14 Dec 2015 21:32 9 Feb 2016 19:12
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Zugzwang The Pentagon

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This spot will be devoted to a discussion on logistics, which is such a huge topic (many throughout history have said it is the only topic a general need concern himself with in detail) that I cannot start writing it until after my exam.

Also, I'm removing a talk about World War 1 from the list, unless there are massive objections. The information on it is too prolific for me to feel vindicated writing it. Google is your friend here, and will give you acceptable results. If anyone wants some good stuff to listen to, Dan Carlin just finished his six-part podcast series on the Great War, fucking check it out. 10/10 great series.

EDIT: Observe how the Zugzwang in his native habitat contradicts himself absolutely, by saying he will not write about World War 1 then posting an essay about World War 1.
15 Dec 2015 22:02
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Jbcool The Scribbling Scotsman

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Hi there,

Can I just start by saying that you clearly know your stuff, which is refreshing, and I am thoroughly enjoying everything you've written thus far! Excellent stuff.

I was hoping, since I am far too lazy to do it myself, that you may be able to do 'a piece' on conventional warfare versus guerilla strategies a la the Vietcong, the Maori, the North American colonists and so forth?

Not really sure that it would apply much to roleplaying, but I'd at least find your views on the subject interesting. :)
15 Dec 2015 22:28
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@Jbcool

Thanks for the compliment, and I might. I just took my final for a class all about insurgency, and so I would probably be able to write something at least moderately well understood, but the thing is, I just don't want to think about insurgency anymore. Maybe one day, once I recover from the strong dicking I got from that final.
15 Dec 2015 23:12
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Jbcool The Scribbling Scotsman

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Oh I understand completely, but you misunderstand me; I'm not talking about insurgency, I'm simply talking of the strategies, technologies and so forth that changed with the advent of more 'organised' guerilla warfare.

For example, within British military thought during the late 18th century, there was the 'American school' of thought - the usage of light troops, using their own initiative/cover and so forth - and the 'European/Continental school', which was basically the complete opposite.

As I say, I understand, and I'll honestly look forward to anything you decide to write.
16 Dec 2015 2:34 18 Dec 2015 22:41
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Zugzwang The Pentagon

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So, General Staffs. Being a General is hard. Armies are big and hungry and very rarely happy. Over time, armies have gotten bigger and require more provisions better campaign organization. Add onto that the changing tactical and operational situations through time. Armies require better orders on the field of battle since giving orders is much more possible in 1800 than in 1100, and proper coordination is the second most important part of wining modern (by which I mean starting in about 1500) battles, right after troop discipline.

Armies before 1805 were commanded always by individuals. Unfortunately, unlike the medieval period, only a genius could command to an effective level alone, and yet genius was expected. Men like Fredrick the Great or Napoleon were geniuses. Quartermasters, men who organized logistics were always present, and Fredrick the Great wrote that the only person a General should share his plans with is his quartermaster. However, even without worrying about logistics, Generals had a huge amount of work to do that only an overachieving genius could accomplish. As such, men like Napoleon and Gustavus Adolphus stood astride other commanders like colossi, and defeated most of Europe in their respective days.

Napoleon is really the man who germinated the idea of the general staff, and of modern military command in general, even though he didn't need one. See, the Prussians after Fredrick the Great were considered the best soldiers in the world. They had some right to boast, but at a place called Jena, they were utterly obliterated by Napoleon, and right afterward the French Emperor waltz through Berlin the undisputed master of military matters at the time. See, the Prussians were not commanded well, they did not fight creatively or in the new fashions that Napoleon proved so incredibly effective. The details of Napoleonic combat could fill a book, and frequently do, and thus will not be detailed here. All that one needs to know is that in 1805 the King realized that something needed to be done.

Prussia may not have had any great genius to oppose Napoleon, but they did have some truly great military thinkers. Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were the two main architects, with some other less important individuals and a young man named Carl von Clausewitz, whose importance is hard to overstate in the years following this. Anyways: these great military thinkers gathered and had the king's blessing to make a new system of command, and to revitalize the armies of Prussia. And this they did.

The first general staff, the result of this conclave, was something rather simple, but innovative. If one man could not lead an army, why not get a bunch of them? Also, since armies around the world, including in Prussia were led by nobility, why not attach a career solider to this leader? These nobles were not lazy or fools, usually, and they took their study of military matters seriously, but their ability rarely could compare to someone who had been educated in military theory their whole life, and had served in real actions.

