How Great Generals Win:
The 13 Rules of War from Ancient Greece to the War on Terror
History 361, Longwood University, Farmville, Virginia
Lectures Introduction and Chapter 1, How Wars Are Won
- pages 8-9—Differences between strategy and tactics and rules of warfare.
- pages 9-10—Origin of rules of warfare go back beyond the dawn of history.
- pages 9-10—Rules of Sun Tzu and Napoleon.
- pages 11-13—Revolution in warfare caused by guerrillas and inerrant weapons. Battlefield will disappear, structure of armies will be transformed
- pages 14-15—“Pods” and “clusters” posited by Arquilla and Ronfeldt—similar to platoons and companies of current military structure. Resemble intellectually Kampfgruppen of Germans in World War II (p. 17). Arguments about means to deploy, ground or air (p. 18).
- pages 15-16—New warfare calls for more imaginative junior officers.
- pages 19-20—Swarming an ancient form of warfare—is an ambush—convergent assault—mentioned in Bible; Alexander, Hannibal used—solution in World War I a variation. Profound implications for war on terror.
- pages 20-22—Lessons from the past—tribes of the Eurasian steppes—compound bow—Battle of Britain 1940—Chinese in Korean War
Lectures Chapter 2, How Wars Are Won
- pages 23-24—Rule of war—striking at enemy weakness. Applicable to contemporary situation with terrorists. Distinction between guerrillas and terrorists—one’s own land v. enemy’s land.
- page 24—Nature of guerrilla-terrorist war—refusing to fight pitched battles. Striking ill-defended or undefended targets. Radical American reaction: transferring the war from U.S. back to Middle East.
- pages 25-26—Terrorists’ goals unattainable. Seek to reconstruct Islam in own image, evict the West. Have narrowed support base to extremist fringe. Methods weak when applied in a foreign land; must be clandestine (p. 28). Terrorists must be pursued to their sources in lands that support them.
- pages 28-31—True guerrillas are invincible. Mao Zedong’s summary—guerrillas “swim” in the “water” of the people. Guerrilla the original form of war—has paralleled conventional war. Mao’s success based on Sun Tzu’s teachings—summary of methods (pp. 30-31).
- pages 31-33—Vo Nyugen Giap’s methods against the French in Vietnam. Giap’s classic definition: avoiding enemy where strong, attacking where weak. Description of Giap’s tactics—quick attacks, quick departures, ambushes (p. 32).
- pages 33-35—American intervention and American method of warfare. Incapacity of Diem government, Johnson takes over 1965. U.S. insistence on goal to “find, fix, fight, and finish” enemy—counterproductive. Giap’s policy to withdraw after inflicting casualties—aim to end U.S. resolve. Profound weakness caused by necessity to defend U.S. bases, supply lines.
- pages 35-39—Chu Pong campaign 1965 microcosm of American engagement in Vietnam. Giap baits General Westmoreland with field force on Chu Pong massif. Lures U.S. with attacks on American outposts, Duc Co and Plei Me (pp. 35-37). Attack on U.S. brigade headquarters, helicopter laager at tea plantation (p. 37). U.S. battalion strikes at X-ray at foot of Chu Pong—forced to defend (pp. 38-39). Failure to learn lessons of Chu Pong— U.S. could only react, not act.
- pages 40-45—Notable examples of guerrilla successes throughout history. Romans under Fabius against Hannibal (p. 40). Scottish independence secured by relying on “testament” of Robert Bruce (p. 40). French under Bertrand du Guesclin counter English longbow (pp. 40-42). Guerrillas neutralize Napoleon’s army in Spain (pp. 42-43). Success of guerrillas against British in Boer War (p. 43). Lawrence of Arabia’s attacks on Turkish weakness in World War I (pp. 43-45).
Lectures Chapter 3, How Wars Are Won
- pages 46-47—Rule of war—defend, then attack. Traditional idea of weaker commander is to defend in order to survive. A superior system is available to commander with better weapon or better tactic. Method: induce enemy to attack, and lose, then go over to attack oneself.
