Place Holder Products Code
Bash MySQL
Notes Return of the Fed Login
Admin Control Panel Email Control Panel Product Control Panel Debug Info Beacon Create Snippet Tag Control Panel


*Most of these are works in progress

Carl von Clausewitz' 'On War' - Written mostly between 1816 and his death in 1831. Published posthumously by his wife. Introduction by his wife in first person. ... In (i think?) chap 3 there is a taxonomy of commander types, to do with their excitability and responsibility. All about character, couple notes would be good! Chap 4 (On Danger in War) starts: "To someone who has never experienced danger, the idea is attractive rather than alarming." - Short, direct acknowledgment of the brutality; it is, for the uninitiated, totally unimaginable Chapter 5 (On Physical Effort in War): - "Physical effort is a coefficient of all forces..." - Paraphrasing: If a man accepts insult becuase he claims disability, he cannot count on sympathy. But if that man defends himself, "reference to his handicap with be to his advantage." - General and Army work similarly, defeat is not made less bitter by explaing the difficulties faced, but the credit of a victory is much improved by such explanations. Chapter 6 (Intelligence in War): - Intelligence is the basis for much: - "..basis, in short, of our own plans and operations." - Considering such information, "..we soon realize that war is a flimsy structure that can easily collapse and bury us in its ruins." - also enjoyable, he bashes "scribblers of systems and compendia" for banal maxims like 'only believe reliable intelligence'. - Author cautions against reports or units of intel that seem to corroborate eachother, as this is most likely to magnify, distort and lend potentially false weight to the intel. Novice commanders in particular are luckiest when intel 'cancels itself', leaving "a kind of balance of be critically assesed." - "In short, most intelligence is false, and the effect of fear is to multiply lies and inaccuracies." - "Most men would rather believe bad news than good, and rather tend to exagerate the bad news." Ceasar returning to the ships after exagerated reports of their destruction during first British invasion... - A commander less than fully certain would benefit from "giving his hopes and not his fears the benefit of the doubt." - Short and direct chapter, deals with dangers of bad intelligence, and notes how uncertainty, inherent most places, and spectacularly amplifed by the friction of war reinforces the importance of being a rock against the waves of misinfo. - "War has a way of masking the stage with scenery crudely daubed with fearsome appartitions." Chapter 7 (Friction in War): - "Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult." - Sum of those difficulties can produce extreme burden, a kind of friction. - "Iron will-power can overcome this friction; it pulverizes every obstacle, but of course it wears down the machine as well." - Short, direct, on the friction cuased by everything; and it's powerful cumulative effect. Chapter 8 (Concluding Observations on Book One): - BAAAM! - 4 elements collectively termed friction (danger, physical exertion, intel and friction)which form the atmosphere of war; a medium that impedes activity. Combat experience is the lubricant. There is no real substitute for combat. Clausewitz then describes how war in the world is a constant, and a peaceful nation should go to pains to acquire some good, combat-experienced officers. (Begining of the general staff in germany?) The German General Staff comes to mind when he remarks that you don't need many such experienced officers to produce good effect. Book II - On the Theory of War Chapter 1 - Classifications of the Art of War: - "Essentially, war is fighting..." And the concept remains fundamentally unchanged and that is what "we mean by war." - Weapons and fighting exhibit a dialectic nature - "The art of war is the art of using the given means in combat." - Tactics vs. Strategy: - Tactics: planning and executing engagements themselves - Clausewitz: "the use of armed forces in the engagement": the form - Strategy: Coordinating them with eachother - Clausewitz: "the use of engagements for the object of the war": the significance - This difference base on seperating "support" activities away from "combat" - Tactics vs Strategy (Marching example): - A column ordere to march on the near side of a river is a strategic decesion as it implies a preference to engage in that location. - A column marching on a ridge instead of the valley road out of, for instance, convience is a tactical decesion (concerns the manner in which for forces will be used in the event of an engagement) - TERM: "Deployment" ("Evolution" in German): Marching in the course of an engagement - TERM: "Camp": any concentration of troops in a ready state - TERM: "Billet": toop concentration indended for more long-term recuperation - Point: distinguishing between