So, in 1814, the general staff was made law by the King. There would be an attached staff officer to each commander at every strategic level, and this staff officer had the right and expectation to protest bad orders and suggest good ones. Leaders were expected to listen, since as a nuclear option staff officers could protest to their commander’s commander’s staff officer. This could go all the way up to the King and the Chief of General Staff. General Staff officers thus assumed much of the leadership of armies, and had not only capable officers above and below them, but they had their own groups that would help them plan every detail of newly-complex operations.

Soldiers trained to enter the staff were not only the best of the best, but since they were all trained from the same orthodoxy, most looked at situations the same way, or could assume what their fellows would think about situations, radically boosting cooperation in an age without radio. The general staff system created new, well-trained geniuses and provided them a support network and independence, while still maintaining traditional positions for nobility. The system worked like an absolute dream, and in 1815 August von Gneisenau and Gerhard von Blucher kicked Napoleon off the continent once and for all.

Strangely enough, very few emulated the Germans. The British did to a small extent, but it was not until the Wars of German Unification that people started emulating. When the elder von Moltke and his staff obliterated the Austrians, the Austrians learned their lessons. But the Austrians were small fry. The real shock came when the North German Confederation absolutely humiliated the French, who were superior in many areas of technology and were though the best soldiers in the world, and defeated them utterly within two weeks of war being declared. Then the French and British learned their lessons.

General staffs changed over time. The German version was the first, but France and Britain both had their own takes on the matter, both versions more centralized but not headed absolutely by a supreme commander like Germany. The merits of these systems would be tested in World War 1, when each would change, and once again Germany would set the standard for dynamic modern leadership with its Third General Staff.
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18 Dec 2015 14:08 18 Dec 2015 14:59
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vFear

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Good stuff man, look forward to reading more of it~
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30 Jan 2016 12:42
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Mardox An internet Dark Lord

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Is this going on? Regardless, thank you for all the information.
30 Jan 2016 21:15
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Sypherkhode822 The SapientMoonworm

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A quick check of Zug's activity log shows that he hasn't done anything for the last 19 days....

RIP, greatest guide of all time?
7 Feb 2016 20:15
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Zugzwang The Pentagon

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College is a bitch, man. It does nasty things to you. Maybe sometime soon I'll find the inspiration to write another few pages of muh ramblings.

RIP Zyzz, not RIP Zugzwang. Not yet.
7 Feb 2016 20:38
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Mardox An internet Dark Lord

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Woo-hoo! He's still alive!
7 Feb 2016 20:55
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Zugzwang The Pentagon

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To tide everyone over, here: take a mediocre essay I wrote last semester for class. Hopefully it is somewhat edifying. I wish I were taking more military history courses, so I could regurgitate my essays here and get some use out of them. Unfortunately, citations are not included automatically on RPG, and I am too lazy to cite everything again on here.

The Changing State of Battlefield Artillery, 1815-1900

Firearms matured immensely during the 19th century. New inventions were the product of an unprecedented rate of change in the science of firearms: automatics, the minie ball, the metal cartridge, the percussion cap, new and specialized varieties of shell, new and specialized varieties of powder, changing methods and materials of weapon construction to name only a few. Artillery was no exception to these upheavals, and with the radical changes in the state of firearms so too came radical changes in the state of army artillery, changing the capabilities and their method of use to ensure artillery’s continued prominence in battles on land between 1815 and the end of the 19th century.

The placement of field artillery changed dramatically with advancing technology and theory. At the start of the 19th century, artillery was usually placed twenty or thirty yards in front of infantry . This placement was a consequence of the technology: most of the guns at Waterloo, and indeed of the period in general, were direct-fire, especially those which were mobile enough to follow armies intending to fight battles in the field, with only a quarter of foot artillery, and no portion of horse artillery being howitzers . This placement was also necessitated by the fact that artillery were capable of being the chief death dealers to opposition cavalry1 and infantry by way of canister or grape shot. The required number of guns firing single shot from long range was much greater if similar morale effects were desired , thanks to deficiencies of artillery science and the guns themselves. This method was obviously less efficient. Canister shot would dramatically lose its effectiveness with the increased range and angle that firing from behind infantry would necessitate , for no worthwhile benefit of safety of the guns . With developments in firearms, this placement changed. The range of small arms increased remarkably over the course of the century, and by the American Civil War the effective range of the infantry musket had increased from 100 to 500 yards, thanks chiefly to rifling and the minie ball, outranging canister shot fired from any sort of gun, necessitating the cannon drop back behind its own infantry or face its crew being shot to death . This change of positioning radically altered the role of artillery, which while falling behind its infantry became a “support weapon” , rather than a front-line killer of the enemy. Canister shot and point-blank solid shot had been made obsolete . However, this change did not stop artillery from being a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield. Separate developments only increased the murderous power of the artillery piece.