- pages 47-48—Armies historically have sought symmetry with their enemies. Commanders usually fail to see advantages of innovations. Commanders normally believe there is an orthodox, correct way to fight. Strong emphasis on defense because it is usually stronger than offense.
- pages 48-54—Belisarius and Narses, Byzantine masters of defend, then attack. Developed defensive strategy for Byzantium, based on mounted, armored archer. Belisarius: exploited Byzantine bow and Ostrogoth inability to attack cities. Narses: used Byzantine bow and a new tactical formation to destroy Ostrogoths.
- pages 54-60—Revolution brought on by longbow and new formation at Crécy. Origin of longbow in Wales, use by English, spontaneous tactic at Dupplin Muir. Application in war v. France: destruction of French chivalry at Crécy. French response of dismounted men-at-arms and heavier armor incorrect. French win at last by avoiding battle, holding castles and walled cities.
- pages 61-67—Stonewall Jackson’s solution to the long-range Minié-ball rifle. Most Civil War commanders continued headlong assaults of Mexican War. Jackson unsuccessful in effort to sweep behind Washington, carry war to North. Jackson’s alternative: take strong defensive position, defeat enemy, go to attack. Robert E. Lee refused to adopt tactic three times, waited till too late once. Lee finally accepted idea at Chancellorsville, but Jackson mortally wounded.
- pages 67-71—Lee’s fatal reversion to direct attack at Gettysburg. By 1863 trinity of rifle, field fortifications, canister meant no attack could succeed. Lee abandoned superb strategic position at Carlisle and on Susquehanna. Ordered frantic, blind concentration of army at Gettysburg, then moved to offense. Ordered frontal assault on Cemetery Ridge against advice of General Longstreet. On the third day, ordered Pickett’s Charge, though failure certain. Lee at Gettysburg: great example in history of disregarding reality.
- pages 72-73—Implications for the future. Against terrorists, the defend part of rule can only be a passive discouragement. Because terrorists are clandestine, they may develop superior, surprise tactics. Innovative thinking of Belisarius, Narses, Edward III, Jackson = solid models. Orthodox, nonadaptive thinking of Lee = cautionary tale to avoid.
Lectures Chapter 4, How Wars Are Won
- pages 74-75—Rule of war—holding one place, striking another. Oldest tactical method on earth—attract attention one place, strike another. Summarized by Sun Tzu—zheng fixes enemy in place, qi flanks or encircles. Deception usually required to hit a decisive point with sufficient power.
- page 75—Concept of the convergent assault. Is present-day application of zheng and qi. Called “fire and maneuver” in modern terminology. Swarming (chapter 1) is a convergent assault, but from all sides, omnidirectional.
- pages 76-80—River Lech 1632 classic example of convergent assault. Aim of Gustavus Adolphus: rout Tilly quickly so could confront Wallenstein. Technique: threat v. Tilly’s army to hold it in place, assault five miles south. Failure Gustavus Adolphus to follow up tactical victory with strategic resolution. Road to Vienna open, but Gustavus Adolphus focuses on supply line to Saxony.
- pages 80-86— Jena campaign 1806—accidental reversal of zheng and qi. Depredations of mercenary soldiers lead to rigidly disciplined professional armies. Holding one place, striking another falls out of fashion until Napoleon. Prussian king doesn’t notice Napoleon’s plan to march around Prussian army. Prussians concentrate Erfurt-Weimar-Jena. Napoleon sends Davout north of Prussians to Naumburg—the qi force. Napoleon strikes directly at Prussians at Jena—the zheng force. But Prussians had moved bulk of army north to Auerstädt, opposite Naumburg. Davout thus is forced to become the zheng (holding), Napoleon the qi (maneuver).
- pages 86-92— Kum River line, Korea July 1950—-failure to defend v. convergent assault. Objective to shield Taejon at points where two main roads cross Kum River. 34th Infantry at Kongju, 19th Infantry at Taepyong-ni. Each regiment deploys on both sides of broken bridges, both villages. Neither regiment has flank protection—each regiment isolated at each village. North Koreans attack the center of the U.S. line (zheng) both places. North Koreans swing around to rear of U.S. positions (qi) both places. Result: disaster. Solution would have been to form hedgehogs both villages.
