was the enemy aimed at.

The World War, however, was not preceded very long in advance by any unusual activity other than Germany's naval expenditures and the increase in her army of 1913. The "Morocco scare" of 1911 nearly precipitated things, but this finally blew over. In 1912, when the Balkan War began, distinct signs of financial apprehension were renewed. Parisian bankers had been loaning money lieavily to Germany. In the autumn they began to recall these loans and the French people began to hoard gold in their old stockings and chimney-pieces. This, to a Frenchman is historic evidence of the inevitable approach of war. It is estimated that not less than $350,000,000 gold was hid­den away by the people of Germany, France and Austria. During 1913, money rates, were abnormally high on the Continent. In January, 1914, money rates were reduced at the great state banks of England, Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland to the lowest figure touched since the Balkan War began in October, 1912.

An almost certain sign of war is the selling of outstanding government bonds and a rapid fall in prices. Yet, during the opening weeks of 1914, prices for the govern­ment bonds of Germany, France, England and Russia ad­vanced from 2 to 6 per cent. Two weeks before the murder of the Archduke and two weeks before the ulti­matum to Russia, money rates were growing easier in Paris and London. There was nothing prior to the last days of July that indicated, from a financial point, that an outbreak of any kind was imminent. There were closing of stock exchanges and a run on the Bank of England in the few days before the war, but that did not necessarily mean war.

"Financial conditions had been unsettled for some time prior to the outbreak of the war, in fact since the disturb­ance brought on by the Balkan War, as already stated. In addition there had been considerable industrial unsettle-ment which by 1914 became more or less acute. The first six months of the year 1914 was marked by industrial depression" and some paralysis, both in the United States and Europe. During this time the security markets had been continuously weak and a great drop in prices occurred in the last few days of July, when securities from all over the world seemed to be thrown into American markets for sale"

This latter happening is the only really ominous sign.

As to financing the war, Germany figured on a short war, which she could maintain, and, counting on it being successful, she expected to pay the costs out of the indemnity imposed.

Now, turning our attention to Japan, we will see by her situation an illustration of how the shortage of money played an important part in bringing the Russo-Japanese War to a close.

"After the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of January, 1902, Russia sensed a possible rupture and began talking about evacuating Manchuria by three stages.

In February, 1904, the national debt of Japan was 57,400,000 pounds; in March, 1906, it had grown to 230,-700,000 pounds.

The Japanese Annual for 1906 gave the total expenses of the war as 202,500,000 pounds. Russia spent nearly 278,000,000 pounds.

The Japanese finance minister, in the budget statement of 1906-7, estimated that in addition it would take 52,300,-000 pounds to pay for repairs to the fleet and material generally for awards, pensions, etc.

The Japanese millions spent on the war came from three sources:
1. The budgets of 1904-05.

2. Internal loans.

3. ExternaL loans, taken, up principally in Eng!and and the United States.

Interior loans against which treasury bonds were given are shown below:

No Date Yens Pounds Per cent Price of issue Per cent on capital Extinction
1 Feb. 1904 100,000,000 10,240,000 5 95 5.25 5 years
2 May, 1904 100,000,000 10,240,000 5 92 5.43 7 years
3 Nov, 1904 80,000,000 8,192,000 5 92 5.43 No limit.
4 Mar, 1905 100,000,000 10,240,000 6 90 6.66 No limit.
5 Apr, 1905 100,000,000 10,240,000 6 90 6.66 No limit.

These loans, issued upon more and more unfavorable terms, showed that it was becoming dangerous to make in­cessant demands on the public.

External loans were resorted to covered by security. The following is the list, the last one being contracted for after the peace treaty had been signed:

No Date Place Pounds Security Per cent Price of issue Per cent on Capital Extinction
1 May, 1904 London, New York 10,000,000 Customs dues 6 93.1 6.44 7 yrs
2 Nov, 1904 New York 12,000,000 Customs dues 6 90.1 6.65 9 yrs
3 Mar, 1905 New York 30,000,000 Tobacco Monopoly 4.5 90 5 20 yrs
4 July 1905 London, Berlin, New York 30,000,000 Tobacco Monopoly 4.5 90 5 20 yrs
5 Nov, 1905 London, Paris, New York 25,000,000 None 4 90 4.4 25 yrs

Now let us analyze the above tables.

"We see from them that, unlike the internal loans, the ^external loans became less burdensome as the war progressed.

"In May, 1904, the interest on the capital was 5.43 per cent for internal loans and 6.44 per cent for external loans.

"In March, 1905, the interest on the capital in case of interior loans had risen to 6.66 per cent while on external loans it was 5. per cent.

"The reason for this is that the internal loan is indi­cation of the credit of the country and the external merely the valuation of security."

"In November, 1904, Japan, with the victories of Liao Yang and the Sha-Ho to her credit, was certainly better off than in the previous May, and yet the interest on the capital of the second loan was more onerous than that of the first (6.65 per cent as against 6.44 per cent). This apparent anomaly explains itself when we observe that the security of the second loan was already ear-marked for the first. Had the third loan to be secured, like the others, on the customs receipts, very likely Japan would not have found many lenders." So her third and fourth loans had to be secured by the state monopoly on tobacco,

Had not the Peace of Portsmouth been signed, Japan would have needed more funds, as the jvar was costing 11,000,000 pounds a month. Her fifth internal loan at 6.66 per cent was only covered with difficulty and she had no more security for an external loan. Japan's budget for 1902-3 amounted only to 22,500,000 pounds, so you see the war was costing half of the yearly income a month. Japan was finding herself gaining Manchuria militarily and losing Japan financially. She was obliged to allow Russia to bargain, and foregoing her indemnity virtually accept Russia's terms. This is a vivid illustration of Montecuculi's phrase.

No matter how successful your soldiers may be in modern war, without money to buy the sinews you cannot prolong it very long.

The following tables show how the recent war has af-- fected the finances and wealth of the principal belligerents:

Debt and interest charge compared with estimated wealth and income of the principal belligerents in the recent war

Approximate Status April 1st, 1919

Nation Debt Wealth Debt per cent Wealth Interest Income Interpret per cent Income
United States 22 300 7-1/3 .917 60.0 1.53%
Great Britain 38 120 31-2/3 1.664 15.5 10.73%
France 26 90 20 1.300 12.0 10.83%
Italy 12.6 40 31-1/3 .548 7.5 7.30%
Germany 39 80 48-3/4 1.950 10.0 19.50%


Total expenditures, ten principal countries, $186,000,000,000 Per Capita Basis

Population in millions Nation Debt per Capita Wealth per Capita Interest per capita Income per Capita
107 United States $206 $2803 $8.57 $560
43 Great Britain 885 2279 38.69 360
40 France 650 2260 32.50 300
36 Italy 350 1111 15.22 208
65 Germany 600 1231 30.00 154

*Debt, wealth, interest and income in billions.

Cost of Former Wars Since 1776

United States / Dollars
American Revolution / 76,781,953 per capita $18.88
War of 1812 / 127,041,341 per capita 14.64
Mexican War / 68,304,796 per capita 2.84
Civil War / 2,844,649,616 per capita 81.58

England / Pounds
American Revolution / 121,000,000
Campaigns against Napoleon / 831,446,449
Crimean War / 74,000,000
Boer War / 211,256,000

France / Pounds
Jena Campaign (Gain) / 20,680,000
Spanish Campaign / 28,000,000
1805 to 1810 (less Jena) / 24,840,000
Crimea / 66,000,000
Italian War / 15,000,000
War of 1870 / 169,000,000
Counting indemnity, loss of Alsace and Lorraine 695,000,000

Russia Pounds
Turkey in 1828 / 27,200,000
Crimea / 53,300,000
Turkey in 1878 / 102,000,000
Japanese / 278,000,000

Germany / Pounds
Jena / 56,450,000
Austro-Prussian / 18,450,000
War of 1870 / 65,000,000

It will be noted that the most recent wars cost the most.

Money in general is necessary for waging war, but its necessity is greatly reduced if the people will make sacrfices. Money, therefore, plays the most important part before and after the war.

If the figures are correct, for the amount the United States spent directly on the recent war, she could have continued her next most expensive war, namely, the Civil War, 38 years.

England could have kept fighting Napoleon about 750 years and the American Colonies could have kept up the fight against England about 1,200 years.

It may be of interest to the pre-war anti-preparedness faction to know, that, for the amount actually expended on the army, during the two years of the war, an army of the size asked for by the preparedness faction could have been maintained for at least 75 years.

The war cost he_United States considerably more than $1,000,000 an hour for two years.

During the first three months our war expenditures were at the rate of $2,000,000 an hour.

During the final ten months ending .April, 1919, the daily average was over $44,000,000.

The direct cost of the war was nearly enough to have paid the entire cost of running the United States government from 1791 up to the outbreak of the war, and is more than the value of the gold produced in the whole world from the discovery of America to the outbreak of the war.

CHAPTER VII. The Offensive



"Offensive strategy must be prepared for in time of peace by perfecting the military machinery. This cannot be done during hostilities, nor can the nation which has neglected to do BO hope to wage war successfully."
"The strategical offensive, as we have seen, is a consequence of political striving after some definite object, the feeling of power to attain this object, and a distinct consciousness of superiority over the enemy."

In the case of the Japanese, after the Chino-Japanese War of 1894, they coveted Korea, which they had once con­quered, and Port Arthur, taken from them by the Treaty of Shimonoseki, as a result of Russian and German influence. Japan, in 1904 and 1905, felt her own superiority over Russia, so took the offensive forthwith, never sur­rendering the initiative.

A commander will endeavor to take advantage of the favorable considerations which caused his country to de­clare war before there can be an unfavorable turn. This is what the German staff endeavored to do in 1914. After the Confederate success at first Bull Run, both Joseph E. Johnston and Stonewall Jackson wanted to carry the war into the North and invade, taking advantage of their tem­porary success and the Federal confusion. Jefferson Davis, the Confederate President, was averse to this project, so nothing was done with the result that the Federal forces and politicians regained their equilibrium.

We may express the qualities of the offensive in three words—rapidity—activity—surprise.

As we have already learned, the first objective should normally be the hostile main army. In an aggressive war, then, the first thing to do is to mobilize, and that being completed, to concentrate for the purpose of invading the theater of war, occupied by the enemy, with a view of finding his main army and forcing it to battle under condi­tions as favorable to us as possible.

The general who leads off with a feeling that a forward movement is the natural and necessary thing, is stimulated much more to mental activity, bold plans and prompt action, than the general who waits. The general who moves his army forward inspires a confidence in the troops that increases their fighting prowess far over and above what it would have been with an irresolute general. Napoleon's LXXXIV War Maxim gives his ideas on this subject as follows : "An irresolute general who acts without principles or plan, although at the head of an army superior in numbers to that of the foe, often proves inferior on the battlefield. Shuffling, half-measures lose eevrything in war." It is interesting to note that shortly after General R. E. Lee took command of the Army of Northern Virginia, the news­papers of the South subjected him to a great amount of ridicule, due to the fact that he was having Richmond fortified, apparently leaving the enemy all the time he needed to concentrate superior numbers. This, however, was un­just, as Lee was merely trying to organize his army prop­erly. General Lee was the soul of audacity.


Another strong feature that recommends the offensive is that it stimulates the interest and enthusiasm of the people as well as the army. The continued retreat of the Confederate army from Dalton to Atlanta disheartened the troops, for it seemed that all they could do was to fall back. The assumption of the offensive by Hood, although ill timed, showed clearly by its impetus that it took solely the offensive to reanimate the Confederates.

Frederick the Great, in writing to Louis XV, said: "It is always better to act offensively, even if we are inferior in numbers. The enemy is often bewildered by boldness, and allows advantages to be snatched from him." One need look no further for an illustration of Frederick's dictum than the second Manassas campaign.

Lee, although inferior in numbers, completely bewild­ered Pope by rapid movements and forced the latter's army back to the vicinity of Washington.

"Fixed determination promotes discernment, facilitates the choice of judicious measures, and contracts the field of mistakes and errors; for the actor has in mind a definite purpose and can go wrong only in his choice of routes."

Napoleon, after his initial failure at Essling and As-pern, did not give up crossing the Danube, but took extra precautions and finally got across. He had the one thing on his mind, and that was to defeat the Austrians, so he would not entertain any thought of failure.

Massing of Troops

It is quite apparent that on the offensive troops may be massed more quickly and with less chance of movement by the flank than on the defensive. We may visualize the sit­uation of a division and a corps moving in fan-shape toward the handle which is the objective. There is little chance for confusion, crossing of columns and intermingling of supply units. Co-operation is more readily arranged than in the case of a stationary defensive when the objective is not indicated until the enemy makes his appearance in front of the position.

We have no better illustration of the advantages of the strategic offensive in the matter of massing troops and converging columns than in the various Japanese advances in Korea and Manchuria in 1904-1905.

Before the battle of the Yalu, the Russians were scat­tered on a front of 50 to 60 miles, looking for the Japanese main force and trying to learn where it would strike. When they did find out, it was too late to assemble troops to meet it.

Before Liao Yang and Mukden, the Japanese, by march­ing in parallel columns, were able to conceal their main point of attack until too late to be effectually stopped.

A general, however, must bear in mind that advancing rapidly in many columns is liable to cause excessive elon­gation, and should the heads of these columns strike the enemy deployed for battle, they might be driven back on the tail, the columns telescoped, and an assembly forced to the rear.

This is what happened to the Germans at the first battle of the Marne.

Napoleon concentrated several columns against Melas at Marengo, and came very near losing the battle.

Later on we will take up the two types of concentra­tions, commonly known as the von Moltke and Napoleonic, types.

The parallel lines used in the offensive march forward to the concentration are known by the Germans as the von Schlieffen parallel lines, the idea being to advance as many parallel columns as the roads permit, with the main column directed toward the center of the hostile concentration. The flank columns march by, turn in, and accomplish a double envelopment in a scissors fashion. In a way this is what von Hindenburg did at Tannenburg and was successful, thereby acquiring the sobriquet of "The Scissors."

"The greatest difference between the offensive and defensive is that the former will win if successful at a single point while the latter's position, forming an organic whole, will lose its stability and cohesion as soon as a part is destroyed."

As soon as the Italian army on the Isonzo was driven back on a brigade front in 1917, the entire defensive position collapsed.

Most Salient Points of Superiority of the Offensive Over the Defensive

1. The assailant is able to select his own point of attack.
2. In so doing he imposes the element of surprise.
3. Although the defender, by carefully weighing all the circumstances, may often detect the point of attack, yet the affair will seldom pass off without errors as to details.
4. The attacker therefore has a reasonable right to expect that the defender will be weaker at the decisive point.
5. Even though the duration of greater strategical operations give the defender a chance in a way to repair his errors, he will have greater distances to reckon with and his correction will probably be too late.
6. It will be difficult for the defender to remedy his original mistakes of concentration for the reason that masses of troops cannot be moved ad libitum.

In the selection of the point of attack or general ob­jective, the assailant in nearly every case has freedom of choice. He will, however, select the point from which he will derive the most strategic advantage if successful. For units participating in an attack one idea should predomi­nate, a tactical victory. In the study of directions there should be no confusion between strategy and tactics. The army is concerned with strategy, subordinate units are concerned with tactics. In sending Okasaki's brigade against the Manju Yama, north of the Tai-Tzu-Ho, in the battle of Liao Yang, Kuroki took a long chance, but being successful, the entire Russian line was threatened.
The fatal weakness in the Russian offensive on the Sha-Ho was that the element of surprise was missing. The Japanese knew all about this contemplated attack long before it was made. The fatal weakness in the British descent on the Gallipoli Peninsula was that it lacked rapid­ity, secrecy and well chosen objectives.

In the first place, the Turks knew all about the expe­dition, even to the exact points of landing. Due to the fact that the transports were not scientifically loaded they had to put back to Alexandria for readjustment, later assembling at Lemnos. The time of the year for a land­ing on the beach was not selected with due consideration for the local storm conditions; it so happened that during the time of the year selected for the landing, the surf was so high at times as to make debarkation extremely difficult.

The defeat of the French around Metz was due to the surprise of their corps on the 14th of August. Likewise in 1870, during the march to the battle of Sedan, the Germans completely surprised McMahon going to the aid of Bazaine, invested in Metz. The V French Corps was com­pletely surprised at Beaumont.

It always will be difficult for the defender to correct strategical and tactical errors of distribution. On the 16th of August, as the Saxon 12th Corps was turning the French right at Roncourt, the French reserve was located in rear of the left. The error could not be corrected in time to block the envelopment.

Moral Effect of Invasion of Hostile Territory

The one great advantage of the offensive is that it leads into the enemy's country and might lead into a neutral country, which has a tendency to refresh troops morally and materially, and does not subiect the home to the discomfitures that the inhabitants always experience when their land is the scene of operations.

In The "World War, the German great general staff, being of Frederick the Great's opinion that the worst place to make war is in one's own country, the best in the enemy's and the second best in that of a neutral, had decided on the violation of Belgium, and had made preparations long before war started. On all the German frontier lines, elaborate arrangements had been perfected for the concentration of troops. If any doubt exists that the invasion of Belgium was premeditated, a reading of Bernhardi's book and a study of the railway network of Germany along her western front will remove it.

In the invasion of Maryland by the Confederates in 1862, we have an illustration of the enthusiasm attendant upon the entrance of an army into new regions. As the Confederates waded across the Potomac, the bands played "Maryland, My Maryland," and the troops advanced as a relieving force. Unfortunately the Marylanders did not show an overwhelming desire to be relieved.

The hope of rehabilitation inspired Napoleon's army of Italy. In an energetic proclamation Napoleon showed that an obscure death threatened* his troops if they re­mained on the defensive; that they had nothing to expect from France, but everything from victory. He exclaimed: "There is plenty in the fertile plains of Italy. Soldiers! Will you fail in courage and fortitude?"

To picture to yourself the effect that moving into new country has upon an army, just glance at the accounts with reference to the German armies around Metz, and the Japanese armies around Port Arthur and note the improvement in morale when they respectively started west and north to join the field armies.

Some of the Disadvantages or the Offensive

One of the principal disadvantages of the offensive is that it makes greater demands on the energies of the troops and that there is a maximum of marching. Losses on the inarch in war generally are greater than those in battle.

Napoleon, in his LVIII War Maxim, says: "The first quality in a soldier is fortitude in enduring fatigue and hardship; bravery but the second. Poverty, hardship, and mis­ery are the school of the soldier."

Now let us turn our attention to one of the causes for the failures on the part of both sides at the battle of Antietam.

It will be brought before your mind by reading an extract from General McClellan's report, submitted to The Adjutant General on September 28th. It reads:

"The stragglers, too, are numerous in every division of the army; many of them desert. The states of the North are flooded with deserters, absentees, etc. One corps of the army has 13,000 and odd men present and 15,000 and odd absent; of the 15,000, 8,000 probably were at work at home, deserters." (W. R. 19, Part II, p. 364.)

This apparently was the 1st Corps, for when Meade succeeded Hooker in command, after the wounding of the latter, he reported that 8,000 men, including 250 officers, had quit the ranks either before or during the battle of Antietam. And the Confederates were no better, for D. H. Hill, in his report, gives as one of the three reasons for the loss of the battle, on the part of the Confederates, the straggling. On the 22d of September, five days after the battle, the strength reports of the Army of Northern Vir­ginia shows 41,520 men, while on the 30th it shows 62,713, and yet no conscripts had been received. Query: Where were these men during the battle? Henderson states that there were at least 10,000 living off the citizens of Leesburg, Virginia. Jackson took into action on the 17th, 1,600 men, and lost 700, and yet had 3,900 for duty on the 30th. Law-ton's division, formerly commanded by Ewell, rose from 2,500 to 4,450 in the same time.

In spite of their excellent discipline, the Prussian Guard Corps lost between 5,000 and 6,000 men on the marches between St. Privat and Sedan.

Hostile Inhabitants in Rear

The country traversed by the assailants must be as a rule considered hostile. The necessary precautions should therefore be taken against the inhabitants. We have a re­cent illustration of the German method of dealing with the inhabitants in the cases of Belgium, Roumania and Serbia. The invader will have to adopt drastic measures in handling the inhabitants, but he must be careful to see that they con­form to the customs of war, for if they do not, and appear to neutrals as unwarranted, these measures, by their very severity, may arouse such an indignation as to bring about intervention.

The Spanish and Portuguese inhabitants, by their guerilla warfare, did what their armies could not do and that was, evict the invader. Napoleon, during his early wars, had the inhabitants, even of the enemy's country, with him, for he brought the liberty which their own governments denied them. He always came as a deliverer, but in going to Spain and Portugal, he came as a conqueror.

Guarding the Lines of Communication

The lines of communication along which all the neces­saries of life and all the reinforcements are brought to an . army will generally require more special means of protec­tion on the offensive than on the defensive.

The grouping into armies is imperative with the pres­ent size of combatant forces. This involves the detaching of troops to guard communications and advance depots. Consequently, it may take a vast number of troops to guard communications. General Grant said that more than two-thirds of the troops in the West were detached from the main army to guard communications against raids by partisan bands. Part of the Bavarian troops were left to invest Strassburg and Nancy in 1870, and, in the German onrush across Belgium in 1914, the Germans were forced to make detachments.

Maubeuge, while eventually falling before the forces of von Bulow, held out long enough to give Joffre time to complete his concentration. The fortress guarded a rail­way and had to be captured before communications could be opened up.

There is a saying that it takes six men behind the line to keep one on it, and if such is the case, the longer the communications the more men behind the line. At the end of July, 1870, the // German Army had 198,000 combatants. Some days later it was increased by a new corps, and reached 228,000 men, divided into seven army corps and two divisions of cavalry.

"The I Army, which served as a right wing in the first operations, numbered, counting from the 6th of August, 96,000 combatants. At the same time the III Army was 167,000 strong. To guard the communications of this force about 166,000 men were required; Approximately one-third."

The attackers are usually moving from their sources of supply at home. Although this fact loses much of its significance in civilized countries possessing modern means of communications, it is still of considerable importance as a factor in weakening the offensive.
During the Civil War the farthest that any army that relied upon the railroad could get from its base was 145 miles.

One is hardly ever able to utilize the railroads of the occupied country with the facility that the roads at home can be used. The gauge may be different or it may be im­possible to get rolling stock.

War Indifference

There is a condition that often arises as a result of repeated success—that is, weariness about the war and even indifference to it. While success is a fine thing for the troops, it is apt to develop in them a feeling of optimism that does not cause extra effort on their part. In South Africa, after the victories on the Tugela and Modder Rivers, and shortly before Cronje's catastrophe at Paardeburg, 10,000 men of the small Boer army were f urloughed to their homes.

Armed Intervention

No nation likes to see too much success on the part of another. As a result, the attackers may bring down upon themselves the envy, jealousy, or anxiety of other powers. These sentiments call forth politics unfavorable to the at­tackers which may grow to an adverse element or even to an armed intervention.

England prevented the seizure of Constantinople by the Russians at the conclusion of the Russo-Turkish War, but
not until after Russia, by her successful advance through the Balkan Mountains, had made such a seizure possible. The Japanese lost Port Arthur, one of the prizes of the Chino-Japanese War, due to the intervention of Russia and Germany, prompted by jealousy of the success of Japan.


The assailant often is in danger of losing his allies, who will support him up to a certain point, but do not care to see him get stronger at their expense.

Both Prussia and Austria, during the Crimean War, while not actively participating with the allies, had declared with solemnity that the war was just, but having gained their object, namely, the Austrian control over the lower Danube, became lukewarm toward the allies on account of the latter's uniform success, and opened up negotiations with the Russians on their own account.

General Costliness of the Offensive in Men

"Attacking armies melt away like fresh snow in spring­time."

The army on the offensive as a rule loses vastly more men than the army on the defensive and, unless there is a continual flow of replacements from the rear, the assail­ants eventually must stop. For some reason unknown at the time, the Japanese failed to pursue the Rus­sians more than 5 or 6 miles after Liao Yang. Some thought it to be a deep laid strategical scheme, but as a matter of fact it resulted from the general costliness to the Japanese in men and ammunition during the recent action. They needed replacements of men and replenish­ment of ammunition and had to halt operations until they arrived.

It is plain that the offensive is only possible when large numbers enable a leader to overcome the difficulty it offers, and good organization insures the rapidity necessary for carrying it out.

Advance on Moscow

When Napoleon crossed the Niemen on the 24th of June, 1812, at Kovno and Grodno, his Central Army (Grande Armee) with which he advanced on Moscow numbered 363,000. His entire army, including the troops in Prussia, was 442,000 men. He reached Vitebsk with 229,000, having lost 213,000 principally by detachments and straggling, out of his total strength. At Smolensk, on the 15th of August, his army numbered 185,000 men. Bear in mind that up to that time only two engagements had taken place, one between Davoust and Bagration, the other be­tween Murat and Tolstoy-Osterman. We may put down the French losses in battle at about 10,000; consequently the losses in sick and stragglers within 52 days, on a march of about 350 miles direct to the front amounted to 168,000 men of his Central Army which crossed the Nieman. He reached Borodino with 134,000 men, and eight days after that at Moscow his army numbered 95,000 men. He had covered 550 miles and lost by battle, sickness and strag­gling about 268,000 men.[NOTE—Every writer gives different figures, but the above are believed to be fairly accurate.]

The total of the Grande Armee, counting detachments, some of which did not invade Russia, was:

French 119,000
Swiss 37,000
Wurtembergers 39,000
Italians 45,000
Poles 36,000
Bavarians 25,000
Saxons 27,000
Westphalians 18,000
Prussian Auxiliaries 32,000
Austrian Auxiliaries 80,000

The losses of this army in general were at the rate of 1 in 150 per day at the commencement; subsequently, they rose to 1 in 120 and at the last period they increased to 1 in 19.

The Moscow march lasted 82 days.

Blucher in 1813

"In Blucher's campaign of 1813 in Silesia and Saxony, a campaign very remarkable, not for any long march, but for the amount of marching to and fro; York's corps, of Blucher's army, began the campaign on the 16th of August about 40,000 strong and was reduced to 12,000 at the battle of Leipsic, 19th of October. The principal combats in which this corps fought were at Goldberg, Lowenberg, Wartenburg and Mockern (Leipsic), and it lost, according to the best accounts, about 12,00b men. Accordingly the losses from other causes in the eight weeks' campaign were 16,000 men."

French in Spain

The Spanish campaign of 1810 furnishes us with a still more striking illustration. In the spring of that year 400,000 Frenchmen crossed the Pyrenees. They advanced continually and gained numerous victories. Yet Marshal Massena could only finally muster but 45,000 men to oppose the lines of Torres Vedras near Lisbon, where the decision lay. This French force was too weak to deliver the last decisive blow, but if Massena had attacked at once and in the manner suggested to him by staff officers, he would have been able to have carried the lines. He waited on ac­count of the indisposition of a certain individual he had in his suite, and the decisive moment passed. As a result, the French were finally driven from the Iberian Peninsula.


In the spring of 1829, Eussia sent 160,000 men to win the campaign in the Balkan Peninsula. Field Marshal Diebitsch retained but 20,000 of this number when he ar-. rived before Adrianople.

According to Moltke's calculations, if Diebitsch had been forced to continue his campaign, he would have arrived at Constantinople without more than 10,000 men. A peace skillfully concluded saved his weakness from being evi­dent and his army from the resultant ruin.

Russo-Turkish War

Out of the great army of 460,000 men, which the Rus­sians had gradually led across the Danube, a meager 100,-000 men got as far as Constantinople. This number in­cluded the sick, who are said to have amounted to half.
Even the Germans, who were operating under un­usually favorable conditions, crossed the Saar in 1870 with 372,000 men; after a six weeks' campaign they arrived before Paris with only 171,000.


In the ease of the Japanese in Manchuria it was different. On August 28th, the opening of the battle of Liao Yang, Oyama was able to put 135,000 men into action. Notwithstanding losses at Liao Yang, the Japanese commander had 15,000 more men at the Sha-Ho than he had at Lia Yang. However, as before mentioned, he had to delay temporarily, awaiting replacements.

On February 28, 1905, Oyama set out to his so-called Borodino. It was at the head of 300,000 men that he chal­lenged fate at Mukden. March 10th, the Japanese entered Mukden, while the Russians were making ready to retire to Harbin. From that day to September 16th, the date of the armistice, the Japanese force numbered 450,000 men. So you see that this condition was somewhat unusual.

Waning Power of the Offensive

Very properly, therefore, do we speak of the waning power of the offensive as an unavoidable fact which must be taken into account, and which becomes the more pro­nounced the longer the attack advances. This circum­stance requires that the necessary provisions be made, both in organization and plans of campaign, to be able to' strengthen continully the fighting front of the army by means of reserves, of which as Clausewitz says, "The mili­tary roads in rear of the army must never be clear."

Apparently, one of the reasons the various German drives on the west front failed of complete success in The World War was the inability of the Germans to keep sup­plies and reserves up with the rapidly moving front. In other words, the advance troops ran away from their sup­plies and reserves.

Do Not Start in on a Campaign Unless You Have Troops Enough to Carry it Out

The most important basis for success in every offen­sive movement lies in the proper appreciation of the con­ditions, such as the number of troops and supplies necessary, etc.

At the beginning of the Civil War, Sherman, who was in the West, was heralded as crazy by some of the news­papers and lost his command because he maintained that it would take at least 200,000 men to suppress the rebellion in the West alone.

The finest and best plan will fail unless we have enough troops to carry it out to a finish. This has been the rule in the case of all the great commanders, such as Charles XII, Hannibal, and Napoleon in his campaign of 1812.

"In the Russian campaign of 1812, Bonaparte tried to extort peace from an astonished adversary by one great coup. The destruction of his army was the danger he exposed himself to, but like all gamblers, he was willing to take the chance. The destruction of his army was not so much due to the fact that he penetrated too far into Russia, but due to the fact that he made his attempt too late in the year, and, after guarding his long line of communications, had no't enough men to succeed in event of the Russians failing to come over to his side upon the fall of Moscow."

Point at Which the Offensive Should Sue for Peace

If we follow the course of offensive operations, we shall find that they differ from defensive operations in another respect. Although originally superior to the enemy, and victorious in the past, troops may finally arrive, through an inevitable process of weakening, at a point which does not assure any future success, or, in other words, the point of culmination.

A general, with a correct estimation of the situation, should immediately recognize the arrival of this culmina­tion and use it as did Diebitsch in the Balkans, the Jap­anese in Manchuria and the Germans in 1918, concluding a peace or else changing over to the defensive, holding all the territory previously gained until the enemy submits to terms of peace.

Had Melas and Kray, in the campaign of 1800, pushed the French as they should have done up to the point of cul­mination the result would not have been so disastrous for them.

Point of Culmination too Soon

Should this point of culmination be arrived at too soon —that is, before the peace desired is secured—a disastrous reverse follows, and this is generally much more severe in its consequence than the effect of a defeat on the deliberate defensive.

Kind of Leaders and Troops for an Offensive

A sufficient number of skillful and experienced leaders must be available, together with organized and well dis­ciplined troops, who, during an adequate period of peace service, have become accustomed to acting together and will be able to withstand the destructive elements that make themselves felt during the course of the offensive.

Prussia in 1806 attempted the offensive with green troops, antiquated generals and equipment, divided counsels and a meager exchequer as against an experienced leader, tried soldiers and boundless resources. It was almost a foregone conclusion that she would be defeated.

When Strategical Offensive can be Carried out by Poor Troops

The strategical offensive can only be carried out by green troops and poorly instructed armies when the enemy is of inferior quality. The Swiss and Spanish have been very successful on the defensive with untrained troops, but for offensive war with the same kind of troops it is to be feared if any country will be more successful than were the Boers in South Africa.

While it is a fact that, in general, the offensive requires better troops than the defensive, yet experience in The World War has shown that certain colored troops, particularly French, while very effective on the offensive, would not stand the strain of holding a defensive position under shell fire and gas. This is due to the lower degree of mentality for, from a psychological standpoint, it requires a higher state of mental development to take punishment without replying than not. We are all familiar with the expression "shooting up one's pluck" and we know that action increases the morale, for inaction leaves too much time for "thinking it over."

The Boer offensive never assumed proportions that in any way greatly endangered the British nor their territory. At the outset, the Boers could have put 80,000 men into one army had the troops been trained and would have had only about 12,000 British against them at that time. With this army, they could have overrun Cape Colony and have been in a position to prevent a further British advance at least until Great Britain had sent an enormous force to South Africa.


The importance of good troops in the tactical offen­sive is more pronounced than in the strategical, for with the terrific destructive power of modern weapons, none but the best troops will advance. The Germans realized this early in The World War and formed their Sturm troops, training them specially for the attack. The idea advanced by the Germans that modern fortifications cannot stand up against modern artillery has been somewhat exploded. They found out to their grief that they could not ignore them. Had the Germans had the same'kind of troops in 1918 that they had in 1914, the Americans would probably not have won over them as easily as they did in the Meuse-Argonne.

The 1st and 2d Regular Divisions of the American army in France gave repeated exhibitions of what good troops can do, as did the regulars at first and second Bull Run; and, in fact, at every place where they fought during the Civil War. They always held the post of most honor—that of most danger.

By good troops we mean those that can be depended upon.

A general rule for attack is strength against weakness, front against flank, superior against inferior force, masses against the decisive point. The same principles character­izes both the strategical and tactical offensives.

Good troops in sufficient numbers are of first impor­tance. As has been shown, in this country they are the reg­ulars. It is worthy of note that most regular organizations in time of war are composed at the outset of about 50 per cent new troops, but there is always a nucleus of old men, familiar withregimental traditions, who inspire an "esprit de corps" that causes the recruits soon to act like veterans.

The Comte de Paris, in referring to the withdrawal of Sykes' Regulars at Gaines Mill, said they seemed to be more chagrined over falling back before volunteers than they were over their frightful losses.

In the tactical offensive the common objective is even more evident than in the strategical. In the latter the ob­jective is surmised from the dispositions, but in the former it is actually seen. This lessens the danger of the indi­vidual units going astray in the fight.

The tactical offensive stimulates mental activity among the leaders and encourages them to act on their own initia­tive. It makes them more original, and excites ambition and a desire to achieve great exploits. It helps the troops to forget danger and strengthens them with a feeling of superiority that the commander would not have decided on an attack were he not convinced of the existence of such superiority.

Owing to the constant wars of the Napoleonic era, the Emperor, at least in the period of 1800-12, had a perfect knowledge of every piece of the engine of war that he handled. From 1800 to 1805 and in 1809 he had a good idea of the mediocrity of his opponents, and the initial combats confirmed these beliefs.

In the long days of peace of the past years, it has been difficult to form a correct estimate of the capabilities of the prospective commanders of armies.

Consequently, the initial engagements will be cautious, and, just as the Germans only found their boldness after the success of Weissenburg, and the Japanese of 1904 after the Yalu, all modern armies will increase in their boldness after success in the first fighting.

Being repeatedly on the defensive causes the leader to grow cautious to such an extent that he will not take legit­imate risks, while the offensive doubles the gambling pro­pensity or the willingness to take chances.

In Manchuria, on the 26th of August, 1904, the Jap­anese Guard commander reported that he was in a critical situation and that reinforcements were essential. Without hesitation Kuroki sent in the 29th Kobi Regiment, the only available troops that he had left.

"There is no bottling up the Old Guard tendency about Kuroki," writes Sir Ian Hamilton. "Never will he merit the reproach which Napoleon leveled at Joseph after Tala-vera, when he told him the plain truth, and said that a general who retreats before he has used all of his reserves deserves to be shot forthwith."

When Moltke, on the eve of Gravelotte, issued orders for the battle, he left the 4th Corps between Marbach and Toul, believing himself to be strong enough without it. On his return to Pont-a-Mousson the day after it was over, he remarked to Verdy du Vernois, "I have learned a lesson from this day's work, which is that one is never strong enough on the field of battle."


Surprise is a better ally of the tactical than of the strategical offensive, for in the tactical field the enemy, if surprised, has less time to remedy the mistakes he has already made through lack of foresight.

One of the best illustrations of the tactical surprise is Stonewall Jackson's attack at Chancellorsville on the XI Corps.

In March, 1918, the British were not able to check the Germans after the tactical surprise on the 5th Army, and came very near being cut off from the French.

The Germans had set, about six months before, to train troops for the attack and, under cover of fog, attacked reentrants and not salients or strong points. They were suc­cessful, at least, until the British were driven back almost to Amiens, as a result of superior training and nothing else.

The assailant may attack simultaneously at several different points—frontal attack with envelopment, simul­taneous attack in front and flank, etc. These special forms of attack will be discussed in a later chapter.

Value of Concentric Fire

There is no question but that the offensive has a decided advantage in that it brings a concentric fire to bear. In modern battles, extending over a large front, the advantages and disadvantages are quite evenly divided between the attack and defense; nevertheless the offensive has this ad­vantage, in that it can assemble both artillery and ammuni­tion at a given point or in a given sector and can converge its fire upon the point of attack before the enemy can shift in sufficient strength to meet it.

The range of guns today is so great that it is possible for artillery, not really assigned to the attack, to co-oper­ate in the decisive action by means of fire.

Selecting the Point of Attack

This is the great advantage the tactical offensive has over the tactical defensive. It can select its point for the decisive blow, if secrecy is maintained and feints carried out, can concentrate its attacking force at the selected point and launch the attack before the enemy can take counter-measures.

It is much easier in modern war to conceal the tactical point of attack than the strategical one for the reason that battles, being conducted on such a large scale, involve movements of large bodies which will be detected by air­craft. The tactical point may not be known, but the area in which the attack is to take place can be pretty well fig­ured out. The battle of the Somme in 1916 did not come as a surprise to the Germans, as they knew from all the prepara­tions the sector in which it was to take place.

"A good general by a coup d'oeil will detect the de­cisive point." He must, however, not allow the question of the decisive tactical direction to draw him away from the decisive strategical direction. Ludendorff avers that the decisive strategical direction should always govern since tactically nothing is impossible nowadays. We can only quote the two axioms, namely: "The commander must always en­deavor to gain the victory which, under the given conditions, is the most decisive" and that "the chance of great results also justifies great risks." McClellan, at Antietam, at­tacked the Confederate left because it offered greater tac­tical advantages, whereas, had he attacked the right, where the tactical situation was not so good, he would, if he had been successful, have cut off Lee's retreat and might have ended the war. "Sure things" seldom produce great results in war. At Fredericksburg, the decisive direction was against the Confederate right, yet the Federal main at­tack was against the left.

Decisive, if Successful at One Point

A victory generally is assured when a decisive advan­tage is obtained at some one point.

The truth of this is even more apparent than in the strategical offensive. The tactical unit of the defenders forms an organized whole, which is even more distinct than that formed by the strategical.

The stability of the whole organization is somewhat disturbed if a certain portion of it is destroyed or gets out of hand.

The defeat of a wing by the enemy, or the forcing of a flank, is liable to decide the whole battle.

Missionary Ridge is a good illustration. When Sheri­dan and Wood pierced the center, the whole Confederate line collapsed.

The defenders will probably give way when a mere quarter of their line is defeated, but the attackers, who have been driven back along three-quarters of their line, will still be triumphant if they are victorious in the re­maining quarter. This also is illustrated by Missionary Ridge where Sherman on the left was stopped, Hooker on the right was delayed, yet Sheridan and Wood in the center were successful.

Liao Yang

Oyama's operation orders issued on the 29th of August for the attack on the Russian 1st, 3d and 10th Siberian Corps, south of Liao Yang, were for a frontal attack by the covering the flanks.

The enemy was in position between Ma-ya-tun and three armies, with two divisions in reserve and the cavalry Hsia-pu. By the time the movements ordered for the 30th were well started, the Russians were in position facing the assailant.

The array of Japanese was by no means of equal den­sity. Oyama figured that if he could get possession of the height 99, between the railroad and the Mandarin road, he could cut off the retreat of the Russians or else cause them to retire so quickly to reach their bridges that great confusion and loss would be entailed. So he massed the 4th, 6th, 3d and 5th Divisions, supported by the 13th, 14th and 15th Field Artillery Regiments and the 4th Foot Artillery, with a battery of 4.2 and a battery of 6-inch guns against Ma-yeh-tun on a front of 3 to 11 men to the yard. To the east and against the balance of the Russian position on a, front of 11 miles, he massed the 10th, the Guard, the 2d and 12th Divisions. The troops on the right were merely to grip the Russians, while the troops in front of 99 carried the position.

Oyama was carrying out the old principle of the tac­tical offensive. To win a battle does not necessarily mean to win at every point. In almost every case—perhaps in every case—there is one part of the field of battle, the conquest of which brings about the collapse of the whole line. So it developed in this case that the capture of hill 99 forced the Russians to evacuate their entire line.

St. Privat

The Germans were driven back along three-fourths of their line, but when the Saxons under Pape captured Ron-court and the Guards carried St. Privat, the whole French defense of the west front withdrew. However, it took two attacks to carry St. Privat, and the second was only suc­cessful after the fall of Roncourt and the Germans had concentrated 26 batteries and about 100,000 men against the town, which was defended by about 20,000 French troops under Canrobert.

As a result of observations in The World War, we have a new expression to add to the vocabulary of military art. It is "action of dislocation." The line which allows itself to be broken in modern war is generally defeated. We will take up the "action of dislocation" later under the name of "tactical penetration." The first battle of the Marne be­longs to this class. The action between Foch's 7th French Army and the 10th German Corps, the Prussian Guards and Saxons, is illustrative of this class. Being unable to drive back the French left anchored at Mondemont, the Germans tried the right through and around to the east of the St. Gond Marshes. In this they were successful and were rush­ing madly toward Sezanne and Pleurs. Foch, realizing the natural strength of his left, withdrew the 42d Division, sending it across the rear toward the east. The eastern half of the Prussian Guard, in the impetuosity of its at­tack and advance, had left the western portion of the Guard north of the swamps. In order to connect up, the line became attenuated. Into this breach Foch threw the 42d Division, while all other units attacked vigorously, break­ing the German line and making a gap from the eastern end of the St. Gond Marshes to La Fere Champenoise. The whole German line now collapsed, due to the blunder­ing of its peerless slaff.

NOTE:—Foeh's 7th Army was sometimes referred to as the 9th, in tie hope that the Germans would be deceived and would worry concerning the location of the 7th and 8th Armies.

Weak Points of the Tactical Offensive Fatigue

The offensive entails the greatest amount of preliminary marching which fatigues the men and causes strag­gling. It is amazing how an organization diminishes in strength in the modern attack.

Interruption of Fire

The fact that the assailant is moving forward inter­rupts to a certain extent his fire, particularly that of small arms. After the line has advanced to a certain distance from the enemy's position, the artillery ranges must be increased.

The defender's artillery has the great advantage in being able to register on points past which the assailant must pass in his attack. At those points the assailant encounters his heaviest losses.


The fact that during the forward movement the attack­ers must, to a certain extent, expose themselves and dis­pense with the protective cover of the terrain, makes their losses out of all proportion to those of the defender. Of course, once the position is carried, and the defend­ers start their retreat, they are made to feel the disadvan­tage thereof with double force, because the movement is to the rear.

It is said that at the battle of Gettysburg, Pickett's division suffered greater losses in its withdrawal than in its advance.

In the recent war, the maximum losses were not suf­fered during the attack itself, but when the objective was reached and consolidation of the position began. Then the enemy, by use of gas and shelling, could make the line almost untenable, since he knew ranges exactly and his artillery fire was like "driving tacks," to use a simile.


The question of daylight figures very conspicuously in the modern battle. The intervention of darkness has saved many a day and reputation.

The fall of night in an undecided battle generally means a victory for the defenders and a defeat for the attackers unless they have made due preparation for the next day.

Had the battle of Gravelotte-Sainte Marie aux Chenes-St. Privat not been fought at the time of day it was fought, but during a winter month, instead of August, 1870, in all probability it would have resulted favorably for the French. Sainte Marie aux Chenes was not captured until 2:30 PM, the first attack on St. Privat was not made until 5:30PM and the second until 8:30 PM. Had this second and decisive attack been postponed until the following day, Bazaine could have shifted the Guard Corps from his left to his right to meet and check it. Of course the Germane still had the X Corps to reinforce their line, but it is doubtful whether even this addition would have equalized the French Guard.

The coming of night unquestionably saved Smith-Dor-rien's II Corps at Le Cateau.

Possibilities of Making Mistakes in Initial Movement in the Tactical Offensive

The fact that the assailant has to begin tactical man­euvers sooner than the defender and is consequently more liable to make mistakes has been advanced as a disadvantage of the offensive. This is, however, more than counter-balanced by the fact that the assailant can profit by the defender's mistakes better than the defender can by the assailant's. At Nanshan Hill the Japanese launched a general frontal attack and were checked, but discovering the weakness of the Russian position toward Kinehow Bay, they took advantage of it, sending troops to that point, and eventually turning the Russians out of their position.

As we have already seen, the demands made on the attacking troops do not constitute a weakness, but they do increase the difficulty of the task to a considerable degree. Such troops must possess mobility and must be very resistant to the moral effect of danger. All this re­quires a very thorough and sufficiently extended prepara­tion in time of peace. With untrained troops, even if they are superior in numbers, the tactical is still less practicable than the strategical offensive.

Clausewitz says that an army should be possessed of a true military spirit to engage in offensive war.

He defines this military spirit as follows: "An army which preserves its usual formations under the heaviest fire, which is never shaken by imaginary fears, and, in the face of real danger, disputes the ground inch by inch, which, proud in its feeling of its victories, never loses its sense of obedience, its respect for and confidence in its leaders, even in the depressing effect of defeat; an army with all its physical powers inured to privations and fatigue by exer­cise, like the muscles of an athlete; an army which looks upon all its toils as the means to victory, not a curse which hovers over its standards, and which is always reminded of its duties and virtues by the short catechism of one idea, namely, the honor of its arms—such an army is imbued with the true military spirit." We must shut our eyes to all historical proof, if we do not see that the success of Alexander was due to his Macedonian Phalanx, Csesar to his Legions, Alexander Farnese to his Spanish infantry, Gustavus Adolphus and Charles XII to their Swedish gren­adiers, Frederick to his Prussian infantry, and Napoleon to the army he had built up. All great leaders, but without their seasoned troops they could not have lasted long.

The nearest approach to the true military spirit we have in the United States is in our regular troops. A graphical chart showing the endurance of our troops in The World War will clearly demonstrate the regular divi­sions as the winners. Why? Tradition, and the feeling that "I am a regular."

All these conditions must be carefully weighed before the offensive is decided upon. Unless we have at least the greater part of them on our side, success will hardly be attained.

"We should also note that the successful delivery of an attack requires the leaders to be much more severe to the troops than is necessary in the defense; for fighting on the defensive appears to the troops as an essential mili­tary duty prompted by a feeling of the necessity for self- . preservation. But the attack requires higher qualities that none but the strong can exact. The decision to at­tack entails responsibility for the losses caused thereby, which are generally considerable. Most men avoid such responsibility."
Imagine the responsibility on the shoulders of General Grant in carrying out the Overland campaign of 1864 which entailed such terrific losses. Other plans might have been more brilliant and less costly yet more hazardous, but with the administration feeling as it did, nothing but a sure method was wise, no matter how costly. It had to be a cam­paign of attrition, and Grant knew he could outlast Lee, and thereby won.

CHAPTER VIII. The Defensive



WE SHOULD never consider the defensive as a mere passive state in which the army quietly awaits in position until the enemy arrives and attacks.

"The importance of the operative element in the strate­gic defensive is enhanced by the fact that a pure defense, as in tactics, is not possible in strategy. A strategic front is seldom a continuous tactical line of defense, especially on account of large areas necessarily required for the con­centration of the masses involved in modern war."

One will seldom have the situation of every section of the line on the passive defense, but one will have drives at certain points and counter-attacks at others, and yet, gen­erally speaking, one's forces will be on the strategic defensive.

We, therefore, on the strategic defensive, have more use for cavalry and aircraft, for they must continually be striving to tear away the veil back of which the assailant moves. If the Russian cavalry, which was far superior to that of the Japanese, had reported the approach of the Port Arthur army under Nogi at Mukden but a very little earlier than it actually did, Kuropatkin might have been able to move troops to his right to meet it. The battle of Mukden was lost due to poor reconnaissance, as reserves could have been shifted with comparative ease.

The strategical defensive, then, should not exclude movements entirely, and by no means should confine itself to an absolute standstill.

Four Different Methods of Defense

There are four different methods of carrying out the strategical defensive:

1. The position defensive.

Going out to meet the enemy, wherever he may come, with a portion of the force, thus holding him until the remaining troops have concentrated in that direction and are able to co-operate.

2. The retreating defensive.

Retiring before the enemy into the interior of the country so as to gain time, during which those factors that con­stantly tend to weaken the offensive have had time to operate.

In this case, the defender merely remains in position, forcing the assailant to deploy, thereby tiring out his troops; but withdrawing in time to escape from becoming too seriously involved, only to occupy another position further back.

3. The step by step defensive.

Taking up a position and allowing the enemy to butt his head against strong lines, thereby suffering losses, the de­fender then withdrawing in time to occupy another position and repeat the performance.

4. The sortie defensive.

Waiting quietly during the preliminary operations of the assailant to discover his mistakes or weak points, and then making use of them to attack him with concentrated forces. This is really the ideal defensive.

The Position Defensive

In military history we find that this kind of strat­egy is most frequently assumed by the weaker side. It is the natural result of being conscious of an unfavorable situation and of the knowledge that enough troops are not available for the more strenuous attack. This is the method of de­fense that the British should have adopted in South Africa until reinforcements arrived. The Russians attempted to adopt this form of defensive in Manchuria—that is, merely checking1 and holding up the Japanese advance, while wait­ing reinforcements from Russia. They were unable to stop the Japanese, so fell back before them on Liao Yang, to wait the final decision under more favorable conditions.

The Retreating Defensive

In this case the army retires into the interior of its country before an assailant, so as to give the natural condi­tions, which have a weakening influence, sufficient time to work before the decisive blow is struck. By this means the defender may often reinforce his own army by approach­ing his source of supply and uniting with troops that were not available in the beginning, and are not in the first line. It is evident that such a procedure is only advisable when enough distance is at the disposal of the defender to fur­nish the necessary amount of time for the action of the disrupting influences to affect the attacker. It is also evi­dent that an additional retrograde movement should not cause the abandonment of important territory that should have been guarded, and the loss of which might play a decisive part in the result of the campaign.

Retreating and Step by Step Defensive

The Atlanta campaign affords a good illustration of the retreating step by step defensive.

Johnston's campaign in Georgia can be divided into two distinct phases:

First.—A "retreating defensive."