Artillery retained its worth by becoming more accurate and longer-reaching while remaining mobile. The range and efficacy of artillery increased alongside developments in infantry weapons, though belatedly . The first truly modern piece of artillery, made by Sir William Armstrong, was rifled, and fired elongated shells father and much more accurately than smoothbore pieces could fire round shot , and managed to be loaded from the breech thanks to his screw mechanism, while loading shells that could be theoretically fused with remarkable accuracy . These advantages let artillery maintain its position of battlefield worth, while remaining behind the lines of rifle-equipped soldiery. The functional prowess of the gun is not the only benefit, however. The Armstrong gun was made of wrought iron and fitted with bands to keep the metal under compression, thus radically dropping the required weight , fixing one of the major problems that arose during the Crimean war, the immobility of powerful artillery . Indeed, this constant decrease in weight would continue after Armstrong had created his gun, with Russian, Austrian and Prussian services having much better projectile weight to gun weight ratios than Armstrong guns or other contemporary weapons, with the Russian 4 Pdr. Rifle having a ratio of 1:48 , and the Russian 9 Pdr having a ratio of less than 1:45 . The result of all of this was mobile batteries with massive ranges in comparison to the guns of 1815, who could fire larger shells more accurately while still being responsive to the commands given to them and still dealing death and more importantly morale damage to the enemy while being protected by friendly infantry.

Battlefield artillery also maintained its relevance by adopting new shells which allowed it to project its power at long ranges with greater finesse than previously possible. At Waterloo, the British infantry remarked that they were glad when the enemy cavalry charged, as it gave them a break from the bombardment of French guns, whose direct fire of canister and shot was much more harrowing than the charging of horses and the flashing of sabers. This reprieve would no longer exist thanks to the aforementioned increased accuracy and more importantly the development of sophisticated fused shells, which allowed potent anti-infantry fire with great precision and localized damage. First introduced was the percussion shell, which was fused at the nose and, when an impact was felt, would explode , ideally amongst enemy positions. These shells were filled with small projectiles, which would scythe through the enemy there arrayed, and their relative simplicity ensured a remarkable reliability which would play to the Prussians during the Franco-Prussian war, who employed them against the French’s problematic timed fuses, which had not yet been perfected. Timed fuses were advanced from their infancy by Captain E.M. Boxer in the middle of the 19th century and truly perfected by the 1880s, developing a new and improved shrapnel shell is a round that, when fired, will detonate in accordance with a timed fuse, ideally overtop the enemy, and propel small spherical balls into the enemy infantry to cause mass slaughter . The shells were improved when the charge layout was changed to propel the bullets forward rather than slowing them down, only increasing the deadly efficiency of the weapon. This development and its increasing efficacy let the artillery, which had been forced back by better infantry weapons, deliver the same effect as canister shot once held, or even an improved version, from the new massive ranges with the ability to deliver anti-infantry slaughter overtop friendly units, utterly shifting the tactical realities of battle and necessitating changes from the very infantry who forced the artillery to fall back and adapt, easily visible in the Franco-Prussian war and earlier in the American Civil War’s first days.

Artillery did not remain a decisive battlefield presence by the mere changes in technology; doctrinal shifts had to occur, and they did throughout the period. This shift in doctrine can be seen in the Franco-Prussian war, when the Prussians, relying on their superior artillery to compensate for French infantry weapon superiority, used their cannon in a chiefly infantry support role. Prussian artillery was used as infantry support, breaking open French formations and killing French soldiers with concentrated fire. They took advantage of the new lightness of the guns to move along with the infantry and reposition for maximum effect, while French heavy guns’ mistaken deployment to the rear, not taking full advantage of the better accuracy and not taking advantage at all of the light weight, failed to match the constant deadly barrages of Prussian weaponry. Even before this, however, the role of battlefield artillery was changing. One can see the change to support in the Instructions for Field Artillery, which claims “Field artillery is used to attack and defend the works of temporary fortification; to destroy or demolish material obstacles and means of cover, and thus prepare the way for the success of other arms; to act upon the field of battle; to break the enemy’s line or prevent him from forming; to crush his masses; to dismount his batteries; to follow and support in a pursuit; and to cover and protect a retreat” . The focus is on the preparation of the attack and the continued pressure of battle on the enemy, rather than the Napoleonic focus on defilade fire to destroy the enemy and send them to flight. The quoted passage mentions the dismounting of enemy batteries, which is a reflection of the beginning need for counter-battery fire, something which rarely occurred in the pre-1816 period and was made ineffectual by the inaccuracy of the cannon themselves and the ineffectiveness of the round shot they fired. More sources corroborate this, writing that artillery was to be used in preparation of other attacks and to support their efforts, clearing the way for infantry or cavalry, but in the fortified positions which were becoming so common at the time, in trenches or the cover of cities. This focus on breaking fortifications shows the interplay between artillery and general tactics, as advances in artillery necessitate changes in general doctrine, which then necessitate changes in artillery, in this case to combat an issue that had rarely been present in pre-1816 gunpowder combat, namely entrenched troops and city-fighting.