- pages 92-93—Implications for the future. Imperative for commanders to think out their situations—to avoid defeat. Examples show commanders failed to carry out this essential duty. Surprise must be planned for, not dealt with when it occurs.
Lectures Chapter 5, How Wars Are Won
- pages 94-95—Rule of war—pretending to run away, then ambushing pursuers. Present in warfare for as long as we have records—Aborigines, Sioux 1866. Refined modern example: “Central Soviet” southeast China 1928-34. Greatest example in history: horsemen Eurasia, beginning 2,700 years ago.
- pages 96-97—Profound difference between “the desert and the sown” in Eurasia. Agriculture, industry, civilizations periphery, tribes grazing herds interior. Conditions severe in interior: drought, cold = no cities, nomadic life. Sturdy, tough, disciplined tribes rise in interior.
- pages 97-100—Emergence of the horse in warfare. Tribesmen climb on horses around 2,500 B.C., but animals too weak to ride. First application: invention of chariot pulled by horses + compound bow. Revolution in warfare: chariot-riders overwhelm civilizations on periphery. Breeding produces larger horse: around 900 B.C. animals large enough to ride. Horse gives tribesmen continental reach, transforms warfare. Horse + discipline = new tactics, the feigned retreat, overrunning civilizations. Feigned retreat of Scythians defeats Darius of Persia 512 B.C.
- pages 101-107—Manzikert 1071 A.D.: feigned retreat begins Byzantine collapse. Romans do not adapt to the horse-archer, Western empire collapses. Eastern Romans survive with a defensive, hybrid warrior: the cataphract. Intrigues weaken Byzantines, open way for steppe horse-archers, Seljuk Turks. Byzantine Romanus sucked into trap by Turk Alp Arslan at Manzikert.
- pages 108-118—Successes of the Mongols, greatest cavalry army in history. Refine use of armored, lance-bearing horseman and unarmored horse-archer. Europe adopts only armored horseman (knight) = stark consequences. Genghis Khan’s army based on extreme mobility, discipline, feigned retreat. 1236 Mongols move toward the west, destroy Russian states by 1240. Invasion Europe winter 1241: speed, surprise, dispersal, feigned retreat. Model of Mongol methods: heath of Mohi, Hungary, April 10, 1241.
- pages 118-129—Implications for the future. Days of actually withdrawing armies have passed, but concept remains. Dissembling of one’s intentions is a form of feigned retreat. Difficult today with 24-hour television: example of Rumsfeld’s briefings.
Lectures Chapter 6, How Wars Are Won
- page 121—Rule of war—landing between two enemy forces, defeating one, then the other. Most commanders fear the central position imperils them, not the enemy. Hence central position requires bold, confident generals.
- pages 122-127— Shenandoah Valley campaign 1862. One of great examples in world history of central position. Stonewall Jackson strikes at Kernstown, Lincoln’s fear stops McDowell. Banks, Frémont try to converge on Jackson in Valley. Jackson marches out of Valley, confusing Federals, then descends on Staunton. Defeats first Frémont, then Banks, stops McDowell a second time. Frémont, Shields converge on Jackson—central position Port Republic. Defeats Frémont again, Shields, prevents junction—wins Valley campaign.
- pages 127-130—Bonaparte’s Italian campaign 1796-97. First move is into the central position between Piedmontese, Austrians. Insists on right to cross Po at Valenza—fixes Austrian attention on point. Only feints at Valenza, marches to Piacenza, outflanks Austrians strategically.
- pages 130-140—Central position fails at Waterloo 1815. British concentrated Brussels, Prussians Namur—Quatre Bras in between. Napoleon wins against Prussians, unexpectedly concentrated at Ligny. Ney fails to capture Quatre Bras, fails to fall on western flank Prussians. British at Quatre Bras must retreat—Prussians retreat to Wavre. Grouchy presses Prussian rear, does not stand between Prussians and British. Prussians thus can march on eastern flank of French at Waterloo, win battle.