Second.—A "step by step defensive."

The first phase began at Rocky Ridge, May 7, 1864, and terminated with the occupation by the Confederates of the Dallas line, May 23d.

During 18 days, the Confederate army, while fighting the actions of Buzzard's Roost, Dug Gap, Resaca, Adairs-ville and Gassville without any tactical advantage, had retreated 72 miles.

At the end of this phase, the enemy was as vigorous, as aggressive, and apparently as strong as at the begin­ning, and a new policy had to be adopted.

The second phase began with the battle of New Hope Church, May 25, 1864, and terminated with the Confederate retreat into the lines of Atlanta, July 20, 1864, a period of 45 days, in which the Confederate army had retreated only 20 miles.

During this phase the battles of New Hope Church, Pickett's Mills, Dallas, Culp's Farm, Kenesaw Mountain and Smyrna were fought, and the ground gained by Sher­man's army was purchased at heavy losses and almost continuous fighting.

But throughout the campaign, General Johnston adhered to the passive defensive, which has the fundamental defect that all that is possible is to avoid defeat; victory is unattainable.

The fundamental idea that guides the strategical defensive is to remedy an unfavorable situation by husband­ing our forces whilst those of the enemy are more rapidly consumed in the attack. A condition on which success de­pends is that the increase of strength expected during the strategical defense, or the decrease on the enemy's side, shall exceed the material and moral losses that will invariably be associated with a retreating, waiting or procrastinating policy.

If at the end of the defensive operation, we are no stronger in comparison with the enemy than at the begin­ning, nothing has been gained; and it would have been better to have risked the tactical decision at the very first, for loss of confidence will always have sprung up in the meantime among the troops.

Shirking a decision and courting delay merely for fear of an unfavorable decision cannot be called operating, for there is an absence of that purpose which must always enter into the operations of war. Such a line of action can only prove useful when plenty of time and space are available for seeking in the course of events advantages and re­sources that have been thought of before.

Judged according to these principles, Johnston's campaign was an utter failure. Comparing the opposing armies we find that at Dalton, Johnston had 52,992 men.

Before Resaca, he was joined by two divisions from Polk, one Georgia brigade and conscripts, amounting to 18,245. Therefore he had at Resaca a total of 71,237.

Sherman began the campaign with 98,787, and the ratio at Resaca was about 72 to 97, or the Confederate num­erical strength 73 per cent of the Federals. Subsequent to Resaca, Johnston received:

One division (French's); one brigade (Quarles'); one division, cavalry (Jackson's) ; G. W. Smith's Georgia militia and other small factions amounting to 15,240, making a total to be accounted for since the beginning of the campaign 86.477. On July 10th, seven days before his relief, Johnson reported as effective 50,932. The loss during the campaign was 35,545. July 1st, Sherman's effective total was 106,070, a gain since the beginning of the campaign of 7,283.

In other words, Sherman's losses from all causes dur­ing the campaign had been more than offset by reinforce­ments, which amounted to about 50,000. At the end of the operations, therefore, the ratio between the two armies was 51 to 106, and the Confederate army was only 48 per cent of the Federal army, as against 73 per cent at the be­ginning. Nothing had been gained by the defensive policy adopted and much had been lost. Johnston should have risked the decisive action at the beginning of the campaign, for he was well aware that the Confederacy had strained every resource to afford him the strength he had, and could give nothing more. He also knew that the resources of his opponent were practically unlimited. It was clearly a case where the decision was shirked and delay courted, mainly through fear of an unfavorable result; hence it is excluded from the definition of systematic warfare.

The retreating defensive of Napoleon in 1814 was a most active one. It consisted of the following: Abandonment to the enemy of the frontier zones and the line of defense found there. Slow and concentric retreat of the corps of observation posted upon the frontier.
Assemblage of the forces upon a central position between the frontier and the capital. Offensive maneuvers upon an interior line of operations against any of the enemy's corps which could be assailed to advantage. Continual and energetic attacks upon the weakest points presented by the adversary. Rousing the inhabitants of the country in the enemy's rear. Attempts to cut communications.

It was essentially an active defense, and would prob­ably have succeeded had it not been for the great dispro­portion between the forces and the premature surrender of Paris.

The retreating and step by step defensives on the part of the British and French in 1914, culminating in the battle of the Marne, is an ideal illustration. Valuable ter­ritory, however, was lost; yet the allies continued their retreat until strong enough to counter-attack, when-they did so with the well known success. It almost looked as if the Germans had been lured on.

The Sortie Defensive

This was Albert Sidney Johnston's plan in the spring campaign of 1862, but he failed to keep his troops together in sufficient force to destroy the enemy should the latter make the needed blunder. This method for carrying on the strategical defensive is generally considered the most effective—in fact, the ideal one. But it makes very high de­mands on the quickness and decision of the general.


At Ratisbon, Marshal Davoust defended himself pas­sively awaiting Austrian blunders, while Napoleon with the right wing attacked the 5th and 6th Austrian Corps, and completely defeated them.

The battles of Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes are of the nature of sortie defensives from von Hinden-burg's viewpoint.
In carrying out the sortie defensive, the defensive fea­ture is not the real principle of the operation. On the con­trary, it becomes subordinate to the offensive and merely its auxiliary.

It is here more a question of an attack waiting for the auspicious moment than of defense, and we have no un­qualified right to count an operation of this kind as defensive.

The fundamental object of every strategic defensive is to neutralize the enemy's primary superiority by sparing use of our own forces, while those of our opponents are rapidly consumed in attacking.

The defensive movement is favored by the fact that the question of marching, which has in itself an injurious effect, plays a less important part than in the offensive. It is much safer, therefore, with inferior troops, to venture upon the strategical defensive than upon the strategical offensive.

Negative Purposes

As the defensive aims to accomplish negative pur­poses—and these are more easily attained than the posi­tive purposes for which the offensive strives—there is less chance of the defender making mistakes or bringing about unfavorable incidents. General Lee, in the fall of 1862, was on the defensive and inactive, yet his inactivity was more than offset by the maneuvers of the ill-starred pontons that Burnside tried to move down from Berlin, on the Potomac, to Fredericksburg, with which to effect a crossing of the Rappahannock at that point. Lee was able, almost at leisure, to take up a position at Marye's Heights.


If the assailant commits errors in his measures and his undertakings are wrecked thereby, the defender may consider himself victorious without much effort. Long-street's delays and the poorly conducted attacks by Mc-Laws before Knoxville, left the victory in Burnside's hands without so much show of brilliancy on the latter's part. The assailant often accelerates the destruction of his own forces, which is the aim of the defender. The poor tactics of Burnside at Fredericksburg hastened the destruc­tion of his own troops without Lee having to make an im­portant move.


Every omission and delay on the part of the assailant inures to the benefit of the defender. The advantage may merely be on the side of the defender, because he has not been defeated by a certain time and the postponement of defeat has given time for some powerful ally to intervene. Such was the situation on the side of the Turks at the outbreak of the Crimean War. The Confederate armies in the Civil War and the Boer army in South Africa prolonged their struggle after they had lost all chance of winning on the battlefield, because they expected intervention.

In the recent war, every delay was much more to the benefit of the allies than to the Germans, for it meant better armies, more supplies, and intervention of allies.


Time, as a rule, is the defender's friend; the assail­ant, even, if not too weak, is often crippled, because final success is delayed too long.

There is no case where time rewarded the defender so greatly with benefits as in the withdrawal of the allies to the Torres Vedras lines around Lisbon. Massena could not remain in Portugal on account of lack of supplies, and the Portuguese, gradually falling back, had been reinforced by their allies, the British, and finally drove Massena out of the Iberian Peninsula.

The defender's object is to hold out, while the attacker's object is to win. The former is the easier.

Theater of War

The defender generally selects his own theater of war —that is, he determines that it shall be his own country, with which he is familiar, or that of an ally with which he is more or less familiar. In the recent war, while Germany decided her own line of operations, it was situated in a country with which the allies, in their respective sectors, were familiar.

During the Civil War, in the campaign in the Southern States, the Confederates were at a decided advantage in that they knew every inch of the ground. It is said, meta­phorically speaking, that General Lee had an expert guide continually at his bridle rein. One has but to travel over the strip of territory called the Wilderness of Virginia, with­out a guide, to find out the great advantage the Confederates had.

The defender knows more nearly the effect of the ele­ments on roads, camps, etc.

General Lee would have known better than to have tried to make the march attempted by Burnside, called the "mud march," at the time of the year that the experiment was made.

While it is a supposition that the defender knows the theater of war better than the assailant, it is not an in­fallible one, for in the Franco-Prussian War it is said that the Germans were more familiar with the military and v natural features of France than the French were. At all events the Germans had better maps.


In the question of railroads, the defender has quite an advantage, but not so much as in the past. During the Boer War, the British were greatly delayed by the destruc­tion of the railroads, and so were the Japanese in Manchuria. On the other hand, in the recent war, with the modern devices that the Germans had, the delay attendant upon railroad interruption was greatly reduced insofar as they were concerned. It is a known fact that the Russian gauge was five feet while the German gauge was standard, namely, four feet, eight inches. The Germans had a device where­by they could quickly tear up the tracks and adjust the rails to their own gauge. .Also, the railway cars that they held in storage for use in event of war on the east front had adjustable trucks so that they could be made to fit a four-foot, eight-inch or a five-foot gauge. It is said that the Japanese, in the Russo-Japanese War, figuring on cap­turing sufficient rolling stock from the Russians to keep open the Port Arthur Railroad, had made no provision against the failure. Upon seizing the road, the Japanese found that the Russians had run all the engines north. The track being a different gauge from the Japanese rolling stock, its conversion before use was necessary.

Natural and Artificial Features

The defender is able to make use of the natural and artificial sources of strength offered by the terrain, such as streams, forests, swamps, or desert, which the enemy in order to make headway must overcome; as well as for­tifications and intrenchments that detain the enemy or compel a division of his forces.

The Masurian Lakes battle was an exception as Hinden-burg made greater use of the obstacles than Rennenkampf.

Napoleon, in his campaign of Italy in 1797, was on the strategical and tactical defensive, and used Lake Garda to assist him in defeating the Austrians who, advancing from two directions, were separated by it.

Jackson likewise utilized the south fork of the Shen-andoah at Cross Keys and Port Republic.

Inhabitants and Administrative Departments

Generally, the defender is in his own country and the attacker in a foreign country, with the result that the de­fender has the support, probably, of the inhabitants and of the administrative departments in getting information, supplies and in harassing the lines of communication of the assailant.

The defender, in addition, has at his disposal the admin­istrative and police departments of the local government of the theater of war to assist him in the maintenance and shelter of his troops, the replenishment of his losses, and the arranging of transportation of large forces.

Support of Entire People

"In a larger sense, the defender has the support of the whole nation generally, while the assailant keeps increas­ing his distance from that help.

"By this we do not mean a levee en masse merely, but the assistance of every kind that a patriotic people is able to render to the defense of their country. These inhabitants will impede, in every way they can, movements, shelter and subsistence of the enemy."

The danger to their fatherland and their own fireside spur the defenders on to the renewed efforts and can de­velop passions that increase the power of the defense to an extent otherwise undreamed of. This occurred in Spain from 1808 to 1812, in Germany in 1813, and in France after the defeat of Sedan.

In the recent war, had Germany been able to reconcile the inhabitants of Belgium and northern France to their fate, or Austria the Serbians, it would have been a long step toward their ultimate victory.

When the English invaded the South African States, children 14 years old and men of 75 turned out in arms against them. The same was the case recently with the Serbs against the Austrians—boys of 12 years and women were fighting with the men.

This we cannot expect in aggressive warfare unless it is the case of a delivering army marching to the over­throw of a tyrant, and even in that case, the civil popula­tion may turn against the aggressor; for no people, no matter how much oppressed, love an invader overmuch.

Of course, we assume here that the public spirit is active in the defender's country, that the people are self-sacrificingly interested in all the affairs of state, and that they are accustomed to contributing toward the army. If this is not the case, the result may be exactly the oppo­site from what we might expect. "A hostile army, untram-meled by any restrictions, may then live better than the defender can in his own country." "In the campaign of 1806, the Prussian and Saxon troops nearly died of hunger in a rich country because they did not dare to touch its supplies, while the enemy made use of them freely. In the winter campaign of 1870-71, the French troops bivouacked in the streets of the towns in the bitter cold, as it was not con­sidered advisable to quarter them in the houses of the rich citizens. But the Germans, who followed, made themselves comfortable at the hearths and tables of the same citizens."


A situation often arises in which the country of the assailant becomes indifferent to the war, due to the fact that the repeated reports of victory lead the inhabitants to believe that the war is already won.

They do not see the dangers and difficulties against which the armies are struggling, so are reluctant to grant increased support.

The defender, however, has his army in his own coun­try, and the people are brought to realize the situation.

There is no more beautiful illustration of loyal self-denying support to an army than that shown by the non-combatant population of the Southern States during the Civil War.

Had part of The World War been fought in the United States, it is believed that the attitude of some of our citi­zens might have changed.

The condition of the army of Italy in 1796, when Na­poleon took command, shows the extremes to which an army may be brought, due to the indifference of the home government.

The indifference of the United States to Scott's army in Mexico was almost criminal.

Scott was even forced to clothe his men in uniforms made by Mexicans from captured Mexican cloth.

In all these regards the defender has the advantage.

Final Blow

On the offensive it is also difficult to bring to the at­tention of the home government the almost imperceptible signs, recognizable to the trained eye, that a reversal in the course of the campaign is imminent. The defender's peo­ple are right there, can see and possibly hear.

Likewise, the assailant may need a little extra effort to end the war, but this is either denied or is postponed so long as to be of no use. Hannibal had such an ex­perience in Italy, as did Scott in Mexico.

Perpetration of Surprises

The great freedom of action enjoyed by the defender enables him to prepare surprises for the assailant.
While Albert Sidney Johnston was on the tactical of­fensive at Shiloh, he also was on the strategical defensive. It is doubtful if he could have completely surprised the Fed­erals, as he unquestionably did, had he not been in his own country. Of course the Federals contributed to this sur­prise by their carelessness.

Flank Positions

Since the defenders are in their own country they can obtain subsistence almost any place and, as a result, are able to shift suddenly their position and force the assailant to change his line of advance. This can be done by suddenly taking up a flanking position. Jackson, by his knowledge of the Valley, was able to take up a flanking position at Swift Run Gap, which the Federals under Banks were afraid to pass, and move on Staunton.

Changes in Lines of Communication

The defender may, by the direction of his withdrawal, force the assailant to the trouble of changing his lines of communication, which at times is not so easily done.

When Bragg switched his army from Tupelo to Chat­tanooga, he forced the Federals to change front and to use the Memphis & Charleston Railroad as a line of communica­tions for Buell's army. Buell experienced no end of trouble as the result of this railroad being repeatedly cut. He did not breathe easily until he arrived near Huntsville, where he could switch to the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad.

The Invader May Separate His Columns Thereby Enabling the Defender to Strike Any One of Them in Detail

On account of the forward movement, the assailant may have trouble in getting subsistence for his troops. As a result, he will have to divide his forces and advance on a wider front. This gives the defender a chance to fall, with his whole force, upon one of these subdivisions before the others can come to its assistance. If the attack is suc­cessful, it enables the same troops, which have just beaten one detachment, to advance against a second, or even a third, with like success.

Napoleon's attack on the Silesian army in 1814 shows what can be accomplished along these lines.

Napoleon, assuring his communications with the cap­ital, stationed himself between the two masses, the one under Schwarzenberg coming from the direction of the Basle, and the other under Blucher coming from the direction of Cologne.

He successfully destroyed the three corps of the army of Silesia at Champaubert on the 10th of February; at Montmirail on the 11th; at Chateau Thierry on the 12th, and at Vauchamps on the 14th.

Retiring then in order to unite his troops with those of Victor and Oudinot, whom Schwarzenberg had thrown back upon Ypres, he resumed the offensive against the Russians and Austrians, and inflicted upon them a succession of defeats—at Mormant on the 17th of February, Montereau on the 18th, and Mery on the 21st—which forced them back to Bar-sur-Aube.

In the meantime, Blucher had rallied his corps and moved to Meaux. He was, with great difficulty, checked • by Mortier and Marmont, who succeeded, however, in finally pushing him upon La Ferte-sous-Jouarre, then be­yond the Marne, and in stopping him on the Ourcq, after two desperate combats.

Napoleon, at this juncture, left Troyes in order to rejoin his two marshals at Ste. Sezanne and La Ferte-Gaucher, and ordered the resumption of the offensive against Blucher, who retired in disorder upon Soissons. Napoleon intended to throw Blucher back upon the Aisne and destroy his army under the walls of Soissons; but the place, poorly commanded, capitulated. This act of weakness on the part of the commandant of Soissons decided, perhaps, the fate of the campaign.

The operations of Frederick the Great in the Seven Years' War, of Jackson in the Valley, and of the Federals at Perryville, were along these same lines.

The Assailant Must Follow Defender Wherever He Goes

"As long as the defender has not been decisively de­feated, his army acts as a perfectly natural attraction to the assailant, and, just as a magnet attracts iron, will at­tract him. He seeks to defeat the defender's army and thus to free himself from the influence which the existence of the defender exerts upon all of his plans."

We must assume that the assailant will go wherever the defender leads him.
Had Johnston retired through Rome, and thence into the heart of Alabama, in the Atlanta campaign, Sherman most certainly would have had to follow him.

Ignoring Flank Positions

Should the defenders occupy a flank position, and the invaders wish to pass by the position commanding the theater of war, a mere show of activity on the part of the defenders may suffice to attract the invaders in their direction. The half-hearted movement of Mehemet Ali along the river Yantra, on the left flank of the Russian advance in 1878, and the movement of Osman Pasha to Plevna on the right flank, were sufficient to check any further advance of the Russians through the Balkans, and turn the Russian forces against these flanking positions.

If the invader, however, ignores these positions, the defender must strike him vigorously in the flank.

The Prussians at Jena and Auerstadt had an unus­ually good opportunity to strike Napoleon from a flank posi­tion when he marched by them. The Prussians were posted in Thuringian Forest covering the two great roads Erfurt-Berlin and Hof-Leipsic.

Napoleon was south of this line with his supposed communications by way of Mainz, and his true line tem­porarily through Sulzbach to Strassburg.

The question as to which road Napoleon would take was uncertain, but owing to the mountainous nature of the Hof Road, it was not deemed wise to intercept him on that one road if he should take it.

The idea entertained by some staff officers of the Duke of Brunswick was to move over and, from a flank posi­tion, strike Napoleon as he went by. The duke, however, did not want to cross the Valley of the Saale, nor was the Prince Hohenlohe very keen for this action. The duke determined to await developments on the west side of the Saale.

Meanwhile, others of his staff were trying to get him to strike out for Napoleon's supposed line of communi­cations with Mainz.
There were three things the duke might have done, namely: From his position on the Saale he might have at­tacked Napoleon if the latter tried to cross the river; second, if Napoleon tried to march past, his communications might have been cut; third, he might have been intercepted by a rapid flank march in the direction of Leipsic if the march were started in time.

The duke merely waited and allowed Napoleon to march past him, and then, at the eleventh hour, attempted to carry out the third action available, but was struck in flank on the hills of Jena and defeated, losing his own life. Immediately thereafter Hohenlohe was defeated by Davoust and Bernadotte at Auerstadt and would have been anni­hilated had Bernadotte supported Davoust as he should have done.

"The strategical defender can make use of greater free­dom of movement without anxious concern, especially in his own country."


A country, the policy of which, in event of war, is to assume the strategical defensive, escapes much of the costs of preparation. As we have seen in our study of the offen­sive, the country that, in event of war, contemplates the strategic offensive must, in peace, systematically arrange for its mobilization, possess abundant equipment, have great means of transportation, and have considerable reserves in money. Rivalry in this regard among the European states before the recent war nearly bankrupted them. The country that is to adopt a strategical defensive at all hazards is not subject to nearly all this expense, but must be able to mar­shal its forces in time to occupy the strategical positions it has determined to hold.

There is a conservative limit in regard to preparation, and the country that banks too strongly on the defensive and the needlessness of preparation, may find all its ter­ritory overrun, in event of a war, and be unable to get ready.

Support of Allies

The nation on the strategical defensive, in a way being the under dog, may look for assistance when the assailant may not. It does not always come, as Oom Paul Kruger and Jefferson Davis could have testified. Countries, at present, no longer lend a helping hand to a weak nation and with magnanimity help it out—not unless it is to their interests to do so.

There is no desire to belittle the altruistic motives that caused the world to rush to the assistance of Belgium, but it is not believed that all nations were entirely unselfish in the matter.

The state of equilibrium that existed in Europe before this recent outbreak, known as the balance of power, and which brought about the two alliances, known respectively as the Triple Entente and Triple Alliance, was merely for the purpose of checking any nation that went too far in the exploiting of its peace advantages.

In 1866, the intervention amounted to no more than a mild appeal by Napoleon III in behalf of Austria. In 3871, the Germans by their wise restraint in dealing with France, stopped the appearance of any intervention at all. In the recent war, the intervention of at least one country was due, so it is stated, to a violation of the neutrality of one of the weaker powers.

Our own Christian-like spirit in intervening in Cuba and driving out Spain some people think was somewhat sugar-coated.

There has been a desire in Europe in the past century to preserve the statuo quo. This had its origin in the advanced age of all the states, and all, except Prussia, have been more or less on the strategic defensive. In the Seven Years' War, young Prussia found out how dangerous it was to disturb conditions that had become established. Kaiser William II doubtless has some regrets that he disturbed the peace of Europe. His regret probably is due to the feeling of chagrin over his failure, rather than to true conscientious remorse.

Some of the Disadvantages of the Strategic Defensive

There are a considerable number of drawbacks to the strategical defensive, the principal one being the inability - to gain decisive results in other ways than by intervention or wearing out the opponent.

The fact that such a strategy has been assumed is an admission of weakness, the moral effect of which is hard to overcome.
The utmost that can be obtained is peace. The process of exhausting is very slow and affects the defender also.

Exhaustion of the Enemy

Frederick the Great forced peace upon Europe as a result of the Seven Years' War by exhausting the other contestants. However, a reorganization of the political sit­uation and mode of warfare of his day helped the situation materially.

Nearly every deliberate attempt on the part of the strategic defense to tire out the enemy has failed. The Confederacy prolonged the Civil War in vain. Ifn the Russc*-Turkish War, the strategical defensive was van­quished, although successful at the outset. The result of the South African War was similar. The tiring out of the Germans in The World War seems to be an exception. But it must be borne in mind that the strategy of the allies was not deliberately assumed.

It is generally understood that Russia, by prolonging the war with Japan, really won out as a result of Japan's financial exhaustion.
"However, he who is not able to pass over to the of­fensive at the conclusion cannot expect to reap much from the peace."

Loss of Territory at the Outset

At the outset, the strategical defensive will have to give up territory with the loss of the supplies that the section produces.

Johnston, in the west, in the Civil War, and the allies on the west front, were hard hit by losing so much valuable territory.

It is hard to imagine a defense conducted exactly on the frontier. It was tried by, the Greeks at the beginning of their war with Turkey on account of Thessaly. It led to a wretched splitting up of forces, which did not receive their proper punishment, because the Turkish counter­attack, which followed the first hostilities, was too slow.

The defender will not come out of the war unscathed unless he can recover the lost territory, and this may not be so easy. Also, the loss of territory and its occupation by the enemy may be a means of weaning over the popula­tion to the opposition. There seems to be no question that if the Confederates could have held Kentucky from the outset in the Civil War the state would have become Confederate; but, when Bragg tried to retake it in the fall of 1862, the population was not so sure it wanted to be Confederate. Likewise, the occupation of such a territory at the beginning of war may give the victor a chance to hold on to it.

Inactivity has a Bad Effect Upon the Defenders

"The usual consequences resulting from consciousness of weakness, which is always present in the defensive, and enforced inactivity, while waiting to see what the enemy will do, exercise an important influence."

After Fredericksburg, the Confederates were on the defensive, and had to scatter out to subsist. The result was that the battle of Chancellorsville was fought without Hood and Pickett's division. It was only due to the presence of a Lee, a Jackson and a Federal Hooker that the battle was not decided otherwise.

The results of inactivity on the part of tta Federals were even worse after the Fredericksburg fiasco. When Hooker took command, he reported that there were 85,000 men absent without leave.


The strategic defensive frequently deprives its troops of a salutary change of scene for long periods. The danger of ravaging disease increases thereby, and the spirits of the soldiers are generally subjected to a depressing in­fluence. But all these failings are not as important as the one fundamental defect of the strategical defensive or any kind of defensive—that it can merely avoid defeat and can not gain victory.

The Turks in the war with the Balkan allies (1912-13) were nearly annihilated by an epidemic of cholera.
Sometimes, however, the assailant is in more danger than the defenders for the reason that the country occupied by him, surrounding a defensive position, may be most unsalubrious.

Example: United States troops investing Santiago.


There is still another point. We have said that the strategic offensive carries with it the possibility of losing allies, who do not entertain exactly the same ideas as we; the strategical defensive, on the other hand, is not capable of carrying uncertain states along with it or frightening other states from taking part in the war against it. Had Germany decided to confine herself to the strategical de­fensive in 1870, doubtless both Denmark and Austria would have allied themselves with France, not having recovered from 1864 and 1866. Likewise, the Confederacy in the United States would have attracted allies had she been able to win a decisive victory on Northern soil, but being unable to do so, foreign powers were loth to intervene and lose the friendship of the United States government.


As has been said before, this consciousness of weakness on the part of the defense and the inherent inactivity in waiting to see what the enemy is going to do, has a very severe moral effect. This applies equally to both strategical and tactical defensive.

The movement of the attacker awakens in him new intellectual and moral forces.

We have already said that the defensive can prepare surprises for the assailant by watching his movements and falling upon him as soon as a mistake is discovered.

It is not at all probable that the assailant will confine his movements to a combined attack at one place. He will make feints at the various points and then launch his main attack at one certain place.

It will be difficult for the defensive to know to which one of these attacks to pay most attention, and he may make a mistake and concentrate his masses against one attack and find that another is the really important one. The foregoing apply with greater force to the tactical defensive.

The following are some of the specific advantages of the tactical defensive:

The defender retains the advantage of continuous fire action while the attacker must interrupt his by advancing.

The terrain is of more advantage to the defender than to the attacker.

The defender enjoys the special advantage of being able to seek out obstacles which he wishes the enemy to cross under his fire, and often strengthens them by artificial means.

The defender also enjoys the special advantage of being able to keep his troops under cover, which not only protects them against excessive losses, but also hides their disposition from the enemy.

On the other hand, the attacker must advance in the open and is generally exposed to view.

The fights along the Tugela and Modder Rivers in South Africa show how great a difference there can be between the losses sustained by the attack and those sustained by the defense.

In the recent war, the attacker did not suffer as heavily as might be expected, when the barrage properly covered his advance. Without the barrage, and the defender with a plentiful supply of machine guns, the assailant's losses at times were terrific.


The advantages of the tactical defensive mentioned above would give defenders an opportunity for surprises more frequently than is recorded in military history if it were not so difficult to start troops, once distributed along the positions, from their permanent locations to places from .which to take advantage of the enemy's mistakes.

The cases of the Highland Brigade at Magersfontein, and Buller at Colenso in South Africa are exceptions. The Boers made very few moves but merely lay in wait for the British.

It takes time to discover mistakes, to let a plan ripen, to convey to the troops the order to carry it out, for the troops to take up the formation for an advance, and for them to move off. All this takes so long that the enemy, who is usually moving, may have time to pass over the critical period.

"The three principal dangers to the force on the tac­tical defensive are:

To be attacked from several directions at the same time.
To be occupied in front and have one or both flanks turned.
To be deprived of the line of retreat.

It is more difficult to reply by a counter-attack on the tactical than on the strategical defensive.

Space is so cramped and the time too short to be able to start counter-attacks and develop them to their full strength. An advance of the same troops against one, and then against another part of the enemy's army will hardly be possible, for the distance between separated bodies of the enemy is so small that the defender would be not only between two opponents but between two fires.

During the battle of Liao Yang, the Russians tried shifting troops about on tactical interior lines, but met with small success for the reasons given above. Prin­cipally, because the distances were too short.

Simplest Kind of Counter-Attack

The simplest form of a counter-attack on the battle­field is an advance straight to the front after an attack is repelled.
Example: British advance at Waterloo.

Any other kind of a counter-attack requires a master hand like that of Napoleon.

At Austerlitz, he gave an example worth imitating; but such examples are rare.

One of the best ways to surprise the assailant is just after he has made his deployment for an attack in a cer­tain direction, to appear suddenly in another. This ne­cessitates a change of front on the assailant's part which is impossible.

The appearance of Bragg's forces along Chickamauga Creek, when Rosecrans looked for them in the vicinity of LaFayette, was enough of a surprise to cause him con­siderable annoyance, and had the Confederates played their cards properly at McLemore's Cove, Rosecrans would have been annihilated.

"Although the lack of mobility of troops on the defen­sive is, to a certain extent, a weak point, it also possesses the specific advantage of not making such high demands on their skill and steadiness, nor on the experience of the leader, as does the attack."
Troops whose very constitution would prevent them from delivering an even fairly energetic attack could still carry on a very tolerable, or even victorious defense.

CHAPTER IX. Change from the Offensive to the Defensive and the Reverse


"It is difficult to lay down any definite rules for the alternation between offensive and defensive"

THE SELECTION of the proper time to change from the offensive to the defensive strategically or tactically is a matter that must be decided in each specific case. No general rule can be laid down. It must be so selected as to render the greatest possible assistance toward the at­tainment of the chief end of the war.

The commander, so to speak, must feel the pulse of his army to ascertain what he can demand of it and when, and he should not force his army to the point of exhaustion; but as soon as he sees that the potential energy of his troops is about to be spent, he should assume the defensive voluntarily.

It would be an error to continue the advance until the force of circumstances makes it imperative to adopt a defensive course.

At Waterloo, Napoleon, as soon as he found that Blucher was on the field withhisoverwhelmingforces, should have drawn off on the defensive and should have fallen back to the river Somme or Aisne, or at least to the fortresses of Mons or Valenciennes. There he could have taken up the defensive until Grouchy was able to unite with him. Doubt­less the reason he carried his attacks as far as he did after 6:00 o'clock on the afternoon of the 18th of June was that he knew that he did not have the French nation back of him and that his hold on it was contingent upon success.

A great deal of criticism has been passed upon Joseph E. Johnston for not having moved on Washington after the first battle of Bull Eun. Had he done so, it is ques­tionable whether he would have been successful or not.

Washington at the time was well defended. Its works were manned by troops in good condition and undemoral-ized by the defeat of the 21st of July. Johnston would have been pushing the offensive too far. He would doubt­less have been checked, and if so, would have lost the moral effect of a victory on the battlefield.

It would have been better to have moved to a position in Maryland, threatening Washington, and to have taken up a defensive position.

The Proper Moment for the Change

The commander must himself select the proper moment for the change and must possess sufficient force of character to relinquish a continuation of the offensive voluntarily, if he desires to retain what he has already won.

But in deliberating on the situation, he should bear in mind that the losses which he perceives in his own army unwittingly produce a greater effect on him than those which his imagination assigns to the enemy.

McCIellan in the Peninsula apparently seemed to think that rain and mud only affected Federals and that his losses were greater than those of his enemy.

"To delay passing over to the defensive until the last moment, and then to change of one's own accord, is the highest achievement of the art."

We have no more striking- example of changing to the defensive from the offensive too soon than Hooker's ac­tion at the battle of Chancellorsville. He had almost reached Tabernacle Church, where he would have been out of the Wilderness and could have made his numbers count, when he decided to fall back to the Chancellorsville line and thereby surrender all the advantage to Lee and Jackson.

A complete transition from the strategical offensive to the defensive took place in South Africa. The Boers, by a rapid advance and skillful union of their forces, in­vested three British detachments in Ladysmith, Kimberly, and Mafeking.

Afterwards they confined themselves to the defensive against the British troops sent to the rescue. The change here took place too early, as the Boers did not take full advantage of their opportunities and superior numbers.

Distances and Exertion

"The assumption of the defensive, because distances and exertion are too great, is an indication that there has been neglect in the preparation of the details."

"Calculation in advance is difficult and demands a strict control of the imagination, which otherwise is easily-swayed by personal desires and produces illusions."

In his advance on Moscow, Napoleon has been criticised in the retrospect for not having halted at Smolensk, when he found that his supplies might not be adequate for his Grande Armee. However, he doubtless had figured on obtaining sufficient supplies at Moscow or, at all events, in forcing a peace on the Russians after a decisive battle which he hoped, but did not fight, with the Russian army. Borodino was a desperate battle, but was in no way decisive as the Russians merely drew off to the north, augmented their forces and Napoleon was unable to follow them.

Change on Account of Terrain

"A change to the defensive merely to take advantage of the terrain and make strategical or tactical use of a strong position will seldom accomplish its purpose."

The circumstances that have placed the aggressor in a condition to make the attack have also forced the de­fender to assume the defensive.

It is reasonable to assume that a force that has been on the defensive and is falling back, will at once assume the offensive the instant it sees the pursuer take up a defensive position.

Losses of the Offensive Sometimes Make the Change Imperative

Heavy losses in the attack brought on by the strategical offensive may make a change imperative.

In the Marengo campaign, Napoleon was forced back on the defensive by his losses and did not resume the of­fensive until he had gotten Desaix back. He could have remained on the defensive, and if so Melas would have been forced to attack him. He chose the offensive because he wanted to wind the matter up.

After Liao Yang, the Japanese only pursued a few miles and then took up the defensive. The world wondered. Later it was learned that their action was prompted by losses which necessitated reinforcements, and by a shortage of ammunition.

A change to the defensive will arise in some cases when a position is secured by the assailant where he either surrounds the defender, or at the least threatens his line of retreat. In such a case, the latter is bound to fight and in so doing suffers heavy losses that may expedite the sur­render of the forces.

At Fort Donelson, and in fact, everywhere that a field army has been surrounded, the assailant drops back on the defensive and awaits the counter-attack or surrender of the enemy.

Pushing the Attack Too Far

Tactically an attack pushed too far generally leads to a fatal repulse, for events move much more rapidly than in the domain of strategy, and the stemming of the tide, once retirement has commenced, becomes doubly difficult.

At Cedar Mountain we have an example of an attack pushed too far by Banks and his defeat by the arrival of A. P. Hill on the field.

However, it is less difficult in the tactical than in the strategical domain to select the right moment.

The diminution of the forces becomes more plainly visible in tactics than in strategy.

"The commander not only has the army under his eye, but can also overlook the stage on which the whole action must take place. The limit to which he should advance, and which can be attained without incurring the risk of sac­rificing what has been won, becomes more clearly recogniz­able. In genera] terms this limit "is formed by the enemy's line of defense; in detail it is marked by localities in that line, such as villages, strong enclosures, woods and ridges."

At Shiloh, after the Confederates had captured the Fed­eral camps and ridge along the Purdy Road, they should have reorganized their forces, assuming the defensive for the necessary time to do so, and then moved forward in regular formation. Instead, they delayed here and there

to loot the Federal camps while, at other points, in a rather disjointed manner, followed up the Federals. Result, when the Confederates made their final attack on the Dill Creek position they could not bring more than a weak brigade or two into action, and consequently were driven back with heavy loss, the battle was restored and a retreat precipitated on the morrow.

This takes us into the field of discussion of limited ob­jectives. It is believed to be wrong in the modern battle to limit the advance to a certain point unless there is a spe­cific reason for so doing. While intermediate and ultimate objectives should be assigned, together with exploitation lines, the limit of advance should be governed solely by the opposition met with, co-operation with flank groups, liaison or communication, and artillery support.

Change from Defensive to Offensive

"When the various natural and artificial weakening causes have acted upon the offensive long enough to have reduced his superiority to a point where the defender may hope for a successful counter, the latter should assume the offensive."

It is a question solely of judging the time when to do this, if at all.

After Gettysburg, had Meade made a determined coun­ter-attack on Lee, he might have been defeated and, if so, he would have forfeited all the advantage of a Confederate defeat on Northern soil.

Lee doubtless would have resumed the offensive.

At Fredericksburg, it would have been a mistake for Lee to have made a counter-attack.

In tactical operations, the transition from the defensive to the offensive is easier than in strategical. The weaken­ing of the tactical attack can scarcely be kept long from 'the defender if he is not perfectly passive.

The diminished vigor calls for retaliatory action, and conditions, in general, will draw the defender into an of­fensive.

Kutusov, in 1812, furnishes an example of how the de­fensive can be drawn over to'the offensive by general con­ditions.

Frederick the Great's defeat at Kolin drove the irres­olute Daun, almost against his will, to an attack on the Prussian theater of war.

Napoleon considered the passing from the defensive to the offensive a very difficult operation, as shown by his XIX War Maxim which reads as follows: "The passage from defensive to offensive action is one of the most dif­ficult operations in war."

We have a very good illustration of a timely transition from the defensive to the offensive in Falkenhayn's invasion of Eoumania. His army was assembled on the defensive in the Valley of the Maros waiting the moves of the Roumanians. The latter, taking the offensive, started to cross the Carpathians into the Maros Valley. Falken-hayn waited until the hostile armies were extended into many attenuated columns crossing the passes, when he quickly united his forces and feinting at certain of the passes broke through at others and doubled back the enemy, not stopping until Roumania had been completely overrun.

In modern war, we seldom will have a situation of an entire army or strategic front on the offensive at the same time, not unless, as in the final campaign of 1918, we have superior numbers all along the line and can attack every­where. The situation will probably find the army holding at certain places while at others it attacks. In the recent war, repeatedly when the Germans made an attack at a cer­tain point, at all other points they stood on the defensive.

This holding force is made weak for a purpose and is instructed to hold or gradually fall back and draw the enemy on while the main force, which is made strong at the ex­pense of the holding force, is held at or moves in the de­cisive direction to deal the telling blow.

The allies made very successful use of the combination in their operations against Napoleon in the autumn of 1813.

Their plan was to retire on divergent lines until pur­suit by Napoleon was abandoned and then to turn on the respective columns and defeat them, arrangements having been made for a concentration.

Observation by the northern army and the army of Silesia brought about the defeats of Victor and Marmont at Gross-Beeren, Dennewitz, and Katzbach.

The battle of Dresden is the only case of violation of this principle and defeat was the result.

Such an action is sometimes referred to strategically as the offensive-defensive.

In the case just cited, the coalition had three armies, one of 120,000 men in Bohemia, one of 100,000 in Silesia, and one of 70,000 in the north, near Madgeburg. The plan of the coalition was to operate in concert, and it was agreed that the army attacked by Napoleon was to retire, while the other two operated against the flanks and rear.

Napoleon, constrained to act in the same way, was under the necessity of weakening himself at all points at the same time. He placed 65,000 under Oudinot near Wit­tenberg and Torgau to watch the northern army; 100,000 under Ney on the Bober to watch the army of the allies in the east; 96,000 men divided into four corps to watch the passes through the Giant Mountains leading into Bo­hemia; 72,000 in reserve at Bautzen.

Blucher showed himself a master of this kind of strategy, as he drew Napoleon into Silesia twice without offering him the much longed-for battle, and the maneuver only failed because the army of Bohemia advanced too soon against Napoleon's right at Dresden.

This operation requires a master hand, and Napoleon showed his skill along this line in the campaign on the Grande and Petite Morin in 1814.

The difficulty of seizing the right moment for passing from the defense to attack is due to the fact that it must generally be ascertained from the condition of the enemy; and for the formation of this opinion we have only uncer­tain indications.

The case will very seldom be so simple that a great increase of strength on our side, or a plainly visible decline on the enemy's side, practically forces the offensive upon us.

Comparison Between the Campaign of 1813 in Europe and the Campaign in 1862 in the West in the United States

President Lincoln's plan for the operations of the Fed­erals in the west in 1862 shows a clear conception on his part, quaintly expressed, of the combined offensive and de­fensive.

He wrote as follows:

"I state my general idea of this war to be that we have the greatest numbers, and the enemy has the greatest facility of concentrating forces upon points of collision; that we must fail unless we can find some way of making our advantages an overmatch for his; and that this can only be done by menacing him with superior forces at different points at the same time, so that we can safely attack one or both, if he makes no changes; and if he weakens one to strengthen the other, forbear to attack the strengthened one, but seize and hold the weakened one, gaining so much. To illustrate: Suppose last summer, when Winchester ran away to reinforce Manassas, we had forborne to attack Manassas but had seized and held Winchester."

This seems to embody the principle on which the allies worked in the fall of 1813. Napoleon had interior lines and could concentrate more easily than the allies. The latter had the advantage in numbers but were dispersed. When Napoleon appeared with his main army, the allies, menaced, straightway retreated before him, but the other two allied armies immediately fell, with superior numbers, upon his detachments. The result was the progressive contraction of the area controlled by Napoleon and his ulti­mate envelopment and decisive defeat at Leipsic.

There was nothing inherently bad in the President's plan, and exception can be better taken to its applicability than to its soundness. To carry out such a plan success­fully, bold, skillful and experienced generals who will act with the utmost decision and swiftness, and troops that have good morale, a high state of discipline, and extreme mobility, are essential. Now Halleck had neither boldness, swiftness nor decision. Buell was bold and decided, but not swift. Grant had all the necessary qualities, but was not in a posi­tion to dictate a policy. As for the troops, the Federals were excellent raw material, but many of them were hardly soldiers yet; their mobility was poor, and their discipline was poorer.

Combined Offensive and Defensive of Joffre in 1914

We have a very good illustration of the combined of­fensive and defensive in the operations of the French in 1914. The Germans we're mobilizing on their western fron­tier to the north while the French were mobilizing to the south under cover of the fortress on their eastern frontier. Even before the French mobilization was completed, the Germans invaded Belgium with the idea of drawing the French in that direction. Consequently, Joffre took the offensive in Upper Alsace in order to lead the Germans to believe that it was but a diversion to cover the advance of other French troops into Belgium, as the Germans wished. This diversion also was made for sentimental reasons and to satisfy a faction in Paris clamoring for action. Having completed his mobilization, Joffre took the offensive in Lower Alsace and Lorraine in order to draw some of the German forces destined for Belgium in that direction, while his left wing, under Larenzac, and the British, stood on the defensive on the Sambre. Joffre's right now fell back upon the Meuse forts while his left retired toward the Marne. While the retirement to the Marne was being car­ried out, the right under Castelnau was repelling the Ger­man attack on the Grande Couronne. This being success­fully completed, the left and center then assumed the offensive in the battle of the Ourcq and Fere Champenoise, generally known as the battle of the Marne.

Like a good business man the commander should not ex­pend his forces unless commensurate results are to be at­tained.

Neither should he stint himself when promising gains are in sight.

"Judicious distribution of the forces, with reference to time and space—and with it success—depends upon the happy combination of these principles."

To be Equally Strong and Make the Same Efforts Everywhere is the Sign of Clumsey Leader­ship Unless the Predominance of Strength is Such as to Warrant it

"Only he who knows how to husband his forces and present only a temporary front to the enemy at points where a disaster could not have decisive consequences will be in position to make a vigorous attack at another place and to gain the superiority at that one point, which should be the constant object of our endeavors." Joffre in invading Upper Alsace at the beginning of The World War, picked out a place that, when the reverse came, did not prove disastrous.

CHAPTER X . Operations


IN THE course of all military operations there will be certain groups of movements, engagements, marches, etc., that bear a closer relationship to each other than to any previous or subsequent occurrences.

These events will be carried out for the purpose of reaching a certain goal, capturing a certain point or de­feating a certain group of the enemy. Then after the at­tainment of this goal or object there will follow a cessation of movement until rest can be had, reinforcements brought up, ammunition resupplied, etc., and then there will be another dash for the attainment of another object.


Each of the following groups of military events would constitute an operation:

In the War of 1870, between Germany and France, we have the operations on the Saar—then a pause; then operations on the Moselle, and then a pause, while the army of the Crown Prince of Saxony is being formed; and then the advance on MacMahon at Sedan, called the opera­tions around Sedan. The whole series of operations con­stitute the campaign of 1870.

Likewise, in the Russo-Japanese War, we have the op­erations along the Yalu; operations around Port Arthur; operations against the passes of the Fenshui Mountains; operations around Liao Yang; operations along the Sha-Ho, etc. The Russians refer to the events around Liao Yang, as the operations on the east front and operations on the south front.

The whole affair is the Manchurian campaign of the Russo-Japanese War.

"It is evident that the different groups of events or operations must be connected by the bond of some common, fundamental idea and should not be joined together in an arbitrary or haphazard manner."


A certain number of operations generally bear a closer relation to one another than others. They are fought under similar conditions, against the same hostile army, or they differ from the others in time and place, or by a change of antagonists, or by a change in the manner of carrying on the war.

Such a group would be called a campaign.

One hundred years ago campaigns were divided by seasons. For example, we hear of a winter campaign and a summer campaign.

Geographical Designation

Later on, with the increase in the size of the armies this designation had application to certain districts, or, in other words, a geographical significance.

The series of operations on the Modder River, after the arrival of Lords Roberts and Kitchener, are known as the Paardeburg campaign. The first campaign of the South African War is known as the opening campaign of '99, the movements of Buller and White in Natal are designated as the operations in Natal, and Methuen's campaign along the Modder River is known as Methuen's operations along the Modder River.

In the War of 1870 and 1871, we have the Loire cam­paign, between von Manteuffel and Bourbaki, a campaign in the north and one in the west.

Single Campaign

It is possible to end a war in a single campaign, al­though such a thing does not often happen: The war in 1866, between Prussia and Austria, was ended in the one campaign called Koniggratz or Sadowa.

Continual Flow of Events

In modern warfare, there must be a continual flow of events, but this does not mean without an occasional day of rest or waiting. This must not be taken in a too literal sense. A time comes when it is necessary to have a day of rest in order that troops may not become absolutely exhausted. In operations this is less apt to be necessary. We must hold to the requirement more rigidly, for the enemy may divine the purpose associated therewith and make use of a delay to frustrate us.

In the campaign of maneuvers in Virginia in the fall of 1863, General Lee delayed one day to issue rations and thereby allowed Meade to escape from the trap he was in. Bazaine would have escaped from Metz if the German I and II Armies had decided to rest on the 15th of August, 1870. On the other hand, had Bazaine used this day in marching toward Verdun, he, in all probability, would have escaped.

On the 23d of August, 1914, von Kluck allowed his 2d Corps to be delayed by the reported cavalry fight at Courtrai with the result that Sir John French extricated his army on the Sambre. Again at Le Cateau, this same corps was diverted to the west by d'Amade's French territorials, and Smith-Dorrien's 2d British Corps escaped.

The pauses, if any, will come between operations. This is particularly true, in modern war, where such great preparations must be made. If an operation is carried out as it should be, it will be done rapidly and that of course means going too fast for the most perfect supply system.

On the Defense

On the defense, there may be interruptions in the flow of events arising from the necessity of waiting for the moves of the enemy. This does not mean any suspension of activity toward reaching the final aim, which very fre­quently consists largely of delays and expedients to gain time.

Previous Preparation Necessary if the Operation is Not to be Interrupted

But, if the action within one and the same operation is to be carried through continuously, without any inter­ruption, everything that the troops need must be provided beforehand. Their subsistence, supply, and ammunition must be carefully arranged for the whole period of the operation.


The distance should not be greater than can be covered in one spurt.

In military history we seldom come across operations that consist of more than five or six consecutive marches in the same direction without any change of plan or idea. To stop in the midst of an operation merely because the ex­haustion of the men makes it necessary, is fatal to success.

The enemy will be quick to notice if we have under­taken more than we can carry out.

Distance Too Long

If the commander feels that the distance is too long to carry out the movement in one continuous series, he had better divide up the operation, or else try to push his troops forward unperceived to a point closer to the enemy, before the actual operation starts. He may thereby arrive at a point from which he can reach the decisive position in one bound.

After the capture of the mountain passes in Manchuria, the Japanese delayed over a month until reinforcements could be brought up for the final operations at Liao Yang. Had they attempted to continue on without anyinterruption they probably would have reached the line of the Sha-Ho and Tai-Tzu-Ho too exhausted to have taken the offensive.

Halting Place a Natural Obstacle

This stopping point should be on some natural obstacle that lends itself to defense, such as the Danube, where Napoleon stopped after the Echmuhl campaign, or the Minho, part of the boundary between Spain and Portugal, where Soult stopped.


With the halting at the obstacle in question comes the making of further preparations, such as advancing rail­heads for distribution of ammunition, food, forage and other supplies, and the preparation of the means for cross­ing the river, if that be the obstacle on which we have stopped. Any inordinate delay in these preparations will inure to the benefit of the defender.

In the campaign of invasion of Portugal, Marshal Soult was forced to make .a detour of 140 miles, due to the fact that upon arriving at the Minho River, contrary to his expectation, he found all the bridges down, the inhab­itants hostile, and he had made no arrangements for bridg­ing the river,

As an illustration of a laughable failure to make preparations, we have but to look at the ill-starred pontons of Fredericksburg. It took nearly a month to move them from the vicinity of Harper's Ferry to the vicinity of Fredericksburg.

"The beginning of the operation should be co-incident with the last essential preparatory step."

Plan or Project of Operation

Before the adoption of the present military systems, governments usually waited until their political relations became so strained as to point to hostilities before establishing a plan1 of operations.

At such a juncture, questions relating to the probable theater of operations and the immediate plans and strength of the enemy demanded immediate consideration.

The second step was to consider the measures neces­sary to meet these conditions.

A project was thus formed and constituted the plan of campaign, or project of operations, as it is called by the French.

Today this will not do. The opening of the campaign so closely follows the declaration of war, and the affairs at the outset are so multiplex, that the" government would have no time to prepare a plan if it waited until so late a day.

"It is therefore imperative that governments prepare, in time of peace, these projects and, while they cannot be put into practice in exactly the same form as when de­vised, yet probable hypotheses may be assumed so sweep­ing as to take in all possible contingencies.

These plans may be defined as the exposition of the first combinations which are to serve as a guide to the armies-in their operations.

"A government declaring war must have some idea as to what its line of procedure will be at the outset, for vague­ness of purpose produces vacillation and uncertainty in the commands, which in turn will be followed by feeble and incomplete execution on the part of the troops."

The essential points in devising a plan of operations are to apprehend with judgment how far we can go and to what extent we are permitted to enter details.

To guard against letting arbitrary and academic as­sumptions creep in.

Not to draw erroneous inferences nor figure that our preliminary plans will be carried out exactly as laid.

Even though we may be superior to the enemy, it would be wrong to figure that we can defeat him, no matter how we play the game.