As much as artillery changed in the evolving face of battle, it in many ways remained the same. Artillery was still a weapon that did catastrophic damage to morale beyond its killing power, and it was a way of projecting deadly force in concentration across the battlefield alongside other forces. These roles were not created in this shifting climate, but refined and re-enabled by advances in technology and doctrine. These safeguards against obsolescence would let artillery continue to be a decisive part of battle into its proudest and most violent hour, the Great War.

Bibliography:
Bastable, Marshall. “From Breechloaders to Monster Guns: sir William Armstrong and the Invention of Modern Artillery, 1854-1880” JSTOR 33, 217. Accessed November 15, 2015, doi: 10.2307/310587.
Caruana, Adrian. “Tin Case-Shot or Canister Shot in the 18th Century” Arms Collecting vol.28, No.1. Accessed November 15th, 2015.
French, William, William Barry and Henry Hunt. Instructions for Field Artillery. Philadelphia: JB Lippincott&co, 1863
Fuller, John. A Military History of the Western World Volume Three: From the Seven Days Battle, 1892, to the Battle of Leyte Gulf, 1944. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1956.
Hogg, O.F.G. Artillery: its Origin, Heyday and Decline. London, C Hurst & Co, 1970
Instructional Staff Ordnance College. Treatise on Ammunition: War Office, 1902. London: HM Stationery Off., 1902
Keegan, John. The Face of Battle. New York: Viking, 1976.
Nostrand, D. Van. The Artillerist’s Manual. New York: Turbner, 1860
Officer, Artillery. A Few Thoughts on Artillery: its condition and requirements. New York, 1871.
Owen, John Fletcher, Sir. Treatise on the construction and manufacture of ordnance in the British Service. London: H.M. Stationery Off., 1877.
Wise, Terence. Artillery Equipments of the Napoleonic Wars. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 1979
7 Feb 2016 20:58
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And, one more essay I have kicking around on my PC. Hopefully it is interesting.

Opening Gambits in Blind Chess: Opening Strategies of World War 1

The strategic decisions made by the three Great Powers on the Western Front in the prelude to the First World War were strongly dictated by the cultures and military traditions of each nation, which are the products of the 19th century innovations and armed conflicts. This paper will outline the opening strategies of each Great Power, and trace the influence of history and military tradition on each decision.

The German strategic plan at the outbreak of the Great War was determined largely by the culture of the nation and her leaders. The German Empire’s plan for the outbreak of war in fall 1914 was a famous one: the Schlieffen plan, modified by von Moltke the Younger, dictated a giant hinge attack with the goal of encircling the French army and, after pulling them back from their forts, crushing them. The plan required a push through the neutral Belgium, and, despite von Moltke’s changes, would leave the important lands of East Prussia open to a Russian offensive, if the Tsar’s armies could mobilize quickly enough. Schlieffen claimed that, in a two front war, “The whole of Germany must throw itself upon one enemy, the strongest, most powereful, most dangerous enemy, and that can only be France” , and this opinion is clear in his life’s work. Schlieffen’s strategy was “Derived from Hannibal at Cannae” , and this derivation was the result of a fascination with the decisive battle and the glories it maintained throughout history. Napoleon had resurrected the climactic battle in his conquests, with his whole strategy being “…to bring about the threat or reality of the decisive battle” , and in his conquests, in which he had obliterated the Prussian army at Jena and Austerlitz, had made Napoleon “the second taskmaster of Prussia” , who taught the founders of the German General Staff and directors of German military thinking Scharnhorst and Gneisenau how they would be conducting strategic operations. Schlieffen is written to have idolized Gneisenau, and certainly absorbed traditions from him, shaping his strategic goals. Of course, the Prussians were reaffirmed of their military tradition of decisive victory at Waterloo, and later from Napoleon’s intellectual successor Clausewitz, “the oracle of German military thought, [who] had ordained a quick victory by decisive battle as the first objective in offensive war”3. Schlieffen was not only shaped by the traditions of the Napoleonic wars and their resultant scholars, however: the Battle of Sedan “The most decisive of the [Franco-Prussian] War” , not only reaffirmed Schlieffen’s belief in the importance of the single decisive battle by ending organized large-scale resistance to the German attack and crippling the French army with insignificant German losses, but it clearly joined Cannae as one of the reasons why, in the WW1 German tradition, “envelopment became the fetish and frontal attack the anathema of the German General Staff”2, seeing as the battle was won in large part thanks to when von Moltke the Elder “…took advantage of [the French advance] to catch the French in a pincer grip”5, a move which had a large part in the extraordinary victory. Such a success clearly instilled into the German staff of the outbreak of WW1, many of whom, including Schlieffen were field officers at the time, the tradition of encirclement.

