Reference Work for Military Tactics

Jul 2019
1,084
New Jersey
Hey, everybody!

I was just wondering if anybody knows of a comprehensive academic series (it would need to be a series rather than an individual book due to scope) dealing with the evolution of land, sea, and siege warfare from antiquity to our times? As in, a work which covers tactics, weapons, fortifications, and extensively explains how and why old methods became obsolete and new methods replaced them? I'd appreciate any and all recommendations.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
5,006
Dispargum
It's a bit dated, but JFC Fuller's "Military History of the Western World" is three volumes of military history that discusses changing technology, social changes, etc that drove evolution of tactics, strategy, etc. After a short account of the Ancient Egyptian Battle of Megiddo he really gets going with the Ancient Greeks and takes it through WW2. The work was published in 1956, so nothing more recent than that.
 
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Jul 2018
28
Pakistan
'The Art of War through World History'

Gerard Chaliand's two-volume anthology of excerpts from various historical manuals on strategy and tactics including the Kadesh inscription, the Taktika, the Strategikon, Napoleon's maxims and Guderian's Achtung Panzer.
 
Nov 2018
211
Wales
Hey, everybody!

I was just wondering if anybody knows of a comprehensive academic series (it would need to be a series rather than an individual book due to scope) dealing with the evolution of land, sea, and siege warfare from antiquity to our times? As in, a work which covers tactics, weapons, fortifications, and extensively explains how and why old methods became obsolete and new methods replaced them? I'd appreciate any and all recommendations.
Good luck with that. The subject matter is huge, and there is much debate on this matter, especially the older the period.

Osprey have a number of books on the subject, and this is less than the tip of the iceberg concerning tactics.

ELI 100: World War II Axis Booby Traps and Sabotage Tactics
ELI 105: World War II Infantry Tactics: Squad and Platoon
ELI 117: US World War II Amphibious Tactics
ELI 119: Apache Tactics 1830–86 (January 2012)
ELI 122: World War II Infantry Tactics: Company and Battalion
ELI 124: World War II Infantry Anti-Tank Tactics
ELI 136: World War II Airborne Warfare Tactics
ELI 144: US World War II Amphibious Tactics
ELI 150: World War I Gas Warfare Tactics and Equipment
ELI 151: World War II Jungle Warfare Tactics
ELI 154: Vietnam Airmobile Warfare Tactics
ELI 155: Roman Battle Tactics 109BC–AD313
ELI 156: World War II Combat Reconnaissance Tactics
ELI 159: French Napoleonic Infantry Tactics 1792–1815
ELI 160: World War II Infantry Assault Tactics
ELI 162: World War II Desert Tactics
ELI 164: British Napoleonic Infantry Tactics 1792–1815
ELI 168: World War II Street-Fighting Tactics
ELI 169: World War II Japanese Tank Tactics
ELI 171: American Civil War Railroad Tactics
ELI 172: Roman Battle Tactics 390–110 BC
ELI 174: American Civil War Guerrilla Tactics
ELI 176: World War II US Armored Infantry Tactics
ELI 179: Pike and Shot Tactics 1590–1660
ELI 182: Prussian Napoleonic Tactics (October 2011)
ELI 183: U-boat Tactics in World War II
ELI 185: European Medieval Tactics (1) (June 2011)
ELI 186: Vietnam Infantry Tactics (June 2011)
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,510
Portugal
Good luck with that. The subject matter is huge, and there is much debate on this matter, especially the older the period.

Osprey have a number of books on the subject, and this is less than the tip of the iceberg concerning tactics.

ELI 100: World War II Axis Booby Traps and Sabotage Tactics
ELI 105: World War II Infantry Tactics: Squad and Platoon
ELI 117: US World War II Amphibious Tactics
ELI 119: Apache Tactics 1830–86 (January 2012)
ELI 122: World War II Infantry Tactics: Company and Battalion
ELI 124: World War II Infantry Anti-Tank Tactics
ELI 136: World War II Airborne Warfare Tactics
ELI 144: US World War II Amphibious Tactics
ELI 150: World War I Gas Warfare Tactics and Equipment
ELI 151: World War II Jungle Warfare Tactics
ELI 154: Vietnam Airmobile Warfare Tactics
ELI 155: Roman Battle Tactics 109BC–AD313
ELI 156: World War II Combat Reconnaissance Tactics
ELI 159: French Napoleonic Infantry Tactics 1792–1815
ELI 160: World War II Infantry Assault Tactics
ELI 162: World War II Desert Tactics
ELI 164: British Napoleonic Infantry Tactics 1792–1815
ELI 168: World War II Street-Fighting Tactics
ELI 169: World War II Japanese Tank Tactics
ELI 171: American Civil War Railroad Tactics
ELI 172: Roman Battle Tactics 390–110 BC
ELI 174: American Civil War Guerrilla Tactics
ELI 176: World War II US Armored Infantry Tactics
ELI 179: Pike and Shot Tactics 1590–1660
ELI 182: Prussian Napoleonic Tactics (October 2011)
ELI 183: U-boat Tactics in World War II
ELI 185: European Medieval Tactics (1) (June 2011)
ELI 186: Vietnam Infantry Tactics (June 2011)
Although Osprey books are not Academic, as requested by the OP, they are often quite interesting, and they also often quote academic works. So taking a look to the bibliography is quite helpful.
 
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Nov 2018
211
Wales
Although Osprey books are not Academic, as requested by the OP, they are often quite interesting, and they also often quote academic works. So taking a look to the bibliography is quite helpful.
Absolutely. I'm lucky enough to have personally met David Fletcher twice, and his overall knowledge on British tanks is unmatched. Osprey have stated they will print any book he writes. In this specific case, you can trust an Osprey publication. The bibliography is essential to understanding how reliable a source is, as is an authors credibilty.
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,510
Portugal
Absolutely. I'm lucky enough to have personally met David Fletcher twice, and his overall knowledge on British tanks is unmatched. Osprey have stated they will print any book he writes. In this specific case, you can trust an Osprey publication. The bibliography is essential to understanding how reliable a source is, as is an authors credibilty.
Indeed. It is always interesting to know authors personally, or in conferences, and have the opportunity to change ideas, that we read in the book. I also have some Osprey books. Their quality is not always constant, but is generally quite positive. Anyway, in Military History, hard-core Wargamers and Reenactors (that use often Osprey books as sources and I think that are the publisher major target) often propose new ideas that are later used and adapted by the Academia.
 
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Feb 2019
1,156
Serbia
Does not cover the whole history of the world but you might be interested in The Anatomy of Victory: Battle Tactics 1689-1763 by Brent Nosworthy.

Fairly detailed and good as a reference work, but you need to have some background knowledge of the military history in the period and an interested in tactical details to fully appreciate it.

This book has a sequel called With Musket, Cannon and Sword: Battle Tactics of Napoleon and His Enemies.


I've heard that it's excellent and very in-depth. I have not read it and don't have access to it but based on reviews and the first book by the author I believe it should be good.