The allies, in 1814, were greatly superior to Napoleon and seemed to be operating with contempt for the princi­ples of war as they were known in those days. The result was that Napoleon protracted the final campaign and made it an affair of months, whereas it should have been an affair of weeks. Napoleon could bring into the field a little over 200,000 men, while the allies had about 1,000,000 men.

"The selection of the proper plan of operations to be followed in each case will make demands on the general staff that will tax its knowledge of existing conditions, and will be an indication of its true grasp of the situation and reflect credit or discredit on its intelligence in the same ratio as its plans work out or fail when actually put to the test."

Napoleon Bonaparte is supposed to have made the statement that he never had a plan of operations.

This may be true, but everyone knows today with what care the Emperor bestowed his attention upon the prepara­tions for his first movements in every campaign.

On this subject he wrote to his brother Joseph on the 6th of June, 1806: "Nothing is attained in war except by calculation. During a campagin, whatever is not pro­foundly considered in all its details is without result. Every enterprise should be conducted according to a system; chance alone can never bring success."

We can see in all Napoleon's undertakings that, from the outset, they were directed toward some great and per­fectly definite objective which we can readily recognize.

Sometimes it was the separation of the enemy's army from its base, as, for example, in the campaigns of 1800 and 1805; sometimes it was the threatening of a capital, for protection of which the enemy was forced to give up the attack, or give battle at no matter what costs.

Such was the case in the campaign of 1806 in Germany.

Before this campaign, it is said that Jomini discovered, to the great surprise of Napoleon, not only the goal at which he was aiming, but also the path he was first going to take. Both these points were thus discernible to the in­tellect of an attentive observer.

The surprising changes which the great master of war himself did not anticipate were brought about partly by the dispositions of the enemy and partly by his mistakes, which Napoleon took advantage of.

The plan should establish what we intend to do and what we hope to be able to attain with the means at our disposal.

It cannot entirely regulate the individual movements or undertakings by means of which we wish to arrive at our goal.

The First Encounter

There is nothing that exerts a greater influence on the plan than the first encounter. In The World War, Ger­many considered France as her principal adversary, hence her rapid defeat would clear up the political horizon and enable Germany to turn her masses on Russia. Likewise, the defeat of France would have had the moral effect of

keeping both England and Italy out of the war. The Ger­man general strategic plan was to entice the French army into Belgium and there cut it off by an advance from the east; failing in this, from the Sambre on she then tried an envelopment of the left.

Prior to Worth and Spicheren, the plan of the French in 1870 was the offensive with a crossing of the Rhine south of Mainz, and a movement somewhat similar to that of Na­poleon I in the 1806 campaign. The first battles threw the French back on the defensive and changed the German line of advance, for the time being, from the east to the northeast via the lines of the Saar, and not the upper Rhine between Gersheim and Strassburg as was expected.

In this connection, Derrecagaix says: "It is not possible for the project to go beyond the first battle, because a decisive action often changes the situation. New com­binations and new projects will consequently be required." "It would then," as von Moltke has said, "be an error to expect to see in the development of a campaign, the com­plete execution of a plan settled in advance in all its details. The leader of an army, no doubt, has always before his eyes the essential objects to be pursued, but he can never indicate precisely the ways in which it may be reached." "During the course of operations," says General Berthaut, "there arise, even leaving battles out of consideration, many unforeseen events, such as the arrival of reinforcements, or a change in the manner of grouping the forces, which mod­ify the situation, and give rise to new problems, the solu­tion of which cannot be determined in advance."

Cannot Go Beyond Concentration

"In modern wars, operations begin with the completion of the strategic concentration, and the first battles ensue immediately thereafter, so it follows that the farthest range of the plan generally cannot be permitted to extend much beyond the concentration. After that, the great general purpose alone remains as the guiding star for the com­mander in his undertakings."

"A plan of campaign," says Ludendorff, "can and must be planned a long time ahead. Battles in a war of positions demand similar treatment, but the rapid succes-

sion of events in a war of movement bring about equally rapid changes in a commander's views and impressions. He has to be guided by feeling, intuition. Thus the mili­tary science becomes an art and the soldier a strategist." In response to the question as to whether the battle of Tannenberg had been fought according to a long conceived and prepared plan, he answered "that it had not," and delivered himself of the above sentiment.

Political Situation

It is absolutely necessary for a general to grasp suc­cessfully the main purpose of a campaign. He must have a correct understanding of the whole military and political situation combined with an exact knowledge of the efficiency of his own forces and those of the enemy.

In 1870, the French committed a fundamental military error in not knowing the whole military situation. They thought they could assume the strategic offensive and sur­prise the Germans with an army whose larger units were not to be formed until it assembled, whose reserves could not arrive until the army had started its strategic concen­tration, and whose administrative heads contemplated strict centralization.

This, notwithstanding, they knew, or ought to have known, that their enemy had carefully prepared all the details of his mobilization beforehand. However, Napoleon III was not entirely to blame. (1) He had been deceived as to the real condition of his army. (2) The South German States, through their press, at the instigation of Bismarck, had been printing anti-Prussian articles in their papers with a view of leading Napoleon III to think that they would be his allies the instant he entered their territory. (3) Na­poleon's hold on the French people was not such that he could chance a defensive war.

The project submitted by Marshal Niel and General Frossard in 1868 went into all these matters and recom­mended a defensive. We see that Napoleon III violated the two precepts laid down by most writers. He did not know the true political situation, nor the true powers and lim­itations of his army.

The Turkish army that acted on the offensive in the wars against Serbia and Montenegro very wisely took up the defensive when it came to the war with Russia.

"The Turks knew that their organization was not such as would admit of a forward movement, so they adopted the defensive, but went too far in that they re­sorted to the passive defensive and allowed the Russians to cross the Danube without opposition, and then only held the Balkans in a half-hearted way. They, at least, could have destroyed the bridges across the Danube and made greater use of their navy."

The fighting qualities of the Turks, as disclosed by Osman Pasha's army at Plevna, leads one to believe that they would have done quite well on the offensive.

Russia, in the War of 1878, did not fully understand the military situation, for after the first concentration and her subsequent check, she had to delay four months awaiting the arrival of reinforcements from the home country.

It is interesting to note that the Federal government in 1861 so little appreciated the situation that the first call for volunteers was for 90 days. The politicians were so positive of a short war that, when Sherman at Cincinnati reported that it would take about 200,000 men to subdue opposition in the West they regarded this statement as that of a crazy man, then transferred their opprobrium to him personally and finally had him relieved.

Kind of Troops for Strategic Offensive

"To plan a strategic offensive, which requires prompt­ness and energy, with unweildy levies, whose leaders have not even had an opportunity to gain the necessary exper­ience in moving considerable bodies of troops in large peace maneuvers, is like building a house without a foundation."

Some writers argue that the decision as to whether or not a country shall take the offensive is controlled by the nature of the country in which the army is liable to operate. This is solely a question of adapting organizations and for­mations to it. In South Africa, the British discovered that their formations would have to undergo a change, as both of the contending sides did in The World War. To meet possible troubles in the Alps, both Italy and France have spe­cially trained Alpine troops. The preponderance of any particular arm is regulated sometimes by the nature of the country in which the army is likely to operate. For many years, subsequent to the Civil War, the army of the United States was disproportionately strong in mounted troop's, due to the fact that most of the service was on the plains, but when it came to The World War most of the cavalry had to be converted into some other arm.

"On the other hand, to limit to the defensive an army which is well disciplined, possessing trained leaders and proper equipment, and which is opposed by an inferior enemy, is to bury a treasure, unless the enemy's overwhelming superiority in numbers forces this line of action."

Lee, during the first part of the Civil War, realized the superiority of his army, at least in leadership, and wisely took the offensive.

Nobody Should Take the Defensive Deliberately

Of course nobody would knowingly be guilty of such an error as assuming the defensive deliberately, unless conditions warranted it. However, we must beware of jingoes who imagine that the army, just because it belongs to their country, is capable of everything. We witness the "On to Berlin" element- of 1870 and the "On to Rich­mond" element of 1861.

The first requisite for a proper grasp of the military obj»ct of the plan of operations is a thorough knowledge of our own capabilities and resources. This not only applies to the capability of the men, but more particu­larly to that of the leaders.

When General Halleck refused permission to Pope for an advance on Richmond in 1862, when Lee was making his movement around Pope's right, Halleck clearly took into consideration the incapacity of Pope.

Every officer when placed in command and given a task to perform, should weigh his own abilities, before adopting any project. In the 1800 campaign, Napoleon al­lowed Moreau to adopt his own ideas in the movement . against Kray, fully realizing that the moves that he, Napoleon, would have carried out required a Napoleon to be present to execute them.

From this we see that often a perfectly good plan will have to be abandoned for want of a suitable man to carry it out.

Object Remains the Same

The plan to be worked out at the opening of a cam­paign fixes an object for the military operations, and this remains the same for the whole duration of the hostilities, unless, as in the Franco-Prussian War, the requirements laid down by policy themselves undergo modification.

The object of the War of 1870 between France and Germany, in so far as it pertained to King William I, was the overthrow of the dynastic armies of Napoleon III, and when the victory at Sedan made that certain, he favored peace with France. Bismarck, Moltke and von Roon were of a different idea. The matter was settled, however, by the French people organizing the Army of the Loire and throwing down the gauntlet to Germany. It then was a war between France and Germany.

The determination of an object so fixed as to be un­affected by the vicissitudes and fluctuations of the military operations gives the war its special character, its form, its unity.

"No consideration, military or otherwise, should enter the commander-in-chief's mind that does not tend to the success of the _ plan which has been settled upon in view of the object of the war."

Dumouriez has frequently been blamed for having merely followed up the Prussians after Valmy, instead of trying to bring them to battle. France had fixed as the ob­ject of the war against the Prussians, the liberation of French soil, and when, therefore, the day after Valmy, the Prussian army began to retreat toward the Rhine, Du­mouriez could see that his plan of campaign was successful.

Under these conditions, to have delivered battle would have been, in case of a defeat, a gratuitous blunder that would have compromised a favorable situation, and perhaps incited the Prussians to march again on Paris. Thus, in not attacking Brunswick's retreating army, Dumouriez acted in conformity with the aims of policy.

i When, in 1813, all Europe was leagued against Na­poleon, the assigned object of the war tvas the suppression of the Emperor himself. To attain this object, it was nec­essary not only to destroy the Imperial armies, but also to dry up the Imperial power at its source. The war was not, and could not be concluded the day after Leipsic; it had to be pursued until Napoleon was deprived of his armies and his throne. The Tsar Alexander, the head of the coalition, had consequently to lead his armies from Moscow to Paris.

Offensive or Defensive

The first important point in preparing the plan of operations will be to decide on the general method of con­ducting the war; whether it is advisable to proceed to attack the enemy, or to wait an improvement in the situation, on the defensive. If we have several opponents, we must decide against which one we had better direct our main efforts, and which one we can treat as being of minor importance.

In The World War it looks very much as if Germany had decided upon the extermination of France first; cer­tainly she should have stuck to her plan and not have allowed the approach of Samsonoff's army to divert any troops. Tannenberg was a glorious victory locally, but the same troops that were diverted from the west to the east front to accomplish that victory, if allowed to remain with the armies in France, might have sealed the fate of France and won the war.

Always Figure That the Enemy Will do the Right Thing

We should always ask ourselves: "What is the enemy most likely to do ?" The art of war does not entirely forbid us from assuming that the enemy will make mistakes, when we have special reasons for thinking that we can expect them with certainty. Yet it is generally wiser to assume that he will do what is correct—i.e., that which will hurt us the most.

Archduke Albert of Austria, in the campaign of 1866 against Italy, waited until his greatly superior enemy had done the incorrect thing and then took advantage of it. -The archduke had about 75,000 men while the Italians had about 300,000 men. The Austrians were better pre­pared, and mobilized almost before war was declared. The Italians wanted to turn the quadrilateral (i:id so stationed one army behind the Oglio and the other upon the right bank of the lower Po, separating their forces greatly. The archduke, seeing the error, at once concentrated at Verona, and having the advantage of interior lines, defeated the Italians in the Custozza campaign. He was first at­tacked by the King of Lombardy but defeated him and then turned on General Cialdini.

Concentration of the Enemy

"When we have arrived at a definite assumption as to the action of the enemy, we must then picture in our minds the concentration march of his forces which wil! be gov­erned by the same fundamental principles as our own. The purpose which we ascribe to him for engaging in hostil­ities will indicate to us the area of his concentration. The peace dispositions of his troops, which shouldnotbeunknown to us, as well as the position and extent of his districts of military administration, give us the starting points from which his troops move. The location of his railroad, dirt roads and water routes will indicate to us the concentration area." As the majority of the German railroads cross the line north of Luxemburg, it was not hard to figure the area of German concentration in the recent war. The Metz-Stenay-Sedan route was too far south.

Our Own Strategic Plans of Concentration

If we decide upon the offensive, we must make all our arrangements favor co-operation toward the front. If we decide upon the defensive, the concentration of our forces on the probable line of advance of the principal bodies of the enemy's forces should be the main object. In the latter case, it is well to have the point of assembly as near the enemy as the security of the concentration will permit, for every step backward sacrifices territory and time.

After this, the plan for the offensive can cover the roads which the various parts of the army are to take. It can go still farther and designate the place of union of the .columns before battle, as well as the special objective to be attacked, such as a wing, a flank, or the center of the enemy's army.

Only the most general plans can be drawn for further operations and these will usually state what the mission is, for example, cutting of the enemy's most important com­munication, without which his very existence is threatened. According to Napoleon, the easiest way to defeat an enemy is to threaten his communications, while holding our own secure.

Value of Advance Bases

It will hardly be possible to force the surrender of an army in modern war by cutting one line of communications. All that is necessary for it to do is merely to switch to another line and open up a new advance base.

During the Civil War the fate of most of the western armies depended upon the railroad communications. Rose-crans refused to advance until either the railroad's safety was insured or until he had accumulated sufficient supplies at his advance base in Nashville.

Without the Georgia Central Railroad, Sherman could not have gone far into the heart of Georgia, and every time it was cut, his operations were delayed the length of time necessary to repair it.

The only way it will be possible at present to decide the fate of an army will be either to surround it, as was done at Richmond in 1865, and at Metz and Sedan in 1870, or to drive the hostile army back upon neutral territory, as was done by Manteuffel in his operations against Bour-baki's communications in southeast France, which resulted in the latter being forced into and interned by Switzerland. Still another way will be to throw the army back upon or against the shore of a sea that it does not control or to in­tercept its main line of communications.

This is one of the reasons why Germany was so anxious to secure' Ostend, Dunkirk and Calais. With her right resting on the Straits of Dover and the North Sea, she could then attempt to get control of that sea. If she did not succeed and her center was pierced, her right wing would have been driven back upon Holland and the North Sea, which would have meant her end.

Whether the piercing of the Metz-Montmedy-Sedan railroad line was fatal to Germany in the recent war we do not know, but it certainly was a staggering blow. From' reports received at the time, it is believed that there was lots of fight still left in the German army.

Manner in Which the Enemy Will be Forced to Accept Peace

We must always keep in mind the decisive strokes that will most readily force the enemy to sue for peace.

Defensive Plan

The defensive plan must state, among other things, the strategical position from which the first resistance is to be made, or in case this is only to be temporary, the prob­able location of the final stand.

In a good consistent plan the locality at which the de­cisive stand is to be made will be the locality where a gen­eral change for the better is to be expected.

The plan then should show from what source reinforcements are to be looked for so that the withdrawal of the army may be in that direction—not away from it.

It is quite apparent that the enemy will be greatly weakened if our line of retreat will lead him away from his objective, for his own communications will probably then be threatened and he will not be able to pass us; if he attacks us, he will have to form front to flank.

Dumouriez in 1796, retired toward Vitry and took up a position facing north when the line of advance of the Brunswickers had been west. The authorities in Paris wanted him to retire in such a manner as to cover that city. He chose this flank position, forced the enemy to attack him, and in the battle of Valmy defeated the in­vader so that he withdrew from French soil.

The plan should conclude with a detailed statement of how and when we think we can bring about the desired result.

Sensible Moderation in Plan

"Sensible moderation is the quality which is more likely than any other to give value to a plan of operation. If it considers too much time and space, and goes too far into details, which depend upon chance ariyhow, it will soon be contradicted by the course of events."

Should Describe What the Other Forces are to do

The plan should describe what all the armies are to do. General Grant's plan for the operations of all the Federal armies in the theater of war in 1864 was the first plan arranging for the co-operation of all armies to be effec­tively carried out in the Civil War. It told what each army was to do and when. It was so arranged that the failure of any one army would not cause the failure of another, no matter how much it might jeopardize the latter's success.

Fortifications exert an influence on the strategic con­centration, so it must be determined beforehand how they are to be handled. We must make suitable assignments of siege material in advance and determine what places are to be carried by assault and what by siege, if any. We must also decide where we will pierce the frontier and the co-operation between the army and navy. Apparently the Germans forgot to make suitable assignment of siege ar­tillery to von Emmich's force at Liege or possibly they did not expect opposition; at all events they had to send back for Austrian Skoda howitzers.

Plan of Operations—Constituent Parts

The plan of operations should consist of a record which begins:

1. With a general consideration of the political and military situation.

2. Comparison of the opposing forces with one's own atmy.

3. The general plan to be followed, whether offensive or defensive.

4. Statement of probable plans of the enemy and probable points of his concentration.

5. Point of concentration of our own forces and how combined efforts will be made.

6. The direction to be taken in the first movements, the purpose of which being to fight a decisive battle against the enemy's main army under the most favorable conditions.

7. Division into the offensive and defensive with plans for each, together with combinations. Under the heading "Offensive" is taken up the method to be pursued which, though general, includes events leading to the exaction of peace. Under the heading "Defensive" is taken up the action in event of an involuntary defensive from the outset and the action in event of a change to the offensive during the course of the war.

8. A general discussion of lateral issues.

Prussian Plan in 1870

"(1) The idea of invading France had been firmly rooted in the German mind since 1815. It was the secret hope of all the patriots. (2) After discussing the political condition in France, von Moltke closely considered the respective forces of France and Germany. In the project, he then discussed the combinations by which his superior­ity, known to him, could be increased. Among these com­binations were to be counted those likely to divide the French forces; for example, an isolated attempt by France upon the South German States. (3) Then came a study of probable French operations. Under this head was con­sidered: First, a French advance into South Germany. Second, violation of the neutrality of Belgium. Von Moltke then discussed the plan for blocking the advance into South Germany, which was a concentration on the middle Rhine with a threat at the French left flank; then the plan for blocking the second combination, which was a concentra­tion on the Moselle, in order to strike the French right flank. (4) The mobilization of the two antagonists and the probability of France mobilizing first. The decision being that Germany could mobilize first, the plan then took up: (5) Selection of the Palatinate as the zone of concentration, and grouped the forces into armies."

Lines and Objects of Operations

"Lines of operations are the routes by which an army moves from its base toward its object."

"An army ought to have but one line of operation, which should be carefully preserved, and abandoned only as the result of weightier and overbearing considerations."—Na­poleon's XII War Maxim.

The general rule is that the most advantageous direc­tion of the lines of operations is that which permits an

. army to threaten the communications of the enemy without compromising its own.

On this subject, Jomini states the following:

First.—"The direction to be given to the line of oper­ations depends upon the geographical configuration of the theater of operations, and the position of the enemy's forces."

Second.—"Only a general direction of march can be adopted, which will be either upon the enemy's center or , one of his wings, preferably the wing which is nearer his line of communications."

Third.—"The movement may be made upon the front and both wings of the enemy with greatly superior force; but to make a practice of doing this is to court disaster."

Fourth.—"The configuration of the frontiers generally exercises a great influence upon the direction of the lines of operations, and upon the advantages attending these lines."

Single combined lines of operations leading toward the enemy are best.

In 1878, the Turks had three distinct lines of operations and tried to use them all. The Russians had one leading direct to Adrianople with the result that the Turks, having no cohesion in their efforts, were driven back.

It is simply a question of communications, the means of which of course at the present time are better than in the past.

With the enormous land forces of modern great powers we shall seldom have a single line of operations to deal with. We shall have several that lead in the same direc­tion toward the objective. With due regard to the necessary freedom of motion, each army will be assigned its own line of operations. But the co-operation of all will be necessary.

In Manchuria, the 1st, 2d, and 4th Armies had sep­arate lines of operations, yet all were so arranged as to co-operate, and no advances were made until such a co-oper­ation was insured.

Lines of operations separated by an impassable ob­stacle are bad, particularly if the enemy can throw his force against one column while it is separated from the

other columns by this obstacle. This is what Napoleon did in 1797, when Quasdanovich, west of Lake Garda, was ad­vancing on Brescia, and Wurmser, east of the lake, was advancing on Verona. While holding off the latter he de­feated the former and then turned on the latter.

The route over which the army marches is generally dirt road, so we may say that the line of operations are generally dirt roads, yet now and then we find other means.

The line of operations of the Federal army at Fort Henry was most all by water, as Grant's forces went by boat.

During the Magenta and Solferino campaigns in Italy in 1859, the French turning movement against the Aus-trians by way of Vercelli was by railroad.


The importance of the right choice of lines of opera­tion is evident. It embraces the proper recognition of the ■ goal and the selection of the best way to reach it. Thh is not always the shortest, but the most expedient, when all the circumstances of the case have been taken into consideration.

Jomini says: "The art of arranging the lines of op­eration in the most advantageous way is one of the es­sentials of the science of war."

The whole field of strategy lies in the theory of lines of operations and the proper selection. As one author has expressed it, strategy consists in the selection of a line of operations.

Napoleon always selected for his line of operations the one that would bring about the greatest results—that is, decisive defeat or capture of the enemy's army.

He wished Moreau, in the campaign of 1800, to advance south of the Rhine in Switzerland and then to strike north toward the Danube, cutting off Kray from Vienna, and thereby forcing its surrender. Moreau was not capable enough to carry out this move, but instead demonstrated in Kray's front while attempting to turn him. The result was that Kray was defeated, but none the less was able to retire toward Ratisbon.

A further discussion of this subject will appear under the heading "Lines of Communication."

The Object of Operations

The objept to which a movement relates is called the object of operations.

"As all important undertakings in war require co-op­eration of the forces the lines of march leading to the ob­ject will in the nature of things be convergent." However, we must not consider the object as stationary, but movable. The choice of objectives depends on conditions either polit­ical or military. We may deduce the following general rules for the choice of objectives:

First.—The hostile main army.

Second.—Important strategical points in the theater of operations as indicated by the position of the hostile armies. These points may be either of material or moral advantage.

Third.—Large railway centers, fortified places, points of junction in lines of communication and finally the cap­ital.

Sebastopol is an illustration of a strategical point cap­tured on account of its material importance.

The material and moral effect of the capture of Port Arthur by the Japanese was great. In a material way, it ended the Russian fleet and released Nogi's army, and in a moral way it virtually marked the ending of the war.

The railroad centers of Roulers in Belgium and Cam-brai in France were the repeated objects of the allies. They were junction points on the German lines of com­munications.

Hannibal was deprived of the fruits of his victory in Italy, due to the fact that he was unable to capture Rome.

During the days of Napoleon neither the capture of the Spanish nor of the Russian capital decided the war; nor did the capture of Washington in the American War of 1812.

The general rule has been that with a government that is popular with the people, the fall of the capital has had little deciding effect; but, where the government is tyran­nical and despotic, the fall of the capital has meant over­throw of the government and generally the loss of the war.

CHAPTER XI. Base of Operations


VARIOUS meanings have been attached to the expres-* sion "base of operations." At one time the term meant a point at which magazines were constructed for housing supplies, and campaigning meant nothing more than an advance from one base to another. Often the op­eration of a whole campaign only aimed at gaining a base for another. The inconvenience of assembling supplies at one point led to the selection of several points con­nected by some suitable mediums of communication, such as rivers, dirt roads, and later railroads.

Former German writers on military subjects, in their desire to reduce as many military propositions to an exact science as possible, adopted the idea of a triangular base and attempted to say how high the altitude of the triangle should be consistent with safety. The term base to them meant a line joining certain magazines from which the army drew its supplies.

The lines leading from both ends of this base to the objective formed, together with the base itself, a triangle, which represented the theater of war within which the army

It goes without saying that in the triangle with the was able to draw its supplies.

highest altitude there is greater danger of the intercep­tion of the communications.

One writer, arguing profusely but strictly mathemat­ically, arrived at a conclusion that an operation could only be carried on successfully if the altitude of the triangle was such that the angle opposite the base was greater than 60 degrees, and even went so far as to claim that the semi­circular enveloping form of a base was the best because within such an arc the enemy could not take up a tenable position. Decidedly academic.

Meaning of Base in the Modern Sense*

[*NOTE:—In the study of this chapter we must not confuse the term base with the source of supply. When the word base is used it must be understood to mean the base of operations, immediate base or advance base; and when we use the term base of supply we mean the ultimate baae which generally is the home country. We mnst aJao remember that often the base of operations and base of supply are one and the same thing.]

The term base nowadays means the entire district from which we draw our supplies, and we say that an army is based on such and such a district or province.

During the Russo-Japanese War, the Japanese were based on the entire islands of Japan.

Higher Valuation on Base in Olden Times

The armies of olden days placed a higher valuation on the base than we do at present, the reason being that they did not have the modern means of transportation; so it was imperative that they remain in close touch with their supplies.

Best Bases in Former Times Navigable River

Formerly a navigable river, with a row of fortifications commanding both banks at the principal points of crossing, appeared to be the best base of operations.

Military Road

Lines of fortification connected by a military road were next in order of value.

In 1805, Napoleon used the Danube with the various fortresses on it as a base, and in 1806, the Main and the Rhine with the principal magazines respectively at Mainz and Strassburg.

Along the base, and protected by fortresses, were established commissary depots where clothing and shoes were stored, and enough ammunition for the whole cam­paign was collected. Workshops were erected there for the repair of war material that was damaged and for the re­placing of that which was lost. Artillery, pontons and wagons were collected. Even recruiting depots were es­tablished in order to make good the losses sustained in battle. In a word, the household of the army was so arranged as to be able to be put in good condition again after previous exertions and losses.

After Jena and Auerstadt, one of the first things that Napoleon did was to open up a line of magazines along the road leading back to France.

Louis XIV was the most successful monarch of his age and carried on a great many successful wars, the success of which was due to his system of commissariat. Louvois, his minister of finance, had established in France a cordon of magazines which he kept stocked at all times with six months' war materials. As a result, Louis was able to begin his wars at least half a year before his opponents were ready.

All great commanders have attached the greatest im­portance to the possession of a good base, no matter how much their campaigns may have been characterized by audacity.


Alexander the Great, after his first victories over the Persians in Asia Minor, was sorely tempted to follow at the heels of the defeated armies, and thus derive the full benefit from the advantages he had gained; but he refrained from doing it from fear of failure of supplies.

After the battle of Granicus, and again after the battle of Issus, he turned first to the maritime countries along the coast of the Mediterranean and undertook wearisome sieges in order to gain the harbors situated there, so as to establish communication with his own country and its emporiums, for the maintenance of his army. He consid­ered the conquest of Egypt necessary before he could em­bark on his march into the interior, for he wished to pro­vide himself with the naval forces which he required in the continuance of his conquests. Having started from small and remote Macedonia, he changed his base, after his invasion of Asia, and used the whole eastern coast of the Mediterranean for that purpose.

Napoleon in 1800

In the campaign of 1800, characterized by the greatest audacity, Napoleon was more than careful as to his base. Bonaparte, then first consul, was to oppose the Austrians,

under Kray on the Rhine, and Melas in Italy. Grasping the importance of the Danube, he Wished to mass a force of 180,000 men on the Rhine and 40,000 in the Alps. His plan was to occupy Switzerland, which projected between the two theaters, and, using it as one side of the angle, to have the Rhine the other side of this angular base of operations against Kray. He massed his reserve army at Lake Geneva and held it there until Moreau had driven Kray back, when he moved through Saint Bernard Pass, over the French Alps, while Moreau sent Moncey with a force over Saint Gothard Pass through the Swiss Alps to co-operate. As soon as Napoleon effected a junction with Moncey at Milan, he used the Saint Gothard Pass as his line of com­munications and based himself on Switzerland, to which supplies were sent by way of Strassburg. This-campaign, characterized by so much audacity, was not carried out by the first consul without careful arrangements for a base of supplies and a line of retreat.

Napoleon in 1813

Napoleon, in preparation for the campaign of 1813, chose the line of the Elbe as his base of operations, having lost the line of the Vistula and Oder the winter before.

At first, he planned the undertaking of the offensive on a large scale from the lower reaches of the Elbe in order to win back his communications with the strong garrisons which he had left behind in the fortresses of the Prussian-Polish theater of war.

Lower Elbe—First Phase of His Campaign

He attached the greatest importance to the securing of the northern course of the Elbe with Madgeburg and Hamburg, in order to use it as a base, and with this in view recommended to the Viceroy Eugene the plan of taking up a menacing position with the remains of the army returning from Russia, in advance of the former place, . on the road to Berlin.

Middle Elbe—Second Phase op His Campaign

"In the second phase of the same campaign the Em­peror chose the middle Elbe as a base for the defensive."

Quite contrary to his general inclinations he decided upon this on account of the general situation.

He already possessed the three fortresses of Madge-burg, Wittenberg, and Torgau along the banks of the Elbe. But these did not suffice.

Hamburg and Dresden were both strongly fortified.

Hamburg was fortified strongly enough to enable it to offer independent resistance to the enemy for consid­erable time.

Dresden was fortified and made into a double bridge­head sufficiently strong to enable it to hold out unaided for a week.

The Emperor did not expect to be far away from that city for a. longer period under any circumstances.

He even thought of acquiring two more fortresses in the course of the campaign; one where the Plauen Canal unites with the Elbe and the other at the junction of the Havel and Elbe Rivers.

"In this way Napoleon wished to free himself from all apprehension as to the safety of his base while he dealt short, powerful, offensive blows at the allies. The latter had invested him by means of a long arc extending from Mecklenburg through Silesia to Bohemia.

Napoleon had collected all the war material and an abundant store of provisions in the fortresses along the Elbe. As a result he could confidently look forward to a long and decisive campaign.

The armistice gave him plenty of time to equip properly his bases.

Events of a war will not always grant us time to ac­complish what Napoleon did; therefore, it is always well to operate in a rich country, possessing good communications, and from which we can draw all the necessary supplies, even during operations.

The Valley of the Liao, in Manchuria, is one of the most fertile known, and there was no reason why the Rus­sians should have been so dependent on the Trans-' Siberian Railroad for foodstuffs if any system had been utilized in gathering fruits of the soil. With Japan it was different, for after leaving Korea the country was

devoid of supplies until the Valley of the Liao was reached, but by the time the Japanese arrived there all the supplies had been consumed or wasted by the Russians.

Considerations Affecting Modern Bases

First.—The establishment of railroads and the introduction of the motor vehicles.

Second.—Supplies formerly assembled in base maga­zines will be assembled in warehouses along railroads or motor roads under charge of the army transport service.

Third.—The direction of the base, with regard to the enemy's line of operations, will increase in importance in proportion as the masses become more numerous and the first conflicts more imminent.

Fourth.—An angular base will always be the most ad­vantageous.

Fifth.—Having a sufficient number of railroads run­ning from the interior of the country to the theater of operations to warrant prompt concentration and shipment of supplies. All should be double tracked if possible.

Advance Base

As the armies began to move forward considerable dis­tances from their bases the need for auxiliary bases be­came apparent, so advance bases were established and stocked from the rear.

Some writers call them mobile bases—in other words, one that moves forward and backward with the army.

It is evident, without any further explanation, how fortunately situated an army is that operates with such a movable base.

As the assailant advances he will repair the railroad and get it into operating condition as quickly as possible.

The fact that the allies were able to switch their ad­vance bases (depots) quickly saved the day on many oc­casions on the west front in the recent war.

The retreating force must make sure that all roads, both rail and electric, are rendered unserviceable to the enemy, either by demolition or by barrier fortresses. Nearly all the main avenues leading into France from the north

and east are controlled by fortresses of some kind and the same is true regarding the main avenues of entrance from Russia into Germany on the Russian eastern frontier.

The area in which the army is concentrated should be sufficiently extensive to accommodate the force. The conges­tion at Tampa in 1898 would not have occurred had this principle been observed.

An army of hundreds of thousands of men cannot base itself adequately on one or two railroad stations or fort­resses.

The supply depots for so many people require more room and a great number of roads in both directions.

At Tampa with a force as small as the 5th United States Army Corps, in 1898, we see the need of a number of railroads running to the rear. Some of the cars had to be side-tracked as far back as Columbia, South Carolina.

All movements will be hampered when the district to which the army must return, in case of necessity, is too contracted.

Oversea Transportation

The principle objection to oversea expeditions is the fact that they are limited to one or two ports of embarka­tion.

The Japanese, however, during the recent war in Manchuria, had several ports of embarkation after they had gotten control of the sea, but at the outset they had but one, and that was at Sasebo.

The stupendous amount of work at New York City and Newport News in creating those embarkation points shows that, in modern war, their establishment is no small task.

Right-Angular Base

The base that surrounds the theater of war on two sides makes the situation most favorable, especially if the two legs form approximately a right angle. The party operating within this angle can find support and security in two entirely different directions,. This is called the right-angular base or double base.

In 1805, Napoleon had a base on the Main, and one upon the Rhine, menacing the front of the Austrians, almost parallel to their lines of operations, and threatening their rear. The capitulation of Ulm resulted. In 1806, Napoleon had an apparent base upon the Rhine, extending from Mainz to Strassburg. Therefore, when the Prussians were informed of the great concentrations that he was effecting in the Valley of the Main, their first plan was to march on Mainz, by way of Frankfort, to separate him from his base.

At that time Napoleon's true base lay off to the east, obliquely to the Rhine base, with a line of departure that led toward the flank of the contemplated Prussian line of advance. It extended from Wurzburg to Kronach, by way of Bamberg.

He then massed his forces upon the extremity of his base at Coburg, Kronach, and Bayreuth, which he tem­porarily fortified; whence debouching rapidly onto Saal-feld, Saalberg and Hof, he overlapped the left of the Prus­sian army and threatened its communications. The defeat at Jena and Auerstadt was the result.

Lateral Roads

To have one or more lines of railroad to the rear, and to be certain that in the advance others will soon be found, constitutes the most favorable situation and greatly assists in maintaining, changing or establishing new bases.

The advance of Halleck from Shiloh to Corinth put him in possession of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad which tied together from east to west the other lines that ran in a general north and south direction. This line, once securely in the possession of the Federals, brought the war generally to south of it.

In South Africa the lateral lines de Aar-Middleburg-Stormberg Junction enabled Roberts to concentrate well for­ward near the southern boundary of the Orange Free State.

Changing of the Base

A change of base during military operations is gen-; erally a very difficult thing to accomplish. Even if we have the use of a domestic system of railroads it is dif­ficult, for there is always a lot of confusion in the rear which is added to by the change, and which multiplies in the same ratio as the movement becomes more involuntary. MeClellan made a complete change of base from White House to Harrison's Landing across the front of the enemy in the Peninsula in 1862. He had about 2,500 wagons which, if stretched in a continuous line, would have extended nearly the whole distance. Grant, in the campaign of 1864 against Lee in Virginia, changed his base after the Wilderness to Fredericksburg; after Spottsylvania to Port Royal; after Cold Harbor to White House; and after cross­ing the James River, to Harrison's Landing. As MeClellan moved south after Antietam, he switched his line of com­munications from the Loud,on Valley to the Orange & Alex­andria Railroad.

Bases of the Army of the Potomac Peninsula Campaign—1862

Base Depots—Alexandria, Baltimore and Annapolis

During the Peninsula campaign advance bases were established at Fort Monroe, Cheeseman's Landing, and Brick House on the York River. The railroad was restored from White House to Savage Station when the army was in front of Richmond, and an advance base was estab­lished thereat. This was destroyed after the battle of Games' Mill. An advance base was established at Har­rison's Landing after the close of the Seven Days' fight.

Maryland Campaign

Base, Alexandria.—Supplies were shipped to the army via wagons until the recapture of Frederick. Then an ad­vance base was established at the Baltimore & Ohio Rail­road bridge over the Monocacy where the bridge had been destroyed, and Baltimore became the base. Supplies were shipped to that point by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.

After South Mountain

An advance depot was established at Hagerstown and supplies were forwarded by the Cumberland Valley Rail­road.

After Antietam

Supplies were forwarded from Alexandria, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore and an advance base was formed at Harper's Ferry and, later, at Berlin.

When the Army Crossed the Potomac in the Latter Part of October

Base, Alexandria, with advance base at Salem, using the Manassas Gap Railroad.

Fredericksburg Campaign

Depots at Belle Plain and Acquia. From these two points the army was supplied by the Acquia & Fredericks­burg Railroad; stations for issue being established at dif­ferent points. The advance base was Falmouth.

After Chancellorsville

Depot at Falmouth broken up. Army moved via Dum­fries, Fairfax, Leesburg, Edward's Ferry and Poolesville to Frederick.


Advance bases were established at Westminster and Frederick, and supplies forwarded via the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.

After Gettysburg

Before crossing into Virginia, the army was in the vicinity of Harper's Ferry and Sharpsburg. Supplies were sent to it via the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal and an advanced base was estab­lished at Berlin.

After crossing the Potomac, bases were first established at Gainesville and White House on the Manassas Gap Rail­road, the latter line being used to forward supplies from Alexandria. An auxiliary base was also established at this time at Warrenton.

Line of Rappahannock

Line of communications, the Orange & Alexandria Railroad. Advance depot at Warrenton Junction, Warren­ton, and Bealton.

Campaign of Maneuvers

During the campaign of maneuvers, the advance bases were at Manassas and Gainesville, the depots to the front and railroad having been destroyed. When the concentra­tion was made at Centreville, the advance depot was at Fairfax Court House.

When the Confederate army again withdrew to the Rappahannock line, followed by the Federal army, the ad­vance base was at Brandy Station.

Mine Run

While at Mine Run, the army was supplied by wagon from Brandy Station. This was the supply depot until the 4th of May, when Grant abandoned it and transferred the base to Acquia Creek and Belle Plain with depots at Alex­andria.

Spottsylvania Court House

Trains parked at Fredericksburg where the advance depot was located.

May 21st

Advance depots at Acquia, Belle Plain, and Freder­icksburg abandoned and advance base established at Port Royal.

May 31st

Army at Cold Harbor. Advance base at White House.

June 12th

Movement to the James River. Advance base at City Point. Base, Harrison's Landing. City Point remained the advance base until the end of the war.

Simple Advancing of the Base

The simple pushing forward of the base, so as to follow up an advancing army, is, of course, the least difficult. We merely have to lengthen the lines of communications already existing and put into operation the railroads cap­tured from the enemy. After the railroads have been put into running condition, it becomes merely a question of get­ting supplies and reinforcements forward, and impedimenta and wounded to the rear.

Russo-Japanese War

During August, at least in the early part, there was a decided slowing up on the part of the Japanese in their ad­vance on Liao Yang, and the European newspapers and curbstone critics were free with their criticism, most of them being unfavorable to the Japanese.

It was due to the service at the rear.

The 2d Army under Oku had a railway at its disposal. But, after the battle of Nanshan, although rolling stock had been captured at Dalny, locomotives were not available to draw it.

After the action at Ta-Shih-Chiao, the Japanese were in possession of the Yingkou branch line. Yingkou was an excellent point for the establishment of a base or entre­pot for reinforcements, supplies and stores. Here more rolling stock was captured; but the engines had time to get away.

Locomotives constructed in America for the east Chi­nese Railway Company, and therefore suitable for the Rus­sian gauge, were bought by the Japanese. There was thus good reason for the hope that the difficulties with their line of communications would soon disappear. But fate ruled otherwise. On June 15th, the transports Hiatchi Maru and Sado Maru, in which the engines were being conveyed, were intercepted and sunk near Tsujima by the Russian Vladivostok cruiser squadron.

At first, the only thing that was* to be done was to set coolies and horses to pull a few truck loads of supplies.

There was nothing in Manchuria at the time worthy of the name of a road. As for the track dignified by the name Mandarin Road, thaw and rain had transformed it into a mere marsh, and the fields Were so thoroughly soaked that after a rear guard fight at An-shan-chan, on August 27th, that it became necessary to harness the Rus­sian infantry to the guns in order to get them out of the sea of mud. So we see that in Manchuria for a long time the Yalu was the advance base of Kuroki's army; Dalny that of Oku, and Takusan that of Nodzu.

Co-Operation of the Army and Navy

If the sea washes one boundary of the theater of war, a fleet and a land army can support each other admirably in the advancing of a base. The Japanese, in their advance against China in 1894-95, and again against Russia in 1904, give us a rather exceptional illlustration. In 1894, they occupied Korea, which was the objective of the war. Then, after a victorious fight, they crossed the Yalu River, which is situated on the frontier between the two countries, namely, Manchuria and Korea.

By this time the distance of the army on the Yalu from the landing harbor in Korea became too great. The Japanese fleet appeared and defeated the Chinese fleet off Elliot's Island (Chinese commanded by Maguire) and a second army under Oyama landed and captured Port Ar­thur. Afterwards Wei-hei-wei, opposite Port Arthur, was taken. These points now furnished supports for further land advances. From their positions the Japanese forces commanded the great basin of Pechili Gulf. Provisions, ammunition, and reinforcements could, be dispatched to every port on the coast. An earlier appearance of the assailant before these fortified places would have exposed them to the action of relieving armies; a later one would have missed its purpose.

In 1904, the original base depot or port of Japanese embarkation was Sasebo. After the capture of Chemulpo, the 2d Division was landed and took Seoul. The advance base was Chemulpo. The fleet then left for Port Arthur to stop up the mouth of the harbor and thereby limit the operations of the Russian navy on the waters of the gulf. An advance was then begun by Kuroki, who now commanded the 1st Army, and went as far as Pingyang. The base was then advanced up to the mouth of the river on which the town is located. The Guard Division then joined Kuroki and the advance continued to Anju on the river Chechen. Again the base was advanced along the coast to the mouth of this river; the advance was now taken up to Wiju and the battle of the Yalu was fought, after which the base was moved up to the mouth of the Yalu River.

2d Army

A second raid was made on Port Arthur by the fleet when commercial vessels were sunk in the harbor's mouth.

An army was now conveyed to Pi-Tzu-Wo, landed and a base established. This force moved down and, after capturing Port Adams, took'Kinchow and then de­feated the Eussians at Nanshan Hill, thereby forcing the evacuation of Dalny. Dalny then became the base of this force.

Reinforcements were landed; the 3d Army of three divisions was formed and placed under Nogi; the 2d Army was formed and placed under Oku. Nogi's duty was to invest Port Arthur and Oku to cover the rear toward Liao Yang.

3d Army

A third army was now landed at Takusan and was ordered to move north, connecting with the 1st Army under Kuroki on the right and Oku's 2d Army on the left. Until these armies arrived and captured the line of passes through the mountains their advance bases were: 1st Army, the Yalu; 3d Army, Takusan; and 2d Army, Dalny. As soon as the town on the Yingkou was captured the base was changed to that point and the armies were supplied by rail and dirt road. When the navy got control of the sea, the Japanese had no trouble in advancing the base along the coast, and they postponed their movements until such was ' secured. Only once was this base in jeopardy seriously, and that was when the cruiser fleet of the Russians made its raid from Vladivostok.

The great difficulty in the Gallipoli expedition was the supplying of food, ammunition and replacements so far from the home base. Also, there was no convenient suit­able place to establish an advance base nearer than Mudros.

In ancient times, Alexander the Great depended greatly on his navy. He required the fleet of Nearchus to assist his army on its march to India and back again. In a small way Grant, in his movement around Vicksburg, was ac­companied by Porter's fleet that guarded his left flank until he arrived at De Shorn's Plantation.

Productiveness and the safety of the bases are among the primary qualifications of victory. The greatest com­manders have not lost sight of this.

They have all striven for maintenance of proper con­nection between the theater of operations and their well supplied and secure base.

Napoleon, in 1813, after he had lost the lines of the Oder and Vistula as a base, fell back upon the lower Elbe.

The allies, in three armies, were operating against Napoleon. On two different occasions, he had had to aban­don his pursuit of Blucher because Swartzenburg, with an army of Bohemia, was threatening his base. Napoleon was apprehensive, notwithstanding he had taken extraordinary measures to protect it.

Abandoning of a Base

Sherman in Georgia

Circumstances occasionally demand that the base be entirely disregarded, and that we look forward, not back­ward. We then seek an objective which, when attained, gives us another base for future operations in place of the one given up.

General Sherman, in his famous march .to the sea, covered about 300 miles between Atlanta and Savannah and during this march he had no base other than the country through which he passed. He had spent considerable time in having statistical reports of the country prepared, from which he was able to learn that the territory to be covered was sufficiently productive for his army (65,000 men, 72 guns and 2,500 wagons).

He marched in four columns and made a mean dis­tance of 15 miles a day when traveling. Each corps had its special munition and provision train. The army was to live off the-country and to keep its wagons con­stantly filled with provision for at least 20 days.

The march was begun on the 14th day of November, without apprehension of other difficulties than those aris­ing from the character of the country. Not wishing to make use of the railroads, Sherman destroyed them all along .his Hue of march, which led through Milledgeville, Saunders-

ville, Louisville and Millen. He arrived before Savannah on the 10th of December, seizing Fort McAllister first, then the city itself, and opened communications with the Federal fleet cruising in the vicinity.

Thenceforth, the Union commander was free to move toward the north to unite his operations with Grant's. His army was set in motion on the 1st of February, after having received reinforcements. Charleston fell as soon as the railroads leading to it were destroyed.

Sherman continued his march direct upon Fayetteville, stripping the whole of South Carolina of its resources. Wilmington had already been captured by the Federals. Finally he met the Confederate forces at Averysboro, on the 17th of March, and at Bentonville on the 21st, when he again checked Johnston, restored a short time before to command of the army. On the 22d, Sherman was joined by Schofield, whom Grant had sent from the north, and Johnston was pushed upon Raleigh, where he was held until the 25th of April. At this point hostilities ceased.

Grant at Vicksburg

Grant's plan of cutting loose from his base and living off the country was looked on favorably in view of the social and economic conditions existing in the theater. In describ­ing the terrain, Major Steele, in his American Campaigns, speaks of Mississippi being a country with a few towns and many big plantations. The cultivation of cotton on a large scale required large numbers of laborers, and in order to properly subsist his slaves each planter had to maintain an efficient commissary. As the means of transportation were primitive, the roads bad and the towns few, it was necessary to keep on hand sufficient foodstuffs for a con­siderable period of time. The supplies required by General Grant were therefore concentrated at well denned points, and in quantities that rendered concealment or removal difficult. Most of the white combatant population, sparse at best, were with Pemberton, at Vicksburg. There was a servile population well disposed to the invading army, which was always ready to give information and to furnish guides. All these elements combined to make living off

the country a reasonably safe proposition, provided it was not persisted in too long. Nevertheless, for the operation to be successful, every fight had to result in favor of Grant, for a retreat without supplies, through a denuded country, in the face of an active enemy, would have resulted only in disaster. Grant's complete abandonment of his base was, so to speak, "a leap in the dark."

Temporary Severance

At times, when making a tactical movement in modern war a force will be cut off from its base for a few days.

The Germans, at St. Privat, and Kuroki, at Liao Yang, when he moved the 12th Division across the Tsai-Tzu-Ho, were temporarily separated from their bases.

Victory in battle restores complete freedom and opens all communications that have been abandoned.

It requires a trained mind to be able to determine in each individual case when and, to what extent, the base can be given up without risking the starvation of the troops. Counter-blows are generally ruinous under such circum­stances.

The destruction of the grand army of La Vendee on its march north of the Loire in December, 1793, is a good example of this principle.

Must Take Chances

A general who fears separation from his base more than he loves victory will seldom accomplish anything really great. Commanders who make the establishing and se­curing of their base the main and ruling factor generally miss the favorable time to act. This characterized the move­ments of McClellan in the east and Halleck in the west in the Civil War.

Unexpected Separation

It is a difficult matter to be cut off expectedly from a base, but it is more so to be cut off unexpectedly.

The term "cut off" should not be taken in the geomet­ric sense, for the mere presence of a hostile body on our communications should not of itself cause much alarm.

It is only when the enemy strikes in force at those dis­positions without which we cannot maintain ourselves any length of time that we should worry.

Morgan's destruction of the tunnel on the L. & N. Railroad north of Nashville caused a great deal of annoy­ance to Rosecrans, but did not of itself cut him off from his supplies. The presence of Jackson's 18,000 men at Manassas Junction, where Pope's advance base was located, was sufficient cause for apprehension.

If- an army has established a new base or is about to enter a country affording sufficient supplies, it should not worry if its communications with its old base are intercepted.

CHAPTER XII. Lines of Communication and Retreat


"The lines of communication are the routes by land, water, or rail, by meana of which the army ia continually fed and cared for." An army cut off from it* base at least need not worry about its communications.

WHEN Emperor Julian invaded Mesopotamia, upon crossing the Tigris, in a desire to eliminate the ques­tion of a base and communications, he destroyed in one stroke all of his boats. This action was his undoing, for later when he was driven back on the river he was unable to cross, his army was defeated and he lost his life.

Hernando Cortez burned his ships upon setting foot on the Mexican shore at Vera Cruz, probably convinced that with his small force, in that populous foreign country, it would have been impossible to keep up communications. Thus by one stroke, he rid himself of two great hindrances. The two illustrations above give both sides of the proposition, so we may deduce a corrollary, "the army that surrenders its base and communications does it at its ex­treme peril."

General Principles Regarding Lines of Communication

First: An army should never compromise its line of communication.

Second: To change the line of communication is a difficult operation, but one which is essential to execute, whenever the security of the army demands it.

The best equipped base is of no value if the roads that lead to it are insecure. The amount of traffic in rear of an army increases with its size. Therefore, the number and quality of lines of communication must be in proportion thereto.

"With the increased size of bodies of troops met with at present, communications have gained in importance to

such an extent that strategy itself is being considered by some as merely a study of communications—a conception which is, of course, much too narrow."

Safest Kind of Communications

Well constructed roads that the enemy may harass, intercept, even destroy in places, but which can very seldom be blocked entirely are the best kind of communications in the theater of operations.

The ideal would be macadamized roads suitable for trucks. In the communications zone railroads are better.

Advantages of Highways

First:—If one road is blocked, another one, if con­venient, can be used to reach the main road or, in default of secondary roads, "turn outs" around the break can be built. It is imperative, however, that suitable road repair material and road building equipment be kept at hand available at all times.