- pages 140-148— Kasserine Pass, Tunisia, 1943. Rommel, retreating to Tripoli, lands between Allies in Libya and Tunisia. Sees chance to crash behind Allied line Tunisia, drive to sea, defeat Allies. Reasons: Montgomery in Libya slow, Americans in Tunisia badly positioned. Strikes through Kasserine, but thwarted by Arnim, Italian command. German drive not deep enough to get behind Allied lines, thus is contained.
- pages 148-150—Implications for the future. Much potential because troops spread out, can move to central position easily. Mobility by air permits dropping forces into central position. British propose strategic air descent Afghanistan 2001, but not needed. Not in book: but U.S. isolates Falluja from other cities 2004, reduces it.
Lectures Chapter 7, How Wars Are Won
- pages 151-152—Rule of war—employing a superior weapon. Although “symmetrical” warfare is the goal, it’s seldom actually attained. Examples asymmetrical WWII: panzers of Germans, air force, navy of Allies. Korea: Reds defend v. superior American weapons with bunkers. Vietnam: Reds use guerrilla warfare v. French, American conventional warfare.
- pages 152-156— Adrianople, A.D. 378. Success of heavily armored Gothic horseman v. armored Roman infantry. First great barbarian victory over Romans—leads to defeat of Western empire. Goths have lance-wielding horsemen and defensive laagers or wagon forts.
- pages 157-163— Hastings, 1066. Continent depends on armored knight, Britons on armored foot soldier. William of Normandy recruits knights + commoner infantry, archers. Harold surprises Norwegians, defeats them Stamford Bridge in infantry battle. William lands south coast England—Harold moves to surprise him as well. Harold forms classic “shield wall” on hill—William’s first attacks fail. William turns to archers, who weaken English line; victory with knights’ assault.
- pages 163-173—Breitenfeld, 1631, and Lützen, 1632. Cannons knock down castle walls 1450, end domination of fortifications. Battlefield again becomes decisive arena—more so as artillery becomes lighter. Spanish tercio first major formation—two-thirds pikemen, one-third musketeers. Bizarre weakness of “snail” or caracole firing system, infantry and cavalry. Dutch reduce depth of tercio, reverse pike-musket ratio, increase mobility. Gustavus: wheel-lock musket, three-man firing line, mobile guns, charging horse. Swedish superior weapons: infantry line fires, guns up close firing canister. Gustavus invades Germany, outmaneuvers, outshoots tercios Tilly at Breitenfeld. Gustavus throws away fruits of Breitenfeld victory by overwintering on Rhine. Victory Lech River, but still inactive—Wallenstein cuts supply line to Saxony. Gustavus chases after, victory Lützen again exploits superior Swedish weapons.
- pages 173-177—War in the Desert, 1941-1942. Like ships on the sea, tanks can move over desert in any direction. Since tank is key, Rommel must neutralize greater British numbers. Turns to 88mm antiaircraft gun + 50mm antitank gun + tactics to draw British. Offensive: initially keeps tanks back, leaps 50mm guns forward to open way. Defensive: baits British into attack, stops some 50mm guns, rest 88mm gun line. British suffer heavy casualties by failing to adapt to German tactics.
- pages 177-179—Implications for the future. How we use weapons more important than what weapons we use. Superior weapon decisive only to enemy who cannot develop way around it.
Lectures Chapter 8, How Wars Are Won
- pages 180-184—Rule of war—driving a stake in the enemy’s heart. Purpose: to press into enemy’s vitals, destroy means to resist. Success depends more on plans and resolve of commander, than power. Recent examples: defeat of Germany by invasion, Japan by air power alone 1945. Alexander secured his rear before moving to destroy Persian Empire. Hannibal could not secure southern Italian cities as a base, ultimately failed.
- pages 184-190—Scott’s march to Mexico City 1847. One of greatest examples in history of success of this strategy. Deserts prevent march from the north, choice of amphibious landing Veracruz. Only one narrow route of march—along National Road to Mexico City. Santa Anna fails to block it, or to harass Americans as they advance along it. Mexicans defend only at gates of Mexico City, lose to determined Americans.