war-preparatory activities, and "war proper" - Operationalizes away first/aid-supply depot concerns, operationalizes in "supply" generally - Acknowledges the inherent similarity/relation between tactics/strategy, then: - "Admittedly only the rankest pedant would expect theoretical distinctions to show direct results on the battlefield." Chapter 2 - On the Theory of War: - Touches on how a need for theory arose: - Siege warfare introduces complexities (though largely technological) - Tactical considerations produced an automota army where command -> action - Claims this complexity grew in post-medieval times - Efforts to systematize warfare (began w/ components, as totality difficult): - Numerical Superiority -> - Supply -> - A notion of "Base" (Clausewitz slams one H.D.v.Bulow for this idea) -> - Admits it's a serious component of strategy, credits Bulow for it - Interior lines (a geometric notion like base) (credits A.H. Jomini) - Clausewitz: "Useful, but not complete" - Problems with these views: - Quantitative aims, yet everything in war is uncertain - Wholly physical, yet psychological forces powerful, prevelant - Unilaterally focused, yet "war consists of a continous interaction of opposites" - Theorizing becomes even more difficult w/ moral considerations - TERM: "Courage": "the sense of one's own strength" - Clausewitz encourages commanders to be mindful of moral (or more generally psychological) effects, like troops gauging their enemies according to reputation, age, experience | troops rate an emeny's bravery lower when in pursuit, without falling into "philosophical sophistry." Experience > Theory-crafting - Characteristics of Military Action: - ONE: Moral/Psychological: - Hostile feelings (combat -eq expression of hostile feelings) - The Effects of Danger: - State of constant fear (physical), overcomable by courage (moral) - Commander's sense: threatened personally, threatens his troops - The full gambit of emotions in each member of the org. - Intellectual qualities of the commander - TWO: "Positive Reaction": - (?) The nescessity of expecting positive outcomes, despite the inhernetly unpredictable nature of military action. - THREE: "Uncertainty of all Information" - Concludes his three points with the understanding that one simply cannot totally theoritize such a system: "talent and genius operate outside the rules, and theory conflicts with practice." - Spectrum of traits most useful & rank + systematization difficulty: - Traits Useful: Courage / Self-Sacrafice <-> Intellect / Imagination - Rank: Grunts <-> Supreme Commander - Theory Difficulty: Easier <-> Harder - Idea here that by slicing up war, one can more accurately theoize - Second method to easy burden of theory is to understand it as a study, not doctrine: rational analysis of facts; a tool to be utilized in action, not to be followed blindy - This gem: "Men ... forego duplicity because death will not respect it, and thus arrive at the soldierly simplicity of character...." - Now that he's defended the value of theory for war: - "Theory thus studies the nature of the ends and means" - Ends and Means in tactics: victory & the fighting force - Tactical Factors: - Terrain (Notes this is nearly-ALWAYS a factor) - Time of Day - Weather (notes that only fog makes any difference...) - Ends and Means in strategy: objectives leading to peace & tactical victories - Stategic Factors: - Tactical factors affect the means of strategy, each expanded to encompass their greater significance ie. Time of Day -> Time of Year: - Eg. A winter campaign combined "means" of strategy - Clausewitz: Great commanders are not scholars; claims that "distinguished commanders have never emerged from the ranks of the most erudite or scholarly officers, but for the most part men whose station in life could not have brought them a high degree of education." - I like it, but examples? (Alexander/Cesar/Hanibal vs. Napoleon?) - Gets at there being something somewhat innate in a great commander. Experience won't produce Newton or Euler, but it may "bring forth the higher calculations of a Conde, or a Fredrick" Chapter 3 - Art of War or Science of War - Claims: - Ability is knowledge. - Object of Science is knowledge - Object of Art is creative ability - Very Taoist take on their relation (essentially inseperable) - Given War's human nature, 'art' better captures the topic, but that it and 'science' are inseperable - This gem: War is a clash of major interests resolved through bloodshed. Commerce better comparator than Art; Politics better comparator than Commerce. Politics gives birth to war. - Point: War's a slippery animal, not easily categorized, but that difficulty doesn't undermine the value an inquiry; an inquiry (partially) into whether general laws may usefully apply to it. Chapter 4 - Method and Routine: - Logical hierarchy governing the world of action (axioms for method and routine): - "Law": literal, subject underpinning of