Second: With the use of highways less difficulty is experienced when it becomes necessary to effect a change of direction and a transfer of the whole system of commun­ications of the army.


When Grant, in 1864-65, was endeavoring to isolate Lee's army from the south, he tried to effect it by inter­rupting Lee's lines of communication. As each railroad was blocked, General Lee merely took the next dirt road west. The Norfolk Railroad was the most easterly road, but it was of no consequence as it did not connect with a base. Sheridan interrupted the Virginia Central as far west' as Trevilian station, but this made very little difference. There were two remaining railroads, namely, the Southside and the Weldon.

The Weldon Railroad was first interrupted, but it was soon reopened. It was again interrupted, but Lee used the Vaughn dirt road, changing roads until the Southside Rail­road was beyond the break. When the Vaughn road was blocked, he moved over to the Squirrel Level dirt road far-

ther west. When this road was blocked he moved still far­ther west to the Boynton dirt road and then finally to the White Oak dirt road, and so on until the Southside Railroad was interrupted.


1. The rate of progress of both animals and wagons is slow. If the road ia good enough for trucks, their use reduces this disadvantage.

3. Loads transported are comparatively small.

3. The elements have a bad effect on the movements.

4. The continual movement of transportation cuts up the road.

5. In the winter time, some roads, mostly through the mountains, are closed.

In the operations through the western theater, during the Civil War, the rains and snows of winter made all but a very few roads absolutely impassable. Railroads had to be relied upon.

In the absence of standard gauge railroads the de­mands on dirt roads may be greatly relieved by small railroads such as the 60-cm., the motive power being steam, coolie or animal. Experience has shown that these lines can be laid very rapidly. Tractors with a string of trailers, are a great assistance, but tractors as a general rule are very destructive of roads.

Expedients of this kind are only applicable to the prin­cipal highways and cannot be used to any great degree of success in mountainous country or byroads.

When the Japanese took over the East Chinese Railroad they found a shortage of engines, so the cars were pro­pelled by coolies, mules, and soldiers.

We all know the assistance the narrow gauge roads afforded us in France.

An army of respectable strength, which relies entirely upon the dirt roads of the country, will be hampered in its movements, and, according to modern ideas, be clumsy.

Kuroki's army took about two months to march from Seoul to the Yalu, its delay being due to the fact that it could not get supplies over the horrible dirt roads of Korea. Had it not been for the fact that Kuroki was able to move his . base successively along the coast, he would have been de­layed in his movements probably until the dry season.

All the campaigns in the Orient, such as the operations of the British in India, of the allies in North China, and of the Japanese in Korea, both in 1894 and 1904, most of those in the Balkan States and in Anatolia were slow and clumsy because all supplies had to be brought up on the backs of mules, horses and camels.

Wagons drawn by oxen, such as we find in the country, can be used in flat terrain only.

Taylor's army from Corpus Christi to the Rio Grande . used oxen for hauling its heavy guns and some of its heav­ier baggage.'


Of recent years the network of railroads has caused that means of transportation to assume an important posi­tion.

The railway connecting Thrace and Macedonia, which leads from Dedeagatch to Salonica, played an important part in the Greek War of 1897. In spite of the poor man­agement, it expedited concentration quite materially.

A glance at a railway map of Germany and of the in­vaded sections of Belgium and France shows wherein the great superiority of railroads in rapid concentration lay.

A large army is poorly supplied that has but one railroad connecting it with its base, and must from neces­sity advance slowly.

Russians in Manchuria

The Russian army in Manchuria, after it had exhausted the supplies of the Liao Valley, was hard put supplying itself by the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

Sherman in Georgia

In the Civil War, Sherman in Georgia never got any farther than 25 miles from the railroad line supplying his army and was greatly delayed whenever it was interrupted; and during this same war when the single line of railroad to the rear of any army exceeded more than 145 miles, that army had to change its line of communications. Rosecrans at Nashville, before the Stones River campaign, had great difficulty in supplying himself with the single line of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad.

Several Roads Necessary

There must be several railroads in the direction of the line of communications generally if any degree of freedom of movement is expected.

In 1870, the Germans had prepared nine lines of ap­proach from their base, three of which led through Neu-kirchen, Homburg, and Landau to the base itself—the others in the proximity.

Single and Double Track Lines

A great distinction should be made between the single and double track lines. The military value of the former is limited, for running in both directions over the same track is difficult. Blocking of communications, irregular accumulations and piling together of rolling stock at various points are very much more likely to occur than when traffic proceeds quite independently in both directions.

The German army before Metz suffered considerably on account of the restricted power of the one track Rhein-Hahe-Bahn Railroad.

Lord Roberts' advance on Bloemfontein has also shown that a single track railroad is of little value as a sole com-. munication of a large army or even one of moderate size such as that of Lord Roberts'. Interruptions are unavoid­able. After the line through Graspan had been interrupted and a part of the wagon train captured by De Wet, Lord Roberts' army was on half rations until it reached Bloem­fontein.

Routes by Water


Waterways, navigable canals and rivers furnish ex­cellent lines of communication.


Transportation by sea is the cheapest, and permits the largest amount to be carried in one trip.

Big canal boats operated by cables are used at present on the Elbe, parts of the Rhine, and several other rivers which makes such means of communication of more value than when reliance had to be placed on oars, sails and the whims of the winds.


"Possession of the middle Elbe by Frederick the Great, during the Seven Years' War, was one of the principal elements of superiority he held in his invasion of Saxony and Bohemia, for the reason that the river divided the theater of war and became of inestimable value as a line of communications for him."


The possession of the Mississippi River by the Fed­erals was one of the leading factors in bringing the Civil War to a close, for with it, communication between the North and the Gulf was assured and it could be used by the armies operating to the east or west of the stream.

Napoleon in 1805 made use of the Danube during his advance which ended with Austerlitz. Grant likewise used the Tennessee River in 1862.

Objection to Rivers as Means of Communication

First.—Freezing in the winter time.

Second.—Their direction cannot be changed to meet the var­ious changes of direction of the line of operations.

In the wars of 1866, 1870 and 1878, the rivers were greatly used at the outset, but once operations had begun the armies made little use of them.

At the beginning of the campaign of 1878, the Rus­sians utilized the Danube and in 1870, the Germans used the Rhine. "In 1870, during the concentration of troops, the staff of the II Prussian Army organized a flotilla of ten steamboats and numerous tow-barges, which were to serve as movable magazines on that part of 'the Rhine between Worms and Bingen. The provisions carried were purchased in Holland, on the lower Rhine, and in the countries where the concentration took place. When the

German armies penetrated the French territory, these boats deposited their cargoes at Bingen and Worms in magazines."

Limitation on the Sea

The sea is free from either of these two objections to rivers for the reason, first, that it does not freeze up except in the Arctic, and second, it does not tie down ships to any particular route.

Disadvantages of the Sea

The great disadvantage is in the restriction as to landing places.

We should not be restricted to one harbor or a small number of them, especially while the enemy possesses any means at all of being a menace to us on the seas.

Under such conditions, the enemy would be able to lie in wait for our transports and destroy them as they ap­proach the destination to which they must shape their course.

Many bays and harbors with long fore shore and into which rivers empty or that have a bar at the entrance are unsuited for use during the winter as a result of ice jams caused by repeated thaws.

Vessels are unable to ascend the Pei Ho from Pichili Gulf during the winter months and ships are forced to anchor out from the mouth of the river, about seven miles, to escape the ice flow. Gray's Harbor on the Pacific is another illustration.

Preferential Means of Communication


As among the three methods of communication, we must give the preference to the railroad. The following are some of the reasons:

Because: 1. It is the most rapid and is not dependent on wind, weather, heat, nor cold. 2. In probable theaters rail­roads are more numerous than rivers; so that, should an army start out in a new direction, it is more apt to find a branch, cross or side line railroad that will connect it with its base. 3. One can use the railroad or prevent the enemy

from using it. 4. The rolling stock can be run off and the road rendered useless to an invader.

The transfer of Bragg's army from Tupelo to Chat­tanooga, and of the 11th and 12th Corps from Virginia to Stevenson, during our own Civil War, was accomplished in sufficient time so that the troops had a most deciding influence on subsequent operations. It would have been out of the question to have made the move by wagons. The Russians deprived the Japanese of the use of the East Chinese Railroad for some time by demolitions and by run­ning off the rolling stock.

In The World War, while motor transportation was used extensively in effecting reliefs, local transfers and in many large operations such as Tannenberg, and the move­ment of the Paris garrison to the assistance of Maunoury's 6th French Army in September, 1914, the railroads were the main reliance.

Disadvantages of the Railroad

1. It can be more easily interrupted than the other means,although it is believed that an aerial bomb can do more damage to a dirt road.

2. It does not carry as bulky loads.

3. It is difficult to ship equipment overseas, yet with sufficient effort it can be done.

4. It requires a maximum of railroad guards.

Notwithstanding the victorious nature of the German movements in 1870, the Germans had 166,000 men guarding the communications, most of which were by rail, for an army of 900,000. The Federal armies in the west in the Civil War used about half their strength in guarding their railroad communications.

Change Brought by Modern Transportation

The complete change in means of communication that has been brought about recently naturally changes the con­ditions for basing armies.

Steam and electricity throw open so many new arteries that it becomes easy for us to have at our disposal re­inforcements and supplies from the remote parts of a country in a few days. Therefore, we longer con­fined to a certain area as a base. The whole territory of a

state now does duty as such. We can make use of the enemy's railroads unless he has undertaken a too system­atic and thorough destruction of them.

In western Europe, the dense network of railways permits reinforcements and supplies to be brought up in a few days from the most remote parts of any country. This network even obviates the necessity of restricting the base to one district; the whole area of the state may become the base. Since we can make use of the railways in a hostile country, where the enemy has not carried out too systematic demolitions, a frontier no longer constitutes an obstacle.

The conduct of war of our time, therefore, has to deal with a movable base, and this is an advantage which enables us to act with utmost energy.

We have already taken up the definition of the line of operations and of the line of communications. Generally, one is a continuation of the other, for as the army advances, it has before it its line of operations and leaves behind its line of communications.

In 1805, after the capitulation of Ulm, Napoleon re­solved to march immediately upon Vienna, following the Valley of the Danube.

The river, which ran parallel to the direction of his march, was to become part of the line of operations.

West of Lintz, the road was shut in between the river bank and the mountains. It was thus indispensable to insure the possession of the left bank, in order to attempt to cut off the retreat of the Russians, and to cover the march of the army on that side.

Dupont's division, numbering hardly 3,480 men, in six battalions, was charged with this duty, and with making reconnaissance of the roads leading into Bohemia. But these forces being considered too weak, Napoleon soon reinforced them with Gazan's division, having an effective of 4,460 men.

There was thus on the left bank a small army corps which was placed under the command of Marshal Mortier. He was to move down the valley, on the side he then oc­cupied. Being too weak, it became necessary to connect him with the main army. For this purpose, Napoleon had

all the boats available assembled into a flotilla and placed under the command of Commander Lostange. The crews were made up of the sore-footed and worn-out soldiers of the various divisions. These boats, loaded with supplies and ammunition, descended the river abreast of the army.

Napoleon desired 400 boats so as to be able to sud­denly embark 10,000 men and throw them upon the Rus­sians in an hour, if Mortier found himself too strongly engaged. "There must be no Danube," wrote he from Lintz, on the 7th of November. "I must be able to cross it promptly. The Russians, who do not expect this man­euver, may become the victims of it, since they think themselves engaged only with Marshal Mortier, while I shall be able to bring a superior force against them."

Thus the river was a line of operations and of com­munications. From Lintz, the army had for its line of operations the road from that place to Vienna—in some places some distance from the river.

In his advance on Khartum, during the campaign in Egypt, Kitchener used the Nile the same way as Napoleon used the Danube, but to a greater extent.

Occasionally the direction of the two lines differ con­siderably.

"In the late fall of 1870, when the II German Army advanced to the Loire, it chose its main line of operations via Joinville, Troyes, Sens, Nemours and Pithiviers. It would not have been practicable to have used this road permanently as a line of communications on account of the long hauls for wagons. Instead the railroad line through Joinville, Chaumont, Chatillon on the Seine, Tonnerre, Joig-ny, Moret, Montargis and Juvissy to Orleans was chosen. Thus a long, sinuous line, easy to intercept, and unfor­tunately situated, being in rear of the left flank of the army which it supplied, was formed.

"Occasionally, the railroad from Paris to Lagny served as a line of communication."

During Grant's operations around Richmond in the summer of 1864, his line of operations ran generally south while his line of communications followed him down the coast in rear of his left. Being in control of the sea, this was possible. The Japanese 1st Army, in its advance to the

Yalu, was similarly situated. So we see that the two lines may be far apart.

It is immaterial, in this case, whether or not the enemy intercepts our lines in rear of us, for they lose their im­portance as soon as the army has advanced.

Security of Lines of Communication

Above all things the lines of communication must be made secure. With their length increases the difficulty of doing this, since their vulnerability and the ease with which the enemy can intercept them makes their preser­vation difficult.

Long Lines Dangerous

Advance along very extended lines of operations, which necessitate similar lines of communications, are dangerous. Whole expeditions have come to grief through this exten­sion.

Charles XIFs expedition into South Russia, Massena's into Portugal, Napoleon's campaign to Moscow, and Fred­erick the Great's advance into Bohemia in 1744 are illus­trations.

Length of Lines of Communication

A line of communications of more than five or six good days' marches may generally be considered a long one. It is well, in such a case, to establish a new base, at least for commissaries and ammunition.


Safety of Lines of Communication Depends on How Well the Country in Rear is Policed

The British lines of communication were being con­tinually cut in South Africa, due to the fact that the Brit­ish did not control the territory.


Much depends upon the inhabitants, their number and attitude toward the advancing army.

The attitude of the Spanish during the Peninsula War had a decided effect upon the operations of Napoleon. Also the action of the Franc-Tireurs caused great annoyance to the Germans during the invasion of France in 1870. So much so that it took 166,000 troops to guard the com­munications.

Size of Train

If we calculate how many baggage trains and wagon trains of all kinds, each belonging to a separate body of troops, come and go behind an army, we can easily understand the great effect on the lines of communication exercised by every change in the position of the base, or in the front of the operations.

McClellan, in changing his base from White House to Harrison's Landing, had to move 2,500 wagons and countless stores and herds of cattle.

In July of 1862, the army of the Potomac had in its possession 3,100 wagons, 350 ambulances, 17,000 horses and 8,000 mules.

Strength, of army 80,000, which gives an average of about 26 wagons to every thousand.

After Antietam

The army consisted of 110,000 men, average of 49 wagons to the thousand.

Three thousand nine hundred and eleven wagons, 907 ambulances, 12,483 mules, and 8,693 horses.

Gettysburg Campaign

Four thousand heavy wagons.

Grant crossed the Rapidan with 4,300 wagons, or 34 to the thousand.

In the final campaign he had 2,448 wagons or 22 per thousand.

Sherman July 1,1864

One hundred thousand men. Wagons 5,180 or 60 per thousand.

On leaving Atlanta he had 2,520 wagons or 40 to the thousand.

The American army in France averaged 1 truck for every 40 or 50 men.

Slight Change of Fosition Causes Trouble

A mere change in the relative positions of bodies of troops in the front produces difficulties.

Columns of baggage wagons on the march become crossed, thus entailing unavoidable confusion.

The attempt of Bazaine to move his transportation ahead of him over the Moselle is an illustration of the confusion that will result if the routes of trains are changed, and what may result therefrom.

On two different occasions during the German drive on Paris in 1914 the army of Von Hausen came to grief as a result of corps communications becoming crossed. The IX and XIX Corps, were the offenders on August 24th and 25th and at Fere Champenoise, September 9th and 10th.

The change of the lines of communication in the grand wheel to the right of the Germans moving on Sedan shows how this change may be effected successfully if plans are laid in advance.

Likewise the turn of about 90 degrees, made by the 1st American Army in the Meuse-Argonne, was handled in a manner that reflected credit on the army, corps and division staffs.

Opening a New Line by Taking up a Flank Position

When the lines of communication are interrupted, they are often reopened by seeking a strong position gen­erally to the flank. McClellan's shift from the York to the James River enabled him to extricate himself from what otherwise would have been a very embarrassing sit­uation.

Base may be off to a Flank

The situation may so develop that a base must be se­lected off to the flank. This is not a disadvantage if re­inforcements and supplies can be obtained and the strength of our forces are such as to influence the enemy to come in our direction. If he does so, he will form front to flank and if he does not, but tries to march past, his line of communications can be cut. A transfer of this kind was offered Johnston during the Atlanta campaign by moving over toward Rome.

Surrendering the Line of Communications Temporarily to Secure Another

Before the line of communications is given up, it is imperative that arrangements be made for the assumption of another. An army, when it sees its line threatened, cannot merely give it up and trust to luck that it will find another.

"Careful preparations, very determined leadership on the part of the general, and a decided superiority over the enemy are some of the indispensable prerequisites."

It is quite clear in this case that there is a limit to the size of the army and it must be proportioned to the productiveness of the country.

While Sherman was able to obtain supplies for his army in Georgia and South Carolina, yet had it been larger and numbered in hundreds of thousands his move would have been impossible. Grant was able to move his army around the south and east of Vicksburg, cutting loose from his original base because he found a very productive sec­tion of country; yet when he attempted to move on the city from the direction of Grand Junction, and Van Dorn de­stroyed his advance base at Holly Springs, Grant had to abandon his forward movement and fall back to the line of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad.

Severing Connection with Communications at the Present Time

With our modern armies of millions of men it will be out of the question to think of operating without relying on our base in rear. Of course the country will be exploited as much as possible. It will be as Bernhardi says—"sup­plies from the country and then magazines."

How the Change Should be Made

The best way to change from one line of communication to another is to do it gradually.

Give up the old line, little by little, and establish the new one gradually, so that for a time both will be in operation side by side.

When McCIellan advanced from Antietam in October, 1862, he used the Loudon Valley Railroad as his line of communication until he reached the Manassas Gap Rail­road, which with the Orange & Alexander Railroad became his lines. The transfer was made gradually and without confusion.

Napoleon, on the 22d of September, 1808, had the fol­lowing to say to his brother Joseph regarding his opera­tions in Spain: "The military art is one possessing prin­ciples which must not be violated. To change the lines of communication is an undertaking which should be confined to men of genius; its loss is so serious an event as to render the author criminal."

Lines of Retreat

When the line of operations leads to the rear it is called the line of retreat.

It will generally be along the line of communication by which a defeated army falls back on its supplies or for reinforcements.

Army That is Not Defeated

When an army that has not been defeated merely falls back to a more favorable position to receive reinforce­ments, it follows, then, that the line of retreat must be such as will lead it toward those reinforcements. And it makes no difference whether the line of operations of the rein­forcements is the same or different.


Sometimes by paying more attention to a union with reinforcements and not so much to the base great results can be attained. We have but to recall the case of Blucher and Gneisneau after Ligny. By all rules of the game they should have retired through Sombref to Liege and Maas­tricht, where their natural line of communications led.

Beaulieu, in 1796, did what Napoleon hoped Blucher would do. But the latter did otherwise. He withdrew through Wavre and Tilly toward his reinforcements, which were Wellington, and encompassed the defeat of Napoleon.

Eccentric oe Divergent Lines of Retreat

A retreat that is eccentric or divergent, so valuable in defending one's own country, is greatly facilitated if there are good railroads or motor roads.

Albert Sidney Johnston, in the retreat after Henry and Donelson, diverged to the east away from the Confed­erate forces near Corinth. By using the lateral railroad, namely, the Memphis & Charleston, he was able to unite his army again.

"Napoleon, in 1813, would have secured Paris with more certainty from an attack if he had taken up a position as some distance in a lateral direction somewhere behind the Canal Burgundy, leaving with the large force of National Guard of Paris a few thousand regular troops. The allies would never have had the courage to march a corps of 50,000 or 60,000 against Paris whilst Bonaparte was in the field at Auxerre with 100,000 men."

Disadvantages of an Eccentric or Divergent Retreat

"(1) It divides our forces. (2) The enemy secures the advantages of operating on interior lines and can remain more concentrated than we are, consequently, can appear in so much the greater force at any one point. (3) Our action, if we resume the offensive, will be concentric which is not suitable to a weaker force."

Experience has taught that an army should always retire upon its supports.

This principle was expounded by Napoleon on many different occasions, notably in 1808.

The Dupont Division had just capitulated at Baylen. The situation of the French troops in Spain seemed com­promised thereby, and King Joseph believed it necessary to evacuate Madrid and retire to the Ebro. This action was, as a matter of fact, a retreat upon the .reinforcements that were arriving from France. But after reaching the Ebro,

he conceived the idea of abandoning his communications with France making movements to the various points where the enemy might show himself or where provisons were obtained.

He submitted his project to his brother and received the following reply:

"Chalons-sur-Marne, "September 22, 1808.

"The preservation of the line of operations (commun­ications) is not imperative in order to hold connection with the depot—the place of rendezvous, the magazine of supply, and the point where prisoners and the wounded and sick may be sent. To shut one's self up in the interior of Spain at this time, without an organized center or well supplied magazine, exposed to the risks of having the enemy's armies on the flank and rear, is to be guilty of a folly unexampled in the history of the world. Those who venture to advise such a measure would be the first to lose their senses when events had made clear the folly of the operation. It is, then, upon the point where it may reform its forces, secure new resources, and receive fresh support, that an army should retire."

In August, 1813, when Napoleon had established him­self along the upper Elbe, the idea that the Austrians from Bohemia might push through via Baireuth and enter the heart of Germany and cut him off from France did not worry him. On August 16th he wrote St. Cyr: "What I am anxious about is the idea of being cut off from Dres­den and the Elbe; it makes very little difference to me if they separate me from France." If the Austrians under­took such an advance he had decided "to wish them a pleas­ant journey and let them go."

All that the Austrians could have done was to have en­tered Franconia, Hesse and Thuringia, capturing possibly a supply train here and there, but in no way injuring the Emperor. They could have done much had they captured his principal depot and bridgehead at Dresden.


"Nothing can better inspire the inventive genius of the general to soar to greater undertakings than the feeling that he can switch his lines of communication read­ily."

The More Lines of Communication an Army Has the Better

The greater number of lines of communication an army possesses the better.

The most favorable condition is for each unit that is separately administered, that has a separate supply depart­ment and recruitment, to have its own separate line of communications.

In 1870 and 1871, the Germans almost always succeeded in assigning to each corps a special road for its exclusive use.

"The importance of lines of communication has grown with the size of armies. Even in the richest country, mil­lions of men are more dependent on the lines of communi­cation. This is the cause of the endeavor, seen everywhere today, to press into the service to the furthest extent every scientific auxiliary to maintain the traffic behind the army and within the same."

CHAPTER XIII. Strategic Concentration and Method of Advance


THE AIM of all strategical operations is to bring about a tactical decision under conditions that are as much as possible to one's advantage.

This is attained by falling upon the enemy at his weak­est point with superior numbers.


The object sought by all commanders is to be stronger at the decisive point. Napoleon is supposed to have said that he had always noticed that the Lord generally was on the side with the heaviest battalions.

"The prime condition to attain this strength is to bring about a surprise.

"Either concealment entirely until the blow falls, or at least concealment s& long that, when the move is discovered, the enemy will not have time to maneuver to meet it."

On the Sha-Ho, the Russian offensive failed, due prin­cipally to the fact that the element of surprise was missing.

At Chancellorsville, Jackson's turning movement suc­ceeded because the element of surprise was present.

Therefore, when the movement has reached such a stage that the enemy can no longer be deceived as to its aim, the most distant portions of our army must be nearer to the decisive point than those of the enemy.

Napoleon's concentration before Waterloo was con­cealed by the Beaumont Forest to such an extent that, when he launched forth across the Sambre, he caught the allies scattered on a broad front looking for him.

The failure of the campaign was not due to the ab­sence of the element of surprise.

Meade's concentration before Gettysburg was not known to Lee, due to the absence of Stuart's cavalry.

Sometimes we may overlook the fact that we are not concentrated if we see a good opportunity to strike.

At Koniggratz, Prince Frederick Charles' army at­tacked before the concentration had been effected, but came very near being defeated. This campaign is often cited as an illustration of the superiority of the von Moltke concen­tration, yet the incapacity of von Benedek had more to do with the effectiveness of the concentration than any inher­ent virtue in its form.

Von Alvensleben, at Vionville, impetuously attacked the whole French army before the Germans were concen­trated ; yet again we see the defender, by incapacity, play­ing into the assailant's hands.

"The most trying time for the commander on the of­fensive is the period before contact is gained."

"He must decide upon the most likely action of the defender and move his army in such a formation as to meet it."

"Conflicting reports will come in and he may be tempted to change his deployment. In the crisis, everything de­pends on the proper estimate of the situation and result­ing decision."

Unless the commander is prepared to stake his all on his decisions and is ready to make those decisions promptly, he has no business commanding an army on the offensive.

"The first quality of a commander is a cool head, which will judge things in their true light; he should not let him­self be dazed by good or bad news; the sensations he receives successively,, or once during the course of the day, should be classed in the memory so as to occupy only the place they deserve, for reasoning and judgment are but the results of many sensations equally considered. There are men who from their nature, physical or moral, make of each thing a complete picture, whatever may be their skill, or talent, or courage; nature has not called them to the command of armies and to the direction of great op­erations of war."—Napoleon's War Maxim LXXIII.

Selection of Point of Concentration

Even after an objective has been selected and the troops have been directed toward it, a great deal still de­pends on the choice of the point of concentration.

If our forces cannot co-operate at the time we strike the enemy we have been seeking, our operation fails, for the necessary superiority will be lacking.

If the Crown Prince had not arrived when he did at Koniggratz, it would have been a sad day for Prince Frederick Charles.

Geological reasons may prevent our concentration where we wish, and we may be forced to concentrate for­ward and either near, or on the field of battle.

In the Koniggratz campaign, von Moltke was forced to concentrate in the Elbe basin, for had he concentrated in rear of the mountains he would have had to surrender the initiative to the Austrians.

Two Classes of Concentration

There are two great principles of concentration that stand opposed to each other; one is known as the Napoleonic and the other as the von Moltkean concentration.

The Napoleonic concentration is the assemblage before arriving on the field of battle. "He used to form his army into a united serried mass and then dealt the enemy an irresistible blow. To avail himself at the same time of the element of surprise, he always took care to conceal the concentration by means of some natural feature in the country, such as a chain of mountains, the course of a river, etc." He called his system "attacking in mass."

Von Moltke was the exponent of the principle of concentration on the field of battle.

Concentrations of Napoleonic Type

Campaign in Italy in 1796

In the campaign of 1796, Napoleon, with surprising rapidity, collecting three of his four divisions in the Ri­viera at Savona and Finale, advanced and struck a blow between the armies of the allies that opposed him, and then fell upon each of them separately with superior numbers before the other could come to its assistance.

Beaulieu, the Austrian commander-in-chief, had taken up a position along Bochetta in order to invade the Riviera. From there, his right wing was to go slowly southward in the Apennines and gain possession of the western passes. He thus expected to approach the French on the sides and crush them. Colli, with his Piedmontese, guarded the val­leys of Piedmont.. Thus, the allies had a long line over­extended, and Napoleon decided to strike them first in the center. By making a demonstration toward Genoa, Bon-' aparte succeeded in drawing Beaulieu toward that place.

He then quickly turned and struck the center under Argenteau and defeated him, at Montenotte on April 11th and 12th, at Millesimo on the 13th, and at Dego on the 14th. This action forced Beaulieu to abandon the advance on Genoa and retire.

Thereupon Napoleon left La Harpe's division to oppose the Austrians, and uniting all his remaining forces against Colli, threw the latter back from Ceva on April 17th, and Mondovi on the 22d, against Fossano on the river Stura. Continuing to push his opponent, on the 28th of April, he forced him to sign the truce of Sardinia which ensured Napoleon the undisturbed possession of Southern Piedmont and gave him a prospect of the free use of the crossing of the Po at Valenza.

Thus an important campaign was won in a few days.

Campaign of 1805

At the beginning of this campaign, the army on the channel was directed upon the Rhine, while the corps sta­tioned in Holland and Hanover were put in motion toward the Main.

"The resulting celebrated marches were 'true marches of concentration."

They were accomplished under extremely favorable circumstances, which we must bear in mind are not to be met with today.

As soon as war was resolved upon, Napoleon's first thought was to ascertain the position of the enemies' forces.

When he learned that the Russians were still in Mor­avia, while the Austrians had moved to the Iller, the aim of his future marches became well defined.

The enemy had made the mistake of dividing his forces, and this was to be turned to advantage.

With this in view, Napoleon endeavored, first of all, to keep up the separation of the two masses, then to seize the communications of the near force without uncovering his own. The march objectives answering to these com­binations were to be the points of passage of the Danube, by which the armies of his two antagonists mutually com­municated, and at which the Austrian line of retreat could be directly threatened. These points were Gunzburg, Ingol-stadt, Neuburg, Donauwerth and Ratisbon. The surrender of Ulm resulted. Napoleon's concentration was effected under cover of the Danube and, with his forces massed, he moved against the separated allies.

Campaign of 1806

Before the war against Prussia, in the fall of 1806, the French army was between the Rhine, Danube and Main Rivers. Napoleon expected resistance along the Elbe. He, accordingly, collected his whole army of 160,000 men in the territory inclosed by Baireuth, Bamberg, Nuremberg and Wurzburg, under cover of the Main, and the Thuringian Forest.

From there, he began his closed up advance on three roads one day's march apart through Hof, Kronach and Coburg. He assumed the Prussians to be at Erfurt on October 7th. Thus, from the very start his advance cut off the enemy's communications with Berlin and the heart of his country, with Dresden, and communication with Prussia and Saxony.

In this way, Napoleon was certain that the enemy would fight him in decisive battle in order to save his state.

Napoleon wrote to Soult from Wurzburg, on October 5th, as follows: "You can imagine that it would be a fine thing to move forward to that place (Dresden) in a square of battalions, 200,000 men strong."

He thus gave expression to his intention to use his massed advance to force the enemy to fight a decisive ac­tion in an unfavorable position.

Defense of France in 1814

On the 21st of December of 1814, the allied armies crossed the Rhine and began the second invasion of France.

The allies numbered 1,025,000 men, while Napoleon numbered 227,000.

The Emperor's plan was in compliance with his ideas and consisted in the renouncing of the defense of the fron­tier, in the having of all the detachments move slowly upon Paris, and in the assembling of all his disposable forces in a central position.

In this campaign, at the outset, Napoleon scattered his troops in isolated detachments on the frontier.

This was contrary to his usual practice, but was war­ranted by the peculiar circumstances of the case. He needed time to assemble his depot troops, the divisions that were in Spain, marshal the "feeble resources at his disposal;. so it was imperative that he delay the advance of the allies.

But his strategic movements showed that he desired to concentrate his troops before acting decisively. The re­treat of his various corps was concentric. He picked out a point of assembly between the frontier and the capital. He operated continuously and energetically on interior lines against the various hostile columns.

Campaign of 1815

In March, 1815, the Emperor wished to conceal the concentration of his army from the allies and to effect this concentration before advancing into the theater of battle.

"The British cantonments extended from the Scheldt, in the vicinity of Oudenarde, to the high road from Brussels to Charleroi. Those of the Prussians covered Namur and Sombref, near the confluence of the Sambre and the Meuse.

"In the space comprised between these two rivers, to the south of Marchienne, the forest of Beaumont formed a vast curtain, which hid from the allies the country between Solre, Beaumont and Philippeville. It was there that Na­poleon resolved to assemble his forces.

"But the enemy was near; he must be deceived as to the real points of concentration. The garrisons of Lille, Dunkirk, and the neighboring places received orders to

advance upon the English outposts and push them vigor­ously, to give the impression that the offensive was to be launched at those points.

"At the same time the most rigorous measures were ordered to prevent all communication upon the frontier. Even camp fires were forbidden.

"The measures succeeded, and on the evening of June 14th, the French army, entirely assembled, occupied the covered position and, on the morning of the 15th, debouched in three columns, crossed the Sambre, and on the next day, at Ligny, gave battle to the Prussians, who, on account of the measures adopted, had not discovered Napoleon's prep­arations for attack."

The concentration behind the screen of the forest of Beaumont and the Sambre River, the irruption "en masse" in three columns in a direction between the allies' armies and the attack on each, driving them asunder with inten­tion of falling on one while holding off the other and then turning on that other, was the plan of Napoleon, and it was no fault of the plan that he did not succeed.

We see from all these cases that Napoleon was fairly 4 consistent in carrying out his principles.

Marshal Joffre concentrated in 1914 behind the Marne in the Isle of France, with the result known to every one.

Concentration of the von Moltke Type


In the spring of 1866, Austria gained a start on Prus­sia in the preparations for war. To meet this, it was neces­sary for the Prussians, by rapid mobilization and concen­tration, to overcome the advantage.

The Austrians, now having the start, Moltke did not feel as if he could spare any more time to concentrate north of the mountain barrier that separated Prussia and Silesia from Saxony and Bohemia.

The two armies, commanded respectively by the Crown Prince and Prince Frederick Charles, were about 160 miles apart.

Moltke had captured a copy of the orders of von Ben-edek, the Austrian commander, which set forth the Austrian project as an invasion of Silesia. He also knew that the Austrian concentration had not been completed and that some of the corps were still back at Lundenburg.

He therefore prepared his troops for the invasion of Bohemia by assembling them along the circular arc from the Elbe to Glatz, passing through Gorlitz and conforming to. the frontier of the country.

This arc measured 30 German miles (something less than 150 English miles).

In this way, all the railroad lines could be used sim­ultaneously for the concentration march and the necessarily great number of separate roads required for the advance also would be gained.

The natural concentration point that could be most quickly reached by all his subdivisions lay in advance, in Austrian territory, in the direction of the Upper Elbe.

It is true that the enemy could reach this point first, but not with his whole army. Some of the corps were back at Lundenburg, 175 miles to the southeast. The two Prussian armies were then at Neisse and Dresden, about 75 miles from the basin of the Upper Elbe.

Gitchin (Jicin) was selected as the concentration point because it lay south of the mountain barrier and was pro­tected by the Elbe.

His Control Must Not be Complete

"It is therefore possible that the point of concentration may be looked for in the territory controlled by the enemy, but he must not be there massed and awaiting for us, otherwise he may fall upon successive columns in force and defeat them before assistance can come up."

This was the case with the one army under Wurmser and the two under Alvinzi in northern Italy in 1796 and 1797. They advanced in two columns into the territory controlled by Napoleon with the result that he defeated them in detail.

We find, however, neither Napoleon nor Moltke ad­hering strictly to his particular principle.

Campaign of 1805

During the campaign of 1805, Napoleon effected a junction on several occasions on the battlefield. He moved the army from the channel down to the line of the Rhine; Marmont from Holland to Mainz: and Bernadotte from Hamburg to Wurzburg. He then moved toward the Danube and got possession of it between Donauwerth and Ingol-stadt.

He was now concentrated under cover of the Danube, according to his own principle of concentration. The sit­uation having changed, he adopted the concentration after­wards known as the Moltkean.

The Russians not coming up, he left Bernadotte at Weissenburg to watch for them and to guard the left flank, while, with the balance of the force, he started in three columns, the right one directed toward Ulm, the center toward Augsburg, and the left toward Munich.

The orders were that if any column struck the enemy, it was to engage him, while the other hurried to its as­sistance.

You see quite a similarity between the principle of Moltke and the plan used by Napoleon on this occasion.

Campaign of 1813

This campaign is another concentration on the battle­field. After the battle of Gross Gorschen, southwest of Leipsic, the Prussians retreated through Dresden, followed by Napoleon with his main army of 100,000 men. Ney was sent across the Elbe at Torgau to advance on Berlin. The Prussians, after crossing the Elbe at Meissen (north of Dresden), formed a junction with the Russians at Kam-enz and remained united with them at Bautzen behind the river Spree. As soon as Napoleon learned of this, he ordered Ney to move around the right rear of the allies while he attacked them in front. The objective assigned Ney was the town of Dreysa, which was in rear of the line of the allies. This was unquestionably carrying out the principle enunciated by Moltke of assembling on the field of battle.

Moltke often adopted concentrations according to Napoleon's principle.

In July of 1870, the concentration march of the German army shows the actual execution of a close concentration of the masses before the beginning of operations. All the forces available for use in France were brought together in the southern Rhine provinces and in the Palatinate (Pfalz in German). In fact, the whole Upper Rhine was denuded of troops in conformity with the plan. In round numbers, about 400,000 men were assembled within a front of a little over 62 English miles.

After the investment of Metz, and the Army of the Meuse and III Army had continued west looking for Mac-Mahon, Moltke again showed that he was willing to adopt the Napoleonic principle and concentrate before battle. On the 25th of August, when he heard that MacMahon was marching north, and would move along the Belgium fron­tier to the assistance of Bazaine, Moltke ordered a con­centration of the 1st and 2d Bavarian Guards, 3d and 4th, 9th and 12th Corps at Damvillers, Mangiennes, and Azan-nes on an area of six British miles and took four days to do so. He preferred this concentration before advancing to check MacMahon.

Advantages of the Napoleonic Type

In event of surprise, or, the situation developing dif­ferently from that expected, the troops at least are con­centrated and no great amount of harm can be done.

Disadvantages of the Napoleonic Type

Requires a considerable amount of territory for its execution.

If the enemy is in position near the frontier, it can only be done by drawing the troops together on the base line. This results in flank marches which, if executed too near the enemy, may result in flank attacks, surprises, and unpremeditated combats.

A change in the situation, however, may occur while the concentration is going on.

1. This is exactly what happened to Napoleon in 1806. He thought that the Prussians were retiring before him on the road from Leipsic to Berlin and found them in position back of the Saale.

4. The crowded advance, of course, causes great hard­ships. In 1813, Napoleon virtually wore his army out by his continual marching in mass formation. In 1859 and 1866, the Austrians suffered very much from the same cause. If the enemy is able to dodge the blow, as did Blucher twice in August and in the beginning of September, 1813, the united mass will soon be constrained to give up the game, or to separate in the presence of the enemy, either plan being dangerous.

Advantages of the von Moltke Type

Allows the retention of separate columns up to the last moment.

In case the enemy falls back, the point of concentration can be pushed farther into his territory.

The separation of the columns facilitates the subsistence.

Disadvantages of the von Moltke Type

1. The enemy may appear suddenly in mass and defeat one or more of the columns.

2. Lack of skillful handling may cause the defeat of a single column and jeopardize the success of the whole movement.

3. The movement in parallel columns makes it possible to defeat the heads before their rears arrive and will force a concentration to the rear.

This is what occurred at the first battle of the Marne. The heads of the various German columns engaging the assembled British and French were thrown back and forced to assemble on the Aisne, which was to their rear.

The defeat of Sigel, in the Shenandoah, in the spring of 1864 and the bottling up of Butler at Bermuda Hundred, when the operations of these two forces were part and parcel of the general Federal movement, might have had

a disastrous effect on the general plan, had not the Con­federates virtually lost the war by that time.

4. When the columns are widely separated the in­fluence of the commander-in-chief naturally becomes less and less, and he is dependent on the actions of his sub­ordinates.

The defeat of von Bonin's separate columns at Trau-stanazi when the Crown Prince's army was inarching to unite with Prince. Frederick Charles' might have caused a disaster had the Austrians taken advantage of their success.

Kind of Generals Necessary in the von Moltke Type

"The great majority of the generals must be energetic, circumspect and quite in harmony with the ideas of the com­mander-in-chief."

Kind of Troops Necessary in the von Moltke Type

Troops must be seasoned and of the type that will not be demoralized by an unfavorable turn of affairs.

Application of the Two Principles

The principles of Napoleon and Moltke have both led to great results. They both seek a similar purpose, which is to bring the united action of a superior force into battle.

Each principle is of equal value, each one is appropriate to certain preceding conditions, and neither of them can be arbitrarily applied.


The choice as to which of the two principles is to be our guide in selecting the concentration point for our armies must be made by the commander after careful considera­tion of all the good and bad points of each.

The main idea to keep uppermost is to concentrate the troops so as to be able to have them co-operate on the field of battle.

Strategic Lines of Advance

The line of advance to a strategical attack is largely determined by the location of the objective and, when the army is separated, by the point of concentration. The arranging of these details is of the utmost importance. During the advance the question of supply must be care­fully considered. While the supply question should not dictate the strategy and tactics, yet it is so important that it cannot be ignored. The ability to plan and carry on the operation, to move, and, at the decisive moment, to deploy, must be preserved.

In the Franco-Prussian War, where from six to eight corps were set in march at the beginning in the same direction at the same time, it was comparatively easy for the army to advance, for the system of roads in France was then almost the same as it is now.

The increase in size of armies, and the immense amount of transportation at the rear, makes it imperative that the army be broken into as many columns as the number of roads will allow. In the recent war, we had the Germans advancing west of the Vosges in parallel columns in the following order from right to left:

First Army ..................Von Kluck
Second Army ...............Von Bulow
Third Army ......................Von Hausen
Fourth Army ....................Duke of Wurtemberg
Fifth Army ........................Crown Prince of Prussia

Their advance covered a frontage of about 150 miles and was made generally in columns of army corps. Where roads are scarce it may be necessary to move across country, but of course in a country like western Europe, this can only be done with extreme difficulty.

Napoleon did not always feel called upon to confine his marches to roads and frequently went across country.

Due to the scarcity of roads in Thessaly and South Africa, the Turks and British respectively moved across country.

Parallel Advance

The parallel advance has many advantages, among . which are the following:

First.—Facilitates camping and subsisting.

Second.—Each column has its own line of operations and generally its own line of communications.

Third.—It obviates the chances for confusion among the trains.

Fourth.—Larger masses can be moved.

Fifth.—Halting of one column need not delay another.

In the marching of Stonewall Jackson's troops to Cedar Mountain, columns became intermingled and roads con­gested as a result of his staff not having selected suitable separate roads for respective columns.


First.—A junction will not occur on the battlefield unless the columns are close enough together.

Second.—Danger of obstacles intervening between the roa'ds to prevent rapid co-operation in event of a column being attacked separately.

This" kind of an advance is most efficacious after a decisive battle when pursuing the enemy, or when it is desired to get over a section of country quickly.

Von Schlichting has elaborated on the Moltke idea of parallel lines (von Schlieffen parallel columns) and con­centration on the field of battle in quite an extensive work. He recommends that in case of two columns, the deploy­ment should be by the inner flank. In case there are three parallel columns, the middle one deploys on its center and the outer ones toward their inner flank.

The paramount idea is to direct the main column toward the point of desired contact, the other columns marching by and attempting a double envelopment.

The great danger is that one column may strike the bulk of the enemy and be defeated before the other can assist. This occurred at Trantenau.

In the first battle of the Marne, the Germans were advancing from the Aisne in these so-called von Schlieffen parallel columns when the right columns, namely, those of von Kluck, were hit in the front and right by the British and French respectively. The result was that von Bulow was forced to go to von Kluck's assistance and this, coupled with Foch's skillful maneuvering, forced a German concen­tration to the rear.

The Germans have always favored an advance of this kind, contending that it requires dependable troops and competent column commanders who will act with the required judgment if attacked. Having had what was probably the finest military machine that has ever existed, they thought that they, and they alone, could gain results by accepting this principle as doctrine.

At Tannenberg, we find Samsonov advancing in parallel columns on a front of 25 miles and failing, while von Hin-denburg, advancing in parallel columns, was successful.

The reason is obvious from a study of the map. The Russians, five corps strong, moved in columns west of the Masurian Lake and Forest region. Von Hindenburg first concentrated his forces, according to the Napoleonic idea, east of Thorn and Graudenz. He then waited until -the Russians were well strung out when he struck the heads of their columns, first feinting against their left, and driving that section of their line back on Neidenburg and seizing their communications which led from that flank. The Rus­sians weakened their center to reinforce their left. Mean­while, von Hindenburg, utilizing lorries, omnibuses and taxicabs, moved about 60,000 men around the Russian right, and with two corps and a separate brigade brought down from Rennenkampf's front, drove back the Russians and, in conjunction with his right, surrounded and de­cisively defeated Samsonov's Army of the Narev.

Hindenburg's success was due partly to his knowledge of the country, and partly due to the fact that both rail and dirt road transport were more abundant in his army than in Samsonov's.

In 1870, in the advance from Saar to the Moselle, the Germans moved in parallel columns, yet, when the French made the stand on the Nied, it necessitated a change in the routes of the columns.

While in position north of the Etowah, Johnston, in the Atlanta campaign, had an opportunity to defeat Sher­man's left columns under Schofield and Hooker, when the Federal army was advancing in parallel columns separated by Gravelly Plateau. Due to disobedience of orders by Hood, the opportunity slipped through the Confederates' fingers.

Convergent Advance

As the columns approach the enemy, there must be a closing in. The Japanese columns in Manchuria all marched parallel, but generally converging on the hills south of Liao Yang.

One must not, however, start a convergence too soon, otherwise it will betray to the enemy the point of concentra­tion. And, also, one will be subjected to the inconvenience of congested territory without just cause.

Point of Concenteation

The exact place of concentration cannot be decided upon beforehand. It is not a fixed point, but moves about, so to speak, in a certain area because the hostile army is doing the same thing.

The convergent directions of the columns are given in a general way and they are moved toward a certain district until it becomes evident where the tactical decision is to be expected.

This was what the Prussians did in 1866. They directed their advance toward the area within the boundaries of the Upper Elbe. They happened to get in touch with the Austrians near Gitchin (Jicin). This was a coincidence.

At Tannenberg the point of culmination was Willen-berg, where the two wings of the Germans united. It was well in the rear of the Russian army.

We must not take the term "concentration" to mean literally that the army stands shoulder to shoulder on the same field.

"An army is concentrated when even its most distant corps are able to arrive on the battlefield on the same day at the required time.".

Napoleon expressed his ideas, along these lines, to his brother Joseph as follows:

"January 12, 1806.

"I say to you again, do not divide your forces. Let your entire army cross the Apennines, and let your three corps be directed upon Naples, and so disposed as to be able to unite upon the same field of battle in a single day. In order to concentrate in a day, an army of five corps, with two divisions of cavalry, or from 150,000 to 180,000 men in all, you should have a depth of not to exceed the extent of a day's march and a front of not in excess of twice this distance."

"The most favorable position the several units of an army can occupy is when they are disposed in a semi-circle around the battlefield."

Such was the case with Napoleon on the Danube, in 1806, and with the Prussians at Koniggratz in 1866.

Divergent Advance

Von der Goltz says that the divergent advance is the epilogue of victory.

Having concentrated our forces and fought a vic­torious battle, we now must diverge again for comfort and to expedite the pursuit. However, we must be careful and not start the movement too soon, for with the enemy close at hand, he may strike back in force at one of our col­umns and change a victory into defeat.

After Tannenberg, Hindenburg attempted to cut off Rennenkampf, then holding the lake line. The Ger­mans advanced on a broad front in parallel columns sep­arated in the heavy forests and swamps. Rennenkampf, learning of Samsonov's defeat, fell back across the Niemen, but not before he had checked the German left in a rear guard action at Gumbinnen. The German right was also held up for a day or so at Augustovo. Had Hindenburg kept his forces closer in hand he might have made his victory even more complete.

Campaign in Champagne, 1814

In this campaign, the allies separated to envelop Na­poleon and had their respective columns repeatedly de-

feated by him. Their strategy might have been disastrous had it not been that the disparity of numbers—the allies had 1,025,000 men and Napoleon but 227,000—made Na­poleon's task impossible.

Line of advance of allies: Army of the north, con­sisting of the corps of Bulow and Winzingerode, traversed Belgium, pushed back MacDonald upon Namur; Blucher's army of Silesia crossed the Rhine between Mainz and Co-blenz and advanced on Nancy, which was in front of its left; Grand 'Army of Schwarzenberg, right under Witt­genstein, crossed the Rhine at Breisach, advanced toward Epinal and Saint-Die; center advanced via Neuchatel to­ward Besancon, Auzonne, Dijon and Langres; left under Buba advanced through Switzerland into Jura and got pos­session of the Saone. The plan was to effect a junction of Blucher and Schwarzenberg on the Marne and then to ad­vance on Paris.

One of the reasons that the allies divided their forces and advanced on two occasions on divergent lines was the desire on the part of Blucher to be independent, and a divergent advance would eventually make him so.

Serbs in 1876

In the Serbo-Turkish War of 1876, the Serbs advanced at the outset in four parallel columns consisting of a corps each, and ingloriously failed.

Maeengo, 1800

In 1800, Kray and Melas advanced from the Danube on divergent lines. Melas moved into Italy and Kray along the Rhine. Napoleon, taking advantage of the fact that the Alps separated the two armies, arranged for Moreau to defeat Kray, while he quickly crossed the Alps and de­feated Melas.

Flank Marches

"The march forward to the concentration may not lead exactly to the point most desired, for when gaining contact we may find our position oblique to the enemy or even parallel to it. The result will be that we will have to do some shifting by making flank marches. The safest way

to march by the flank, under these circumstances, is to leave a covering detachment in front and march in the rear of it." One of the most famous flank marches made re­cently was that of the 42d French Division on the Marne when it was taken out of the left of the 9th Army line by Foch, and sent across country, in the rear, to fall sud­denly upon the flanks of the victorious Prussian Guard and Saxons.


Inasmuch as the column is moving across the hostile front, in event of attack, the line can be formed to the flank, the easiest direction for a deployment.


That of being struck in flank and cut in half. Witness the tactical flank march of T. J. Wood's division at Chick-amauga. The flank march is most dangerous when the force making it is not aware of the fact, and the column is sud­denly taken by surprise and struck in the flank. De Failly's force at Beaumont was in this predicament.

Peninsula Campaign, 1862

McClellan's flank march across the Confederate front, in changing his base from White House to Harrison's Land­ing, almost courted disaster. It was no fault of his that the army was not annihilated.

Flank Detachments

If forced to make a flank march, the safest thing to do is to have out a strong detachment on the exposed flank.

If the detachment is too weak, it invites attacks by the enemy at the least favorable moment; and if too strong, it will delay the march of the main army.

The defeat of De Failly's corps at Beaumont, when it was acting as a flank guard to MacMahon's army, is an illustration of too weak a force inviting attack.

In Grant's flank march south, when he crossed the James River after Cold Harbor, his right flank was pro­tected by cavalry, and while this cavalry was driven back,

yet it accomplished its mission, for the Confederates never seriously interfered with the movement.