- pages 190-194— Sherman’s march to the sea 1864. Grant launches direct attack on Lee in Virginia, but gains only stalemate. Sherman moves south along railway from Chattanooga to Atlanta. Sherman moves around Confederate roadblocks on railway. Johnston does not see he must cut Sherman’s umbilical cord, the rail line. Hood sacrifices Rebel army in headlong attacks, is forced to abandon Atlanta. Sherman hones down army to highly mobile field force, marches to Savannah. Confederacy cut in two; Southern hope for victory shattered.
- pages 194-197—Hitler cannot choose between Caucasus and Stalingrad, 1942. Original aim: seizing oil of Caucasus would have driven stake in Soviet Union. Hitler insists on two objectives—Caucasus and Stalingrad on Volga. Germans too weak to capture oilfields + bitterly defended Stalingrad. Hitler compounds blunder by insisting on remaining in Stalingrad. Russians sweep around rear of Stalingrad, 250,000-man German army lost.
- pages 197-200—Flawed attempt to conquer North Korea 1950. Brilliant landing Inchon causes North Korean army in south to disintegrate. Americans decide to conquer North Korea; China fears Nationalist invasion. Truman ignores Chinese aim to keep North Korean buffer against attack. MacArthur discounts Chinese threat, sends forces north in unsupported thrusts. Chinese shatter widely scattered UN forces, drive them back into South Korea.
- pages 200-201—Implications for the future. Wide use of principle, especially by air power and air landings on enemy centers.
Lectures Chapter 9, How Wars Are Won
- pages 202-204—Rule of war—blocking an enemy’s retreat. Can lead to outright destruction of enemy force: Thermopylae 480 B.C.. Escape can bring world fame: Ten Thousand 401-400 B.C., Chosin 1950.
- pages 204-209—Teutoburger Wald A.D. 9 ends Roman attempt to conquer Germany. Romans decide to extend frontier from Rhine to Elbe River. Governor Varus summers with three legions + dependents on Weser River. Arminius organizes ambush on march back to Rhine in September. Romans limited by deep forests, inability to spread into battle formation. Are blocked in defile of Osning Mountains, forced to surrender, nearly all die.
- pages 209-215— Saratoga 1777 guarantees independence of United States. Burgoyne’s plan to drive down Lakes Champlain, George, reannex New England. Howe at New York to drive up Hudson valley, meet Burgoyne near Albany. But Howe elects instead to move his army to capture Philadelphia. Burgoyne left isolated, loses battle Saratoga, army surrounded, surrenders. Victory gives France incentive to ally with United States.
- pages 215-220— Battle of Virginia Capes 1781forces Cornwallis surrender Yorktown. Cornwallis plan: occupy Chesapeake Bay, conquer colonies north and south. Lord Germain, war leader London, incapable of so resolute an action. Keeps large British garrison in New York City; Cornwallis moves to Yorktown. French Admiral de Grasse arrives West Indies, asked to seal off Chesapeake. Avoids British Admiral Hood, reaches Chesapeake August 30, 1781. Hood and Admiral Graves challenge de Grasse off Virginia Capes September 5. Battle a standoff, but de Grasse maneuvers, keeps British from entering the bay. Graves decides to return to New York to repair ships’ rigging. Cornwallis, with no hope of supply or reinforcement, surrenders October 19.
- pages 220-229— Chancellorsville 1863, move to block enemy not completed. Moment when South almost won Civil War; foiled because Jackson wounded. Union General Hooker places bulk of army with only one way to retreat. Hooker cripples self by locking his army in the Wilderness. Jackson sees that he can close off Union exit route, force army to surrender. Jackson gets General Lee’s permission to swing around Union army on west. Comes down Orange Plank Road (State Route 3), rolls up Howard’s corps. Jackson’s lead general Rodes, stops attack before reaching Chancellorsville. Jackson plans new attack; in scouting out route, is shot by own troops. Union army gravely defeated, but able to escape.