man/eniornment; an understanding of action/consequence; boundaries on action ie. degree of prohibition - "Principle": The spirit of the law, applicable when no rule captures a situation result in a judgement based on legal principle. may be objective or subjective - "Rule": ie. rule of thumb. Clausewitz's example is apt: there is an exception to every rule; not every law. Self Defense/Murder 1 vs. Though shalt not kill. "Method" (routines): recurring procedure, useful in the most common cases; aims at average truth.. - Law then, is ill-suited to war, however its components are. - Example of tactical principles: - "Except in emergencies cavalry should not be used against unbroken inf" - "Firearms should be be used until within effective range" - "In combat, as many troops as possible should be reserved for final phase" - Example of tactical rules (inference): - "The intentional exposure of troops in combat indicates a feint" - "Cooking in the enemy camp at unusual times indicates he's about to move" - Routines then are rules and principles acted out - Aside from its "sheer inevitability," constant practice leads to brisk, precise, reliable leadership. (lowers friction!) - Because routine is more applicable lower in the ranks, its more prominent in tactics than strategy (this not a LAW though) - Examples of routine at higest levels: - Generals under Fredrick the Great using the "oblique order of battle" - French Rev. generals using turning movements w/ a much extended front - Bonaparte's commanders attacking with a brutal rush of concentric masses - Routine as strictly imitation -> very bad - Routine enhancing the application of theory + imagination -> much better Chapter 5 - Critical Analysis - Three elements of good analysis (in context of historical event): - Establishing facts - Tracing effects back to causes - Investigation + evaluation of "means employed" - He's interested in digging to 'incontrovertible truths'... *sigh* - Also, interaction in high society is required for high-end smarts - But we're not here for that... - Clausewitz: "In short a working theory is an essential basis for criticism." - To critique, and to get something (lesson) from it, one must have built it upon an irrefutable basis - "A critic should never use the results of theory as laws and standards, but only - as a solider does - as aids to judgement." - Analysis of Napoleon's 1797 advance north out of Italy, and subsequent peace terms as example of various breadths of interpretation: - Napolean's victory at Tagliamento (river crossing); sensed weakness, rolled north - He made peace shortly thereafter, as though he could win a bit more in Styria area, his position was in a grander scheme neither useful, nor tennable - France couldn't hold those areas under duress, couldn't really afford to lose the Italian Army - Nap. success also hinged on French pressure on Rhine, which was in fact light at the time (delayed), allowing Austrian forces to move south to bolster Styrian defense - At the same time, depending on how much the Austrians valued holding Vienna, they might have agreed to WAY better (for Nap.) terms, or given it up, and mired Nap in Austrian heartland if he moved closer to their capital. - Then warns of anacronisms, like the coloring effect knowledge of an outcome can have on critique - Warns of jargon, technicalities and metaphors as misguiding; refers to them as a "lawless rabble of camp followers." Chapter 6 - On Historical Examples - Cites General Scharnhorst's manual on war as "best [sic] ever written about actual war" as making admirable use of historical exmples - On their value: - As an expanation of an idea - As a demonstration of the application of an idea - Evidence the possibility of an effect - As evidence from which a doctrine may be deduced - Points out that the farther back in history we look, the less valuable they are for the dual reasons of their being less minutae available to aid critical analysis, and the modes of warfare differing most greatly from those of the current times. - They are NOT however, without value. - Cites the war of Austrian Sucession (1740-48) as the oldest historical event that "bear[s] a considerable resemblance to those of the present day" (he's writing in 1816-1830) - Older examples provide more general context/lessions/suggestions Book III - On Strategy in General Chapter 1 - Strategy: - Genius is in the efficient acomplishment of goals, not in individual acts. To look for it in the turning of a flank in a single battle for instance, is absurd. - Uses as an example of exquisite strategy providing and aware of the means at its disposal, the campaigns (particularly 1760) of Fredrick the Great. - The main point seems to be to drive home the silliness of viewing war as anything other than a single entity consisting of a series of linked, inter-dependent events. Viewing the events individually, without regard to the whole is folly. Chapter 2 - Elements of Strategy