It is true that a force attacked, while making a flank inarch, is thrown more or less into confusion, for its ob­ject is to reach a certain fixed point and every fight even, if successful, causes delays, and delays mean a certain amount of confusion.

Peninsula, 1862

During this campaign, it was imperative that McClel-lan should reach Harrison's Landing as soon as possible. The attacks at White Oak Swamp and Charles City Cross­roads caused considerable confusion. Had the Confederates managed better, the Civil War might have been won by the capture of McClellan's army.

If the enemy's army is not in motion, a flank march can be more readily carried out, as it requires some time for the enemy to make the necessary deployments. The situation becomes more difficult when the enemy is already in motion and we are trying to slip past the heads of his columns.

Often, we may be forced to attack some of the columns in order to delay them until the balance of the force marches by.

This is what was done at Savage Station in the Penin­sula campaign of 1862.

Flank Marches Necessary

Flank marches are nevertheless necessary, especially if the concentration is in the presence of the enemy, and if done, must be done quickly.

Illustration: Marches of Grant by the flank in the Wilderness.

Radetsky's Flank and Night March in 1848

"In the year 1848, the Piedmontese army, commanded by King Charles Albert, stood upon the heights of Somma-Campagna, eastward of Peschiera, engrossed in covering the siege of that city and observing toward Verona, where the bulk of the Austrian army was under Radetsky.

"Thinking to deliver Peschiera, the Austrian general formed the design of executing a flank march in the direc­tion of Mantua (south), debouching then by the right bank of the Mincio upon the communications of the enemy and attacking him unexpectedly."


First.—Stationed a brigade in front of Verona to attract the attention of the enemy in that direction.

At 9:00 PM, on the 27th of May, the Austrians moved out. in three columns. The right column consisted of a corps. Center of two corps. The left column was made up of the corps cavalry of one of the corps of the central column.


In order to cover the exposed flank, each brigade of the right column furnished a company of infantry and a platoon of cavalry on the right flank, the exposed one.

At daylight, the cavalry of the left column joined the rear of the center column.

On the 28th, the army assembled at Mantua and the brigade left at Verona joined.

On the 29th, the debouchment was made into the Val­ley of the Mincio, the Piedmontese were attacked and de­cisively defeated.


This march illustrates three points that are necessary to the success of a flank movement.

1. An offensive demonstration made in a direction other than that to be pursued.

2. Employment of flankers on the exposed flank.

3. Movement by night.

Night Marches

Night marches have been tried in recent wars in moving of troops over exposed areas for the purpose of getting them into position to attack at daylight.

The great difficulty is in keeping to the road and the danger of suddenly encountering the enemy.

Grant at Spottsylvania Court House in 1864, and Mac-Mahon before Sedan, in 1870, conducted strategic night marches, lighting the way by bonfires. In Grant's case the fires were extinguished by rain, in MacMahon's case, they gave information to the Germans that he.was retiring to the northwest toward Sedan, and was not march-, ing, as was expected, to the relief of Eazaine.

In the tropics marches of concentration are made at night where possible, in order to escape the terrific heat of the day.

As to which form of strategic advance the army will adopt, the commander must decide. There should be no "cut and dried" method, deduced from almost mathemat-ical-Iike computations, such as the Germans had, but each case should be handled by itself, the general deciding as to the best method to be followed in each specific case.

CHAPTER XIV. Special Forms of Strategic Offensive


WE MUST be careful in our study of specific forms not to become academic and think that all we have to do is to store away in the cells of our brains a collection of set forms to be applied with the straightedge and thereby become masters of strategy. There are, however, a few of the simpler forms that always occur in one shape or another which can be isolated and given a name.

Special Forms


1. Frontal attack.

2. Penetration.

3. Attack of a wing.

4. Envelopment.

5. Turning movement.

6. Attack on flank and rear.

Frontal Attack

When the commander knows that he has superior num­bers, he should make for the enemy by the most direct route, strike his main body, and defeat him by sheer weight of numbers. AH artificial aids to magnify the success obtained by superior numbers should be neglected.


"It is the simplest form, facilitating leadership and diminishing the chances of confusion, misunderstanding, and errors."


First.—It does not threaten the enemy's line of re­treat, or communications.

Second.—There is no surprise by the direction of the attack.

To thrust the enemy back by dint of superior numbers or superior fighting power is nothing more than the appli­cation of brute strength.

Having decided upon this form of strategy, full advantage must be sought in energetic action and celerity of movement.

We should not detach troops, the loss of which might weaken us, nor attempt a combination of our frontal attack with some other form unless there are special reasons for so doing, such as the configuration of the terrain, the sys­tem of roads, the peculiar position of our own and the enemy's forces.

Our object is to bring about a battle, as soon as pos­sible, so we must go at it in the simplest, quickest and shortest way.

Campaign in the Civil War, 1864

The plan of Grant for the operations in 1864 was for a strategical frontal attack; a going after the enemy "hammer and tongs" wherever found.

Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905

The Japanese, in Manchuria, adopted the strategical offensive in their advance on Liao Yang for the reason that, to succeed from their point of view, the war had to be short, and the direct advance against the Russians would bring about this condition.

German Rush Through Belgium and France in 1914 The German government had assured the people at home that the war would be a short one and be over in three months. Having superior numbers at the outset, the army had to rush things. They made one mistake, which will always occur when one army rushes madly at another, and that is they became badly strung out on the road and supply agencies could not keep up.

Advance in Parallel Columns

The strategical frontal attack is greatly simplified if combined with a strategical march in parallel columns.

In such a case, the columns are engaged with the en­emy at the same time, but the movement does not neces­sarily promise decisive results, unless the attacker is greatly superior to the defender and, backed up by inexhaustible resources, can simply run over the enemy and ruin him by losses.

The final campaign between Grant and Lee was a cold question of staying powers. Grant had greater resources, more men, and knew that he could win if he adopted simpler movements and relied on his known superiority.

The columns need not necessarily be of equal strength, for the column that is marching in the decisive direction would probably be reinforced the most.

In the Meuse-Argonne, we carried out a strategical frontal attack, reinforcing our left flank, the line of opera­tions of which was in our decisive strategic direction.

It was a cold question of man power, so we used it in the most effective manner.

Later Envelopments and Turning Movements

The strategical frontal attack will probably conclude with an envelopment or a turning movement, just as it did in the Meuse-Argonne, so one must be prepared for it.

We should figure on the section of the hostile line, which if broken, will offer us the attainment of the greatest success and have our reserve nearest that point.

Strategical Penetration

The strategic penetration is an operation consisting of piercing of the hostile front at some point and sep-erating the several parts so as to defeat each in detail. The movement is brought about by massing forces at a certain point, breaking through, and then enveloping some of the forces. The Germans repeatedly did this in the recent war.

It is quite apparent, that if successful, such a move­ment must be attended with the greatest results because:

First.—The two separated wings are open to flank attacks. Second.—The communications of one or both wings are threatened.

Third.—It makes it possible to surround parts of either wing and capture them.

Fourth.—It makes it possible for the assailant to mass superior numbers against one face of the salient while holding off the enemy on the other faee with inferior numbers.

There is a new strategic type called "the action of dislocation" which has been coined as a result of Foch's movement in the battle of the Marne.

This is a form of penetration caused, not by a con­centrated blow, but by mismanagement on the part of the staff, whereby a gap is left in the line of the assailant into which the defender pours his troops, thereby dislocating the line. Such a situation occurred on Foch's right, and into the gap he threw the 42d Division. As soon as the penetrating troops have entered the breach, advantages accruing, as a result of the situation, are the same as when the line is deliberately penetrated.


The great danger in a strategic penetration is that unless there are sufficient reserves to throw in to widen the breach and full advantage is taken of the situation, the wedging force becomes inert and the enemy may mass troops against the faces of the salient, and defeat the troops in it.

This is what happened, to a certain extent, to Gen­eral Byng's attacking forces at Cambrai.

When von Mackensen drove the wedge into Rutsky's line between Strykov and Lodz in November, 1914, during the second attack on Warsaw, the Russian line split into two parts and the Germans interrupted the two Russian north and south railroads to Warsaw. It looked as if von Hindenburg had succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, yet next day, a Siberian corps, coming from the north, and troops arriving from the south from Ivanov's army, struck in on both faces of the salient, cutting off the apex, rees­tablishing the Russian line and nearly annihilating two German corps whose escape was due to the numerical superiority of the Germans, which enabled them to press outward the enclosing Russian forces.

Henry and Donelson

The campaign in western Kentucky and Tennessee in 1862 illustrates the strategical penetration with the pen­etrating force becoming embedded. The two wings of the Confederate army were driven asunder, Johnston retiring toward the southeast and Beauregard toward the south­west. Grant held Forts Henry and Donelson and, although willing and able to move after Johnston, was not allowed to do so on account of an imaginary scare that caused the withdrawal of his gunboats and personal differences with Halleck, due to jealousy of the latter.

The penetration, if properly carried out, results in a series of frontal attacks from central positions, which due to the effect of the highly developed fire action of today, are very difficult to carry out. This will be particularly true if the enemy's forces are united; he is able to assemble them coincident with the penetration, and they are able to co-operate.

This is what happened in the German drive to the Marne in 1918. The allies were able to assemble reserves coincident with the penetration and these reserves were able to co-operate.

Best Time for Penetration

The best time for the penetration is before the strategic concentration.

Frederick the Great in Bohemia

"Frederick the Great entered Bohemia in 1757 at a time when he knew that the Austrians were not assembled , but were strung out billeted between Koniggratz and the Egar River on the west."

"Frederick figured that he could penetrate their extended line and drive Daun to the east, and Prince Charles of Lorraine to the west toward Prague, and defeat each in detail."

"Frederick did not have his army all together but had it distributed over too much country and separated by the Elbe. As a result, the propelling force was not strong enough, and Daun's attempt at the relief of Prince Charles, who was besieged in Prague, was successful."

Political Interests

Political interests may cause armies to retire in op­posite directions if penetrated.

The Austrians, with characteristic self-interest, when the line was penetrated by Napoleon in 1796, in Italy, withdrew away from their helpless ally and not toward him as did Blueher at Waterloo. Political interests doubtless prompted this action.

Illustrations of Bonaparte in 1796

In March, the French army, barely 42,000 strong, spread out upon a line of cantonments extending from the Col di Tenda to Savona, had before it the Piedmontese and Austrian armies. Bonaparte's aim was to divide these forces, and separately overwhelm them.

"The operation to be understood," said he, "is simple. Are the Piedmontese alone? March upon them by Gar-ressio, Bagnasco, La Solata, Castel Nuovo and Montezemolo. Having beaten them, and forced the entrenched camp, lay siege to Ceva."

"Have the Austrians the good sense to unite at Mont­ezemolo with the Piedmontese ? Separate them by marching on Alessandria; and as soon as the separation is ef­fected, give 24 hours to the seizure of the entrenched camp at Ceva." "Once this camp is occupied by us, double forces will be required to compel us to raise the siege of the fortress."

The allies were united but on a very extended front. Napoleon made a demonstration toward Genoa with the result that Beaulieu was drawn in that direction while Colli, with the Piedmontese, guarded the Valley of the Piedmont. This attenuation weakened the center. Bon­aparte saw this and attacked, leaving a force to hold Beau-lieu, turned and defeated the Austrian right under Argen-teau at Montenotte, Millesimo and Debo; and from this moment forced the allies to adopt exterior lines of operation.

Napoleon, as soon as he came into the possession of interior lines, turned against Colli, the weaker, and de­feated him, forcing him to sign an armistice; then turning on Beaulieu pushed him beyond the Po River, thence to the Mincio River, and finally into the Tyrol.

It is hardly probable that in future times we will be able to attack the point of union of two armies allied to­gether as they were in 1796, and effect penetration. Polit­ical insight in times of peace will cause treaties to be made providing for alliances in event of war. And these will be so understood that there will be a certain community of interests that has not existed in the past.

Campaign of Waterloo

Napoleon, having massed his army secretly south of the Sambre River, on the morning of June 15, 1814, launched it forward in three columns. His objective was the Som-bref Crossroads which, if seized, would separate the Brit­ish from the Prussian allies. The communications of each one of the allies diverged from those of the other. On the 16th, Napoleon defeated Blucher at Ligny, but Ney, by his dilatory tactics, allowed the British to assemble at Quatre Bras and defeat him. The British, learning of the defeat at Ligny, retired, and Napoleon urged Ney in vain for an active pursuit. Grouchy, detailed to follow Blucher, whom Napoleon erroneously believed would retire on Liege and Maastricht, lost touch with him.

Napoleon effected the penetration, but there was no celerity by Ney on the 16th, such as Napoleon showed in 1796 after driving back the Austrians. The allies were able to assemble and co-operate at Waterloo.

Due to the increased size of armies, the lightning-like changes of position, such as were made by Napoleon, will be impossible. With European nations that have worked out their mobilization and concentration plans in times of peace, it will be impossible to strike them at the most favor­able moment, i.e., before they have mobilized and concen­trated.

We have seen in the recent war that the strategy adopted, after the first Marne battle, was that of merely trying to work through at the weakest point.

It is difficult to illustrate the special forms of strate­gical and tactical offensives or defensives by operations on the east front in the recent war, for intrigue, treason and disloyalty so honeycombed the high command, that failure occurred for those reasons more often than as a result of inferior strategy and tactics.

Von Mackensen's Penetration in the Spring of 1915

Having failed to force the Grand Duke to withdraw from the Carpathians by operating in Poland, von Hin-denburg, who had been placed in charge of affairs on the east front, conceived another plan.

It was to allow the Grand Duke to continue with his endeavors to seize the passes of the Carpathians, meanwhile attracting his attention from the vital point by operations against his flanks.

So von Hindenburg first attacked Warsaw from the west, using this movement to cover the advance against the Russian northern flank in East Prussia, which terminated with the Russians again on the Niemen.

Almost immediately after the operation in East Prus­sia started, a movement against the extreme southern flank was inaugurated. The Austrian general, Pflanzer, advanced toward Dolina and the valley of the Pruth, occupying Stanislau.

The Grand Duke rushed assistance against both of these movements which resulted in their being driven back.

Whether the respective retreats were voluntary or in­voluntary it matters not, for they further accomplish their purpose by giving to the Grand Duke a sense of feeling of security as to his flanks.

Meanwhile, Mackensen, taking advantage of Cracow as a railroad center, was gathering troops and material in that vicinity, preparing to act on the flank of the Russian armies that were operating in the Carpathians, and as success depended upon secrecy, the Germans who had the matter in hand, did all they could to conceal their plans. This is why they gave such a publicity to their attacks at Borizmow, west of Warsaw, the battle of Lyck, and their efforts in Courland.

Aerial observation in the Carpathians and their foot­hills is very difficult in the winter, during which this con­centration was going on.

The result was that the Grand Duke continued ac­cumulating forces for the capture of the Carpathians, leav­ing his Carpathian right flank weak.

On April 28th, Mackensen's army, reinforced by 2,000 guns, started its penetration, which, as has been shown, came as a surprise, and before it had spent itself, the Rus­sians were virtually cut off from Galicia. In a study of military history, one will find no more perfect strategical penetration than this. The three elements, namely, rapidity, secrecy and surprise were present to a superlative degree.

Single and Double Leadership

The disadvantage of double leadership is well illustrated on the western front during The World War. It was not until Foch was made generalissimo that true co-ordination occurred. Even then, there was not absolute harmony.

Point of Union of the Two Armies

By a study of hostile concentration, one can guess as to where the union of the two armies is and, in that event, an attack may be more successful if launched at that point.

This is what the Germans repeatedly endeavored to do in the recent war, and their final drive was a last grand effort to separate the British and the French armies before the United States was in in force.

Action in Event op This Penetration

In the event of effecting this penetration at the point of junction of the two armies, the danger of being tactically invested can be rapidly obviated if one of the opposing armies can be decisively defeated immediately after the first blow.

One of the best, and doubtless the most complete illus­trations of the strategic penetration, is the battle of Vit-torio-Veneto that culminated with the Austrian armistice in the recent war.

The features of celerity and surprise were present, and the Italian wedge was not allowed to become imbedded, but swift action followed swift action, with the result that the Austrians were annihilated.


In this battle, the Italian strategic plan was a pene­tration between the Austrian masses in the Trentino and those of the Piave. The 6th and 5th Austrian Armies, in the order named from north to south, were deployed on the Italian east front between the Grappa and the sea; The line of communication ran from the right rear of the 6th Army—a most dangerous location.

The line of communication was Vittorio-Conegliano-Sacile. By seizing Vittorio, the 6th Army, in' the center, was at the mercy of the Italians.

Having penetrated at the weakest point, namely, the junction between the two armies, the idea was to seize the communications of the armies of the Piave and, at the same time, attack through Feltre and Belluno, the left of the Trentino army in co-operation with an attack on its front, and, proceeding through the Cismone and Sugana Valleys also to threaten its communications.

The success of the movement was based essentially on surprise and on rapidity of movement.

By the 28th of October, the 8th Italian Army had broken through on the east front, turning back the right of the Piave group, while their 10th and 3d Armies held the Austrians in front.

" The 4th Italian Army attacking the left of the Tren­tino group, with the co-operation of the 12th Army toward Feltre, had driven the Austrians back and penetrated their front, thus assisting the Piave group in the valley.

The Italians continued to widen the breach in the Bel­luno Valley by the co-operation of their 8th and 12th Armies. The Italian armies on the flanks of the 8th and 12th, by active operations, caused the Austrians to weaken their center to secure reinforcements.

As soon as the main Austrian lines began to give away, the Italians, supported by the navy on the right, began to push forward.

The 1st and 6th Italian Armies moved against the Trentino group, with the 4th and 12th enveloping the hostile left and the 7th the hostile right. Meanwhile in the valley, the 3d, 10th, and 8th Armies shoved back the Piave group.

The result was a general dissolution of the Austrian armies.

A sufficiently large breach having been made between the two armies, the cavalry and motor corps were thrown in and started cutting off bodies of troops, interrupting communications, seizing towns, etc. They pushed on toward Udine, Gorizia, Tolmino, Palmanova and, in fact, all impor­tant places. The Austrians were in such a complete rout that all that remained for them was to ask for an armistice which they did November 4th.

Strategical Attack of a Wing

The strategical attack of a wing is merely a second stage of a penetration. With a successful penetration, the gap is widened by throwing in reinforcements. In order to meet this, the enemy must form front to flank with each separated wing, either one of which may be attacked while the other is held off.

Conditions That Must be Observed

1. One wing of the enemy must be decisively defeated or driven back.

2. Our own refused wing must be strong enough to hold the attention of the enemy or, if forced to retire, will be able to check the enemy long enough to allow our other wing to accomplish its victory.

3. The deciding wing must be strong enough, after crushing its opponent, to turn on the remaining wing.

4. The communications must be secure.

An attack upon a wing and the surrounding of it is a result of the penetration, and a situation, that, of course, is ideal. One must be able to throw superior numbers against that wing, however.

ULM, 1805

Napoleon effected his penetration of the Austrian stra­tegic front while the Austro-Italian army and the Russian allies were too far apart. With 180,000 men, he surrounded Mack's wing and forced its surrender at Ulm, at the same . time holding Davoust's corps along the Inn River to block off the Russians. Having eliminated Mack, Napoleon moved his forces to the east, and at Austerlitz defeated the com­bined Russian and Austrian armies.

At the beginning of the war of 1870, the Germans intended to do something of this kind. They planned to destroy the French right wing in Lower Alsace first, and then to envelop the main army in Lorraine from the south, so as to push it northward away from communications with Paris. The battle of Spicheren, which caused the French to retreat to the Moselle line, interfered with the plan. But later, on the other side of the Moselle, the plan was realized in an altered form through the operations that lead to the battle of Sedan.

The strategical attack of the wing will probably be the most usual form of strategic attack in the future.

Diaz carried out the most successful one of modern times at Vittorio-Veneto. After penetrating, he proceeded to efface the Piave group and was successful.

Strategical Envelopment

By strategical envelopment, is meant a simultaneous attack on the front and one or both flanks of a theater of war.

Point of Culmination

In an envelopment, we must figure on a point of cul­mination and, inasmuch as we do not wish a junction in front of the enemy, since then we would not envelop him, we must have it in rear of his lines.


The movement from necessity must be wide to sueceed, consequently the danger exists of (1) advancing on separate lines of operations; (2) the enemy becoming aware of the movement and, while merely containing the frontal attack, turning in force on the enveloping attack and annihilating it.

If the envelopment is not well carried out, the enemy may discover it and withdraw to a location beyond the point of culmination—the result being that the attackers' forces come together in front of the hostile line with nothing left to do but make a straight frontal attack.

"If the hostile army is to be enveloped on one or both flanks while the front is being attacked at the same time, the envelopment must be initiated early, and based laterally in accordance with the front desired to be enveloped. The enveloping army must have sufficient start on the armies attacking the front, so as to co-operate with them in the combat before the issue in front is decided. The rate of marching of both the portions must accordingly be brought to harmonize."

The whole point of an envelopment is to keep it a secret. This manifestly is quite difficult with modern air­craft and the means of transmitting information.

It can be carried out by small armies numbering a few hundred thousand, but with the whole force of a state, it will manifestly be impossible to make such a substantial shift as would be necessary and not have it detected.

The German army, in 1914, tried to envelop the French army with von Kluck's force, but the French, forecasting the plan, slipped Maunoury's 6th French Army around von Kluck's right and, in conjunction with the British army in front, von Kulck's army was enveloped.

The envelopment with an army such as the one that fought on the western front can only be carried out by with­drawing troops and reserves from one section to extend the line in the desired direction of envelopment.

Effect on the Enemy

If the enemy is not yet ready for us, the advance of a strategical envelopment, simultaneously felt at several points, will confuse him, cause changes in his dispositions and bring about a splitting up of his forces available for defense.

This changing of dispositions is what occurred on the part of the Austrians at Koniggratz. At Liao Yang, Kuro-patkin kept shifting his troops from his right to his left . to prevent Kuroki's extension without avail. On the Sha-Ho and at Mukden the same thing occurred with the result that Kuropatkin wore out his reserves, and on many occasions did not have them where most needed.

Frederick the Great achieved advantage of this kind in 1757, when he invaded Bohemia in four columns. He enveloped the enemy and in the attempt to stop him, one whole Austrian corps, namely, that of Serbelloni, was absent from the battle of the Prague.

Superior Numbers

If we were to assume that all armies are equal in efficiency, we might then say that only the one with superior numbers can envelop. Since all armies are not equally efficient, we at times find the weaker, but the more efficient, enveloping.

This was the case at Liao Yang where the Japanese, though of inferior strength, enveloped the Russian left. On the Sha-Ho, taking advantage of the mountainous condi­tions of the country held by their right wing, the Japanese weakened it to send troops to reinforce their left for the purpose of enveloping the Russian right and then, when the Russian center of gravity swung in that direction, moved forward with their right.

At Mukden, it was a complete double envelopment.

Forces a Battle

The strategical envelopment forces an enemy to fight, who might otherwise fall back.

The principal characteristic of a maneuver of this kind is that all is attained at one blow.

On July 3, 1866, during the battle of Koniggratz, the grim fight was going on with,ever-changing success, and the second army under the Crown Prince had not arrived. In the early hours of the afternoon the King asked the chief of staff what he thought of the situation. The latter replied, "Your Majesty is winning today, not only the battle but the campaign."

As in the case of an attack on a wing, which is the same thing magnified, the envelopment may result from a preliminary penetration.

Bears Results on the Battlefield

If the envelopment either wholly or in part encircles the hostile army, there is success on the battlefield.

The Austro-German drive that broke through the Ital­ian line in October of 1917 bore its fruits on the field, for the Italians lost approximately 200,000 men and 1,200 guns.

Generally No Pursuit

There is generally no pursuit, for the reason that the troops advancing along concentric lines naturally, as the lines approach, become intermingled.

After Koniggratz, when the troops of the Crown Prince and Prince Frederick Charles met on the heights around Chlum, they were badly mixed up, and a vigorous pursuit was not made.

There was no real pursuit after Liao Yang, not on ac­count of the fact .that enveloping strategy was used, but' because the Japanese were in sore need of reinforcements and ammunition. They were also short in cavalry.

After the envelopment of the Piave group in the Vit-torio-Veneto battle, the Italian cavalry, assisted by the motor corps, went forward and carried out a most effective pursuit.

Double Base

If the assailant has a double base and angular fron­tier, an envelopment will be easy. The great advantage that the Austrians and Germans had on the east front was due to their reentrant frontier which enabled them, when their efforts were co-ordinated, to advance on convergent lines against the Russians and envelop them.

The Two Most Important Requirements With Regards to Troops

For the success of this movement, the two most im­portant requirements that the assailant must possess are:

1. Tactical superiority of the troops.

2. Uniformly good leadership.

"During the uprising in 1793 in La Vendee, the Re­publican armies tried a double envelopment and signally failed, due to the fact that, notwithstanding their superior numbers, their troops were too poor in quality for such maneuvers."

Double Envelopment

A double envelopment is a dangerous maneuver to attempt unless the assailant has superior numbers, so much so, that either of the enveloping groups can maintain itself until the other begins to make its presence felt.

The Federals at Missionary Ridge attempted a double envelopment, Sherman enveloping the Confederate right while Hooker enveloped the left.

Sherman was checked before Hooker was heard from, and had it not been for the fact that Sheridan and T. J. Wood, taking advantage of a faulty location of the hostile trenches and contrary to orders, attacked and broke the Confederate center, the -story of that battle might have been different.

The enveloping maneuver is essentially a maneuver for a trained army and was consequently the form of strat­egy that the Germans relied upon. They thought that they had tactical superiority of troops and uniformly good leaders.

Possible Toward the Close of War

We may have a strategic envelopment toward the close of a war as a result of one army becoming disarranged and its means of obtaining and transmitting information having broken down.

In The World War, there was very little chance for enveloping movements of a strategical nature after the al­lies on the west front settled down to war of position.

Strategical Turning Movement

"When the attack not only envelops the enemy's flank, but reaches so far to his rear that his communications are threatened, and he is forced into such a position that defeat would cut him off, then the envelopment has become a turning movement."

The turning movement is nothing more than a form of envelopment carried so far that it threatens the enemy's communications.

Difficult to Carry Out in the Future

The execution of a strategic turning movement will be difficult in the future for the reason that:

1. The concentration being restricted to a certain definite district, it will be difficult for the turning force to gain its distance.

2. The size of the force will be so great that the details of movement may become complicated. Modern strategy demands simple movements and such a movement is not one.

4. The modern reconnaissance service renders concealment difficult.

5. The element of surprise will be missing.

The same counter-moves by the enemy that jeopardize the success of the attack of a wing and envelopment likewise endanger the success of the turning movement.

Austrian Invasion of Serbia in 1914

This campaign was a brilliant example of a turning movement that was frustrated by the more rapid move­ments of the defender who took advantage of his interior lines.

The Austrian first plan for the offensive against Ser­bia was based on the natural disposition of the Austrian forces north of the Danube and Save, and those in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Under the assumption that the Austrians would attack Belgrade from the north, the Serbs had concentrated be­tween the Morava and Kolubara Rivers south of Belgrade.

The Austrians had the option of holding on the north and attacking from the west or the reverse.

The plan finally decided upon was to seize the heights on either side of the Jadar River in conjunction with a turning movement from the north toward Shabatz in order to drive the Serbs into the valley. The principal ele­ment of rapidity and secrecy was missing.

General Putnik, the Serbian commander, as soon as he learned of the Austrian design, moved his veterans, tried by previous campaigns, quickly to the heights in ques­tion which were some 40 miles away.

When the invading hordes crossed the boundary line into the Jadar Valley, they found the enemy in their posi­tion awaiting them.

A general action ensued in which the Austrians were badly managed, became confused, and finally broke and fled in all directions.

The northern force was slow, but hearing the way things were going south, moved to the assistance of their comrades, but arrived too late.

The southern force having been routed, the northern force withdrew across the Save.

Turning Movements in the Future

This movement, in The-World War, was generally a succeeding stage of penetration. The penetration having been made, a series of engagements followed in which the defender, in falling back, gradually lost his communications while the attacker gradually gained possession of them in the same measure. In future wars it will probably be similar.

Allenby's advance through Philistia and into Judea, culminating in the fall of Jerusalem, included a series of strategical envelopments and turning movements that started at Gaza, showing that movements of this nature, although difficult, are not improbable.

Strategic Fronts Parallel

The concentration of armies in the future will prob­ably be on fronts more or less parallel, and such being the case, a turning movement will only be possible as a result of a general shifting of the line until one flank overlaps the enemy, when an envelopment will occur, growing into a turning movement and then an attack of a wing.

"The defender, however, will not quietly look on while troops are taken from his front to be used against his flank and rear but will follow the assailant's lead, bar his road or attack him, so that the turn, even if successful, will involve a series of engagements."

The Extension to the Sea in 1914

The battle of the Aisne demonstrated that the allies ' could not break the German lines by a frontal attack. The Germans, from whom the allies hoped to wrest the initiative, were regaining it.

Joffre now attempted to envelop the German right by shifting troops from his right to his left and, moving from the direction of Amiens, to strike in on the network of railroads by which the Germans obtained their supplies.

The strategic deployment at this time from east to west was as follows:

Dubail held the Voages with right at Belfort.

Castelnau with the 2d Army, was covering Nancy, confronted by the Bavarians under their Crown Prince.

Sarrail's 3d Army covered Verdun, confronting the Imperial Crown Prince.

Langles' 4th Army was in Champagne, confronting the Duke of Wurtemberg.

Foch's new 9th Army confronted von Billow along the Aisne.

Next in order came d'Esperey's 5th Army, the British army and Maunoury's 6th Army, confronting von Kluck's and part of von Bulow's armies.

Castelnau, placed in command of the new 7th Army, being in part his old 2d Army, was shifted from the vicinity of Nancy to the west of the Oise to find his old opponent, Prince Rupprecht, confronting him. Rupprecht's place in Lorraine was taken by a new army under von Strantz. Maud'huy was brought from the Aisne to command the new 10th Army, ten days after Castelnau's movement ex­tended the left of the line to the vicinity of Arras, encoun­tered his old opponent von Bulow in his front. Von Bulow's place on the Aisne front had been taken by von Heeringen from Alsace. Now follows the desperate fight­ing for the Albert plateau.

This extension is now met by the Germans who take the lead and shift the Duke of Wurtemberg's army to the vicinity of Lens, their original position being taken by a new army under von Einen, whereupon Foch is shifted to that vicinity and given complete command of the armies north of Noyon. Now follows the fighting on the Iser, at La Bassee and Arras. The British are now shifted to the north to extend Maud'huy's left, their places being taken by a new French 8th Army under d'Urbal.

Von Besseler, Antwerp having fallen, now strikes south and driving the Belgians before him, continues the German line to the sea, but his movement is met by Sir John French, later supported by the 8th French Army, and the terrific fighting at Ypres and West Flanders ensues.

It can be seen from this general description how diffi­cult it is for either army to envelop the other when fronts are parallel and troops are numbered in hundreds of thou­sands.

First the French tried to turn the Germans and then the Germans tried the French, and both failed.


Grant's movement on the 4th of May, 1864, is an example of the strategical turning movement.

He had the option of turning the right or left flank of Lee's army. He chose the right because he would not be held to one line of communications and, if that were cut, be helpless and forced to retreat.

Grant began the wide turning movement around Lee's right with the intention of placing his own army across Lee's line of communication and forcing him to fight with his front to flank. In that position if Lee were defeated, he would have been cut off from Richmond, his base. Lee did not quietly look on and let Grant disappear from his front but from the summit of Clark's Mountain saw the move and only delayed long enough to be sure that Grant was well into the Wilderness before attacking him.

Up to the afternoon of the 4th, the advantage was with Grant, for Lee had waited too long in delivering his counter-stroke.

Grant was now dilatory in that he did not push on dur­ing the afternoon and evening of the 4th and get out of the Wilderness, but waited for his attenuated supply train.

The advantage now passed to Lee who moved against Grant's right flank and brought him to bay with front to flank with a counter-stroke.

Grant's communications were threatened, but Grant had forestalled disaster in that event by making arrange­ments to transfer them to Fredericksburg. Yet Ewell and Early lost their opportunity on the afternoon of the 5th in not sweeping down on Sedgwick's right, and cutting in on the old line and putting the transportation hors de combat before the transfer to Fredericksburg could be made. The loss of his wagon transportation would have unquestionably put an end to Grant's forward movement, even though he had a new base at Fredericksburg.

Marengo, Jena and Auerstadt, and the operation lead­ing up to the investment of Metz offer brilliant illustra­tions of successful strategical turning movements.

Battles With Reverse Fronts

Strategical turning movements, from their nature, gen­erally lead to a battle with reversed fronts. And the side that turns the enemy and deprives him of his communi­cations has at the same time abandoned his own. The de­cisive battle must therefore necessarily terminate in the total defeat of one side or the other. This is what Napoleon always strove to attain.

If successful, of course, the victor's communications are restored.

Must Not be Dilatory

The turning movement, if it is to succeed, must in ad­dition to being secret, be executed quickly, for if done in a dilatory manner, the enemy may withdraw or even fall upon the turning force and intercept its communications.

Likewise, the containing force must not be too active or the enemy will withdraw, nor too passive, or the enemy will discover what is going on.

Lule Burgas, 1912

At Lule Burgas, in the Bulgarian war with Turkey, it was Savoff's plan to attack the hostile front with his III Army and envelop it, turning its left with the I Army and cavalry corps. But the III Army was too impetuous, and the I Army too slow, with the result that the Turks were driven back all along the line and the envelopment failed. Not even the cavalry got up, but this was brought about by the terrible condition of the country, due to rain and mud.

The Strategical Attack on Flank and Rear

The strategical attack on the flank of a hostile frontier in modern times will probably result from a breaking of fortified lines. The attacker will try to deceive the enemy as to the point of strongest attack and then break through, after which he will proceed to roll up the inner flank of the pierced line.

St. Mihiel in 1914

In the operations against the Verdun-Toul line this is what the Germans tried to do: Their aim being to break the line south of Verdun and, advancing to Revigny, west of Bar le Due, to co-operate with the Crown Prince who was attacking from the north. Von Strantz's army, while fail­ing to carry Fort Troyon, did break through at St. Mihiel and secured possession of the bridge across the Meuse at that point. This movement was checked west of the Meuse fay the French cavalry.

The introduction of modern means of communication will make movements of this kind improbable in the future. Just as the movement toward Revigny was prevented by the arrival of reinforcements opposite the piercing army, and by counter-attacks on its flanks, so will similar move­ments be prevented in the future.


In the military operations in the northern Balkans, there are several illustrations of attacks on flank and rear.

In 1916, when Roumania entered the war, the situa­tion was almost a "battle royal." Bulgaria, to the south, had to be accounted for. Von Mackensen had been sent to take charge of the mixed force, operating in the rear of Roumania. General Sarrail, who commanded in Mace­donia, was ordered to move on the Bulgars from the south while General Zainchovsky with a Russian force was to move through Dobruda against von Mackensen, who was protecting the Bulgarian rear along the Danube, and threat­ening the Roumanian rear. The Russian general figured that von Mackensen would merely remain on the defensive and so arranged to invade Bulgaria. Von Mackensen, how­ever, made a false concentration at Dobritch on the Russian front, and then moved quickly by his left flank to turn the Russian right, first capturing the Danube fortresses of Turtukan and Silistria. The Russian general, hearing of their fall, and being apprehensive of his communications, fell back to the line of the Danube-Black Sea Railroad. The Bulgars in Macedonia, while tactically defeated, held up Sarrail, so there was no strategic danger to be anticipated from him. Von Falkenhayn now swinging around to the south­east connected with von Mackensen and drove the Rouman­ians out of Wallachia into Moldavia, and captured their capital. The opportunity offered von Mackensen was ex­ceptional and he took advantage of it like a Napoleon.

Strategical Attacks on the Rear

Attacks of this kind which are given a separate class­ification by strategists are nothing more than a final stage of a wing attack. That a hostile army will get in the strat­egical rear of another in modern war does not seem prob­able, yet that is what von Mackensen did in the operations in Roumania and it was only with extreme difficulty that the Roumanians extricated themselves. Should there be a mod­ern Ulm it could only be a result of deliberate treason.

The Strategic Square

This is an expression coined by Jomini under the name "carre strategique" and was a typical formation of Na­poleon. He always marched his forces with a center column flanked by a column on either side, about a day's march away.

The division and corps in each column followed with not more than a day's march distance.

The fronts of the three columns were covered by cav­alry.

Marching in this formation, deployment could be made on any element or in any direction.

At Jena, his left column at the outset was under Lannes, his center under Bernadotte and his right under Soult.

On the 12th of October, when Hohenlohe was parallel to the Wiemar-Jena Road, he was also parallel to Napoleon's line of march, consequently upon learning this, Napoleon had his left column slow up while his center column (Bern­adotte and Davoust) pushed on through, and his right col­umn (Soult and Ney) turned north and became the center column. Next day Davoust pushed out toward Auerstadt as the right column, Bernadotte toward Apolda as the center

column, and the balance of the army toward Jena as the left column; thereby making a complete wheel to the north.

The complete wheel of the Germans was carried out in their pursuit of MacMahon in 1870 by marching eche­loned from left to right, the III Army on the left being forward while the IV Army on the right was retired.

Grant at Vicksburg adopted the strategic square, Mc-Pherson's corps was the right column, Sherman's the center and McClernand's the left. When the Confederates ap­peared at Jackson, McPherson passed on to Clinton while Sherman turned toward Raymond, becoming the right col­umn.

The weakness of Napoleon's formation was that he commanded the center column and, as a result, the others merely became flank guards.

To get the greatest results, all column commanders should have equal authority.

Mass Maneuver

The French "mass maneuver" is similar to the strate­gic square and was the basis of their deployment for the de­fense of France in The World War.

Not knowing exactly where the German main attack would come, the army was formed on the two faces, namely, the eastern and northern. The reserves were to the south and east of Paris, behind the Verdun-Toul line, and about Chalons, Langres, Dijon and Besancon.

They really formed a "timed" square.

The apex of the square, or lozenge, or pivoting square, or strategical vanguard, as it is variously called, was at Namur.

The idea of the pivot is that if the enemy throws its greatest weight against one face of the salient, that face will naturally recede rapidly, swinging the other faces for­ward until they envelop the enemy.

The greater weight was first thrown against the east­ern face of the salient which withdrew followed by the French and British on the northern face. Consequently, the reserves were shifted to the west and the line extended until von Kluck was enveloped and the greater pressure brought against the German right.

In the course of this chapter, reference has been made to attacks, penetrations, flank attacks, etc., as special forms of the strategical offensive which are to be classified accord­ing to their characteristics. The impression must not be left that it is merely a question of choosing the most suitable form and then applying it blindly.

The Decisive Strategical Direction

The main effort should be aimed in the direction that if taken and successful, will bring about the greatest results viewed from the strategical viewpoint.

That direction might be toward the point of junction of two allied armies, or toward the flank of a single army in rear of which its line of communications leads- to its base, or toward the direction from which reinforcements are expected. It will be seen that in event of the success of the movement, the total defeat of the enemy results.

The Decisive Tactical Direction

The direction of the attack on the battlefield should be such as to facilitate tactical victory without defeating the general strategical plan.

In the Confederate invasion of Maryland in 1862, after McClellan found Lee's S. O. 101, his decisive strategi­cal direction was against the right flank of the troops assembling at Sharpsburg, for that was the flank that con­nected the Confederates with their supplies coming down the Shenandoah Valley.

Apparently McClellan's idea was to drive the Confed­erates back onto the Potomac; for the stronger Federal force was to the north. If that was his strategical plan, attacking the Confederate left was the correct thing to do as the ground in that vicinity facilitated tactical victory.

But if McClellan's strategical plan was to cut off Lee from the Potomac, then his main effort should have been directed toward Sharpsburg and the south, and his de­cisive tactical direction would have been toward the Con­federate right. To show that there were no insurmount­able tactical difficulties to defeat the attack in that direc­tion, we have but to recall that Burnside actually crossed the Antietam in the neighborhood of Burnside Bridge and

Snavely Ford, and was driving back the Confederate right, when A. P. Hill fortuitously arrived and struck the attack­ing troops in flank.

There can be no question but that the decisive stra­tegical direction should govern, for a study of campaigns shows that there are no insurmountable tactical difficulties to a determined commander.

The characteristic feature of Napoleon's campaigns and battles is that he always selected the point of attack after a general consideration of the whole situation and on strategical ground, heedless of the tactical difficulties which might possibly exist.

Napoleon's battles prove, that for a modern army, there are no tactical difficulties that cannot be overcome, and thus his battles were always attended with the greatest results. At Marengo, it was the surrender of the army of Melas; at Ulm it was the capture of the army of Mack; at Jena and Auerstadt it was the routing of the allied army; and at Wagram, it was the complete defeat of the army of Archduke Charles.

This choice is hardly ever free. One's position and that of the enemy, the relation between the armies and the nature of the theater of war determine the decision as to the form to be chosen.

it has been seen how varying Napoleon I and Moltke were in their measures, although certain ways of operating have been designated here as typical of each formation. These examples only serve as models.

It is not a matter of always doing the one thing, but rather of carrying on the strategical attack to which con­ditions force us, of taking into consideration the peculiar­ities of the movement, and of recognizing the dangers that are associated with it. Circumstances will generally show the way in which one can most easily attain victory and it would be incorrect, in by far the greatest number of cases, to desist from this way in order to proceed in another that is considered especially efficacious.

Having decided upon a plan, carry it out as long as it is working all right and do not allow yourself to be at­tracted from it by any other scheme, no matter how allur­ing it may be.

CHAPTER XV. Tactical Offensive Operations with Special Forms


THE LAST part of a strategical offensive is the tactical culmination on the field of battle. The object of all tactical offensive operations is to attack the enemy and, if that enemy can be caught in mo­tion, it will be much easier than if he is "dug in" on the field of battle.

At the first battle of the Marne, the attack of the 42d French Division might not have been so successful had the Prussian Guard not been in motion.

Tactical Superiority

"To succeed on the battlefield, we must have tactical superiority.

"This not only refers to numbers but more particularly to morale, discipline, leadership and training.

"The infantry is still the 'Queen of Battle' and must go forward, hold or retire, and everything else goes with it.

"Tactical superiority also means carefully laid plans, most minute arrangements and unwavering adherence to the scheme determined upon."

A blind rush can only be justified when we are so superior to the enemy that it matters not how it is done so long as the attack is done quickly.

The blind rush at Fredericksburg, while manifesting an almost commendable disregard of death, has no place on a field of battle. A member of the Washington artillery of New Orleans said that not before nor thereafter in the course of the war, and he participated in the entire conflict with the Army of Northern Virginia, was there such a charge. The troops moved forward without the elan that

should characterize a forward movement, but appeared to be moving in pursuance to a sense of duty. Having been charge they were determined to take their punish­ment like men. With the hopelessness of despair they moved forward to certain defeat.

Our desire to avoid precipitation must not cause us to be too cautious and delay our moves at the expense of tactical advantage.

"A general who sees that he will be stronger tomorrow, yet attacks today, commits an error unless he has a reason­able ground for thinking the enemy will slip away in the night."

On the other hand, a general who keeps fresh troops for the day after the battle almost always is beaten.


At Chickamauga, there was no urgent need for Bragg to atttack on the 20th of September. Had he waited a few days he would have had four more of Longstreet's infantry brigades and Alexander's artillery. There was no danger of Rosecrans slipping away.


Whether or not McClella'n was beaten at Antietam is a matter that has occasioned much discussion, but had he put in Fitz-John Porter's 5th Corps there would have been no question about it.


Had von Alvensleben waited, on the 16th of August, 1870, in all probability Bazaine would have made good his escape to Verdun.

Allowing the Strategical Situation to Mature

"While we must be careful not to allow our tactical advantage to slip away, yet we must not be too precipitous but must wait for the strategical introduction to ripen."

The allies erred in this respect before the battle of Austerlitz. Prussia was on the point of declaring for them.

She intended completing her preparations. by the middle of December. By making skillful dispositions, the Arch­duke Charles could have led from 40,000 to 50,000 men into Moravia. Three weeks later the allies would have been able to take the field in much greater strength than they could at the end of November. The general situation invited delay. In spite of this, the allies proceeded over hastily to attack.

The Right Time

"The right time will generally be reached when we have brought the greater part of our troops so close to­gether that their co-operation on the chosen field of attack is assured. At the same time, we must be sure that the enemy is not able to deploy a superior force there. We can often succeed in this by determining which hostile organi­zations are too far to arrive in time." Good and numerous cavalry will find this out for us, to say nothing of the aircraft.

Sidney Johnston, at Shiloh, had figured on the prob­able time of arrival of Buell,.and thought he could defeat Grant before the former could join him. Had a little more care been taken regarding logistics and tactical for­mations, he might have realized his plan.


Moltke, in 1866, well knew that he would find some Austrians at Gitchin, but he was satisfied that, when he encountered them, he would have the necessary superior­ity of numbers, so he selected that point as the point of culmination. Moltke had made a careful study of the marching powers of the Austrians.

Rapidity, energy and surprise are more important in the tactical than the strategic offensive.

"Surprise is an essential element of a successful at­tack. In small, as well as large operations, the effect of surprise should constantly be striven for. This effect is attained by concealment of the place or time of attack, coupled with rapidity of maneuver. Concealment of the point of attack permits the assailant to concentrate superior forces and gain the time required for the prosecution of a sustained offensive, before its action can be countered by a hostile concentration. Concealment of the time of attack favors the moral effect, which is the essence of all offensive action, and prevents the defense from taking timely counter-measures."

"The effect of surprise must be reinforced and ex­ploited by fire superiority. The advance can dispense with fire protection only when covered by darkness, fog, or smoke."


The principle of co-operation and mutual support should regulate the conduct of all troops, regardless of arms.

In other words, successful troop leading is indispen­sable.

The requisites to a successful tactical offensive are:

First.—Superiority of artillery fire.

Second.—Superiority of small arms, machine guns and ac­companying weapons fire at the first firing position. Third.—Shock action.

The offensive, if it is to succeed, must be followed by an assault.

This will probably come in the nature of local assaults against weaker parts of the line and will be delivered by each group at the earliest moment that promises success.

"Where the assault is prepared by the fire of artillery, machine guns, and accompanying weapons, then fire ceases or is lifted off the objective either at a prearranged hour, or by preconcerted signal."

A battle cannot be won by fire action alone, for you seldom can shoot an enemy out of position.

The British often in South Africa shelled the enemy for hours without doing any considerable amount of dam­age, for when the infantry advanced, they were met by a withering fire.


This is what happened at Magersfontein. The British shelled the Boers for two hours, sweeping the crests and top of the kopjes which were not held, the trenches, unbe-

known to the British, being at the bottom of the slopes. Under cover of darkness and rain, the Highland Brigade moved forward and, when they were about 550 yards away from the Boer trenches, were, met with a withering fire showing clearly that the Boers had not been shot out of position.

In the recent war, the enemy was often shelled inces­santly with no results, as he quickly manned his trenches unless the assailant's advance was covered by a rolling barrage.

Dispositions for Attack

In a war of position, all dispositions are made under cover, troops utilizing communication trenches to proceed to the "jumping-off" trenches if they exist.

They line up on the tape, "jumping-off" from it or the trench, as the case may be, at H hour.

In a war of movement, it will require greater care to assure the co-operation among the troops and effective fire action.

Getting the desired direction will be much more difficult.

Jumping-off Point

This is easily selected in trench warfare, but in open warfare it is not so easy.

Features of topography that mark the line must be those that are easily located on the ground.

Advancing the Attack

"Where troops are not in contact with the enemy prior to the attack, the assaulting echelon must ordinarily ad­vance a long distance before it is justified in opening fire. It cannot combat the enemy's artillery, and it is at a dis­advantage if it combats the defender's long range rifle and machine gun fire. Hence it ignores both, and by taking full advantage of cover and of the discipline of the troops ad­vances to a first firing position at the shortest range possible."

"At long range, the best protection of advancing troops against loss consists in their own movement and the util­ization of cover from view. It should be impressed on all

ranks that cover alone does not diminish losses, but that their best protection consists in the most rapid possible advance to a point where they can make most effective use of their own weapons. By clinging to cover and opening fire at long range, they play into the enemy's hands by en­gaging in a fire fight in which they are at a relative dis­advantage, and moreover constitute a stationary target upon which his artillery can easily range.

"It will sometimes be necessary to cross fire-swept zones by the advance of individuals who work their way forward separately and re-form on a designated position."

"It will frequently become necessary for infantry mov­ing to the attack to pass through deployed artillery. This should be done so as to interfere as little as possible with the latter's fire, and never so as to cause that fire to cease entirely. As far as practicable, advantage should be taken of intervals in the line. An understanding between artil­lery and infantry commanders should be had, so as to effect the movement to the best advantage."

The Fire Attack

"At the first firing position, attacking units seek to gain fire superiority over the opposing resistances. This may necessitate a steady, accurate fire for a long time. The object is to subdue the enemy's fire and keep it subdued so that the attacking troops may advance from this point to a favorable place near the enemy from which the assault may be delivered."

"Assaulting units advance from one cover or firing po­sition to another by successive rushes, the movement of advancing fractions being covered by the fire of those re­maining in position. Diminution of the enemy's fire and a pronounced loss in effectiveness are the surest signs that fire superiority has been gained and that a part of the attacking group can advance. Enough rifles must be con­tinued in action to keep down the enemy's fire; this deter­mines the size of the fraction rushing.

"Every lull in hostile fire is utilized to push groups to the front and occupy the natural strong points of the ter­rain from which covering fire, particularly that of auto-

matic rifles, can be delivered to facilitate the further pro­gress of the assaulting units.

"The attack will not generally encounter a uniformly held, continuous line of defense. It will have to overcome a defense disposed in depth and a series of centers of re­sistance or strong points covering the main routes of ad­vance with relatively lightly held intervening intervals. By a stubborn defense of these strong points, the defense will seek to limit the penetrating action of the attack and overwhelm by counter-attack the assaulting elements which succeed in penetrating its front.

"There will consequently be inequality in the resistance encountered on the front of attack. Certain units of con­siderable size will be held up in front of the stronger cen­ters of resistance. Others, which encounter only minor resistances, press forward as rapidly as possible without regard to the progress of units on their flanks and attempt to outflank the main hostile resistances. The battle thus becomes a series of local combats carried on by units of varying importance. The combat is not carried on by continuous lines, but by groups disposed in depth and cap­able of acting in any direction.

"Sections of the assaulting echelon held up are not re­inforced when the resistance in their front can be out­flanked. By their own fire and that of. the accompanying weapons, they attempt to neutralize or mask the opposing resistances and prevent them from enfilading the attacking elements advancing on their flanks.