- pages 229-231—Implications for the future. Forces will be sent into enemy territory in size just to accomplish mission. General cannot place more troops than he can supply and withdraw by air.
Lectures Chapter 10, How Wars Are Won
- pages 232-234—Rule of war—landing an overwhelming blow. Problem of where to land the blow and what to do with rest of enemy force? Examples of hedgerows in Normandy 1944, Stalingrad 1942. Principal dilemma: disguising intentions to prevent enemy from subverting.
- pages 234-237— Leuctra 371 B.C. First recorded instance of landing overwhelming blow. Epaminondas masses heavy phalanx on one wing, lighter forces elsewhere. Spartans overrun on one wing, whole army forced to retreat.
- pages 237-247—Rossbach and Leuthen 1757. Rossbach example of how not to land overwhelming blow, Leuthen how to. Frequent mistake: launching headlong attack, thinking it is decisive. Frederick trains soldiers to march faster, fire faster, develops mobile artillery. Could move v. enemy flank before enemy could change front = enemy defeat. Rossbach: Soubise moves on Frederick’s flank openly, gives him time to react. Leuthen: Frederick uses intervening hills to hide move on Austrian flank.
- pages 248-250—Trafalgar 1805. French Villenueve caught by Nelson at Cape Trafalgar off south coast Spain. Villenueve arranges French-Spanish fleet in customary single “line of battle.” Nelson divides fleet into two unequal detachments, his and Collingwood’s. Collingwood attacks head of enemy rear, then sweeps down both sides of rear. Nelson strikes head of enemy center, holding it in place, unable to aid rear. Nelson’s attack on center also keeps enemy vanguard or front out of the fight. Collingwood’s attack is the overwhelming blow. Nelson’s attack holds rest of enemy fleet in place, unable to help rear.
- pages 250-251—Implications for the future. Landing overwhelming blow will be major aim, especially by means of air power. With inerrant bombs, air strikes can destroy enemy targets at any level. Since armies will be dispersed, attacks will focus on most dangerous locations. Less dangerous spots will be left to subsequent strikes or ignored.
Lectures Chapter 11, How Wars Are Won
- pages 252-254—Rule of war—stroke at a weak spot. Penetrating a weak point in enemy line either discovered or created. Alternative to orthodox holding enemy one place, attacking flank or rear. This “fire-and-maneuver” system still standard tactic in warfare. Breaking hole in enemy line much more difficult than fire and maneuver. Alexander the master who set down the rules.
- pages 254-251—The Granicus, Issus, Arbela 334-331 B.C. Alexander’s army based on sarissa-armed phalanx, spear-wielding cavalry. Granicus: Alexander feints at Persian left flank, strikes at weakened center. Issus: Alexander sees that Cardaces are weak element, strikes directly at them. Alexander moves to capture all Levant ports to protect rear against naval attack. Arbela: Alexander draws off Persian cavalry to flank, strikes in gap created.
- pages 261-269— Austerlitz 1805. Greatest example in modern times of stroke at a weak spot. Gustavus Adolphus broke through enemy centers, but he used superior weapons. Napoleon develops plan sui generis, entirely out of his own mind. First application Castiglione, Italy, 1796; refines plan thereafter. Napoleon, unable to strike at Britain, turns against Austria September 1805. Isolates Austrian army at Ulm, captures Vienna, sweeps into Moravia. Superior Russian, Austrian army assembles at Olmütz, Moravia. If allies withdraw farther east, they would strengthen, make attack harder. To hold allies at Olmütz, Napoleon makes show of weakness, invites attack. Napoleon searches countryside for suitable site for battle, finds it at Austerlitz. Key spot, the Pratzen, three-mile-long ridgeline, just east of Goldbach stream. Napoleon leaves Pratzen unoccupied, inviting allies to climb it with main force. Places one weak division on southern end of Goldbach, inviting attack. Sees that once allies depart Pratzen to strike the division, hole created on ridge. When this occurs, Napoleon launches two divisions directly into vacated spot. Places French on rear of allies attacking weak division on the Goldbach. Allied army disintegrates, only 33,000 of original 89,000 escape.
