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War and Military History War and Military History Forum - Warfare, Tactics, and Military Technology over the centuries


View Poll Results: Who has contributed most to military tactics and strategy? (multi choice)
Alexander The Great 20 29.41%
Hannibal Barca 21 30.88%
Julius Caesar 10 14.71%
Cyrus The Great 3 4.41%
Genghis Khan 14 20.59%
Subutai 4 5.88%
Napoleon Bonaparte 35 51.47%
Charlemagne 3 4.41%
Alexander Surorov 7 10.29%
Saladin 5 7.35%
Stonewall Jackson 1 1.47%
Yi Sun-Sin 7 10.29%
John Churchill 4 5.88%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 68. You may not vote on this poll

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Old December 9th, 2012, 10:31 PM   #101

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Originally Posted by Bicanleag View Post
The core of this historical argument is about military tactics and strategy - and Manstein's victories are still being studied as relevant in military academies today. (though, arguably, one could also say that Guderian was equally influential)
I don't really know this for certain, but I'd think Guderian is probably studied more pure tactical purposes. Manstein's plan in 1940 was a brilliant gambe that paid off, but it did so because of the brilliant blitzkrieg tactics that Guderian had developed between the wars...

Gamelin in the Battle of France DID catch on to the vulnerability of the German Ardennes thrust and DID have plans to try and cut through it, turning the gamble into a bloody disaster for the Germans. The problem was, that by the time Gamelin did fully catch on, the French high command had had enough of him and replaced him with Weygand who took his time to try and impliment Gamelin's originally planned.

This was made possible by the speed with which Germany's panzer units could move and the protection they recieved from the Luftwaffe, combined with the fact that France and Britain largelly ignored the various officers they had that advocated the use of armor. Had Germany used the tactics of 1918 rather then 1940, Mainstein's plan would have fallen appart. The German advance would not be rapid enough to disorient the French army and with its tanks spread out over a wide front to support their infantry, the Germans would be at a big disadvantage against the heavily armored Char B1s and British Matildas.

That's why the tactical system developed by Guderian was so important, and why I think it would put Guderian ahead of Mainstein.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 02:25 AM   #102

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Originally Posted by Spartacuss View Post
From an American standpoint, the closest I could come to a "non-strategy" in a campaign would be a good part of the Indian pacification efforts in the American West. Even then there was the general strategic goal established, but the attaining of it was largely "winging it".
You have to realise that the Indian Wars was not a unified campaign but rather actions against those tribes that refused to conform. Militarily the objective was obviously to subdue but the methods were not always the obvious ones - the Americans targeted the horse for instance as a major asset to remove from Indian hands.

I don't think we can realistically apply a label of 'non-strategy' to these conflicts since the the commanders were operating on a local scale. Since the hostile Indian forces did not fight in a similar way to the American (or more importantly, in 'european style'), the Americans had to adapt and find ways fighting the Indian such that a victory could be achieved, which was not about slaughter or territorial acquisition, but the surrender of the hostiles and acceptance of US oversight and treaty (however dubious that may have been in actual fact)

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For a battle, the closest would be Bastogne. MacAuliffe's strategy was, of course, to hold the town. His forming of "flying companies" of riflemen that would be deployed as needed day to day to counter serious threats of breakthroughs, was "winging it".
Actually no. The elements assigned to respond to enemy action had a clear imperative, and were coordinated by HQ.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 02:58 AM   #103

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Sun Tzu or whatever his name was, Rommel also read Genghis Khan with regards to manoeuvre warfare.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 03:51 AM   #104
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Don't want to repeat myself, but I have to say Napoleon. His way of fighting was revolutionary. Speed became vital, he introduced the Corps system, Artillery became dominant on the field of battle and his tactics in general were studied for decades after his death until a new sort of warfare (total warfare) arose, in which his tactics became to old fashioned.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 05:52 PM   #105

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As you said today, none. Of those listed, I'd say Charlemagne, as he truly invented the basic origin of the feared European Knight. It was he and his generals, but hey it's good to be the king, you get all the credit. He is the only one whose mark affected the way war was fought for centuries, exempt possibly Temujin, Aka Ghengis Khan. The tactics of Ghengis Khan were not widly used in non-Mongol peoples however. While virtualy all of the people touched by the fearsome Carilingian Cavalry eventualy became the breeding grounds so to speak of the knights. Although in history I have realized that weather in a understanding the reasons behind a war or any other major event, especialy one so broad as this topic; there is never one reason, nor just one man. It is a mix between Sherman, Gustav II, Edward III, and many others. Possibly Yi sun shin, but he made less of an impact than the author of this thread seems to think he did. It was a brief period indeed when armoured battleships ruled the waves. Although it was almost a good century, they were quickly replaced with aircraft carriers as the most important ship in a navy.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 07:30 AM   #106
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This two people is what I considered the most influential:
(1) Alexander The Great.
(2) Napoleon
This man had made a lot of innovations but Europeans didn't recognize it at all.
(3) Genghis Khan.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 07:47 AM   #107
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I would say the Chinese Alchemist who invented gunpowder
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Old December 15th, 2012, 10:57 AM   #108

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Originally Posted by M.E.T.H.O.D. View Post
Epaminonda's tactics were probably inspired/influenced by Pagondas' military conduct at the battle of Delium, therefore making Pagondas himself a rather good candidate for this classification
whatever the case, I prefer them over any the poll candidates.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 06:18 AM   #109

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No one of this guys.

Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz (July 1, 1780 – November 16, 1831) was a German-Prussian soldier and military theorist who stressed the "moral" (in modern terms, psychological) and political aspects of war. His most notable work, Vom Kriege (On War), was unfinished at his death.

Key ideas discussed in On War include:
  • the dialectical approach to military analysis
  • the methods of "critical analysis"
  • the nature of the balance-of-power mechanism
  • the relationship between political objectives and military objectives in war
  • the asymmetrical relationship between attack and defense
  • the nature of "military genius" (involving matters of personality and character, beyond intellect)
  • the "fascinating trinity" (wunderliche Dreifaltigkeit) of war
  • philosophical distinctions between "absolute" or "ideal war," and "real war"
  • in "real war," the distinctive poles of a) limited war and b) war to "render the enemy helpless"
  • "war" belonging fundamentally to the social realm—rather than to the realms of art or science
  • "strategy" belonging primarily to the realm of art
  • "tactics" belonging primarily to the realm of science
  • the importance of "moral forces" (more than simply "morale") as opposed to quantifiable physical elements
  • the "military virtues" of professional armies (which do not necessarily trump the rather different virtues of other kinds of fighting forces)
  • conversely, the very real effects of a superiority in numbers and "mass"
  • the essential unpredictability of war
  • the "fog" of war
  • "friction" - the disparity between the ideal performance of units, organisation or systems and their actual performance in real world scenarios (Book I, Chapter VII)
  • strategic and operational "centers of gravity"
  • the "culminating point of the offensive"
  • the "culminating point of victory"


In military academies, schools, and universities worldwide, Clausewitz's literature is often mandatory reading.


Best regards
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