"In principle, assaulting units endeavor to obtain su­periority of fire over the defensive elements into which the hostile dispositions are broken up by enveloping action. While the assaulting echelon seeks to approach as closely as possible to the hostile position and immobilize the en­emy with its fire and that of the accompanying weapons and machine guns, additional forces are brought up on the flanks to envelop the enemy or gain his rear."

"The advantage of the enveloping action consists in the longer line with consequent superiority in the number of weapons in action and in convergent fire as opposed to the enemy's divergent fire. In many cases, however, the mutual flanking of hostile centers of resistance will be un-

favorable to enveloping action. In such a case, frontal attack will be necessary."

"Where the opposing resistance consists of isolated ma­chine gun nests, the precision of the accompanying weapons at close range is often sufficient to put the enemy out of action. In any event, their fire will cover the advance of the infantry to close range and prepare for its assault. They may also be used to assist the infantry to outflank points of resistance by neutralizing the flank toward the infantry. In some cases, this neutralizing may be effected by the use of smoke barrages."

"It is the special duty of supports and reserves dur­ing the advance to take timely measures in anticipation of hostile counter-attack. They utilize all lulls in the ac­tion to occupy the natural strong points of the terrain and dispose machine guns and accompanying weapons so as to check any hostile reaction."

After the enemy has been driven from a village, the assailant should not actually occupy it and fall a victim to hostile retaliatory artillery fire and gassing but should hold the outskirts in such a manner as will prevent its recapture.

"The deep disposition of attacking units does not im­ply a passive following of the assaulting echelon by sup­ports and reserves. On the contrary, one of the purposes of the disposition in depth is to enable the attacking units to act in any direction. Commanders of supports and re­serves must keep in touch with the situation on their front and flanks by constant reconnaissance and be ready to act on their own initiative in the execution of the various mis­sions which the situation may impose. These missions may involve the protection of the flanks of neighboring units by the attack of counter-attacking hostile forces; wheeling into an adjacent sector for the purpose of taking in flank hos­tile resistances still holding out; covering gaps which may arise between adjacent assaulting units. For supports and reserves no less than for assaulting units, there is no reason for continued inaction on the battlefield."

"Supports and reserves are in principle put into action where least losses are being suffered rather than where they are greatest. All commanders must endeavor to locate

the points where the enemy is offering least resistance in order to exploit any weakness he may develop by the use of troops in rearward echelons."

It should be the rule never to throw in reinforcements where you cannot get through, but where you can.

The Assault

The final stage is the assault which, if successful, is followed by a pursuit or, if a failure, by digging in.

The assault at present is carried forward in a line or echelon of section or squad columns until a point is reached beyond which it is impracticable to advance with­out opening fire, when one or more waves are deployed as , skirmishers in assault formation.

Meeting Engagements or Rencontre

The situation is much more difficult when two moving forces come in contact.

The troops intended for the decisive blow may get involved in the wrong place.

Shock troops may have been drawn into the prelim­inary action and you are forced to use inferior troops for the assault.'

"The great art in the rencontre is to stop the aim­less expenditure of troops and to continue to hold the en­emy in check with those -already involved. The balance of the forces should be held in mass in some suitable place from which to launch the decisive attack."

Therein lay Napoleon's mastery, as the leadership of his battles show.

The plan for the engagement cannot go much farther than give the original disposition for the attack, zones of action and objectives.

The remainder depends so much on the actions of the enemy, which are learned only in the course'of events, that no definite arrangements can be made beforehand.

The Advance to the Tactical Decision

Parallel advance can only take place when decisive re­sults are not looked for. A simple frontal overrunning

of the enemy's position by the weight of advancing masses is, in the great majority of cases, impossible today on account of the power of modern firearms.

The columns that do get through will turn in and envelop hostile troops holding up other columns. The weakening of a line by death, wounds, and straggling will be so great that provisions must be made for this by having a maximum distribution in depth.

Convergent Advance

The parallel advance, in the end, becomes convergent toward the point where the strategical penetration is to occur. In our envelopment, by its very nature, the lines of advance are convergent.

The great difficulty is in keeping the lines from con­verging too soon.

In the selection of objectives, the error of concentrating our attack on advanced positions must be avoided.

Limited Objectives

The rule of limiting the objectives, an outgrowth of position warfare, has no place in'the modern battle of move­ment. As so often happened with the allies, by limiting the objective, they lost great opportunities to capture positions, hostile artillery, etc.

In the modern attack, one must strive for the great­est results, which can only be attained by the victorious troops pushing in as far and as fast as they can, consistent with keeping up the supply from the rear and maintaining contact with troops on the flanks. The movements of units advancing to attack should be by bounds, i. e., successive positions, along the axis of movement, and selected as inter­mediate objectives and reconnoitered prior to occupation.

Divergent Lines

Every splitting up of forces is a weakness. Inasmuch as the divergent advance causes this, it must be discarded except in most extraordinary cases.

One exception: When we wish to hold a force of the enemy at distant points on the battlefield.

In the battle of Antietam, had Hooker, Mansfield and Sumner held the attention of the Confederate left near Dunkard's Church and Stuart Hill at the same time that Burnside attacked the bridge, there would have been a victory by an army tactically operating on divergent lines. This would have prevented the shifting of troops by the Confederates.

Signal Communication

One of the most important elements in contributing to the success of a modern battle is signal communications. The agencies we have at our disposal are the telephone, buzzer, radio, signal lamps, flags, pyrotechnics, carrier pigeons, motorcycles, runners, etc.

The most valuable agency is the telephone and every effort should be sought to keep it in ivorking order. All other means are auxiliary and should be so treated. Not only should forward and rear communication be kept up but lateral also.

Special Forms op Tactical Offensive

Owing to the greater flexibility of the chain of tactical events, the more powerful effect of moral impressions and the more rapid development of the action, in which cause and effect are immediately connected with one another, the number of combinations are even greater in the tactical offensive than in the strategical.

Tactical Frontal Attack

A uniform attack all along the enemy's front has the least chance of decisive results because in such an attack we must fight the enemy's full strength simultaneously with all the advantages of the defense against us, and at the best we merely push the enemy back on his commun­ications.

"The frontal attack cannot boast of any natural material advantages over the defense. On the contrary, the disadvantages seem to be all on the side of the attack except the moral impetus that every forward movement

gives to the troops composing it. But the convergency which gives strength to the tactical attack is lacking."

All strategical attacks culminate in frontal attacks, no matter what the form of strategy.

To Make the Attack Possible

We must have:

First. Fire superiority, both combined and individually.

Second. Distribution in depth with reserves to make good losses.

Third. Greater activity, better trained troops, proper co­operation and good leadership.

Fourth. Moral superiority which will favor the assailant by reason of the fact that he is attacking.

As a result of studies of the South African War, we have grown to over-value the power of the defensive and assume that a frontal attack will no longer take place. Those who may have entertained such an idea have had it pretty well shattered by the Russo-Japanese War and The World War. It must be remembered, however, that the Boers gained their success in the face of almost obsolete tactics and the Japanese theirs in the face of troops singularly badly led.

The Manchurian War and The World War have both clearly shown that the frontal attack will succeed and is the rule of modern warfare.

On larger battle fronts, where hundreds of thousands of men are engaged, the only function of the division will be that of frontal attack covered by artillery barrage looking for a penetration, when envelopments may take place.


Penetrations will occur more often in meeting engage­ments, but cannot be said to be confined entirely to that form of action.

The whole theory of reinforcements in the modern battle is to send them in to assist at points from which they can advance.

In this way, strong points are enveloped and taken in reverse.

It often occurred in The World War that the Germans would concentrate a large body of "sturm" troops at a certain place and launch them forward, penetrating the hostile lines and gaining tactical success.

This was particularly done in the spring and summer drives of 1918.

On this subject Bernhardi has the following to say: "Piercing the front can obviously be only carried out suc­cessfully if the assailant succeeds in concentrating, by surprise, a substantial superiority opposite the line to be attacked. The chance of doing so may arise if the enemy, dreading an envelopment and being confirmed in his fears by demonstrations, has echeloned his reserves chiefly behind his flanks."

The superiority must, nevertheless, be very substan­tial, for the defender must not only be beaten frontally on ground chosen by himself, but enough reserves must also be available to turn to account the success obtained after penetration and to ward off hostile counter-attacks.

The greatest results of a tactical penetration occur when the penetration is effected at a point that leads toward the hostile communications.

Unless we can bring a numerical superiority into our attack, together with overwhelming artillery fire, we have small chance of success.

The terrific fighting at Ypres illustrates the futility of frontal attacks without superiority. Of course, if the Germans had won, they might have cut off the British, but their attacks took a great deal of the fighting spirit out of the Germans.

Unless there are reserves to throw in to exploit the penetration, the attack had better not be launched.

At Spion Kop, the British after successfully storming the Kop and Twin Peaks had to withdraw because they did not have sufficient reserves to hold the positions.

At Mukden, the Russians had engaged all their re­serves against the hostile force enveloping their right and could not thwart the attack on their center.

On the evening of March 9th, portions of the Japanese 4th and 1st Armies were pushed across the river between Mukden and Peigitun Valley and, breaking down all re­sistance, penetrated to the north. By the next day they had reached the vicinity of the Mandarin Road. The whole

left of the Russian army was cut off from the right and center. The Japanese were too weak to take full advantage of their success, for if they had had sufficient reserves they might have held off the Russian's left, and, with Nogi, who had enveloped the entire flank of the Russian right, entirely annihilated the right and center. The penetration was on a twenty-kilometer front which almost places it in the strategical category.

Grant's penetration at Missionary Ridge is a splendid illustration of a tactical penetration.

Attempts of Besieged to Break Out

The attempts of the besieged to break out have gen­erally failed, due to the fact that they could not effect a penetration on a broad enough front and exploit their success by marching out.

This occurred at Plevna, when Osman Pasha tried to break through, although his attempt was prompted more by desire to save his face than hope of success. At Metz, had Bazaine attempted to break through to the south, he might have succeeded and escaped with his army. At Donelson, vacillation on the part of Floyd prevented what otherwise might have been a success.

In the future penetrations of a tactical nature may occur in the rencontre when the assailant, advancing in several columns, has encountered the enemy advancing in a similar formation.

The assailant may merely hold one column and mass against the others. This is what Kuroki did at Motienling.

If we are able to force the enemy back of a stream and hold him with a weak force, while we combine at another point, our task will be facilitated.

Successive Attack

This is a form of attack now more or less obsolete which was used by the Confederates in the Civil War a great deal.

The attack is launched from one or the other flank and, as soon as it is well under way, is taken up by the next unit, and so on through the whole line.

It leaves to the individual judgment of the commander of the successive units the selection of the proper moment for putting in his troops. It throws upon the subordinate commanders the responsibility for a decision which they are unaccustomed to bear. Many men who are capable and trustworthy subordinates, fighting bravely and vig­orously under orders from higher authority, will shrink from the responsibility of themselves inaugurating an of­fensive. And herein lies the weakness of the successive attack. At the critical moment, if there is lack of aggres­siveness on the part of a single leader, the whole plan falls into ruin.

The history of the Civil War shows that in nearly every instance the successive commanders, dreading to attack prematurely, have held back until the golden mo­ment has passed. As a result, a disconnected, unsupported series of attacks, each being repulsed and _ driven back before the attack of the units next succeeding has made itself felt.

This formation distinctly failed at Gettysburg and Charles City Crossroads where the greatest opportunities were offered.

Tactical Envelopment

When the attacking line extends beyond one or both flanks of the defender and bends in we have a tactical envelopment.

This form of attack seems to give the assailant a great advantage but, upon inspection, this superiority is some­what qualified.

The elements of numbers and surprise are all-impor­tant. The tactical envelopment has this superiority over * the frontal attack in that, if successful, it will threaten the enemy's line of retreat. Also, it enables the assailant to bring a converging fire to bear.

Cronje's line of communication, on the Modder River, ran off toward the northeast to his rear in the direction of Bloemfontein and, when Lord Roberts threatened it, Cronje had to withdraw. At Mukden, the Russian line of communi­cation extended from the right rear, so the Japanese en­veloped the right.

The envelopment has this additional advantage, also, in that if successful the defender is forced back into a restricted area and a state of confusion results.

If the assailant can secure a separate line of retreat for his two attacks, namely, the frontal and enveloping, he will have a great advantage.

The defender has this advantage in that he may occupy his front with weaker force, while massing the bulk of his troops against the enveloping force.

The defender may also retire his enveloped wing form­ing a crochet and, with his reserves, a defensive flank. These reserves may in their turn envelop if they are eche­loned in the rear of the outer flank of the enveloped wing.

The great difficulty in the envelopment is to co-ordinate the frontal and enveloping attacks.

The defender may defeat the frontal attack before the envelopment takes place, or he may fall back and avoid an envelopment.

We may also have a case of both combatants envel­oping the same hostile flank and, in that event, the one who starts first has the greater chance of winning.

This is what occurred at Stones River where Rosecrans intended to envelop the Confederate right and Bragg the Federal left. Bragg won tactically at the outset because of an earlier start.

A double envelopment, such as was attempted at Mis­sionary Ridge in a strategical way, and in a tactical way at Woerth, is impossible of successful execution unless the assailant has vastly superior numbers.

Tactical Turning Movement

The tactical turning movement is open to all the ob­jections of the strategical turning movement, but to a greater degree, for distances are less and the movement is more easily detected. It is a continuation of an envelop­ment in that it strikes at the enemy's communications or line of retreat.

In forces larger than a division, turning movements may be used in conjunction with a frontal or a frontal and enveloping attack. As a turning movement separates the entire force into two parts, each part for a time outside

of the immediate supporting distance of the other, both, the holding and the turning force, should be made up of all arms, and each force should be strong enough to main­tain itself, in position without calling upon the other for support. The turning movement is justifiable only when it can be made in such a manner as to permit of dividing the entire force, without giving the enemy a favorable opportunity to defeat the separated parts in detail.

The Holding Attack

This attack, as the name implies, is for the purpose of holding the enemy to his position by offensive action in one part of the field while a decisive blow in the nature of an assault or of an enveloping or turning movement is struck in another quarter. The governing idea of the holding attack is to make it energetic enough to deceive the enemy, in order that he may use as many of his troops as possible in resisting it, even drawing upon his reserves for such a purpose. Early development of the maximum volume of rifle and artillery fire is therefore essential, and for that reason the deployment is on extended lines. Sup­ports and reserves are reduced to the minimum that will be needed to replace losses, secure the flanks, and strengthen those parts of the line against which the enemy might act most aggressively. Holding attacks differ from delaying actions in that the guiding principle in the former is of­fense and in the latter defense. The holding force may be called upon to push the attack to the point of an assault, and in the end will join in the advance on the enemy's position when the decisive attack has succeeded. Care must be taken that the holding attack does not, because of promising conditions in its front, make a premature assault on the enemy's line and be defeated before the decisive blow can be struck in another part of the field. There is danger, also, in prematurely pushing this attack so far that its weakness or its intentions may be 'disclosed to the enemy and give him the opportunity to defeat the entire force in detail.

Lord Eoberts from the very beginning of his activity as commander in South Africa stuck to the principle of envelopment and tactical turning movements. Cronje held Lord Methuen at Modder River, but when Lord Roberts came along and operated against Cronje's line of retreat the latter started toward his base but was intercepted at Paardeburg. Lord Roberts' practice was to have his holding force very weak and put his strength in his turning force. Louis Botha, at Diamond Hill, after the loss of Pretoria, knowing that Lord Roberts was executing his principle of en­velopment, extended his forces beyond Roberts' flanks and, as the British cavalry turned what they supposed was the Boer flank and seized the Delagoa Bay Railroad, they were in turn turned and driven back with result that the Boers were able to retire.

Due to the increased range of modern weapons, the turning movement must be carried out with a greater interval between the holding attack and the turning attack.


The great danger is that the defenders will make a counter-attack while the turn is in operation.

Mountain Passes and Rivers

The turning movement is of particular value when the enemy is in position holding a river crossing or a mountain pass. In the former case, he cannot harm the holding attack unless he crosses the river himself and, in the latter case, he can operate in no other way than from the rear against the turning column.

Mountain warfare is by all means the field for the application of turning movements.


Crossing of the Yalu River in 1904

On April 28th, the 1st Army was ready to attempt the crossing. The Russians held the right bank of the river from Antung to the junction with the Ai-Ho and thence along the Ai-Ho north. This river is smaller than the Yalu, and about waist deep. The Russians numbered only about 4,500 men with 17 guns and were commanded by General Zasulich. The islands between the Yalu and Ai-Ho,

in front of the center of the Russian position, were held by the Japanese. On the 30th, the Japanese 12th Divi­sion crossed the river and occupied the heights between the Yalu and Ai-Ho, while the artillery subjected the Rus­sian front to a terrific bombardment; river gunboats also demonstrated downstream to attract Russian reserves in that direction.

The 2d Division, on the morning of May 1st, moved out onto the islands between the two rivers, followed by the Guard Division, which deployed to the right.

Without waiting for the 12th Division, the 2d and the Guard Division rushed forward, attacking at 7:00 AM. By 9:00 AM, they had captured the position which the Russians were evacuating. The 2d and the Guard Division then, for some unaccountable reason, stopped. Meanwhile, the 12th Division started forcing the crossing in their front at 9:00 AM, and continued to push forward vigorously. By 11:00 o'clock they were bearing down upon the Russian line of retreat toward Hamatan. The 2d and the Guard Division did not start forward until 1:00 PM. At about 2:00 PM they were advancing on the Tschin-gou Road, the one over which the Russians intended to retire. Consequently, the Russians took up a position on hill 192, and being practically sur­rounded, had to cut their way through to the west. As a result only a few escaped.

The turning movement was not well co-ordinated, for the frontal attack had carried the main position before the turning force was across the Ai-Ho.

Had the Russian commander retired to the north, tak­ing up a strong position with his right aud reinforcing his left, the whole Japanese attack would have been frontal.

Hooker's crossing of the Rappahannock River, during the Chancellorsville campaign, and McDowell, at first Bull Run, are good illustrations of the tactical turning move­ment in connection with a river crossing.

Mountain Passes

In mountain warfare, turning movements, while not necessarily recommended, yet, if they are ever to be used, they will be most efficacious in warfare of that kind.

The Japanese repeatedly turned the Russians out of the positions in the Feng-shui-Ling since the Japanese, due to the fact that they are natives of a mountainous country, were more than a match for their more sluggish enemy in climbing over hills.

Battle of Montienling

The Japanese 2d Division was deployed with the 30th Infantry holding the Motienling Pass, with the 29th Infantry and 2d Cavalry regiments at Lienshankuan, sis miles east in reserve.

The 16th Infantry held the northern pass about two miles away with main body at Hsiamatang, about five miles in rear. The 4th Infantry held Hsinkai-Ling Pass about four miles south. The division was deployed on a front of about six miles in the mountains—Count von Keller with about six regiments attacked Motienling driving the 30th Infantry back. The 30th then enveloped the Russian left, and three companies of the 16th came from the north, enveloping that flank also.

The 4th Infantry repulsed an attack on its front and then sent a detachment north, over the mountains, which completely turned the Russian right, driving the Russians back with the assistance of heavy artillery fire.

This small affair is typical of the mountain fighting and shows how easily tactical turning movements can be carried out.

  Killed Wounded Missing
  Officers Men Officers Men Officers Men
Japanese loss 4 39 15 241 0 0
Russian loss 8 215 37 1,069 2 224

Tactical Attacks on Flank and Rear

An attack of this kind will develop from successful turning movements and will be decisive, as it takes the enemy by surprise and deprives him of his line of retreat and communications.

In order to make such an attack possible, the enemy must be grossly careless and paying no attention to recon­naissance.

Attacks of this nature will occur in the course of a modern battle when the enemy is in confusion.

These affairs will be small and will be sudden incur­sions and not orderly combats.

The same applies to a flank attack.

Cedar Mountain

The left of Jackson's line, commanded by Winder, rested on a heavy wood that had not been thoroughly ex­amined.

The Federals, suddenly debouching from this wood, took Garnett's brigade in the flank and routed it.


The history of every war teaches that success is not bound to a distinct form of attack and defense. Every war develops something new that has not been used before, with results that tactics change.

The element of luck enters into the tactical fight so much that it is hard to say-whether that element or skill is the responsible factor. Probably a combination of the two.

In the heat of battle, the commander does what he thinks is proper under the circumstances based on his tactical knowledge; the men carry out the plan; and the strategist afterwards gives the operation a name, using it as a brilliant illustration or a horrible example.

CHAPTER XVI. Strategical Defensive Operations with Special Forms



THE object of a strategical defensive is to avoid an unfavorable decision at the beginning of an opera­tion, and to await a more favorable opportunity later. The defender either realizes his own weakness from the outset or has reason to believe that the assailant may become exhausted as a result of hard service or disease or, that he, the defender, may receive assistance in the nature of reinforcements.

Serious Resistance Not Always Necessary

It is not by any means always necessary that we should decide on serious resistance whenever we take up the defensive. Victory may be gained by merely holding a position for a certain time.

When Napoleon was forced to recross the Danube after the battles of Aspern and Essling, the duty of Mas-sena, in covering the withdrawal, did not depend for its success on anything other than the holding back of the Austrians until the troops had gotten over to the Island of Lobau.

Aids That may Assist the Defender

1. Time and space.

2. Terrain.

3. Artificial works of defense, such as fortresses.

4. Weather.

5. Disease.

6. Exhaustion of the enemy.

Time and Space

The truest ally of the defensive is time. The defender may count himself successful if he has not been defeated by a certain time.

In South Africa, Baden-Powell at Mafeking, Kekewich at Kimberly and General Sir George White at Ladysmith won by merely being able to hang on.

To have a large amount of time and space at the dis­posal of the retreating force is always of advantage for the reason that, even though at the outset means of defense have not been thought of, they may develop later.


In the retreat of Bagration and Kutusov into the in­terior of Russia, there was no attempt at an organized withdrawal at the outset, but later, when they began to realize the exhausting effects of the long march and lack of supplies on Napoleon's army, they adopted a system of co-operation that resulted in the destruction of Moscow and retreat of the Grande Armee.


The importance of time to the defensive, and the re­sults to be gained by consuming as much of it as possible, are well illustrated by Burnside's defense of Knoxville in the fall of 1863.

Burnside was sure that if he could hold out until Grant defeated Bragg he would be relieved. So he sent General Sander's cavalry out to delay the advance of Longstreet's forces to gain as much time as he could. Longstreet's slowness, awaiting reinforcements, contributed to Burn-side's success so that when the attack was made, winter having set in, the ice and sleet caused it to fail.

Every gain of time is of advantage to the defenders, first, because the very fact of the time being gained pre­vents the conquest of the country, for that period; and, second, because it forces the assailant to increase his ef­forts, exhausting thereby the latter's strength, and pro­curing the chance of bringing about a change in the polit­ical situation. The longer the Austrians could keep the field in 1866, the more readily could they count on France's intervention in their favor. Of the same import it was to the French in 1870-71 to hold out in Paris as long as possible. They not only gained time thereby for renewed

military efforts in the provinces, but could also hope for the intervention of the neutral powers if the fight for the capital continued for any length of time. Likewise, the Confederates in the Civil War had all to gain by pro­longing it.

The longer it was protracted the greater the possi­bility of foreign intervention and the probability of the Anti-War Party of the North winning out and granting the desired independence.


The terrain, by its very nature, may be of the great­est assistance to the defender and may of itself suggest that kind of strategy.

In South Africa, after the Boers had been forced to assume the defensive, the open veldt enabled them to delay greatly the British, due to the fact that the Boer was "par excellence" mounted and had acclimated animals. In South Africa, there is an animal disease that affects imported horses which does not affect domestic animals. It was prevalent among the British remounts, so that the lives of these animals, after arriving in South Africa, was about six weeks.

In the Tyrol and Switzerland, the mountainous nature of the country dictates the defensive. In neither of these countries was Napoleon able to make any headway in his efforts to overcome Europe.

Moltke in his memoirs gives a very interesting ac­count of the campaign in Sarthe and shows how the terrain greatly assisted the defender and even dictated the assail­ant's tactics.

"The roads leading to Le Mans (capital) are all in­tersected at right angles by numerous streams flowing through broad and somewhat deep meadow valleys. Groves, villages, and country houses with walled parks cover the cultivated high ground; vineyards, orchards, and gardens are enclosed by hedges, ditches, or fences. Hence almost the whole burthen of the struggle in view had to be borne by the infantry; there was no space for deploying cavalry, and the use of artillery must be extremely limited, since

in a country so closely overgrown, only one gun could be brought to bear at a time. The enemy's center could only be approached by four high roads, and the communication between the columns, starting at least six miles apart, were confined to crossroads, which were almost impassable from the severity of the season and the hostility of the inhab­itants. Anything like mutual support was, at first, quite out of the question."

Artificial Works

While the Germans, prior to The World War, had main­tained that fortresses could not hold up field armies equipped with modern siege artillery, as a matter of fact they did. Verdun is the best illustration, likewise the little Fort Troyon. The defense at Liege to a greater extent and Maubeuge to a lesser degree were important factors in de­ciding the outcome of the first German advance in 1914.


Probably no more brilliant illustration of the defensive has occurred than Lehman's defense of Liege. About midnight on August th-5th the preliminary bombardment began. The Belgian field forces fell back on the 6th-7th, but the forts kept up their passive resistance.

The Germans had to bring up their siege train which bombarded the town and forts, but notwithstanding the town held out until the 10th, and the forts until the 13th. The delay imposed on the Germans was invaluable to the allies.


The weather and the time of the year are of great importance to the defensive. Had Napoleon's invasion of Russia happened earlier in the year he would not have en­countered the rigors of the strenuous Russian winter cli­mate.

The Bulgarians in October, 1912, in the war with Tur­key, were prevented from carrying dut their strategic envelopment at Lule Burgas by the rain and mud.

In The World War, it was impossible to operate at all in Flanders during the winter months on account of the mud.


In the various wars in the Balkans, not excepting The World War, typhus has killed almost as many men as bul­lets. After Valmy, the Brunswick troops were forced to retire on account of an epidemic of dysentery that had broken out.


If the defender can protract the war long enough he may win, due to the exhaustion of the enemy who cannot keep up the war.

Whether the exhaustion of the Central Powers was a controlling influence in ending The World War is not ac­curately known. It is a fact, however, that the shortage of lubricating oils, rubber, copper, fats and grain were handicapping greatly the German efforts. The Russians after Liao Yang were able to halt on the Sha-Ho* and as­sume the offensive, as the Japanese were exhausted and had to await reinforcements.

"The great strength in the defensive is the power of attraction exerted by its army. The assailant must fol­low it wherever it may go and in so doing the influences just mentioned exert an enervating effect."

Pursuer Often Controls Movement of Pursued

The case too often occurs of the pursuer controlling the movement of the pursued when the latter ought to control those of the former. The retreat is too often an orderly flight.

"Clausewitz suggests that after Smolensk, Kutusov should have fallen back toward Kaluga; Napoleon would have been forced to follow him and Moscow would have been saved. He could then have continued his retreat into Poland. -

In the Atlanta campaign, Johnston did exactly what Sherman wanted him to do, and that was to fall back into the heart of the Confederacy. Had Johnston retired through Rome into Alabama, Sherman would have been forced to follow him, and Atlanta, at least temporarily, would have been saved.

Of course the defender; if he does not feel as if he will increase his strength at some time later, gains little in avoiding battle, yet he can always bank on tHe unexpected which favors the defensive more often than the offensive.

Darkness has Won Many Battles

After a lost battle, if an army is hard pressed by the enemy and leaves its rear guard in position in order to gain the necessary start, which it requires in order to move to a sheltered position, the rear guard generally has com­pletely accomplished its purpose if it is able merely to stay in position for a few hours. If a halt is made toward evening, it is sufficient for the resistance of the rear guard to last until nightfall.

"Gaining time may then be a complete substitute for advantage in battle; whereas in the offensive, the advan­tages must be obtained at any price."

Delays Must Not be Too Costly

Naturally success in the tactical defensive must not be bought at too dear a cost in losses. Otherwise, for example, we might gain the desired delay in operations, or hold a position to which we attach some value by means of a battle but be so crippled by losses that we could no longer continue the war.

The sum of all defensive measures should be such as to lead us to count on victory as a thing to be expected.

The Turning Point

A retreating force cannot keep falling back indefinitely. There must come a time when the decisive battle must take place. The exhausting influences that affect the assail­ant may also affect the defender. Typhus killed as many Turks in 1912-13 as it did allies.

If we rely upon exhaustion of the assailant to equalize his superiority, we must be sure that the distance we can afford to retreat is long enough to allow those influences to work.

The point at which the decisive stand is to be made must not be so far to the rear that it affects the strength and morale of our own troops in a negative way.

Devastation of Country

If we attempt to delay the enemy by a devastation of the country, we must be sure that the line of retreat to the point where we expect to take the offensive is long enough.

After the capture of Shipka, and the rout at Phil-ippopolis, the Turks took to the hills, all heading for Con­stantinople. They attempted to delay the Russians by devastating the country. The distance, being 175 miles, was not far enough. While the devastation did cause some delay the winter weather caused more. During the storm of December 18-23d, Gourko lost 2,000 men by freez­ing.

The proposition would have been different had the Russians tried to reach the capital via Asia Minor; the distance would have been about 1,200 miles.

The tables are turned if the retreating force, at the end of a long line of retreat, can find a strong fortress that the assailant is unable to capture because he in the meantime has become reduced in strength.

Franco-Prussian War, 1870

Had MacMahon fought a retreating defensive from the Marne to Paris against the German 3d and 4th Armies, it is quite possible that they would have arrived before Paris too weak to capture the place.

Portugal, 1810

In the spring of 1810, Spain's prospects in her war with France were hopeless. With the exception of Portugal, the whole Iberian Peninsula had been captured. Napoleon had just finished with the Fifth Coalition and had won the battle of Wagram. He therefore formed an army of 125,-000 men under Massena for the purpose of driving the British army out of Portugal. They advanced south through Portugal against about 30,000 British under Wellington. The British retired slowly, fighting a delaying action, until they arrived at the lines of Torres Vedras. Here they rested on Libson and the sea that was controlled by the British fleet. As a result of covering detachments, losses and bodies investing fortified places, the French had but 45,000 men to attack this line.

This method of warfare showed the people of Europe how it was possible to defeat Napoleon, and whether or not the Russians adopted a similar line of action in 1812 it is not known, but the fact remains that their withdrawal into the interior of Russia very closely resembles that of Wellington into the Peninsula.

Russo-Turkish War

After the fall of Plevna and the capture of the passes of the Balkans, had the Turks merely fallen back to the last line of defense of Constantinople they would have been better off. This line is located at a point where the Peninsula is 20 miles wide, with its front covered by 12 miles of impassable lake, and 8 miles of swamps and thickets.

Behind these obstacles runs a ridge from 400 to 700 feet in elevation. The Turks could have mustered about 20,000 men to hold these lines and still, retaining control of the sea, could have landed another force in the quad­rilateral at the mouth of the Danube and operated against the flanks of the Russians. The Russians would have been too weak to carry the lines around Constantinople and would have been forced to retreat when this force appeared on their flanks. At about this time England was making-moves such as sending troops into Constantinople osten­sibly to protect her subjects, but as a matter of fact to-give Turkey her moral support.

There never has been a campaign of modern times where a situation so hopeless offered such a brilliant solution.

Must Arrive at Position With Army Not Demoralized

It is quite important that the army arrive at the line in a good state of morale. In the case of Turkey, the army had completely disintegrated and about 50,000 men , came stragging in from Philippopolis over the mountains, and others straggled in from the passes of the Balkans, so that the city was overrun with about 100,000 disor­ganized men.

The danger in a retreat of this kind is that it may in­volve us in a decisive engagement at an inopportune time. "Non-resisting retreat may degenerate into a rout."

The matter assumes a different aspect if a favorable change in the situation is expected from the junction of reinforcement; for example, allies.

Case When Assistance is Expected From Allies

' When allies are at a distance or are unprepared, some resistance becomes absolutely necessary. To secure strong positions, the capture of which will cause the enemy loss of time and numbers, is all-important.

In The World War, the entente forces held on long enough for the United States to get ready.

Even if the Assailant is Successful, His Army May Grow Tired of War

A defense of this kind, while awaiting an ally, is of advantage to the defender, even if his forces are defeated.

After a time even the successful assailant's army gets tired of war, for if after one force is defeated another appears on the scene and a fresh start must be made by him, it is bound to react unfavorably on the officers and men.

This was the case in Napoleon's Prussian War of 1806. After he had defeated the Prussians, the weaker Russian army appeared in Poland and brought his operations to a standstill.

It was the same way in 1870, when the Germans, after defeating the armies of the Empire, were forced to face the armies of the Republic.

Previously Prepared Positions

The first defensive position will probably be one pre­viously selected and coincident with the starting point of the whole strategical defensive operation.

The initial position may be a place on the frontier, carefully selected beforehand, where the defender either expects to await the attack of the assailant or to attack the latter.


At Fredericksburg, Lee took up a position on the then Confederate frontier, and awaited the attack, well knowing what the outcome would be.


At Austerlitz, Napoleon was on the strategic defensive and his first position was well forward in hostile territory.

To begin with, he had circulated stories telling of the poor condition of his army so as to invite attack.

The Russians, advancing from Olmutz to Brunn, found the French barring the way on the Goldbach. They had a false impression that Napoleon's communications were the Brunn-Vienna Road.

The Russian plan was to make a demonstration against Napoleon's left, meanwhile moving three columns abreast, with one in support, around his right and cutting him off from Vienna.

The plan was so apparent on the afternoon of De­cember 1st, that Napoleon felt constrained to issue his famous order.

His plan was to deploy Soult, reinforced by Berna-dotte, and, as soon as the turning movement had progressed sufficiently far, to attack the Heights of Pratzen, mean­while Lannes encountering Bagration on the left.

It was a most unusual engagement where the victor­ious side did nothing until the enemy had committed him­self, when full advantage was taken of the strategical error.

In the Franco-Prussian War, the French chose to occupy their frontier, but not intending to assume the de­fensive. The German attacks at Spicheren and Weissen-berg, however, changed their plans and from that time on they were on the strategic defensive.

Any army would gladly see itself attacked between or behind the frontier forts for the supporting influence of such forts.

The fact that there are forts of this kind is temptation to adopt such a method of defense.

One is only justified in occupying a line of this kind when there is something that forces the enemy to attack.

In event of holding the frontier line or any line of fortresses, the solution of the problem of defense is to shift the troops rapidly in rear of the line to the point where the enemy expects to attempt penetration.

With armies of the modern size the holding of a rigid line might prove disastrous.

The enemy might appear suddenly on one flank and there would be trouble in dispatching reinforcements.

Direct Retirement

A direct withdrawal, at the outset, indicates an error in the strategical concentration, unless important political reasons have influenced the strategy.

It should not have required Worth and Spicheren to convince the French of their error in attempting a concen­tration before they were mobilized.

If politics demanded an aggressive move, they might have prepared the line of the Moselle for their main de­fense and merely sent forward delaying detachments.

Convergent Retreat

The object of the convergent retreat is to assemble the armies in a favorable position, previously selected, that lies across the enemy's line of operations.

It might be deemed proper to fall back to rear posi­tions at once, but such a policy means the abandonment of territory, which if overmuch, may have a bad effect on the morale of the country.


By abandoning Kentucky in 1862, A. S. Johnston lost the state to the Confederacy.

When there is doubt whether the disposition of an army will be completed before the enemy is ready, then it is a good plan to have a position in rear to retreat upon.

In the concentration of the 2d Army during the War of 1870, Prince Frederick Charles had such a position at Goldheim in the Palatinate north of the Saar.

Convergent Retreat in Case of Surprise

"In the event of surprise, a convergent retreat to a position in rear is the natural thing. The army of Prince Charles of Lorraine, when surprised by Frederick the Great, fell back, converging on Prague."

Concentration to the Rear

When preliminary operations demonstrate the imprac­ticability of previously planned offensive operations there is nothing left but to fall back.

The Austrians fell back behind the Eistritz in 1866, when they saw their plan for invasion blocked.

If advancing parallel columns are driven back, the only thing left for them to do is to concentrate to the rear.

This is what occurred in the first German drive in 1914.

The Russians in Manchuria, realizing their weakness, gradually fell back on Liao Yang. However, they selected a faulty tactical position.

Divergent Retreat

A divergent retreat, which generally leads to a flank position, will not be possible if the army is taken by sur­prise.

The natural thing for it to do then is to fall back straight to the rear.

If the retreat is orderly, the retiring force may with­draw to a flank position and there await the enemy.

Bazaine's retreat from the Saar to the French Nied was a divergent retreat to a flank position.

Benefit of a Divergent Retreat

The main benefit of a divergent retreat is that it is apt to:

1. Cause a surprise to the enemy.

2. Force him to change his dispositions and order of march.

3. Cause him to lose time.

Double Divergent Retreat

The double divergent line of retreat divides the army and for the time being deprives it of its ability to fight. It gives the assailant the advantage of interior lines.

When we wish to avoid contact with the enemy after an unsuccessful battle, the double divergent retreat is the best as it is easier to subsist the troops and they will probably be able to use more roads.

May Mislead the Enemy

The double divergent retreat may mislead the enemy as to the line of withdrawal of the main body.

"The battle of Orleans on the 4th of December, 1870, furnishes us with an illustration of the confusion that such a withdrawal may cause to the assailant. The city lay in the center of the French position and was captured by Prince Frederick Charles. The Germans were advanc­ing from the north when the French withdrew to the west with their right; to the east with their left; and to the south in their center. The French were all intermingled, so that for some time it was impossible to tell the direc­tion of the main withdrawal."

This also occurred after Worth. Lartigue retired to the south toward Hagenau. The balance of forces fled at dark, part toward Savern, and others toward Bitsch. The Crown Prince lost touch and could not tell the direction the main body took.

Crossing an Obstacle

A formidable obstacle in our rear which has to be crossed in the presence of the enemy may be cause for a double divergent retreat.

In the retreat of Bragg after the Tullahoma opera­tions, he diverged his columns in order to cross the Ten­nessee.


If a defeated army is expecting assistance in the nature of allies, it is well to retire toward the flank so as not to interfere with their advance.

In the divergent retreat, one must not lose sight of the importance of assembling somewhere.

After Henry and Donelson, the two diverging forces assembled at Corinth.

A divergent retreat will cause pursuit to end sooner, as the pursuer cannot be sure whether he is following the more important column, and for that reason may slow up and not follow either.

Special Forms of Strategic Defensive

System of flank positions. Interior lines. Combined operations.

System of Flank Positions

When we do not feel strong enough to oppose the en­emy on the straight path, we resort to flank positions.


The main advantage is that we divert the enemy from his main objective as in ease of a divergent retreat. Thus "we protect indirectly what we could not protect directly.

Enemy must change his lines of operations, and that is apt to cause confusion.


Our line of communications and retreat lead toward one flank and may be intercepted.

If we are defeated, our chance of barring the enemy in another position are probably gone.

Requisites of a Good Strategical Flank Position

Power of Attraction

The retreating force must be strong enough to exert the necessary power of attraction, otherwise the assailant will merely detail a containing force and move on in his original direction.

Line of Departure

The position must have a good line of departure for the offensive and not be at the mouth of a pass that can be easily blocked by the assailant with a few forces.

Broad Stream or Other Obstacle

A combatant who crosses a river and destroys the t bridges behind him of course surrenders this essential requirement of a good line of departure. He virtually locks the door of the theater of war against himself.

Position Must Not be Seen Too Soon

The flank position must not be perceived too soon by the enemy, otherwise he will change direction toward it in time and no delay will be caused by us.

Line of Retreat

It must be possible to withdraw from the position.

If retreat is possible in several directions we are in possession of a valuable power to lead the enemy off first against our flank position, and then by a slow withdrawal still farther to the rear and away from his original direc­tion.


After Borodino, the Russians might have turned south toward Kaluga and taken up a flank position. The French would hardly have been strong enough to have continued on to Moscow and to have followed Kutusov.

Here the Russians would have had a good line of de­parture, and the French would have had to attack them.

The reason this position was not adopted, according to Clausewitz, was lack of preparation coupled with the fact that no one had foreseen the dwindling of the French forces.

A Flank Position may be Taken up as a Part op an Offensive Plan

Osman Pasha at Plevna, marched from Widdin to Plevna offensively and then assumed the tactical defensive and blocked the Russian advance for four months.

Great opportunities were offered Joseph E. Johnston in a flanking position at Rome, in the Atlanta campaign.

Whether it would have diverted Sherman is problem­atic, yet such a position offered success which the direct withdrawal to Atlanta did not.

It was situated behind the screen of the Coosa-Etowah River system, and so not liable to be discovered prema-' turely.

A line of retreat, flanked by two obstacles, led directly to the rear.

The country between the Goosa and Tallapoosa Rivers was as well supplied with roads as any other position of the theater, and had as a "hinterland" the state of Al­abama, heretofore untouched by the war.

There was no obstacle in front of the position, which therefore offered a good line of departure for an offensive.

The geographical objective, Atlanta, to be guarded was not of predominant importance, and such a garrison as it needed for protection against raids could have been fur­nished by exempted men, militia, and citizens generally.

The Confederate government maintained in Atlanta a rolling mill, an arsenal and machine shop for the repair of arms and the fabrication of equipments, a tannery, and two ordnance laboratories.

The operatives of these establishments were exempts, many of whom had been soldiers, and they would have formed a reliable nucleus for defense.

The city was provisionally fortified.

While it was important to Sherman, the possession of it was nothing compared with the destruction of John­ston's army, and as the numerical strength of the latter was now 65 per cent that of Sherman's army, it had the necessary power of attraction, and would have remained the primary object.

But the main advantage to be expected from the pro­posed strategy was that it would have taken Sherman away from his railroad.

Without the assistance of the "Western & Atlantic Railroad he could never have crossed the Etowah.

Sherman says himself that he could not have subsisted his army 100 miles away from a railroad.

This estimate reflects the sanguine temperament with which General Sherman was blessed.

In point of fac-t he never got the bulk of his army

25 miles away from a railroad without getting into difficulties.

In retiring, the Confederates could not destroy the railroads so effectively as to delay materially Sherman's advance.

He had an expert corps of railroad constructors and repairers constantly following his army, and in anticipa­tion of the campaign, he had concentrated rolling stock and material for repair in Chattanooga.

With these resources he could repair and operate the railroad almost as fast as Johnston could destroy it, and with a constant stream of supplies and reinforcements pouring in upon him, the railroad was of vastly more im­portance to him than it was to Johnston.

But repair of a railroad, even after the most system­atic demolition, is one thing.

Construction of a new railroad is quite another.

It would have been impracticable fcrr Sherman to extend the railroad from Rome to the southwest against the opposition of Johnston's army.

With the latter in his front, the gap of 65 miles be­tween Rome and Blue Mountain, Alabama, would have formed a perfect barrier.

An advance into Alabama on that line would have subjected him to a wearing out process from which he was largely exempt so long as Johnston obligingly kept on the railroad.

As Johnston approached Blue Mountain his commun­ications would have shortened, and become daily more effi­cient while those of Sherman would become a shackle, whose weight was increased geometrically with the length of his advance.

Viewing the campaign in the retrospect, it seems in­contestable that the proposed strategy had in it some promise of success.

The campaign actually adopted had none.

Second Bull Run

Jackson's position along the unfinished railroad in the second Bull Run campaign has some of the elements of the tactical flank position. The threatened wing or flank had a good point of support in that it rested on the hills over­looking Sudley's Springs Ford of Bull Run. The other

flank was shoved forward almost to the Warrenton Pike. Jackson did leave the main road open, namely, the War­renton Pike, as he knew that Longstreet would arrive be­fore Pope could cut him (Jackson) off from Thoroughfare Gap. Jackson's batteries on his right could sweep the Warrenton Pike with its fire. The position had a good line of departure for an attack. The line of retreat was not good. Had Jackson been turned on his right flank he 'would have been forced to retreat to the west through Aldie and Snicker's Gap away from his reinforcements, and if turned on both flanks, he would have been forced back on the Bull Run Mountains.

Strategical Interior Lines

When a defender, marching in closely concentrated for­mation, between the two portions of a hostile army, en­gages both, we say he has the advantage of interior lines in that he can deploy a smaller force to guard one side while bringing superior numbers against the other.

The same applies if, in position, he is attacked in front by a portion of the assailant's army and enveloped by an­other portion.

Elements That Contribute to the Success of a Force on the Interior Lines

1. The distance between the two wings must be favorable. In other words, it must be strategic distance; otherwise one wing may be taken with reverse fire by the assailants engaging the other wing.

2. The commander must be a man of force who will act quickly when his opportunity appears.

3. The troops must be of a high order, for the fact that they are on the defensive, coupled with excessive marching, is calculated to dishearten any but good troops.

The success of the interior lines is greatly added to if there is lack of co-operation between the two attacking forces.

World War

The Central Powers had a decided advantage in that their interior lines enabled them to move troops from the west to the east front, from the west front to the Italian .front, and so on. The network of strategic railroads of Germany made this possible.

Campaign in Champagne, 1814

There is probably no better illustration of the proper use of interior lines than that executed by Napoleon in 1814.

Retiring on Paris before the allied armies,, the Em­peror found himself with his main body at Sezanne on February 9th. To the north, separated from him by the Petit Morin and its marshy valley, the Silesian army under Blucher was moving on the capital. It was scattered out and advancing on two roads, one along the Marne and the other farther south through Champaubert. Napoleon took posesssion of the crossings over the Petit Morin and then struck the Russian corps, under Olsuvief at Cham­paubert. On the 11th, he struck Sacken's corps at Mont-mirail. York's Prussian corps, hastening to Sacken's as­sistance, was driven back across the Marne at Chateau Thierry. Napoleon then turned back and struck Blucher coming up with two corps at Etoges, defeating him so badly that he had to retire to Chalons to collect his army before moving again.


Lee's operations in the Chancellorsville campaign pre­sent the most striking instance of the successful employ­ment of interior lines furnished by the Civil War. The qualities of the general and of the troops were fully equal to the standard, and the only elements left to be considered are the distances and numbers involved. From Chan­cellorsville to Marye's Heights is ten miles. When Lee first threw his army against Hooker, the hitter's numer­ical superiority was a little less than 7 to 4. Sedgwick's numerical superiority over Early was 2 to 1.

Early's Resisting Power

Early's resisting power could not be expected to ex­ceed six hours. In point of fact the Marye's Heights position was carried by Sedgwick before noon on the 3d of May. If Sedgwick, after defeating the containing force, had pushed at once against Lee's rear, the march to Chan­cellorsville should not have required more than four hours. From a purely theoretical consideration of the problem,

General Lee could not count on more than ten hours in which to defeat Hooker's superior force, and then be in readiness to meet Sedgwick coming up from Fredericksburg. It took a most sanguine temperament to expect success from such an unfavorable situation, and the risks assumed were very great.


After Sedgwick had defeated Early on May 3d, and had advanced to Salem Church, the situation became still more critical, for the distance between the Union wings was now reduced to six miles, which brought the operations almost within the domain of tactics.

May 5th

As a retaining force in front of Hooker's six corps, Lee could leave only Jackson's corps, shattered by three days' fighting, while turning on Sedgwick. Had Hooker suddenly assumed the offensive on the 5th of May, Lee would have been between two fires before noon. It re­quired until nightfall to drive Sedgwick across the river.

Elements That Made Success Possible

The elements that made success possible in this in­stance were:

First.—The inactivity imposed on Sedgwick by his orders until midnight, 2d May.

Second.—The want of aggressiveness displayed by Hooker subsequent to April 30th.

Third.—The want of co-operation between the Union wings, due to the difficulty of transmitting intelligence.

This last one was the only element on which Lee had any right to count with any degree of certainty.


If Hooker's position, instead of being at Chancellors-ville, had been behind Wilderness Run, six miles farther west, the risk would have been materially diminished. Neither Sedgwick nor Hooker could have hoped to defeat the force in front of him and cover the space intervening be­tween their wings in a single day. In such a case, had the operation gone against him, Lee would not necessarily have

been caught between two fires, and might have extricated his army under cover of the night. But considering the numbers at his disposal, the maneuver, even under these assumed conditions, would have been one that no cautious general would care to undertake.

As the problem was actually solved, the short distances, while they naturally increased the risk, were a distinct advantage; for the wear and tear inseparable from forced marching was reduced to a minimum.


We have no better illustration of the advantages of interior lines than the action of the Central Powers against Roumania.

To begin with, the Roumanians, instead of concen­trating their army under cover of the Transylvanian Alps and the Carpathians, attempted the von Moltke concentra­tion forward of the barrier in the hopes of carrying the war into Hungary.

To carry out such a concentration, one must have good troops and competent generals, but Roumania had neither.

Von Falkenhayn concentrated his forces in the valley of the Maros River; then moving quickly south, attacked the head of the southern Roumanian columns in the Alps on the Kronstadt-Petroseny line, while von Arr, his coadju­tor, kept the northern Roumanian columns busy in the upper Maros Valley.

The Roumanians waged a good fight, but their faulty dispositions proved their undoing, as the German right wing soon was invading Wallachia and connecting with the Bulgars and Turks on the River Argesh.

Combined Offensive and Defensive Operations

By these is meant the procedure of the defender when he combines offensive and defensive movements.

He falls back with his forces when he can do so with­out serious disadvantage and moves forward when there is a prospect of advantage, hoping by a series of smaller successes to build up an overwhelming whole.

The operations of the allies in 1813, referred to before, are a good illustration.

The whole idea is to force the weak points, merely containing or falling back before the stronger.

To carry out these movements, it is necessary to have a sufficiently large theater of operations.

We may sum up the points of the strategic defensive as follows:

It is only adopted from a feeling of weakness and with a hope that later more favorable conditions may arise whereby we are justified in taking the offensive. Not­withstanding Clausewitz, we must contend that of the two, offensive or defensive, the former is to be preferred.

CHAPTER XVII. Tactical Defensive Operations with Special Forms



THE tactical defensive has a two-fold object to attain generally and that is' to repulse the assailant and to gain time.

A force may at times fully accomplish its mission by retaining its position for a specified time with or without combat. The object is to avoid giving the enemy the de­cision, either by avoiding combat altogether or, if he attacks, by preventing him from carrying the position held by the defensive troops.

The gaining of time may be the only reason for leaving a rear guard at a certain point to hold a position. The sole object of Lee in taking up a position on the Antietam after Gettysburg was to gain time during which the Poto­mac could recede and his army might recross.