- page 269—Implications for the future. Commanders may now locate enemy weaknesses by aerial or satellite surveillance. Will require imaginative thinking by commanders to employ rule. It remains the gold standard of tactical operations; commanders should strive for it.
Lectures Chapter 12, How Wars Are Won
- pages 270-271–Rule of war–caldron battles. Idea: envelop enemy on all sides, prevent retreat, destroy in place. Concept behind new system of swarming, but is an ancient method. Caldrons often used, not for annihilation, but to force enemy retreat. Relevant today because units are spread widely over landscape. Thus destruction of individual units in caldron attacks more feasible.
- pages 272-275–Cannae 216 B.C. greatest example in history of caldron battle. Key to victory over Hannibal: containing his superior cavalry. Fabius downplays Hannibal’s cavalry by guerrilla war in the hills. Roman senate dissatisfied, insists on direct battle v. Hannaibal. Cannae: Hannibal forms weakest troops in center, and pushed forward. Romans attack, push back center into concave position. Hannibal launches his best troops on either flank of penetrating Romans. Hannibal’s cavalry scatters Roman horsemen, drives on Roman rear.
- pages 275-282–The Schlieffen Plan 1914. Caldron depends on gullible enemy commander stepping into disaster. To disguise intent, planners conceive caldrons on wide geographic scale. Alfred Schlieffen plans gigantic sweeping movement W and S of Paris. Germans then to turn NE and drive French against German frontier on E. Moltke destroys plan by turning German armies directly on Paris. Thus wide sweeping envelopment abandoned for a frontal attack. Leads to French attack onto W flank of S-turning Germans, victory.
- pages 282-289–Tannenberg 1914. Ludendorff turns his back on Russian army advancing directly W Sends Germans to attack W and E flanks of Samsonov coming from S. Jilinsky thinks Germans are retreating, orders Samsonov to advance N. Creates same peril as Cannae, where Romans advanced into enemy cul de sac. Germans strike Samsonov’s W and E, and close off his rear.
- pages 289-299–Attack on the Soviet Union 1941. Caldron battles not used in first two years of World War II; armor prevails. Armored warfare = penetration at one point; caldrons = surrounding enemy. Because of great distances, Germans plan caldron battles v. Russians. Armored penetrations could be like giant cavalry raids, gaining nothing. Successive caldrons could destroy Soviet armies one by one. Hitler weakens plan by demanding advances on three widely distant targets. Stalin lines up entire army along frontier, inviting breakthroughs at many points. German plan succeeds; but weakened by Hitler’s refusal to strike at Moscow. Russians survive first great onslaught, stop Germans in snow in December. Germans now cannot win; only hope is a negotiated peace, which Hitler refuses.
Lectures Chapter 13, How Wars Are Won
- pages 301-301–Rule of war–uproar east, attack west. Idea: induce enemy to believe blow coming in one place, strike in another. Advocated by Sun Tzu, fifth century B.C. Chinese strategist. Seems elementary, but rule often violated by commanders over centuries. American Civil War among worst examples of failure to follow. Most disastrous failures: early stages of World War I; caused massacres.
- pages 302-306–Hydaspes River 326 B.C. One of most brilliant examples in history of uproar east, attack west. Indian king Porus massed Haranpaur, Hydaspes River, present-day Pakistan. Porus has elephants, Alexander more cavalry, but horses terrified of elephants. To avoid elephants, Alexander moves part of army 17 miles upstream to cross. Leaves Craterus at Haranpur to make threats, locks Porus in place facing him. Alexander arrives on E bank Hydaspes, N of Porus, advances on him. Porus must choose to fight Alexander or Craterus, chooses Alexander. Craterus crosses river, advances on Porus’s rear; Porus in impossible position.
- pages 306-312–Quebec 1759. Similar to Hydaspes, but we can follow development of idea by James Wolfe. Quebec bounded by St. Lawrence River one side, St. Charles River other. Wolfe fails to lure Montcalm out of defenses, strikes fortifications E and loses. At last sees ill-defended path leading to heights a little W of Quebec. Launches feigned attack E of Quebec, leads army by stealth up paths on W. Forces Montcalm to fight on Plains of Abraham just W of city.