Many of the engagements of the past have been broken off by the interposition of darkness, which has always been more to the defender's advantage than to the assailant's.

"Would to heaven that night or Blucher would come!" is the exclamation credited to Wellington at Waterloo.

If biblical history has been correctly interpreted, Joshua found it necessary to prolong the daylight by some miracu­lous means in order to give him time to annihilate completely the enemy.

Several times on the Russian east front, in Manchuria, the interposition of darkness saved the Russians and pre­vented the Japanese from continuing their attacks and, as a result, the Russians were enabled to withdraw under cover of the night.


The question which the defender must always keep in mind is whether or not the losses are justified by the combat. In operating on the defensive, we must always have in mind an attack ultimately, but if we are so badly battered that we cannot counter-attack, what strategic ad­vantage arises, even if we are tactically successful?


While it is a fact that Lee was tactically successful at Antietam, yet he had suffered so many losses that his only alternative was to withdraw into Virginia and aban­don his offensive operations.


Those aids to the strategic defensive, such as fire action, terrain, artificial defenses, exhaustion of the enemy, etc., are of equal if not greater assistance to the tactical de­fensive.

These aids manifest themselves in the course of the tactical attack. The assailant in his initial deployment is subjected to long range fire that will cause heavy losses at the outset and will have a tendency to shake the morale of his troops.


"The defender in selecting his position will take care to utilize to its fullest extent all features of terrain and will strengthen them by artificial means, placing obstacles in front to impede the hostile advance."


Before the assailant attacks he! must make recon­naissance to determine the enemy's position, the location of his flanks, the character of the terrain, the nature of the hostile field works, etc., in order to prevent premature deployment and the resulting fatigue and loss of time.

It will frequently be necessary to send forward a thin skirmish line in order to induce the enemy to open fire and reveal his position.

"It will frequently be impossible to obtain satisfactory information until after the action has begun. The delay that may be warranted for the purpose of reconnaissance depends upon the nature of the attack and the necessity for promptness. For example, in a meeting engagement, and sometimes in a holding attack, the reconnaissance may have to be hasty and superficial, whereas in an attack against an enemy carefully prepared for defense there will generally be both time and necessity for thorough recon­naissance.


"When an encounter with the enemy is probable, the assailant will take every available means to gain informa­tion and to lessen beforehand the time that will be required in the deployment for action. Single route columns of such length that the rear elements are out of supporting distance of those in the lead must be shortened by an ex­tension of front, as far as security and the terrain will permit. This extension is secured by breaking this single column into two or more parallel columns, rather than by an extension of the front of such units, as for instance, marching section or squad columns—a difficult and fatiguing method of march. As the enemy draws nearer and combat becomes imminent, these columns are again broken up into smaller parallel columns, until the final development is such as to insure rapid deployment and still retain sufficient depth in formation to enable the leader to meet the after requirements of the situation."

"Precautions must be taken, in this development for action, that each column is directed upon its probable ob­jective, and that the different columns and parts of col­umns do not get out of supporting distance of each other. This development for action takes place in divisions and smaller units before the route column comes within the zone of hostile artillery fire."

"When the deployment can be made deliberately, under the protection of troops already in position, units are con­ducted to predetermined places of deployment and formed for attack, usually under the cover of darkness. Silence and order in forming up are indispensable."

"Troops are massed preparatory to deployment when the nature of their deployment cannot be foreseen, or it is desirable to shorten the column or clear the road."

"Where time does not permit of a deliberate deploy­ment regulated in detail, large commands are ordinarily first formed into line of columns to facilitate the exten­sion of the front prior to deploying. These columns march on assigned direction lines and take up an approach for­mation as soon as they enter the zone of the enemy's ar­tillery fire."

As the size of the forces increase, the greater the demands on their energy, for distances are longer and front­ages greater.

If the ground is soaked or the fields are covered with deep snow, the laboriousness of progress may amount to a downright calamity.

Mud at Waterloo prevented the maneuvering of ar­tillery, mud at Lule Burgas prevented the infantry envel­oping the Turkish left in time, snow prevented effective pur­suit at Hohenlinden, mud interfered greatly with operations on the west front in The World War and in Manchuria in 1904-5.


"After a successful assault, the situation will deter­mine whether to follow up the enemy in pursuit or organize the position for defense against counter-attack. Rapid fire should be opened on the retreating enemy if he is in sight. It is not generally advisable for units mixed and disorganized by the assaults to follow the enemy. The pursuit should be immediately undertaken by the nearest organized echelons and the assaulting troops reorganized and placed in support."

"If the assault fails, the assaulting troops must dig in and hold their ground. To attempt to withdraw would result in annihilation. If the assault is to be repeated, fresh troops must be sent in as reinforcements, and the fire preparations for the assault renewed."

"Where the attack succeeds in penetrating through the defensive position on a broad front, the infantry must be organized in still greater depth. Column of march is

resumed as soon as the range of hostile guns permits, se­curity detachments are sent out, and the cavalry main­tains contact."

"Should the cavalry or aviators discover hostile guns within range, infantry must take up an approach forma­tion and make ready to reconnoiter and attack."

From these quotations it will be seen that an attack in modern war requires the superlative of energy on the part of the attacker. Unless he is well led, has had the proper amount of training, has developed good teamwork, all of which speaks for a high state of discipline and morale, he had better not attack. All the aids to the de­fender appears in a negative way, for he does not have to move to the extent that the assailant does.

If the defender succeeds in deceiving a large hostile unit and in making it deploy for battle, and then with­draws without any great loss, it has gained a day. Ney at the Redinha, with 5,000 men forced Wellington to deploy 30,000 men. The fact is often overlooked, that merely threatening to fight is a valuable means of attaining the object aimed at.


Magruder by displaying his troops repeatedly at dif­ferent places and by the use of so-called Quaker guns was able to hold off McClellan's army with 5,000 men for a month until reinforcements could be sent to him from the Centerville line. Lee contributed very much to the with­drawal of McClellan by the newspaper accounts of the ar­rival of reinforcements and the construction of gunboats, all of which caused McClellan to insist on withdrawal from the Peninsula without another fight.

"In an attempt to deceive the enemy, it is very difficult to recognize the exact time at'which we may consider that we have attained our purpose. The penalty for allowing this moment to slip by follows immediately. The appar­ent becomes reality, that is to say, the real decisive battle begins without our being prepared for it and against our wishes. We should especially bear in mind always that when our infantry is once seriously engaged with the enemy the fight must be fought through to a decision. For it is no

longer possible to call the infantry back without causing-it heavy loss. If we make the attempt the enemy will notice it and soon begin to press us vigorously."

Decisive Battle

When the defender believes that he has at his disposal the utmost available powers of resistance, he should en­deavor to bring about the decisive battle.

Numbers and condition of troops, the strength of their position and moral potentialities are factors to be consid­ered in arriving at the decision for the tactical stand.

As has already been stated we should never bring on the action unless all our reinforcements are at hand.

The wasting process may make greater headway with our own than with the assailant's forces.

The losses suffered by straggling in the Civil War made as great inroads on the fighting strength of Confed­erates as the Federals.

Defensive Dispositions

Disposition of Teoops

In every kind of combat the defender must decide on some disposition of his forces which will constitute an or­ganized whole. If he allows himself to be attacked on the move or wherever his troops chance to be, the situation will slip from his grasp and he will become dependent on the action of the opponent.

This is very clearly illustrated by the second Manassas campaign. By his vacillating policy, Pope was absolutely at the mercy of and subject to the moves of Lee and Jackson. He merely followed them around.

When it is a question of a determined stand, in select­ing a defensive position, one must not forget that those features which favor fire efficiency are of paramount im­portance.

According to our Field Service Regulations the re­quirements of the position are as follows:

1. Clear field of fire up to the effective range of artillery.

2. Flanks that are naturally secure or that can be made so by the use of reserves.

3. Extent of ground suitable to the strength of the force that is to occupy it.

4. Effective cover and concealment for the troops, especially the reserves.

5. Good communications throughout the position.

6. Good lines of retreat.

7. Unless the defense is to be purely a passive one, obstacles " in front of the position must not be such as would impede the t, counter-attack.

The Infantry Drill Regulations, corrected to April 15, 1917, give as one of the requirements (which it is believed should come first, although it appears last in that book, and is not mentioned at all in the Field Service Regulations) the following:

"It should be one which the enemy cannot avoid but must attack or give up his mission."

Field of Fire

The most important requirement is a clear field of fire at long ranges, if we do not expect to fight tc a decision, and at short and mid-ranges if we do.

This applies more particularly to small arms fire, for with the artillery the principal requirement is to have direct terrestrial observation on the lines of advance of the enemy and covered positions for guns close at hand, easy to get into and easy to get out of.


If the defender wishes to fight in a certain position, it is a disadvantage to have too formidable an obstacle in front, for the assailant, seeing that his chances for success are slight, will avoid the position by moving past it, or will move in such a manner that he will deprive the de­fender of whatever advantage may arise from having the obstacle where it is.

Joseph E. Johnston had a fine strong position at Buz­zard's Roost, so much so that Sherman decided to turn it, as the position was too strong in front.

On the other hand, if the position has any weaknesses the assailant is sure of finding it sooner or later. This is what occurred at Nanshan Hill—the Japanese soon dis­covered the weakness of the Russian left. To have a por­tion of the position strong by nature so that it can be held

by a weaker force while use is made of the stronger force to carry on operations in the field is an ideal situation.

Lee, as a result of the strength of the Marye's Height-Prospect Hill position at Chancellorsville, was able to hold up Sedgwick while the majority of his forces attacked Hooker.

Culp's Hill at Gettysburg assisted Meade in the same way.

An obstacle in front of a position, passable at a few points by the assailant, is of advantage to the defender for he can concentrate his fire on that point and the enemy is virtually tied down.

Burnside^s bridge was a possible point of crossing of the Antietam, made doubly difficult by the concentrated Con­federate fire.

It is more difficult to find a suitable obstacle on which to rest a flank in the tactical than in the strategical de­fensive, as distances are shorter and no one can tell exactly where the fight will occur.

Sufficient in Extent

It is very important that the position be sufficient in extent for the forces that are to occupy it. Too much congestion causes heavy losses from artillery and confusion if any maneuvering is attempted.

If we are distributed in depth we may be able to prolong the line so as to overlap the assailant.

Liao Yang

As the Russian left was extended at Liao Yang, the right of Kuroki was extended to overlap it.


By keeping his reserves in rear of the interior flank, Bazaine was not able to get them up in time to prevent the Saxons from rolling up his right.

The best way of securing flank protection is to place troops beyond and to the rear of a wing in echelon for­mation.

General Reserve

Consequently the main reserve should be stationed in rear of the exposed flank. If this reserve is needed else­where, a substitute should be left. Its mission is to strike the assailant in the flank and envelop him.

The position of the general reserve is such as will enable it to respond to the most probable demands to be made upon it. If the line is such that the enemy may attempt a decisive attack along any part of it, the reserve will be held in a central position. Dividing the general reserve and holding it in two or more positions widely apart is inadvisable, except where necessary to insure the reinforcements of any part of the line in time to be effective.

The reserve should be posted so as to be entirely free to act as a whole, according to the developments. The distance from the firing line to the reserve is generally greater than in the attack. By reason of such a location the reserve is best able to meet a hostile enveloping attack. It has a better position from which to make a counter-at­tack; it is in better position to cover a withdrawal andpermit an orderly retreat. The distance from the firing line to the reserve increases with the size of the reserve. When the situation is no longer in doubt, the reserve should be held in rear of the flank which is most in danger or offers the best opportunity for a counter-attack. Usually the same flank best suits both purposes.

Both Flanks in the Air

If both flanks are in the air, the reserve should be located in rear of the one which, if turned, would lead the assailant by the most direct route to our line of commun­ications or retreat, or in the direction from which we expect reinforcements to arrive.

Cover and Concealment

Today the necessity for cover and concealment is of the greatest importance. We must first have concealment by camouflage or otherwise, and second, actual cover. Aerial observation has made those two elements of the utmost im­portance.

Good Communications

Numerous covered or camouflaged roads, or at least practicable approaches, to the foremost fighting lines and toward the flanks are necessary. Close ground is found more especially in highly cultivated districts, and these abound in obstacles to movement.

The road question is the all-important one in modern war. It does no good to have transportation galore with­out roads.

Advance Post and Advance Position

The occupation by a strong force of any position in advance of the main position is objectionable, in that it involves a dispersion of strength on the part of the defense and may result in compelling the entire force to tight to a decision in the advanced position, and not in the position prepared for that purpose. Where necessary to occupy advanced positions in order to secure more time before the enemy can attack the main position, or in order to keep the enemy out of them as long as possible, care must be taken that the force detailed for the purpose is not so weak that it will fall back to the main position before it accom­plishes its mission, and not so strong that it will be tempted to hold out too long, with the resultant danger of com­mitting the remaining troops to action in advance of the main position. It is not a question of how strong a force can be spared for the purpose of occupying an advanced position, but rather how weak can this force be made and yet have strength sufficient to accomplish its mission.

The holding of strong posts in advance of the main position, either for the purpose of delaying the enemy or for observation, is not objectionable, due to the fact that the forces necessary for the purpose is restricted in strength. . Unlike advanced positions held in force, advanced posts may be occupied up to the last so long as any advantage is gained thereby, even to the extent of risking the total loss of the occupying detachment.

Even on .comparatively level and open ground it is rarely necessary or advisable to occupy or strengthen the defensive line to the same degree throughout its entire extent. The terrain will generally offer some points in the line that are unusually strong naturally, or that can be readily strengthened, and such points will be used as supports on which to rest the entire line. They should be selected with a view to affording each other mutual support, flanking the ground over which the enemy must attack, and compelling him to capture one or more of them before he can force a decision. Supporting points are especially desirable on the flanks of the position and where there <ir» unavoidable salients in the line. They must form a part, and not be in advance of the main position.

Saint Hubert Farm, Leipsic, L'Envie and Champenois are illustrations of advanced posts, while Sainte Marie aux Chenes and the position of Wagner's division at Franklin are illustrations of the advanced positions. In order to gain time, a commander may sometimes find it advan­tageous to occupy and temporarily defend advanced posi­tions lying still farther to the front. In doing so, favorable terrain and skillful leadership are essential.

The Russians constructed advanced positions along the Sha-Ho in order to gain time for their offensive movement by their left flank. The uncertainty and hesitation pro­duced by the constant changes in orders, and the excessive reinforcements of the detachment holding these positions, which led them into making a stubborn defense, ruined the movement. Advanced positions are apt to mask the fire from the main position, and fights for their possession may easily lead to the defeat of the troops holding them. The battle of Tellissu, in the Russo-Japanese War, was fought around an advanced position which the Russians did not intend to hold.

Special Forms of Defensive

There are two special forms of tactical defensive opera­tions, one known by the von der Goltz designation as (1) an ambuscade defensive and the other (2) tactical flanking positions.

The ambuscade defensive derives its name from the manner of its execution. The defender, with a portion of his force, occupies a position and allows the enemy to attack until he is exhausted, when the defender in turn falls upon him with a greater portion of his whole force, whose pres­ence or time of arrival may not be known to the assailant. It is nothing more than the decisive counter-attack.

Elements That Must Be Present

1. The assailant must be exhausted.

2. The counter-stroke must be delivered by fresh troops.

3. Their arrival must come as a'surprise to the assailant.

4. Their arrival must be according to schedule, and not as the result of fortuitous circumstances.


The battle of Shiloh presents some of the features of the ambuscade defensive.

Albert Sidney Johnston's army exhausted itself on April 6, 1862, in assaulting Grant's army in defensive posi­tions at Shiloh. The counter-stroke was delivered on April 7th by Buell's army which did not arrive on the field until the decisive moment, i.e., at the point at which Johnston's army had exhausted its defensive power.

It differs in that the combination of the tactical roles on the part of the Union forces was accidental, and not premeditated. Second, in that the approach of the troops that delivered the counter-stroke was shown to the assail­ants, and the element of surprise was therefore eliminated.


The arrival of A. P. Hill on the afternoon of the 17th of September, 1862, and his attack on Burnside's left flank was in the nature of an ambuscade defensive. While the Federals were not exactly exhausted by the attack, their enthusiasm was decidedly on the wane as a result of the determined opposition. The counter-attack was made by fresh troops in so far as they had not been engaged, but they had been marching rapidly from Harper's Ferry to join in the battle. The assailant did not know of the arrival nor did the defenders know the exact time. The arrival of Hill and attack at the time was fortuitous rather than premeditated.

The battle of Austerlitz is the classic illustration of the ambuscade defensive. All the elements were present.

Modified Form of Ambuscade Defensive

The ambuscade may be adopted if the ground is favor­able. If there is a strong position, too extended for the troops to occupy, it may be held for temporary resistance. This will cause the enemy to deploy his strength. When involved in this deployment, he may be attacked by the de­fender's main body held in a covered position. If the posi­tion held by the defender is a range of mountains, then the enemy as he passes through any one of the passes may be struck, before he has cleared the defile, by troops held in concealment on the far side.

Tactical Flank Positions

The tactical flank position differs from the strategical in that (1) it is more limited as to space, (2) there is less danger of premature discovery, (3) there is greater danger of the enemy attacking and defeating the flank turned toward him.


1. The threatened wing must have a good point of support while the other wing is somewhat pushed forward from the parallel to the enemy's line of advance.

2. In occupying the position, the defender must not leave the main road to the principal object open—a rear guard retiring in the direction of the main object will probably draw the enemy along.

3. Position must not be more than artillery range from this main line of advance, otherwise the enemy has too much freedom in deploying.

4. The flank position must have a good line of departure.

5. It must have a good line of retreat.

A tactical flank position is most effective when the enemy, has to deal with it immediately after crossing a stream or passing through a defile. In ease of defeat his retreat is most difficult because he has to retire through a narrow passage situated on his flank.

The flank position becomes particularly effective if it is so located that the enemy cannot tell whether he has struck the old force that he has recently engaged in posi­tion, or the advance guard of a new force arriving.

The assailant is under the disadvantage, if unsuccess­ful, of retiring to the flank.

In that case, the enemy may move around him and strike his communications as Jackson did at Chantilly, September 1, 1862.

In the tactical defensive we must bear in mind that we are playing another man's game, and, such being the case, we must be wary, figuring that he will do the thing most inconvenient for us and make our arrangements accordingly.

CHAPTER XVIII. Special Types of Warfare


IN THE study of the various works on strategy, there is found a disposition on the part of some writers to classify operations under separate headings according to the kind of terrain in which each might occur. For ex­ample, mountain warfare, forcing or defending river lines, etc. The chief influence these features have, is tactical rather than strategical, yet they have been regarded as of sufficient importance and difference to require knowledge of a special kind.

The utilizing of the features of terrain should be studied in connection with the defensive as they are of special ad­vantage to that side, either as obstacles or as a means of cover and concealment to troops making counter-moves. In the latter respect they also assist the offensive.

But' there is really no reason why warfare of this kind should be completely separated from the whole, at least not with respect to the general rules of strategy.

The general rules of war are applicable to such a ter­rain and in a way the same principles will be seen in opera­tion.

Of course the tactical formation of troops must be changed to meet the situation.

Mountain Ranges

Strategically, mountain ranges have two directions, namely, perpendicular and parallel to the line of operations.

Perpendicular to the line of invasion, they are of as­sistance to the defender, provided all the passes are held.

Yet it always has been easy for an assailant to make feints at certain points, then break through at some one pass. If one pass goes, generally they all go.

Shipka Pass

When the Turks held the Shipka Pass, the Russians turned their position by crossing to the east at the Hainkoi Pass.

Thoroughfare Gap

Ricketfs division was turned out of Thoroughfare Gap by the Confederates passing over a trail called Hopewell's Gap after frontal attacks had failed.

The defensive has the advantage of being able to de­bouch from the mouth of one of the passes and to threaten the assailant's communications.

Napoleon's crossing of the Alps in 1800 shows how little such obstacles to crossing deter a determined leader.

In a careful study of the terrain of France and eastern Belgium, it will be seen that all mountains trend generally north and south. This made the situation very bad for the Germans, when the line of the Meuse was seized by the 1st American Army, for all that army had to do was move down the valley to threaten the German line of retreat, whereas the Germans had either to cross the mountains or retire between Holland and Luxemburg.

If the mountains are parallel to the line of invasion, they permit the defender to debouch upon the hostile rear or flank of the assailant. Likewise, the assailant may do the same thing to the defender if the opportunity is offered.


Sherman's movements to get Johnston out of the Da!-ton position were generally facilitated by the north and south trend of the mountain ranges and particularly by the location of Snake Creek Gap.

"Mountain ranges in general offer to weak detachments the advantages of strong defensive positions, which gener­ally cannot be attacked on flank or turned without great loss of time^'

Too Extended Really a Weakness

If the mountains are very extended, they are generally a source of weakness rather than strength for the reason that all passes must be held while the enemy can concen-

trate against any one. The defender will have difficulty in reinforcing in any other manner than from the rear, in which case the reinforcing troops will be subjected to all the difficulty the assailant experiences.

Holding All the Passes

If the defender attempts to hold all the passes, he will soon become so weak that the assailant will be able to break through most anywhere.

The action for the assailant to take is to demonstrate against all the passes and break through at one.


This was Kuroki's repeated practice in the Fen-Schui Mountains. At Amping, the 2d Division moved direct, get­ting possession of the heights overlooking the Tang-Ho. The Guard Division was on its left. Farther north the 12th Division attacked Yu-Schu-Ling (Pass) and carried it, outflanking the Russian left, so that the Russians had to abandon their entire position to save their communications.


The Roumanians, in their initial plunge into The World "War, instead of concentrating under cover of the Transyl-vanian Alps and the Carpathians, which would have offered them protection, threw their three armies forward, cross­ing the mountains by passes and trails, either on foot or by rail.

Von Falkenhayn concentrated his forces in the valley of the river Maros and, having done so launched them for­ward against the Roumanians scattered out in the moun­tains.


It must not be assumed that mountains ean only be crossed over roads; such an assumption is a mistake. The Turks often have been mistaken in the Balkans.

The Japanese on repeated occasions turned the Rus­sians out of position in Manchuria by going over ridges where no road existed.


The trouble, in mountain warfare, is the keeping up of supplies, particularly ammunition. An army may often travel on half rations, but it cannot fight on half ammuni­tion. Repeatedly the question of supply influenced the movements of the Japanese in the mountainous country of Manchuria. The supply question in the so-called Tullahoma campaign in Tennessee virtually dictated the strategy. While we cannot ignore the question of supply, yet if we sur­render everything to it we have the case of the "tail wag­ging the dog."

A Proper Method of Defense

A proper method of defense of a mountain range would be to hold merely the passes by small detachments, re-connoitering with cavalry and aircraft well to the front, while keeping the bulk of the forces concentrated and con­cealed back of the mountains ready to fall upon the assail­ant as his marching columns wind laboriously out of the mountain denies. It is another form of ambuscade defen­sive.

Defense of the Transylvanian Alps

This is exactly the manner in which von Falkenhayn defended the Alps against the Roumanian invasion of Tran­sylvania in 1916. He left covering detachments to hold all the passes temporarily, but to fall back slowly before the enemy.

The Roumanians pushed forward in long columns and as the heads of the columns debouched into the valley they occupied the towns, even while the rear elements were still marching.

Von Falkenhayn, who had concentrated in the valley of the Maros, now moved swiftly south and attacked the heads of these Roumanian columns while von Arr covered ' his left. The result was a hasty disjointed deployment of the Roumanians and their speedy defeat.

Holding Passes to Gain Time and Tire Enemy

Often it becomes necessary for a numerically inferior force to hold back the enemy to gain time for the arrival of reinforcements or for the concentration of the scattered forces. Then the passes are held themselves.

South Mountain.

When Lee learned of the capture of his Special Order 191 and that the Federals were advancing, he directed the concentration of his army at Sharpsburg and ordered the cavalry holding Turner's, Fox's and Crampton's Gaps rein­forced and those passes held long enough for the concentra­tion to be completed.

Meanwhile McClellan was slowly advancing on Turn­er's and Crampton's Gap. Longstreet was ordered back to hold Turner's Gap while Anderson held Crampton's Gap.

Both of the Federal advancing forces, namely, Burn-side at Turner's and Fox's Gap, and Franklin at Cramp­ton's Gap were delayed until Harper's Ferry had fallen and Lee had concentrated nearly all his forces.

Never in history have mountain passes been of such an advantage to a defender.

Bragg's Defense of the Mountain Ranges East of the Tennessee

After Rosecrans had effected a crossing of the Ten­nessee River and started over the triple ranges of moun­tains, he was scattered on a front of 40 miles; an un­usual opportunity was offered Bragg to mass in-Layfayette Valley, holding against two of the columns, while he anni­hilated the third. As a matter of fact, Bragg did concen­trate, but he failed to take the proper precautions toward informing himself of Rosecrans' moves. With McCook at Alpine, Thomas at McLemore's Cove, and Crittenden at Ringgold, none nearer the other than 20 miles, Bragg actually did try to crush one force under Negley at Dug's Gap, but his subordinates iailed him as they repeatedly did during the ensuing campaign. When the battle of Chicka-maugua was fought, the Federals were concentrated and all the advantage that Bragg might have gained from their over-dispersion had been forfeited.

The resistance along mountain ranges at the best is much limited as to time, for in nearly every case the assail-

ant has finally found a way to turn the position and the defenders have been driven out.

Actual mountain warfare is generally pictured as one's imagination dictates and as it has often been fought—small forces of mountain men holding up vastly superior numbers.

There is before us as an example the defense of the Tyrol against Napoleon I.

"The isolated districts of Upper Albania have as­serted a qualified independence since the days of Alexander the Great on account of their ability as mountain fighters."

Skanderberg furnishes us with the most brilliant ex­ample in mountain warfare when he spends a generation in his resistance against the armies of Mehemet the Con­queror.

A record of similar achievements is furnished by the resistance of the Tscherkasians in the Caucasus Mountains, that of the Montenegrans in the Black Mountains, that of the Spahkians in Crete, and that of the Carlists in the Bosque province. The Pomakians in the mountain valley of Tur-usch asserted their independence from the Bulgarians from 1878 until 1886.


Every river of any importance is of service in the defense of a country. For it is not only of use in causing the enemy trouble in crossing, if the bridges are destroyed; but it also restricts a certain amount of his communications with the rear; for they are generally confined to a few crossings, either newly prepared or old ones made service­able.

The direction of the water courses determines their influence.


Parallel to the march of the army,- rivers may become, in rare cases, the line of operations, but more often the line of communications.

They generally serve the offensive as a support for a wing.

They often form a natural line of invasion into coun­tries through which they flow. Such are the Danube for

Austria; the Po for Italy; the Elbe for Prussia; the Nile for Egypt; the Vardar for Macedonia; and the Oise, Marne and Seine for France.


When the watercourse is perpendicular to an army's line of march, it becomes an obstacle for the assailant and an aid for the defender.

The rivers Aisne and Marne in The World War are illustrations of this statement.

The defense of rivers is open to the same temptations as mountain ranges in that they entice the defender to attempt to hold them at all points and thus become too much extended.

In attempting to force a crossing, the assailant, if he can surprise the enemy, has some hope of success, other­wise not.

Von Hindenburg in 1914, attempted to force the cross­ing of the Neiman River by sheer weight of his artillery but each time was driven back and finally had to retreat.

The Boers stopped Methuen at the Modder River and Buller at the Tugela when they tried to cross by direct attack.

Proper Way to Depend a Crossing

To keep small detachments to . watch the crossings to learn the intentions of the enemy and where his main forces are crossing.

Then to assemble the main body at some convenient place in rear of the line and fall upon the enemy as he is in the act- of crossing or, after he has crossed, to strike him when he has the river at his back.

In the defense of the river, the commander must de­termine how it is to be held—whether as a tactical posi­tion or as indicated in the previous paragraphs. If the enemy is to be stopped at the river itself, then its banks must be strengthened by entrenchments, obstacles placed and advance posts strengthened and garrisoned appropri­ately. If the near bank alone is to be held, then the bridges, if any exist, must be prepared for destruction or destroyed.

Larenzac, commanding the 5th French Army along the Sambre River in 1914, erred greatly in this regard. Ap­parently he had determined to stop the Germans at the Sambre and Meuse, holding the angle formed by their junction with apex at Namur.

Instead of throwing up entrenchments, preparing the bridges, and garrisoning his advance post at Charleroi adequately, he completely neglected this duty. As to the Meuse, no entrenchments were constructed north of Givet. As a result the garrison of Charleroi was driven back on the river and the bridges seized. On the Meuse a crossing was effected at Dinant at the section of the line not en­trenched.

The banks very often offer opportunities for the direct defense by tiers of fire delivered from trenches. The Boers had such a position on the Tugela River.

But this situation is exceptional, for the holding of the river as a tactical position is bad.

Battle of Fere Champenoise

This battle illustrates the effective use of reserves in throwing back an enemy after he has crossed an obstacle.

The movement of the Guard Division and the Saxons around the end of the St. Gond Swamp and their penetration, well within the French lines, gave Foch his opportunity, for he sent the 42d Division post haste from his left to his right rear where it caught the Prussians in flank and drove them back through the gap while the French were holding on determinedly at other sections of the line.

First Battle of Manassas

The first battle of Manassas is an illustration of a river line improperly held. Beauregard placed five of his seven and a half brigades on the river line itself, occupying it exactly as if it were a tactical position. His line was seven miles long and had a density of 1.8 men per yard.

Even with this extreme extension he failed to cover the point at which McDowell crossed, and the passage of the stream by the latter was unopposed.

Moreover, in occupying the line as if it were a posi­tion, Beauregard immobilized a large part of his army. The main battle was fought principally by the troops from the Shenandoah—which on arrival at Manassas Junction, had been placed in reserve, assisted by two regiments of Bonham, ten companies of Cocke, and a half brigade of Evans' and Stuart's cavalry. Thirteen thousand men lay idle along the creek. If, on the contrary, the fords had been watched by small detachments, and the bulk of the Confeder­ate army held in readiness, say at the road junction at New Market, the Union advance by the Warrenton Pike, or the Sudley Springs Road, Ball's or Mitehel's Fords, could have been opposed by the whole concentrated army, while an advance by Union Mills could have been taken in flank. One of the most serious administrative difficulties Beaure­gard met with was in getting his orders transmitted and their execution supervised. The greater his dispersion, the greater the difficulty. With his army well in hand at New Market this embarrassment would have been diminished to a marked degree.

In the second battle of the Marne, while the main German army did not get across the river in force, yet it was driven back into the river and almost exterminated.


The only advantage forests can be in the nature of obstacles is that they conceal movements, and in this regard they assist the assailant more than the defender, partic­ularly if a forest is in front of a defensive line.

The far edge of the wood should be held and succes­sive lanes, swept by machine guns, cut through.


A desert is of little tactical assistance other than that it affords no concealment for the attacker. In a strat­egical way it is of great assistance if it is extensive enough, in that the difficulty of supply may cause the assailant to avoid it. Railroads have facilitated the question of supply to a great extent. The tactical defensive of the desert is from the near side. The advent of aircraft has rendered the Suez Canal absolutely secure from direct attack from the east, for no attack can be carried out over the 135 miles of desert to the east.

Artificial Obstacles

The artificial means of defense that affect the opera­tions of armies and which may be isolated, classified, and given names, are fortified positions, intrenched camps and fortresses.

Fortified Position

A fortified position is one, strong by nature, the strength of which has been increased by artificial means and which requires an army for its defense.

Its purpose is to form a point in which final resistance can be made by a weaker against a stronger force.

Illustration of Fortified Positions

Danewarth line for the defense of Jutland, Torres Vedras for the defense of Lisbon, Tchataldtchha lines for the defense of Constantinople, Nanshan Hill for the defense of Port Arthur, and the Bulave lines for the defense of the mainland against an attack via the Gallipoli peninsula.

The positions may be also for the purpose of strength­ening a portion of a line in order that it may be held with a weak force and the strength thrown elsewhere.

Fortified positions are constructed on account of a feeling of weakness and are therefore primarily de­signed for a purely passive defense. Torres Vedras, Nan­shan Hill and Tchataldtchha furnish peculiar examples of artificial defensive positions with reversed front, i.e., turned toward the interior. But they are very strong positions which can only be attacked frontally and in which the wings of the attacker are endangered as far as naval guns can reach. Absolute mastery of the neighboring seas is an es­sential feature.

Entrenched Camps

The old entrenched camp can be literally taken from its name as a point to which a force may retire for camp and be protected. It resembles a, fortress in that it faces in all directions and differs from it in that it requires an army for its defense and not a garrison.

Entrenched Camp as Supporting Point

An entrenched camp can be used as a supporting point for one wing while we maneuver the other. Such a camp can be located so as to prevent one from being pushed away from a river while the main body is absent. Dresden, held by St. Cyr, while Napoleon was advancing on Blucher at Breslau, is a good illustration.

We should not retire to an entrenched camp unless we can count upon approaching reinforcements.

Modern Idea of an Entrenched Camp

The modern entrenched camp is a fortified location like Verdun or Toul, in which there is a fortress or a city (enciente) one or both, but on the outlying hills are a circle of smaller forts that keep the enemy from firing on the main defense with heavy guns. These forts are not a con­tinuous line, but are so located as to bear a tactical relation to each other.

The position has all the significance of an entrenched camp as it faces in all directions, requires an army and is a haven of refuge.

Belfort, Epinal and Langres are types of entrenched camps.


A fortress is more independent than a camp. It is more strongly constructed and cannot be taken generally without specially prepared guns. It is held by a garrison and has its own supplies and means of maintenance, and is independent of a field army.

Forts and fortresses are generally built in time of peace at points of great military importance. They may be located so as to command a harbor, a pass, a river and the like. The site may or may not be commanding.

If provinces are situated at a distance from the main body of a nation and are without good communications with it, or if they are so placed that location of an army in them would cause a separation of forces, then it is a good idea to fortify one of the principal towns.

Port Arthur and Sebastopol are illustrations.

Before The World War, Turkey held Scutari in north­western Montenegro, and Janina in northwestern Greece and was said to hold the provinces in which they were located.

Political Considerations

We can readily see that in such a distribution of fortresses, political considerations outweigh the military. All we want is to hold in our hand some security for our de­mands at the conclusion of peace.

Under these circumstances, a purely passive resistance will suffice.

Had Paris held out in 1814, it might have been pos­sible for Napoleon to have arranged a favorable peace for himself. Even after Paris had fallen, the allies did not withhold recognition of the King of Rome until Marmont had surrendered. After that, Napoleon had to accede to any terms that were offered to him. The possession of Danzig and Konigsberg did not give the French any right in the peace negotiations, however.

Barrier Forts

Barrier forts are located on the frontier near the im­portant rail or dirt roads; in mountainous countries, near bridges over large rivers which it is desired to preserve, and on navigable rivers which might be used by the enemy.

The important railroads and other lines of transportation leading from Germany into France were commanded near the frontier by barrier forts. The passes leading into Switzerland are so fortified by the Swiss. Among the first fortifications constructed by the Confederates in the Civil War were Forts Henry and Donelson, which were practically barrier forts to block the Cumberland and Ten­nessee Rivers.

Fortresses on Frontier to be Held, After Defender Falls Back

Sometimes it is well to hold a fortress near the fron­tier in hopes that, if one is forced to fall back, the fortress may some time be a point of support when reinforcements have been received and the armies again advance.

Kars in eastern Caucasia for the Russians, Danzig, Konigsberg and Olmutz for Napoleon, and Verdun in The World War formed points of support.

The idea of mutual support of fortifications and field troops has led to fortresses being provided with advanced works which protect the space to be occupied by the army.

Fortresses in Connection With Field Army

"If the army withdraws before a stronger enemy, leaving a fortress in its front like a pier before a bridge which is designed to break the first force of the floating ice that crowds against it, the enemy will invest the place or else be forced to station a strong body of troops in ob­servation before it."

As a result he arrives before the main forces of the enemy weakened and his success is questionable.

General Heiman's attack on Zevin on June 25, 1877, was unsuccessful, due to the lack of troops, as a large num­ber had been left to invest the 15,000 Turks at Kars.

The force detached by Lee to invest Harper's Ferry greatly weakened him, so much so, that had the fort not fallen and A. P. Hill arrived on the field of Antietam, Lee would have been disastrously defeated.

Maubeuge compelled the Germans to detach a force for its reduction which could have been used to better ad­vantage with the field army.

Field Army Emerging Feom Cover of the Fort

If the field army makes a sortie, it has a chance of victory in that the assailant may not know how strong a force is making the effort and may detail too weak a force to break it up.

Fortresses as Support for Flank

A fortress may also be used as a flank support. It is not necessary for the field army to retire directly upon the fortress. With the long range guns of today, fortresses can cover ground some distance from it, so that the field army is really under its protection.

In 1870, if the French, instead of retiring on Metz, had crossed the river between Pont-a-Mousson and No-veant, a fortress would still have protected their left wing.

If a fortress is located at the junction of several rivers, it may act as a pivot of support for a field army encounter­ing the enemy from several directions.


The great disadvantage an army has in attempting to escape from a fortress is that it must effect a pene­tration against a prepared position. The enemy may bring converging fire to bear, and, inasmuch as the en­emy's assistance comes from his lines of circumvalla-tion, he will strike the sortie force in the flank.

The attempts at self-delivery at Fort Donelson and Vicksburg are illustrations.

Power of Attraction

It is natural that the proximity of a protecting for­tress must exert a great power of attraction on an army in a difficult situation.

It is much easier to lead back an army behind its walls and guns than it is to lead one forward away from this safe refuge.

" There are two cases at least when an army would be justified in falling back into a fortress. (1) To escape annihilation as in the case of Ladysmith, Kimberly and Mafeking in South Africa. (2) When a strong relieving army is expected. The holding of Harper's Ferry was not an imprudent thing and would have turned out all right had Franklin shown even ordinary activity.

The Attack on Antwerp

The pernicious power of attraction that a fortress can exert on a field army is well illustrated in the case of Ant­werp. Joffre was extending his left with a view of con­necting up with the Belgian army and with the idea of taking up a position along the Scheldt to keep the Germans away from the coast.

The Germans, becoming aware of Joffre's plan, com­menced to bombard the outer forts on the 28th of Septem­ber.

The Belgian military staff decided to abandon the city and join the French either by way of the river Dendre or the river Scheldt. The retreat was to begin on the 2d of October. The retreat had hardly begun when the British Lord of the Admiralty arrived at Antwerp and laid before the Belgian staff and the council of ministers the views of his government. Antwerp was too rich a port and too im­portant to be given up.

He promised ample assistance, so encouraged thereby, the Belgians determined to hold out and thus lost three valuable days during which they could have effected their retreat at little risk and trifling cost, and established them­selves, in conjunction with the British and French forces that had landed at Ostend, on the Scheldt.

By the 6th, the Belgians became alarmed at the pro­gress of their foe and disparing of the promised assistance decided to continue the evacuation and, by the 9th nearly all the troops were under way. Toward the end there was a good deal of confusion and the rear guard came very nearly being captured, whilst the garrison troops, including the British marines, were unable, on account of the congestion of traffic, to rejoin the main army. To escape envelopment, they were obliged to enter Dutch ter­ritory and as a result about 30,000 were interned. Thus the Belgians had to give up the city anyway and lost a great amount of artillery and stores that ought have been saved. When they joined the allies, the Belgian army had shrunk from 90,000 to 50,000 men.

Von Kluck hoped that Maubeuge would exert an attrac­tive influence on Sir John French's army when it fell back from Mons, but the British general was too wary to fall into the trap.

Political Reasons

Many capitals, as already shown, may be of great polit­ical advantage and so must be held at all odds.

Constantinople, Copenhagen, Lisbon and Paris are of great importance politically, for in the past their fall has

been contemporaneous with the loss of a war. On the other hand, the fall of Moscow, Vienna, Belgrade and Washington have had no political significance in connection with the ending of a war.

The capital may be a part of an elaborate defense system and as such should be fortified.

Great Danger in Attempting to Fortify a Frontier

It will be difficult to determine the point to fortify and the nature of the construction of the fortifications. It is too expensive to be done indiscriminately.

The defense of the northern frontier of France is an interesting study. It is divided into five sections, the line of invasion through which are blocked by forts d'arret and backed up by fortified regions.

On the east front are the two first-class fortresses of Verdun and Toul with the curtain between. Thence south are the first-class fortresses of Epinal and Eelfort backed up by fortified regions.

The fortified region is accredited to Brailmont. It is described by him as follows:

"A fortified region is an area inclosed within a group of entrenched camps so located with reference to each other that an investing force posted for the siege of one would be exposed to attack in rear by forces operating from the remaining entrenched camps of the group. This condition is fulfilled by a group of three or four entrenched camps located at a distance of about a day's march from each other. An area is thus provided into which an army, beaten in the field, may retire to reorganize and refit. An enemy seeking to engage such a force would be exposed to attack in flanks and rear, while investment of the whole fortified region would be out of the question on account of its extent."

With the four lines of invasion into France open to Germany, namely, through the Lorraine gateway, the Moselle trench, the Meuse trench and by way of the Bel­gian plains, France had to rely mostly on her field armies. It was thought, even by the Germans, that modern fortifi­cations (those on the north front by the way were not mod­ern) could not hold up a field army. Yet beginning with

Liege, these forts delayed the Germans enough to be a decided contributing factor in their defeat.

However, as a general rule, it is better to expend the nation's money on organization and on railroads that facil­itate active defense and the assumption of the offensive rather than on fortifications, except at most important points.

In the offensive and defensive, the field army comes first and it may win the war without auxiliary means and in spite of politicians and lack of fortifications. Yet the converse is not true.


CHAPTER XIX. Co-operation of the Army and the Navy


CAPTAIN MAHAN'S book on the.influence of sea power - on history has shown, for the first time, what rela­tions exist between the mastery of the sea and the mastery of the world. Formerly the extent of this relation was not correctly appreciated.

Furthermore, the importance which the participation of naval forces in the conduct of war on land attains is frequently underestimated.

This in a measure is due to the fact that most of the great struggles in Europe of the past eenturies have been too far removed from the sea to have the latter influence them very much.

In the Crimean War, the allies found, in their large fleets, the only means of being dangerous to Russia.

There is no doubt that England would never have attained the subjugation of the Boer Republics of South Africa without the mastery of the sea. She owes her vic­tory to her surprising performances in the shipping of large bodies of troops over the ocean. In this particular the English bitterly deceived their opponents.

In The World War, had Germany been able to master the sea she would have won without a shadow of a doubt.

During the various phases of development in a war the great value of co-operation of a fleet may be well shown.

One of the first things the Japanese did in the War of 1904 was to "bottle up" the Russian fleet and get control of the China Sea.

To show how distressing may be the influence of the loss of this control, we have but to refer to the raid of the Vladivostok squadron. Although tactically defeated by the destruction of the Japanese vessels bringing over rail­road rolling stock for use on the East China Railroad, the fleet delayed the advance of the Japanese army for over a month.

In 1894 it was impossible for the Japanese to advance farther than the Yalu until after the destruction of the Chinese fleet.

And in The World War, it was not until the German grand fleet had been "bottled up," and all auxiliary craft had been captured or destroyed that the allies felt at all sure as to its ultimate outcome.

The naval operations in the channel and the North ' Sea were inseparably connected with operations on land. While we cannot state with certainty the object of the "sally forth" of the German grand fleet that resulted in the battle of Jutland, yet it looks very much like it was an attempted diversion designed to get the minds of the German people off of the fiasco at Verdun.

For the "sally forth" came almost immediately after the French strokes at Douaumont and Mort Homme, May 22-28, 1916.

The psychological effect desired by the great general staff was to create a feeling in the minds of their people that there were still several trump cards to be played.

The German navy had not justified itself, for its duty had been to clear the sea of allied craft, particularly Eng­lish, and, in default of that, at least to make sea traffic so precarious that the allies would despair of oversea as­sistance.

At the outbreak of the war, German naval units were scattered over the various parts of the globe.

Two German cruisers, the Goeben and the Breslau, made themselves conspicuous in the Mediterranean; the Konigsberg off the coast of Africa, the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse in the South Atlantic, and the Emden in the Indian Ocean also played a prominent part. All of these vessels eventually were either sunk, captured or driven from the sea. On August 28, 1914, a portion of the German fleet ventured out and attempted unsuccessfully to lure Admiral Beatty onto the mine fields around Heligoland and the action which took the name of the Bight of Heligoland occurred. On January 24, 1915, a similar engagement took place off Dogger Bank. On November 1, 1914, Admiral von Spree, with his Pacific fleet from Kiao-Chau, engaged Admiral Craddock's British fleet off the coast of Chile opposite Coronel, and defeated it, but in turn was defeated himself on December 8th, off the Falklands, by the British fleet under Admiral Sturdee.

It will be seen from the above narrative that the pres­tige of the German navy must have been low and some action had to be taken to show its effectiveness.

The French were launching a sustained offensive at ' Verdun while the British were preparing (to Germany's knowledge) for their "bath of blood," historically known as the "battle of the Somme," so some diversion was nec­essary.

First Assistance

It may be said that the first great assistance a fleet can give is to clear the sea of hostile craft.

Second Great Assistance

The second great assistance is to keep the sea clear, or at least reasonably so. This is done by "bottling up" hostile vessels, by patrol work and by convoy duty.

This latter duty was most important in The World War and was quite effectively performed by destroyers, conver­ted cruisers and U-boat chasers.

The Gallipoli expedition, the transport of troops to the western front from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States and elsewhere would not have been possible without naval assistance.

In the Russo-Turkish War, when it was learned that the Russians had crossed the Danube, Suliman Pasha's army of 30,000 was in the vicinity of Scutari, Montenegro. On July 16th, it embarked in 20 transports and moved around to the port of Enos on the north coast of the Aegean where it arrived on the 19th. From there the army proceeded to Tirnova by rail and arrived on the 26th. A complete trans­fer of 30,000 men in ten days which could not have been possible without the co-operation of the navy.

Third Great Assistance

A very important and indispensable assistance a fleet can render land forces is in connection with advancing the base.

In the war between China and Japan in 1894, and the war between the Russians and Japanese in 1904-05, we see how useful the co-operation of the navy is in ad­vancing a base and in attaching new communications if the land operations happen to be carried on near the coast.

In 1813, England, on account of her absolute mastery of the sea, was able to change the base of operations of her army in the field against France from Lisbon to San-tander (north coast of Spain) in one move. In the Italian campaign of 1859, the moving of a large part of the French army from Marseilles to Genoa brought to a stand­still the offensive operations that Austria started against Sardinia. The development of the railroad has greatly re­duced the importance of the fleets in this respect, but has not entirely removed it.

The command of the sea, which permits the land forces of the power possessing it to support themselves at every point along the coast that offers a good harbor, is as val­uable to the defender as it is to the attacker.

A glance at the map will be sufficient to show the great importance that the positive command of the Baltic Sea gave Germany in her struggle with the allies. In the Polish theater, the German armies, in case of necessity, could fall back on Konigsberg or Danzig instead of merely in a westerly direction toward the Oder.


In this connection it is interesting to read from Bern-hardi "On War," written in 1913: "If Germany should once be forced to conduct an offensive war against Russia, it would be of the utmost importance for her to gain un­disputed command of the Baltic. She could then completely paralyze maritime traffic on the Russian coast, thus pre­venting imports of war material from other states like England and France, by sea at least; she would oblige the adversary to use a considerable number of troops for pro­tecting the coast and securing St. Petersburg, which would be directly menaced; she could, lastly, carry out a very bold offensive on land, if she were able to base herself partly on the coast.

"If her fleet commanded the great Russian Baltic ports to such an extent as to permit men and war material to be landed there, and to join thence the field army, the German army would have the chance of advancing along the coast, enveloping from the north all Russian armies operating in the western provinces of the country, partly interrupting and partly threatening their lines of commun­ications with St. Petersburg, and pushing these armies ultimately in a southern direction.

"The fleet in such case would enable the army to make its attack in the decisive direction, thus very materially con­tributing to a decisive victory.

"The fleet should therefore seek as soon as ever for a decisive issue with the Russian fleet, to beat it. and blockade its remnants in their places of refuge. This success must immediately be followed up by blockading the Russian Bal­tic coast and by the capture of the most important har­bors.

"The fleet would be of similar importance, if, in a sep­arate war between Germany and France, a German attack was conducted through Belgium.

"In this case, too, a German offensive could act with the utmost strategic freedom if the French fleet were beaten, and the Germans commanded the sea to such an extent as to allow the German land forces to base themselves at least on the coast."

Fourth Great Assistance

The fourth great assistance that the fleet can render is in protecting the coast. Seacoast defenses are not so necessary if a country has a large fleet and controls the sea.

So long as Turkey was able to control the Black Sea and close the Dardanelles, it was a matter of small con­sequence whether she fortified Constantinople or not.

So long as England controls by sea St. George Chan­nel, the North Sea and the English Channel, she need not worry about land defenses other than against aircraft.

But a country must do one of two things—it must either maintain its supremacy at sea or else fortify its coast so that its smaller fleet will have a place of refuge in event of the enemy descending upon it with superior numbers-

The nation that does not fortify its coasts is apt to be confronted with the proposition of holding its navy at home in order to prevent an enemy's cruisers from blowing up the unfortified towns.

To defeat the enemy, not only on land but on sea, we must go after his main hostile organization with superior numbers. By so doing we may have to denude our coasts of the necessary protective naval craft.

The result is that suddenly a few converted cruisers appear off our coasts and bombard our defenseless citizens. We have a recent illustration of this in England. A country must have fortified coaling stations and harbors not only at home, but scattered all over the world, in order to form havens of refuge for its defeated vessels unless it wants its naval and commercial strength wiped from the face of the earth. The nation whose aggregate of war vessels does not amount up to a total which can justify confidence in their beating the fleets opposed to them under all possible contingencies, in discussing the problems which arise in the art of naval warfare cannot ignore the position of the weaker side.

To such nations, the possession of maritime fortresses afford a guarantee that their navy will not be wiped out at the outset and their shores be the prey of any craft with a gun that may come along.

Fifth Great Assistance

The fifth great assistance a fleet can render to a field army is blockading the enemy's coast so as to cut off supplies from the outside. No nation depends solely upon its own resources for its supply of peace or war materials, including munitions, food, clothing, etc.

If the fleet can prevent their introduction, it indirectly will assist the field forces to the greatest extent.

Although Germany hesitates to admit it, yet the hos­tile blockade had as much to do with bringing her to her knees as anything else.