- pages 312-323–The defeat of France 1940. British-French have more tanks, more guns than Germans. But Germans mass their tanks in ten divisions, Allies spread their tanks widely. Germans originally plan to attack Holland, N Belgium to avoid Maginot Line. Allies anticipate this strategy; intend to move to Dyle River just E of Brussels. Manstein opposes plan; says it takes little notice of German panzers, Stukas. Proposes heavy assault in N where Allies are expecting it—as “uproar east”. Main blow panzers through hilly, wooded Ardennes to Sedan, in rear of Allies. Ardennes lightly defended; French wrongly think tanks, etc. cannot go through. Manstein convinces Hitler his plan the best; Hitler demands it be carried out. German panzers reach Sedan with little opposition, strike W to English Channel. Allied armies, now in Belgium, cut off, forced to evacuate at Dunkirk. Defeat of remaining French armies accomplished quickly; France surrenders.
- pages 323-324–Implications for the future. Deception of uproar east, attack west fundamental in military operations. With modern observation tools, it is more difficult to hide one’s forces. Therefore, must, like Manstein, block enemy’s perception of what is happening.
Lectures Chapter 14, How Wars Are Won
- pages 325-328–Rule of war–maneuvers on the rear. Not on a local tactical scale, but a descent by an entire army or large part of it. Aim to block enemy’s lines of communication or avenues of retreat. Delivered from a long distance to point far back on enemy’s rear. Name derives from Bonaparte, who used it often—la manoeuvre sur les derrières. But used by many great commanders, Scipio Africanus, Genghis Khan.
- pages 329-338–Marengo 1800. Bonaparte originally planned two maneuvers on rear, but Moreau refused to accept. New plan: Moreau to attack into Black Forest, drive Kray back to Ulm. Army of Reserve: occupy Switzerland, drive S through Simplon or St. Gotthard passes. Arrive out of Alps, take Milan, occupy Stradella defile, block Melas’s lines to Austria. But Melas drives Masséna into Genoa, other French back to Var River in Provence. Bonaparte forced to move quickly through westerly St. Bernard passes, arrive Ivrea. From Ivrea, can strike rear of Austrians facing Provence, holding Genoa, or take Milan. Chooses Milan + Stradella defile, blocks Melas, who decides to fight at Marengo. Bonaparte wins, Melas asks for armistice, Austria ultimately loses Italy.
- pages 338-348–Island-hopping in the Pacific 1943-1944. Overextended Japan relies on fights-to-the-death on southern islands to halt U.S. Bombing Japan from Marianas emerges as U.S. strategy; but getting there very hard. Guadalcanal highly costly battle for Americans, followed by similar battle New Georgia. Halsey decides to bypass next island, seize one beyond, leave enemy garrison isolated. Forms strategy to hop-skip to Marianas: Tarawa, Makin, Kwajalein, Eniwetok. Gruesome battle to seize Saipan June 1944; Japanese navy moves to challenge U.S. Huge aerial confrontation: “The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot” June 19, 1944. Japan doomed: from Marianas B-29s fire-bomb Japan, A-bombs August 6, 9, 1945.
- pages 348-355–Inchon invasion 1950. North Koreans attack South Korea, drive to Pusan Perimeter in far south. North Korean army committed totally to driving Americans, South Koreans into sea. MacArthur launches sea invasion of Inchon, cuts railway at Seoul, enemy disintegrates. MacArthur follows up with disaster: unsupported lines of advance into North Korea. Chinese want to protect buffer in front of Yalu River, strike overextended U.S. forces. Drive Americans back into South Korea; leads to stalemate, continuation of the war.
- pages 355-356–Implications for the future. We now can deposit forces by air deep into the enemy rear; many applications. May be able to avoid built-up cities, drop forces beyond to block enemy supplies. Also may strike enemy from distance with standoff weapons.