Where two forces are approximately equal, victory will finally fall to the one that remains master of the sea. The latter exhausts the financial resources of the

former by destroying his commerce and interrupting all trans-marine intercourse, thus undermining his military power also.

The blockade of the Southern ports had as much to do with bringing the Civil War to a close as anything else.

After the defeat of her dynastic armies in 1870, France never would have been able to organize the Army of the Loire had not the sea been open for her use.

Had the two military forces been anywhere near equal in efficiency, Germany would have been defeated.

The loss of Spain's colonial possessions was contem­poraneous with the decline of her navy.

As long as the fleet of Turkey controlled the Levant, she had no trouble maintaining her supremacy, but when, as a result of the War of Grecian Liberation her fleet was wiped out by the combined fleets of Great Britain, France and Russia at Navarino Octobar 20, 1827, she became easy prey to the Russians in 1828-29. In the Crimean War, Turkey was about to lose control of the sea, and had she done so, the story of that war would have been the-same as the previous one with Russia. However, the intervention of Great Britain and France restored the' control and the Russians were defeated. In 1878, Turkey's control of the Aegean enabled her to throw troops from Montenegro and Albania to Thessaly and, had she in any way been prepared for the conflict, the outcome might have been different. As it was she prolonged the war far beyond what she could have done had she not con­trolled the sea.

Sixth Great Assistance

In the tactical battle, if a flank rests on the sea, the force whose nation controls it has a great advantage. It was a most decided advantage to the allies in Flanders to have their left flank protected by the fleet. The defenses of Lisbon and Constantinople would be worthless without control of the sea. Control of the sea enabled the Japanese to turn the left of the Russians at Nanshan Hill.

At Alma, in the operations in Flanders on the part of the allies, and in the final campaign in Italy in 1918 the

control of the sea rendered secure the flank of the at­tacking army.

Land forces also assist the navy in their operations against hostile fleets, particularly when the latter become bottled up in a harbor. In the struggle between China and Japan, the Chinese fleet, worsted in the Bay of Korea, sought refuge in Wei-hai-wei and a Japanese army had to be landed on the shores of Shantung to assist in the destruction. A similar situation arose at Santiago, in the Spanish-American War, 1898, at Port Arthur, in the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-05, and at Tsing Tau in 1914.

Oversea Expeditions

Descents upon a hostile coast, if opposed, have a very small chance of success, particularly in modern times. It is true that the landing may be made, but getting away from the coast is the difficulty.

The initial operation will be carried out in some more or less open bay where boats can be beached.

The feasibility of the operation depends greatly on the weather and direction of the wind.

The commander of the expedition has considerable lib­erty of action and initiative, and can conceal his place of true landing by feints at other points.

Difficulty, however, will arise first from the fact that it will be almost impossible to keep his point of landing a secret.

The introduction of the modern means of obtaining and transmitting information have greatly assisted the de­fender, and with modern transportation methods, he is able to move troops to the danger point in time to stop the invader. The increase in the precision and range of guns is another invaluable assistance.

The landing force is at a decided tactical disadvantage in that it is on interior lines and is subjected to a con­verging fire that can be carefully registered on known objects beforehand, while, in return, its own fire is di­verging and not as accurately delivered.


The establishment of the advance base is a great dif­ficulty, for the point selected for landing will be chosen on account of features that are not at all important in select­ing the site for a base.

The original expedition must be limited in numbers and the home base may be at a distance, so that it will be difficult to transport reinforcements and supplies fast enough to make up for the consumption if the enemy is active.

Aboukir Bay

"One of the most remarkable examples of a disem­barkation in modern times carried out in the face of the enemy is furnished by Sir K. Abercromby's achievement in Aboukir Bay. His force consisted of some 16,000 men, with, however, scarcely any horses—there was practically no cavalry, and the artillery during the subsequent move on Alexandria was hauled along by hand. The transports were lying for six days off the coast before the weather permitted boats to reach the shore. In consequence of this, there had been time for a force of 2,000 men, under Friant, to be despatched to the bay by General Menou; that com­mander has indeed been severely and probably not un­justly blamed for not sending more. The French troops were drawn up in a semi-circle on the sand hills command­ing the beach, while their guns had been placed in battery on a lofty bluff that dominated its whole extent. The re­sult was that the British general was confronted with the task of not only getting his men ashore but assailing a strong position held by veteran troops.

"At 9:00 in the morning of the day of the battle, signal was made for the boats of the fleet, each of them con­taining 50 soldiers, to advance toward shore. The scene in the bay at once became one of intense animation. Under the command of Captain Cochrane, the whole of the troop boats made for the shore formed up in two lines.

"Armed craft sustained their flanks. Launches con­taining field artillery, with seamen to work the guns, ac­companied the boats.

"Bomb vessels and sloops of war stood in close to the shore with their broadsides ready.

"The landing force consisted of about 5,000 men, no more being sent in the first party, due to lack of accommo­dations. This brings out the greatest weakness of a land­ing and that is the fact that boat facilities will seldom be sufficient for all the troops available to land at one and the same time.

"No sooner had the first boats come within range of Friant's guns than a heavy fire was opened. Several boats were sunk. The sailors pulling eagerly at the oars, the infantry huddled between the seats suffered appreciable losses during those terrible moments when the boats were traveling the zone of fire. The landing party came on with the precision of the comic opera stage and scarcely had the bows touched ground when the men rushed ashore. The two leading regiments quickly deployed and rushed the French cavalry which at one time threatened to roll up the first detachment. Seeing the futility of trying to hold back this force, now that it had gained foothold on the shore, General Friant ordered a withdrawal. This rather brilliant piece of work could hardly be accomplished today in the face of the modern field artillery and magazine rifles.

"In the days that this landing was made muskets only carried about 100 yards and grape began to lose its effect at a range over a quarter of a mile. The landing party only suffered loss when it was close inshore."

In modern times, as has been stated, it will be necessary to make feints at landing at several places in order to deceive the enemy as to the true point and then to land at some point where little or no resistance is encountered. In 1898, General Shatter's army, destined to act against Santiago, carried out its actual disembarkation at Daiquiri, 15 miles east of the harbor mouth; but a demonstration was made at the same time at Cabanas, three miles west of the harbor, where boats were loaded as if intended to put off for shore, and every means was taken to induce the belief among the Spanish forces that this was the chosen landing place.

When Charles XII, in 1700, was preparing a descent upon the Island of Zealand, the military commander, Gen­eral Stuart; made a secret reconnaissance of the coast and decided upon the point at which the landing was to take place. He then ostentatiously examined several other lo­calities which were obviously well adapted for purposes of military disembarkation. This induced the Danes to scat-ter their forces along the shore, so that, when the Swedish landing parties began to arrive in their boats, there were no Danish troops actually present on the spot to meet them.

The rule that descents upon the shores of highly cul­tivated and densely populated sections are failures generally is subject to the exception that if the landing is made con­temporaneous with a popular uprising, the invader may look for sufficient reinforcements to take advantage of his hold on the coast. Otherwise it is a case of "I came, I saw, I went away."

Exceptions occur when there is an important object lying on the seacoast, the possession of which exercises a considerable influence on the course of the war.

The cases of Sebastopol, in 1854, and Port Arthur in 1904, are examples that naturally come to mind. The presence of the fleet within the harbor, while rendering it more difficult of capture, yet with the capture of the harbor and destruction of the fleet, the enemy was so crippled that he was about ready for peace. In both cases the Russian supremacy was mortally crippled by the loss of their principal port and the destruction of their fleet, without both of which it was out of the question to hope for ultimate victory.

Political considerations may materially heighten the importance of landing expeditions, especially if they are directed toward an important town or capital on the sea. The rapid occupation of Vera Cruz brought about the over­throw of Huerta; the capture of Santiago by Shafter brought about the peace of Paris of 1898.

Colonial wars and conflicts with nations of inferior military development in distant parts of the world are the ordinary field of landing expeditions. A small force of well disciplined and well equipped European troops

making a landing have been the means of forcing some smaller country to comply with treaty obligations, or to settle political quarrels. We have several illustrations in our own dealings with South and Central American re­publics. The forts at the mouth of the Pei-Ho have been seized on two occasions for the purpose of compelling China to give the foreigners the treatment that their political contracts provided for.

General Allenby's control of the sea made possible his Philistia-Judea campaign. It afforded a good resting place for Allenby's left flank and enabled him to maneuver with his right flank and change his base as he advanced.

Moving the Advance Base Forward

Aside from the indirect support given to an army by the navy controlling the sea and thereby rendering it pos­sible to get supplies, the navy may contribute directly to the success of the advance by supporting one or both flanks in case of an advance along the coast.

Without the assistance of the navy, the Japanese would not have been able to advance, as they did, to the line of the Yalu.

The fleet supported the allied right at the battle of Alma to the extent that the allies merely had to pay atten­tion to their left flank. A similar situation occurred during The World War at the battle of Vittorio Veneto. The Italian

Japanese Landing in Manchuria

The details of this operation are best illustrated by the following quotations:

"The victory of the Yalu had cleared the air, and had relieved the Japanese Imperial headquarters of much anxiety. East and west had met for the first time under equal conditions of armament and organization, and all the moral effects of success in the first encounter was with the army of Japan.

"General Kuroki was able to hold his own; the occupa­tion of Korea, the first objective of the campaign, was assured; and the Imperial headquarters could now turn its attention toward Port Arthur.

"The early success of her fleet had given Japan tem­porary command of the sea, and had enabled her to land her troops in Korea unmolested, but as long as the Russian naval base of Port Arthur, and the fleet that had taken refuge there, remained effective, there was no permanent security for the Japanese over the sea communications; for the dockyard afforded the necessary means of repairing the damaged Russian ships, and the announcement of the intended despatch of the Baltic fleet to eastern waters was evidently more than a mere threat.

"To blockade Port Arthur, and, at the same time, hold off the Baltic fleet, was a task even beyond Togo's power to perform, and the Russian fleet in the far East must be dealt with before Admiral Rojestvenski could arrive from Europe.

"The Japanese victory on the Yalu was the signal for a general movement of troops by sea to the shores of the Liao-Tung Peninsula.

"While General Kuroki had been deploying his troops of the First Army upon the frontier of Korea, the Second Army under General Baron Oku, consisting of the 1st, 3d and 4th Divisions and the 1st Artillery Brigade, had been quietly shipped from Japan to Chinampo, where it now lay on board some eighty transports, whose moorings along the Taitong River occupied about 18 miles of water.

"Orders for the mobilization of the Second Army had been issued on the 6th of March, and by the end of that month the units assembled at the appointed ports of em­barkation, whence, as transports became available, they sailed to the rendezvous at Chinampo in groups of four or five ships. Though not actually under convoy, each transport carried a naval officer and a complement of sig­nalmen, who communicated at fixed points with the cruisers protecting the route.

"The destination of this force, which was ultimately to form the left wing of the converging movement on Liao-Yang, was a point on the coast line at no great distance from Port Arthur, the isolation of which fortress was the immediate task assigned to General Oku."

Landing Place

In determining the exact locality of the landing place, questions of the nature and configuration of the coast and the facilities for safeguarding the disembarkation were the main factors involved.

Description of Coast Line

The coast line between the Bay of Talien and Takusan, * within which zone, in accordance with the strategic plan, the landing must be effected, is ill-suited for the purpose, the water being very shoal, and the coast possessing no sheltered anchorage at a convenient distance from the shore.

Other considerations favored a disembarkation in the western, rather than in the eastern section of the coast line chosen, since the foreshore toward Ta-Lein-Wan is better, the currents weaker, and the rise and fall of the tide less than in the neighborhood of Takusan.

Moreover, toward Port Arthur there are several groups of islands suitable as points of assembly for transports, and the future movements of the Second Army would be considerably facilitated by a close approach to the fortress, although the danger of attack by sea would be propor­tionately greater.

Everything pointed to a landing at Pi-Tzu-Wo, where the Japanese 1st Division had landed in 1894; but that place suffers from the usual disadvantage of the southern coast of Manchuria, for the foreshore shelves very grad­ually, and extensive mud flats, nearly two miles wide, are exposed at low water. For these reasons Pi-Tzu-Wo itself was rejected, and Hou-Tu-Shih, near the mouth of the Ta-Sha-Ho, where water is deeper, was selected.

This spot, chosen from the chart, had not been recon-noitered in peacetime, and to have done so after the open­ing of hostilities would have attracted the attention of the Russians, who had a force only some 18 miles distant at Pu-Lan-Tien, and another at Chin-Chaou, about 25 miles from Yen-Tai Bay.

The Japanese general staff, however, was no doubt aware from Admiral Togo's report that the Chin-Chaou force was engaged in fortifying the Isthmus of Nanshan, from which fact it was reasonable to infer that any offen-

sive movement or active defense from that direction was not contemplated by the Russians. In fact the nearest Russian force, from which serious opposition might have been forthcoming, was 100 miles distant, at Ta-Shih-Chiao.

To minimize all risks from the Russian fleet, the Jap­anese fleet transferred its base from the Korean coast to the Elliot Islands, in the neighborhood of the place of landing, and a third attempt to block the exit of Port Arthur was made on the night of the 2d and 3d of May, after which Admiral Togo was able to report that "the harbor entrance appears to have been completely blocked to the passage of cruisers and larger vessels." Since destroyers could pass out, and as the probability of a torpedo attack on the trans­ports had been acknowledged, further precautions were necessary to reduce the danger.

All available destroyers and torpedo boats, to the num­ber of about 60, were stationed off Port Arthur, or between that fort and the intended anchorage, which was further protected by booms, nets, dummy mines, patrol boats, and guard ships at anchor, blocking the fairway between the main land and the Elliot Islands, a distance of nearly eight miles.

On the 3d of May, the first group of 16 transports sailed from the Taitong River, timed to arrive off Hou-Tu-Shih at daylight on the 4th.

Two cruisers led the line, others held position on the exposed flank, and one brought up the rear. The fleet was delayed by boisterous weather, and obliged to shelter under the lee of the Elliot Islands from 3:00 PM, on the 4th until 6:00 AM, on the 6th, when it sailed for Hou-Tu-Shih, where a few Cossacks were observed, but the Russians offered no resistance either by sea or by land. As the transports approached the coast, they were drawn up in three lines, and were taken to their anchorage close inshore where, even if the ships were sunk, their upper works would remain above water.

The Landing

At 7:20 AM, on the 5th of May, a naval landing party, consisting of six officers and about 1,000 men, who had come from Chinampo in two improvised cruisers,, reached the shore and took up a covered position.

On their signal, a battalion of the 3d Division, already in the boats, pushed off from the ships, closely followed by the military landing staff.

As soon as the covering position had been occupied by the naval party a flag was hoisted, and the boats at once proceeded to the shore, the infantry replacing the sailors who were then withdrawn.

As more troops of the 3d Division reached the beach, infantry and cavalry were added to the covering force, which now comprised portions of the two divisions. The fighting units of the 3d Division were disembarked by the 11th in the evening, and those of the 1st Division by the 13th. On the 8th of May, General Oku and the head­quarters of the 2d Army landed and, on the 10th, the 4th Division began to disembark, its point of assembly being the village of Ma-Chai-Tun. Although a strong south wind was blowing, and the sea ran high, the work of disem­barking was carried on day and night, the transports sail­ing independently for Japan as soon as they were cleared.

About 3,000 yards of shore was available. The trans­ports had to be about three miles off the shore. There was no shelter from the prevailing 'winds, while close in­shore there were many rocks.

At high water the troops landed at wharves, con­structed in the first instance by the engineer battalion and subsequently by civilian carpenters brought from Japan. At low water the lighters were grounded and the troops waded ashore, the guns and wagons being run along planks over the sterns or sides of the lighters and hauled ashore; the ammunition was carried.

By the 13th, the three divisions with their artillery and cavalry were all ashore. The 1st Division held a posi­tion from Ma-Chia-Chang to the Li-Lan-Ho to Chih-Chia-Fang. The 3d Division continued the line to the north. The 4th Division was in the center.

The 2d Army had taken the field without either field hospitals, supply or ammunition columns, which were to follow on the next voyage of the transports from the Taitong River. The cableship which completed the ex-tention of the cable from An-Tung, thus establishing direct telegraphic communications with the Imperial headquar­ters at Tokio, brought up the rear.


The expeditionary force; with the French contingent,-consisted of the equivalent of three British corps. The general plan for landing was to disembark forces at sev­eral places on the point of the peninsula which would fight ' their way toward Achi-Baba while the main force would land on the Gulf of Saros coast near Gaba Tepe and en­deavor to seize the pass leading to Maidos. Most all of the ridges and hills have their apexes toward the Gulf of Saros, which was an advantage to a force attacking from the direction of Gaba Tepe in that the field of fire from these positions was restricted.

From the nature of the peninsula, the surprise fea­ture was eliminated. This was in no way due to the naval attacks of February and March.

When Sir Ian Hamilton arrived at Tenedos, on March 17th, he found that the transports had been improperly loaded, so they had to put back to Alexandria. Lemnos was chosen as an advance base and transports began to arrive about the middle of April in the Bay of Mudros, where the men were practiced in the tactics of debarkation.

Germany was well aware of the British intentions, even to the extent, it is thought, of knowing the exact points of landing.

Sunday morning, the 25th of April, was the day of the first attack. At about 1 ;00 o'clock in the morning the transports arrived, in the mist, five miles off the coast. The troops disembarked in small boats towed by steam pinnaces. Destroyers towed the boats carrying the Australians, who were to land at Gabe Tepe.

As the Australians leaped into the shallow water at about 5:00 AM, the entire hillside fairly blazed with fire.

Farther south under cover of fire from the cruisers the landing was made by the other parties and the ridges were seized.

The .French had landed at Kum Kale according to orders, but the British who had landed near Sedd-el-Eahr were held to the beach.

This battle of the landing had been a success in so far as getting ashore was concerned, but eventually the British had to withdraw entirely from the peninsula and to acknowledge that the expedition, on the whole, had been a failure.

The expedition undoubtedly was a valuable diversion in favor of the Suez apd also had a salutary effect on the budding Mohammedan uprising. However, as a descent it was a failure, as the expedition in its strict sense did not really leave the coast.

Divergent and Contingent or Subsidiary Descents

A contingent (or subsidiary) descent is one that con­tributes to the main operations by holding superior forces of the enemy at a distance from the point where the main issue is to be settled, or causes a detachment from the hos­tile main army to meet the descent. In other words, it must be a justified exception to the second principle of detachments.

A divergent descent is one in which success or failure has no bearing on the ultimate outcome of the main issue. An oversea expedition falling within the first named classi­fication is justifiable, but one falling within the second one is not.

' The Gallipoli expedition was of a contingent nature, and only failed due to bad tactical handling. The British expeditions to South America while Napoleon was at war on the Continent in 1805-06 were divergent, as they did not prevent Napoleon from overthrowing Austria and Prussia, allies of Great Britain, when the last named was supposed to help.


The principles set forth herein are general and merely point out the route. They are the A B C's of the subject, but if the main points are understood the student will be benefited in the long run, even if he drops the subject after­wards.

In these days when the professional soldier seems to be so much of a "Pariah" in the eyes of democracy, it behooves us all to strive to elevate the military profession

as much as we can, so that we, at least, will have the satis­faction of knowing that it is really an art that cannot be picked up over night by the pseudo-Napoleons, who, confident of their own strength and in the valor of their ignorance, maintain that a professional soldier is a needless expense."

A Brief Summary of Strategical Principles

What is the first principle of strategy?

When should a geographical point, not the main hostile army, be the objective?

What is the second principle of strategy?

Under what two conditions are detachments justifiable?

What is the difference between mobilization and concentration ?

What is the difference between the strategical offensive and defensive and when should each be adopted?

Define strategy.

Define tactics.

What combinations bring about the greatest results and what the least?

In what two cases is one justified in combining the strategical offensive with the tactical defensive?

What is the difference between an operation and a campaign ?

What is the von Moltkean concentration ?

What is the Napoleonic concentration?

Describe the following methods of advance:

Parallel column.

Convergent advance.

Divergent advance.

When would each one of these forms of advance be used ?

What is meant by the term base?

Under what circumstances is an army justified in abandoning its base?

What is meant by lines of communication?

What is meant by lines of operations ?

What are the advantages of divergent lines of operations ?

Describe a strategical penetration.

Describe a strategical attack of a wing.

Describe a strategical envelopment and show the difference between it and a strategical turning movement.

Describe a strategical turning movement.

Describe a strategic attack on flank and rear.

What is meant by a strategic square and mass of maneuver ?

Describe a tactical frontal attack.

Describe a tactical penetration.

Describe the tactical successive attack and show its weakness.

Describe a tactical envelopment.

Describe a tactical turning movement.

Describe the strategical flank position.

Describe the strategical interior lines.

Why are tactical interior lines of little value?

What is meant by combined offensive and defensive operations ?

What is meant by direct retirement ?

What is meant by a convergent retreat and when would it be used ?

What is meant by a divergent retreat and when would it be used ?

What is meant by a double divergent retreat and when would it be used?

What are the constituent parts of a plan of operations ?

What are the characteristics of an ambuscade defensive?

What is a tactical flank position and wherein does it differ from a strategical flank position?

How may mountain ranges be utilized by the offensive?

How may mountain ranges be used by the defensive?

How should they be attacked and how defended?

What is the best way of attacking a river line ?

How should a river line be defended ?

Describe a fortified area.

What is meant by a fortress?

What is meant by an intrenched camp?

What is meant by a fortified position?

Show how any of the above three may be used in connection with a field army.

In general, what is the best way for a field army to cooperate in the defense of any of the foregoing three?

Under what conditions may the navy assist the army in the field?

What is meant by an hostile descent?

Under what conditions are the hostile descents generally successful?

What is the decisive strategical direction?

What is the decisive tactical direction?

Which should be given the preference?

How should a fort—an entrenched camp or a fortified position—be dealt with by an invading army?

How by a field army on the defensive?

Describe the position defensive and show where it should be used.

Same for retreating defensive.

Same for step by step defensive.

Same for sortie defensive.


The School of the Line 1919-1920

Map Problem No. 1—Part V—Strategy

General Maps: Gettysburg-Antietam and Virginia and Maryland,

General Situation:

A state of war exists between the United States (Blue) and an oversea nation (Red). The North Atlantic, as far south as the Virginia capes, is controlled by the Red fleet. The main Blue fleet is in the Pacific.

The Reds have landed three armies on the Jersey coast. These armies are highly trained, experienced troops. The main Red army (Army of the Center) has advanced as far west as the line of the Susquehanna River to the north (off the map). A Red army (Army of the Right) has formed a defensive flank along the line of the Hudson River against the Blue New England concentration.

A Red army (Army of the Left) is advancing south­west against the Blue Virginia—Maryland concentration.

The Blue centers of concentration are in western Mas­sachusetts, in western Pennsylvania, and in Maryland and Virginia. Line of communication of Maryland and Virginia concentration is up the Shenandoah Valley through Cumberland Gap, its base being the states south of the Ohio, west of the Blue Ridge.

Special Situation (Red):

Washington and Baltimore are known to be unfortified and to have weak garrisons. Carlisle is known to be a fortified town, and spies report that it has a garrison of infantry and artillery of about 5,000 militia.

The Blue army is known to be made up of a few regular infantry brigades and a quickly mobilized and poorly trained citizens' army.

Blue cavalry and horse artillery have been observed opposite Wrightsville and Harrisburg and to the north, while Blue infantry has appeared in small numbers opposite Perryville.

The Reds have the supremacy of the air.

By December 20th, the Red Army of the Left has ad­vanced to and is holding the line of the Susquehanna River from Millersburg to Perryville, exclusive, awaiting the completion of the strategic deployment.

It is disposed east of the Susquehanna River as follows:

First Line

One cavalry division from Armstrong Creek to opposite Duncannon.

1st Corps from Dauphin, inclusive, to Harrisburg, exclusive.

2d Corps from Harrisburg to Elizabethtown, both inclusive.

3d Corps from Elizabethtown, exclusive, to Lancaster, in­clusive.

One brigade of marines from, navy at Perryville. (Not a part of the Red Army of the Left.)

Second Line

4th Corps in advance of the Schuykill River on the line Auburn—Read in g.

Line of communication from the left rear to Philadelphia.

Command post of the army opens at Reading on the after­noon of the 20th.

On the night of the 22d, orders are received from Red general headquarters for the general advance, the Red Army of the Left to cross the river and advance against the enemy with a view of seizing and holding the states of Maryland and Virginia. D day is to be the 24th. H . hour at 5:30 AM.

On the 23d, the Red aircraft has reported the following:

"Blue columns all arms observed this morning at about 10:00 o'clock moving, one through Frederick toward Taneytown; one through Thurmont toward Gettysburg; one heavier than the others up the Cumberland Valley toward Chambersburg."

You are the chief of- staff of the Red Army of the Left and, since your arrival at Reading, have been work­ing with the staff on an estimate of the situation. On the afternoon of the 23d, the army commander calls a con­ference of his general staff.


The political and economic conditions in the United States will be taken as they are today.

The rail and dirt roads will be taken to exist today as shown by the maps, with the exception that there is a

double line of railroad up the Shenandoah Valley, one via Harper's Ferry—Front Royal—Luray—Port Republic— Waynesboro, and another via Martinsburg—Winchester— Strasburg—Harrisburg—Staunton—Lexington, both unit­ing near Lexington and passing through Cumberland Gap.

Weather clear and dry.

Susquehanna unfordable.

Potomac unfordable south of Edward's Ford.

Railroads and electric lines in operation.

Organization of Blue forces as given in Tables of Or­ganization, G.S.S., with the usual number of corps troops.

Red corps numbers 41,000 and consist of two divi­sions, each of approximately 15,000 rifles, 600 sabers, 72 guns and with approximately the same auxiliary troops, including aircraft, that a United States corps has.

Red cavalry division consists of 3,600 sabers and 12 guns.


The recommendation you will submit to your com­manding general at this conference as to the proper strat­egy to be followed in the advance, giving your reasons and the moves, in general, that should be made in carrying them out.

Time for solution not longer than two hours.

Special Situation 2:

The Red aircraft report that the Blues in the Cum­berland Valley are apparently going into position near Chambersburg, but that the other columns have halted; that the troops opposite Perryville are retiring rapidly on Bal­timore. Later reports indicate that there is a general retrograde movement going on among the Blue forces.

The last report of the Red observation planes is re­ceived during the night October 25-26 as follows:

"Roads in rear of the Blue forces in the Cumberland Valley are filled with transportation moving rapidly toward the fords of the Potomac near Williamsport. Troops at Chambersburg are beginning to withdraw in that direction.

"Column on the Thurmont—Emmitsburg road is with­drawing toward the fords near Leesburg. Column advancing through Frederick toward Taneytown is retiring rapidly in the direction of Washington. Everything indicates a rapid withdrawal to the south of the Potomac."

At this time the Reds are disposed as follows:

The 1st Corps is in the Cumberland Valley advancing southward with the leading elements passing through Ship-pensburg.

The cavalry division is covering its front and right flank and is engaged- with the Blue cavalry that is retiring before it toward the Blue column that has been advancing north in the Cumberland Valley.

The 4th Corps, in support of the 1st Corps, is crossing at Harrisburg; its leading elements have advanced as far as Dillsburg Junction.

The 2d Corps that crossed at Harrisburg is advancing southward on Gettysburg via the Dillsburg—York Springs road; its leading elements have passed through Heidlers-burg and are vigorously pushing the Carlisle garrison that is retiring toward Gettysburg.

The 3d Corps that crossed at Wrightsville is advanc­ing toward Hanover on the York—Spring Grove road; its elements have passed through Spring Grove and are vig­orously pushing back toward Littlestown the Blue corps cavalry regiment in their front.

The marine brigade at Perryville has crossed the river and is holding Havre de Grace.

Requ ired:

As Red chief of staff, the movements you recommend and the strategical reasons therefor.

Time for solution, one hour.

You are now the Blue chief of staff

Special Situation (Blue):

The Blue southern army of two corps, one of three divisions and the other of two divisions (two infantry brigades of which are regular), quickly organized and

poorly trained, are advancing into Maryland from Virginia to defend the capital at Washington.

One corps advancing down the Shenandoah Valley has commenced crossing the Potomac west of Harper's Ferry and the other corps, having passed to the east of the Blue Ridge Mountains via Manassas Gap, is crossing the Potomac in the vicinity of Leesburg-.

The District of Columbia militia of two infantry regi­ments is guarding Washington. The Baltimore garrison, consisting of a regiment of infantry (Maryland state troops) with a battery of light artillery, has gone north to Havre de Grace to observe the crossing at that point.

A regular cavalry regiment, with a battalion of horse artillery from Fort Myer, is observing the crossings of the river from Wrightsville north, with the bulk of the force opposite Harrisburg.

October 25th

The corps advancing up the Cumberland Valley has reached Chambersburg with its leading elements and has started to take up a position across the valley in that vi­cinity. The cavalry regiment and battalion of horse ar­tillery that have been along the Susquehanna River delaying the advance of the Reds are falling back on this Blue col-. umn with which they are in touch.

Of the corps that crossed near Leesburg, one divi­sion, covered by a cavalry regiment of corps troops, is ad­vancing north via the Thurmont—Emmitsburg road; its leading elements have just cleared Emmitsburg. The other division is advancing on Littlestown via the Keymar—Tan-eytown road covered by a regiment of cavalry from the corps troops; its leading element is passing through Taney-town.

The right corps troops, less the cavalry regiment with the right division, are with the column advancing on Get­tysburg.

The Carlisle garrison is retiring before the Red 2d Corps and is now passing south through Center "Mills, its rear guard being vigorously pressed by Reds.

The Maryland troops at Havre de Grace have fallen back toward Baltimore.

The Blue army post of command is at Hagerstown. At this time the following message is received from the Blue general headquarters:

"The Reds in your theater have crossed the Susquehanna in force. You will withdraw at once to the south of the Potomac and defend the river line. Reinforcements will be sent you in a few days."

Acting on this message orders have been issued for the following movements, which are put into execution at once:

The troops in the Cumberland Valley to recross at Williamsport; those near Emmitsburg at the fords below Point of Rocks; those passing through Taneytown to fall back on Washington, crossing the river by the Washington bridges, where orders will reach them.

The new Blue army command post opens at Charles-town; to which point you have moved with the staff upon closing at Hagerstown.


Your recommendation as to the manner in which the river line will be held, with the disposition of troops to carry out your recommendations and the strategical reasons therefor.

Time for solution, one hour.


Prepared by

Colonel William: K. Naylob, Infantry

First Requirement:

Memorandum submitted by the chief of staff to the commanding general of the Red Army of the Left at the con­ference on the afternoon of December 23d: "Orders received last night from our general headquarters provide for a gen­eral advance at 5:30 tomorrow morning. The mission of this army is to seize and hold the states of Maryland and Vir­ginia. To carry out this mission we have no alternative but to assume ±he strategical and tactical offensive. In order to succeed in this role our movements must be char-

acterized by secrecy and such rapidity as will perpetrate a surprise upon the enemy. So far our decision is simple, but before determining upon our particular movements we must consider certain general conditions that will in­fluence us as to the details of those movements."

Geography of the Theater of Operations

In our immediate front is the unfordable Susquehanna River, which will have to be crossed, no matter what our plan thereafter may be.

We are so distributed that we will be able to effect a crossing on a broad front and probably will not en­counter much opposition in so doing. Our line of operations will then lead us across the state of Maryland, about 75 miles, to the Potomac River. A glance at the map will show us that the theater within this state is of two dis­tinctive types, namely, parallel mountain ranges in the northwest separated by valleys traversed by good dirt and rail roads, and open country to the southeast, likewise tra­versed by good dirt and rail roads, with the interior flank resting on Chesapeake Bay.

The mountain ranges being parallel to our line of ad­vance, will be of as much assistance to us as to the enemy, since they will enable us to screen our movements and "to debouch upon the hostile rear and flank." It is true that the country to the southeast is more open, but the moun­tains make it possible for the enemy to take up flank posi­tions from which his line of departure will enable him to threaten our communications. The network of railroads may greatly assist the enemy in effecting his concentra­tions, at least until we arrive on the east and west line through Gettysburg. We will be restricted in our use of these lines until we have repaired the demolitions that the enemy will surely carry out.

The next serious obstacle is the Potomac River, which should be the goal of our first operation.

The seizure of it will enable us to interrupt the Bal­timore & Ohio Railroad, thereby effectively cutting off all hostile communication by that agency .with the west, and rendering Baltimore and Washington untenable.

The Potomac River is unfordable south of Edward's Ford, but is crossed at Washington by one railroad and three foot bridges, which of course we may expect to find destroyed.

The river north of this ford is fordable at various points, but in those reaches forms a strategic salient with apex to the north, thereby facilitating defense.

Having crossed the river, we have about 200 miles to traverse before reaching the gaps of the Alleghanies through which the hostile line of communications extends. The theater of Virginia is of the same general description as that of Maryland, with parallel mountain ranges in the northwest and flat but wooded country to the southeast.

The former afford us this advantage, however, in that there are many gaps that would facilitate our debouch­ment upon the hostile rear and flank from the southeast.

The latter, however, is more difficult for operations as it is wooded, particularly south of the Rappahannoek River, and is traversed by many lateral streams that are formidable obstacles in the best of weather.

The distance to the gaps is considerable, but is more of a disadvantage to the enemy since his communications are more vulnerable; while control of the sea makes ours secure and easily shifted from advance base to advance base as we progress south.

Once having evicted the enemy from Virginia and Maryland, or having eliminated him, we can assume the strategical and tactical defensive by a redistribution of our troops so as to block the gaps from the Potomac River south, and forming a defensive flank along the Staunton and Roanoke Rivers to the south. Inasmuch as these rivers flow west to east, we would be enabled to interrupt the remaining railroads leading toward Richmond, as they ex­tend in a northerly direction from the south.

The capture of the line of the James River opens up to us the port of Norfolk, only second to New York City in suitability as an advance base.

Political and Economic Conditions

The Blues have just emerged victorious from a war of great magnitude and, quite in keeping with historical precedents in countries such as the one of the Blues, with no well denned military policy, have sunk into a certain amount of inertia that logically comes from over-confidence.

Our invasion will stimulate renewed activity, since the people are intensely loyal to their country and its tradi­tions, and we may look for gradually increasing. strength as the ex-soldiers, four million in number, are brought to the colors, the war industries are renewed and their productions marshalled for use. The regular army exists only in name, but has a nucleus around which a danger­ous organization may be moulded.

The Blues being intense Nationalists, politics may -be eliminated from consideration, as the people may be expected to support their soldiers in a war such as this one without regard to political parties or affiliations.


None of the cities in our theater are fortified except Carlisle, and it can be isolated. The political and economic effect of the fall of the others will not have any de­cisive influence upon the prosecution of the war other than to stimulate extraordinary additional effort on the part of the enemy.

The Enemy's Forces in Ouk Front

As to hostile forces we will encounter and their proba­ble movements. '(General and special situations (Red) are of common knowledge to the Reds.)

Being quickly mobilized and poorly trained, we may not look for any very aggressive action. The troops along the Susquehanna are doubtless observation groups quickly thrown forward to get in touch with us to supplement the deficient air service. Carlisle is held probably to cover the debouchment from the valley and to form a support for the hostile left flank in event of a line being occupied in that vicinity. The three Blue columns that our aircraft re­ported earlier in the day are doubtless moving forward to this line to contest our crossing of the river, or in default of that, to take up a position to protect their capital. At this late date they clearly cannot occupy the Carlisle line,

so we may expect to find them on an east and west line through Gettysburg. At all events they are widely sep­arated, so we may look for a concentration in Cumberland Valley or in the vicinity of Gettysburg. We do not know the exact strength of these three columns, but their dis­persion must indicate that each one is counted strong enough to take care of itself pending the arrival of assis­tance, so must be at least a reinforced brigade or a divi­sion. The Cumberland Valley column being stronger, is anything from a large division to a corps.

We well know the superiority of our own troops in quality and leadership, which we must take advantage of to the utmost. Our 4th Corps is about 40 miles to the rear but can quickly be brought forward by the trunk railroad lines leading to Harrisburg. Each first line corps has a main crossing in its front, which can be supplemented by pontons.


In our operations we have the choice of two objectives—the Blue army or the capital. The importance of the fall of this capital will not be such as to have a de­cisive effect upon the Blue army or government, so we must adhere to the first principle of strategy and make "the hostile main army our objective" and continue to do so until it is eliminated or our mission is accomplished.

Decisive Strategic Direction

With our left resting on the sea, our decisive strategic direction is by the right flank. We cannot tell yet whether we will turn the hostile left or penetrate between the widely separated columns. A turning of the hostile right is open to the objection that it exposes our communications until our advance base is shifted, restricts us to a limited area and forces us to attack mountains perpendicular to our line of advance, where every advantage is with the defender. Furthermore, we would virtually be driving the enemy back along his line of communications, for the two eastern columns could, in an emergency, shift their lines ' through Hagerstown and cross into the Shenandoah Val­ley by that route. In the Shenandoah the communications are protected by the Potomac River, the Blue Ridge and the Shenandoah River, and consequently are secure until op­erations start south of the Potomac River.

A turning of the hostile left flank has more to recom­mend it, in that it directly threatens the hostile commun­ications, taut at the same time gravely exposes our own, restricts us to a mountainous area, causes us to make a wide detour and endangers our turning force to activity in its rear by partisans or detachments from' the Blue Western Pennsylvania concentration.

The penetration offers the greatest possibilities, pro­vided we can anticipate the Blue concentration.

The line of advance of the Blue center column is 25 miles from that of the Cumberland Valley column.

If the Blue center and right columns can be driven away from the Blue left column and contained, the moun­tain passes at Arendtsville, Cashtown, Waynesboro and to the south seized, the reserve thrown in around the right flank of the Blue left column toward Hagerstown, that force can either be cut off or taken in the flank and routed.

To accomplish this maneuver we must advance in parallel columns, one in the Cumberland Valley and the others to the east, because they permit greater rapidity, our troops are trained and our commanders are of a type de­pendable in independent action. Our reserve corps must move around Carlisle to the south, that place being iso­lated by a special detachment, so as to be in a position to complete the rolling up of the right of the left Blue col­umn once the penetration is effected, or to reinforce our troops in the Cumberland Valley in event of the Blues con­centrating in that direction. In event of a Blue concen­tration in the Cumberland Valley our left columns can move forward rapidly and strike the Blue center and right columns in flank and roll them up.

Therefore the penetration and movements last referred to above are the ones recommended by me.

The following initial movements will be necessary to carry them out:

1. Aircraft to cross the river at H hour, reconnoitering ' Blue columns and preventing hostile observation.

Suitable artillery to be moved into position tonight to cover all crossings and the necessary equipment for additional bridges to be brought forward to respective bridge sites at once.

Cavalry divisions to cross at Marysville followed by 1st Corps.

Second Corps to cross at Harrisburg. Third Corps to cross at Marietta and Columbia. Fourth Corps to be brought forward by rail to Harrisburg, and to cross at that point following the 2d Corps.

At H—20 minutes, all artillery to open fire on the far side of the river in the vicinity of respective crossings.

The infantry, covered by machine guns, to force the crossings, establishing bridgeheads and then assisting in clearing up bridgeheads in close proximity.

The cavalry division, after forcing the crossings at Marysville, dismounted, to move promptly on Carlisle, investing it from the south and sending detachments down the Cumberland Valley to reconnoiter.

Corps cavalry, 1st Corps, to move at once toward Mechanicsburg assisting in uncovering the crossings at Harrisburg and then, sweeping south through Mount Holly Springs, to join the cavalry division. The 1st Corps to advance in suitable formation down the Cumberland Valley toward Shippensburg. The 2d Corps to move south on Gettysburg via the Dillsburg—York Springs road, detaching an infantry brigade, strongly reinforced by artillery, to relieve the cavalry at Carlisle and to continue the investment of that place. The 3d Corps to move toward Hanover on the York—Spring Grove road. Corps cavalry to cover the fronts of the respective corps. The 4th Corps to move south toward Mount Holly Springs to await developments.

Second Requirement:

The movements recommended by the Red chief of staff with the reasons therefor: "The situation is now clearing up and apparently the various Blue columns have become aware of the rapid advance of our forces. The evacua­tion of Carlisle clearly indicates the abandonment of any hope of holding Maryland and protecting Washington from the north. The fact that the Blues near Chambersburg

are going into position indicates one of two things, namely: they had either started to occupy a position and were stopped, or have occupied it to delay the advance of our right column to give time for their troops to recross to the south bank of the Potomac River. The retreat of the Blue right column on Washington is either prompted by a de­sire for a double divergent retreat with one column crossing at Washington, or Washington has exerted the usual power of attraction that geographical points, such as important cities, have for field armies. Our advance being in parallel columns we should have no trouble in swinging these col­umns in the desired direction and concentrating on the field of battle. Such a concentration is proper since our generals are "energetic, circumspect and quite in harmony with the ideas of the commander-in-chief" and our troops are "seasoned and of the type that will not be demor­alized by an unfavorable turn of affairs." We have ef­fected a strategical penetration, partly due to the manner of our advance and partly due to the faulty dispositions of the Blues and their line of withdrawal. The interval between the center and right Blue columns and the left Blue column being about 25 miles, virtually divides the Blue forces into two wings. These two wings are now open to . flank attacks. The communications of both are threatened to a more or less degree, and it is now possible for us to surround or cut off a part of the left wing. By advancing hurriedly toward Point of Rocks and thus threaten the rear of the center column, we may cut it off from the river, while sending a containing force after the right Blue col­umn. We are in danger, of course, unless we are extremely active, of having our "wedging force" become imbedded and of having the enemy mass troops against either side of our salient columns. It is true that the enemy is showing unmis­takable signs of getting out of Maryland and, were the cam­paign to be merely an operation for the seizure of Maryland, we might better let him go, but our campaign is for the seizure of Virginia as well as Maryland; therefore, we must endeavor to eliminate forthwith the main hostile army in the field.

The following movements should then be promptly made:

The cavalry division and the cavalry of the 1st Corps to swing around to the west of the Blue Cumberland Val­ley column and endeavor to cut it off from the crossings near Williamsport. The 2d Corps to press the rear of the center Blue column, sending its cavalry to seize the passes through the mountains to the west. After passing Gettysburg, to send a pursuing force after the center Blue column, while swinging the main body of the corps to the west through any passes open toward Hagerstown to strike the Blue Cumberland Valley column in the flank. The 1st Corps to continue the pursuit of the Blue forces in its front. The 4th Corps to move rapidly to the support of the 2d Corps to complete the penetration and the "rolling up" of the hos­tile left wing. The 3d Corps to send a pursuing force after the right Blue column retiring on Washington while its most mobile forces move rapidly through Frederick toward Harper's Ferry and endeavor to cut off the retreat of the center Blue column. Close co-operation must be had among our various columns and all must strike the enemy vigor­ously except those forces that are continuing the direct pursuit of the respective Blue columns. These forces must, however, make sufficient demonstrations to hold the atten­tion of the Blues, but not such as will expedite their with­drawal and prevent the various turning columns from ac­complishing their missions to the full. Our aircraft to bomb the Potomac crossings, hostile transportation, etc. A portion of the cavalry of the 3d Corps should be sent across the river at once near Point of Rocks with orders to move south and destroy all the railroad lines entering Washington south of the Potomac River.

Third Requirement:

The following recommendations were submitted by the Blue chief of staff:

"Our army, in pursuance to orders received from general headquarters, is to abandon Maryland to the Reds and is to hold the line of the Potomac River, awaiting reinforcements which are to arrive in a few days, and pending a favorable change in the situation. Our troops have succeeded in getting across the Poto­mac River without serious disaster. The river line that we must hold extends from the mountain ranges south of Hancock to Wash­ington, inclusive. This Jine is too extensive for us to hold as a tac­tical position, even though we might desire to do so. In default of that, we can only hold it as a strategical position which will contemplate suitable detachments made up principally of infantry with machine guns, and light batteries of artillery located so as to cover the various crossings, while the main forces are con­centrated in rear close enough to be thrown forward to strike any hostile columns while they are astride the river, partially or entirely across, and while they are in a restricted area without sufficient room for deployment. Under the circumstances this method of defense is in accord with accepted principles for strategically defending a river line, which provide for 'small de­tachments to watch the crossings to learn the intentions of the enemy and where his main forces are crossing.' And 'then to assemble the main body at some convenient place in rear of the line and fall upon the enemy as he is in the act of crossing, or after he has crossed, to strike him when he has the river at his back.' The river line divides itself into two natural sectors, the Shenandoah River being the dividing line between sectors.

"The passes of the mountains to the west should be covered by a mobile force to prevent incursions from that direction, while those to the east should be held to form a defensive flank and a strategic flank position threatening any hostile movement south in that vicinity. The main body should be located in the valley, preferably in the triangle Smithfield, Charlestown and Winches­ter, where there are railroad lines running toward Williamsport and Harper's Ferry and a lateral line connecting these two lines. In addition, there are north and south lines to Strassburg con­necting with the Manassas Gap Railroad, which forms a junc­tion at Manassas Junction with the Orange & Alexandria Rail­road from Washington. Likewise, there are suitable dirt roads for the use of motor transportation extending north to the Poto­mac River and across the SheAandoah River through the passes of the mountains to the east.

"Our right flank is protected by the Blue Ridge and the Bull Run Mountains. It will be impossible for an enemy to cross the Potomac east of Nolan's Ford and advance to the south with the Bull Run Mountains in our possession. The river salient enables us to strike the hostile columns in flank with troops and gun fire. The following movements are therefore recommended:

"The regular cavalry regiment and battalion of horse artil­lery to cover the passes to the west.

"Our left corps to hold the crossings from Harper's Ferry, inclusive, west, with one division in reserve at Smithfield, another at Charlestown, and a third at Winchester, and with the neces­sary railroad and motor transportation assembled in these respec­tive localities for a quick movement of troops in any direction. Our center division to concentrate at Purcellville guarding the river from Harper's Ferry, exclusive, to Edward's Ford, inclusive.

"The Carlisle garrison to co-operate with this division.

"Our right division to move on Washington, uniting with any local troops at that point to hold the city, at the same time making plans for a withdrawal, if pressed too hard, or if the Reds succeedin getting across the river and in cutting off communica­tions with the south. In the latter event, these troops to retire to the west toward the Bull Run Mountains and combine with our troops in that vicinity. Close observation of the river to be made by our mobile troops and aircraft while the cavalry of our right division moves to the south of the river and covers the right flank of the troops holding the Bull Run Mountains. In this position we will be able to strike in any direction, or to withdraw to the south if too strong a pressure comes before the arrival of our reinforcements.

"Our command post to remain at Charlestown."

General Comments on Solutions Submitted

It was apparent from the majority of solutions that the members of the class did not clearly understand the exact form in which a recommendation of the chief of staff should be presented.

All requirements called for moves "in general," yet many solutions gave moves in tactical detail.

In some solutions there seemed to be a disposition to make the facts fit the strategical principles known by the solver and not to make the principles fit the conditions of the problem. In none of the problems was there any great amount of argument of a strategical nature put forth.

Few of the solutions discussed the alternative solutions to the problem, which should always be done at a conference, of the kind contemplated.

Few solutions discussed the terrain except in the most casual way (see approved solution).

Officers were not careful about marking their problems. In one case a problem bore the number 87 when the officer's number was apparently 78.

Several of the problems were very illegibly written.

While it was not expected that officers would quote verbatim from the text, yet in memoranda of this kind it is customary to quote in one's own words what the authorities state in the matters under consideration.

Few solutions commented upon the fact that the parallel mountain ranges were of as much advantage to the Reds as to the Blues.

In some solutions the terms right and left were used indiscriminately and without any regard to whether they referred to the military right or left.

In many cases the recommendations were illogically arranged.

First Requirement:

1. The general situation stated that the Reds "were highly trained experienced troops," a quality that should contemplate rapid and long marches, yet they were held down in many cases to the pace of inferior troops. The Germans in 1914 marched some of their troops at the rate

of 25 miles a day from August 23 to September 3 in getting from the Sambre to south of the Marne, a distance, of about 90 miles. From the Susquehanna to the Potomac River the distance is about 75 miles. During the advance in 1914 the Germans fought several battles and encountered strong opposition. In this problem there was virtually none. In this same theater during the Gettysburg campaign, General Imboden of the Confederate army moved a column of am­bulances and farm wagons, IT miles long, loaded with wounded from Gettysburg to Williamsport in 24 hours, going by way of Cashtown. In the same campaign, Early moved from the vicinity of Wrightsville and York to a point three miles east of Heidlersburg on the Cashtown Road during daylight of June 30th. Johnston moved from near Carlisle to a point five miles north of Chambersburg in the same time. In the Antietam campaign, Jackson moved from Frederick via Boonesboro and Williamsport to the west of Harper's Ferry, a distance of 60 miles, in three days.

The majority of the class advanced in parallel columns with the idea of effecting a strategical penetration which is considered the best solution. (See approved solution.)

Many of the officers who recommended parallel advances with a strategical penetration, when given an opportunity to effect the penetration, failed to recommend moves that would bring it about.

Many officers who recommended a turning of the Blue right flank, had they discussed it, would have undoubtedly changed such a decision (see approved solution),

In some solutions Carlisle was completely overlooked.

A few solutions made Washington the objective.

Second Requirement:

Some solutions scattered the Red troops, even to the extent of sending a division to Baltimore. Some of the same solutions had recommended under the First Requirement that the hostile main army be the objective.

Many of the solutions sent a corps after the Blue division retreating on Washington. None of the solutions

1. considered sending a mobile force across the Potomac River to cut off communication with Washington from the south.

Some of the solutions , seemed to have been influenced by the strategy of General Meade in the Gettysburg campaign. In that campaign politics dictated that the Confederates evacuate Northern soil, and when they showed unmistakable signs of doing so, an attack would have been a gratuitous blunder. Such .was the case in this problem.

It is true that this campaign is susceptible of division into two operations, the first one terminating at the Potomac line. But until the Blues had arrived at that line the first operation was still on, and every effort should have been made to eliminate them before they got across the river.

A direct pursuit is of advantage only "after a decisive battle when pursuing the enemy." In this case it is not believed a direct pursuit without an attempt to turn or envelop would have been taking full advantage of opportunities.

Third Requirement:

Many of the solutions made the disposition of troops to hold the river that were decidedly tactical; in other words, the troops were strung along the entire river front which was about 70 miles. There was virtually no discussion of the advantageous features of the terrain offered to the Blues. Few of the solutions considered blocking up of the passes to the west.

Few of the solutions considered the network of railroads and dirt roads in connection with rapid concentrations.

Few discussed the opportunities offered by the Bull Run Mountains for a flank position against the advance of the Reds in event of their crossing near Washington.