The Schlieffen plan was incredibly aggressive and highly risky, and showed the influence of the German culture and of Positivism. Helmuth von Moltke the Elder famous declared that ‘No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy’, and Clausewitz’ military theory focused heavily on friction and the fog of war, and how they disrupt battle plans, but the Schlieffen plan was created and implemented even after the Younger von Moltke’s stewardship, without any room for flexibility . Instead, the Germans “…attempted to provide for every contingency”8 but their approach was marred by the conceited positivist assertion that they could collect enough information and with that information the General Staff could make perfect plans. This reliance on contingencies rather than improvisation shaped Moltke’s decisions, who, despite predicting that “France will move into Belgium in the role of the protector of Belgian neutrality” ensured that “the ratio of seven to one in favor of the right wing armies…had been reduced to slightly less than four to one” , which would by the battle of the Marne prove to be a disastrous decision.

The French strategic plan at the outbreak of the Great War was determined largely by the culture of the nation and her leaders. The French “Plan XVI, in effect in 1911, provided for an offensive into Alsace-Lorraine to recover the lost provinces.” , with the lion’s share of the French Army. Small concentrations of French soldiers would protect the Belgian border, and the British were to be relied upon to defend the relatively exposed right flank of the French lines. The plan was simple, extraordinarily aggressive, and dictated by the ideas of the nation and the culture and traditions of the military staff. The French had been utterly humiliated in the Franco-Prussian war, and despite the protestations of Bismarck the French lost Alsace-Lorraine. The loss of these territories inflamed the French, and this anger of the people was reflected in their art , sculpture and in the words of the leadership, who claimed “We proclaim forever the rights of Alsatians and Lorrainers to remain members of the French nation” . It is because of this anger and outrage that the region was chosen as the immediate strategic concern, compared to the German objective of total victory, for example.

The French plan was also heavily based on “…Bergson’s elan vitale” , which dictated the French aggression, along with the influence from the traditions the entirety of French military command and in particular of the Ecole Superieure de la Guerre, where Ferdinand Foch influenced the minds of younger officers on the importance of the attack, claiming “victoire c’eset la violant” and “A battle won is a battle in which one will not confess themselves beaten”17. Foch instilled this culture of the attack, “l’offence a outrance” in the junior officers, but like the German culture of war the historical roots reach back to Napoleon and Clausewitz, who were famous for their preference for attack. Napoleon especially favored the attack and especially the bayonet, a tradition of “furia francaise” that would continue well into the battle of the frontiers and throughout the war. The depth at which this focus of the absolute attack runs through the French culture cannot be overstated, and it was adopted by all, not just Foch: the French Field Regulations, written and approved whole general staff and the governing body of the Republic, claimed “The offensive alone is suited to the temperament of French soldiers… We are determined to march straight against the enemy without hesitation”17 and that “The French Army, returning to its traditions, henceforth admits no law bu the offensive”17. The much less ambitious plan of the French when compared to the elaborate majesty of the Schlieffen plan also is an effect of Foch’s teachings and the traditions they espoused, as he claimed during his tenure that “Regulations are all very well for the drill yard, but in the hour of danger they are no more use… you have to learn to think”17. France planned to continue the advance one the situation in Alsace-Lorraine had been surveyed, rather than trying to plan for every contingency, based on this vein of French thought. This traditional faith in improvisation and in the superiority of attack not only determined the French war goals, but convinced them of the correctness of their strategy when faced with good knowledge of Moltke’s plans, repeatedly claiming [quite incorrectly] that such a flank attack would only be good for the French, since the widening of the German lines would allow the French to “Cut them in half!”

The British strategic plan at the outbreak of the Great War was determined largely by the culture of the nation and her leaders. The British army, in response to their impressively weak agreement with France, and their declaration of Belgian independence, sent the British Expeditionary Force to France. Meanwhile, the British Navy achieved a complete naval blockade of the German Empire from the very start of the war . The British Army’s involvement on the continent was ultimately far less important than the Blockade, which would last until 1918 and be a chief cause in the defeat of the Germans. The blockade itself was a result of the British naval tradition stretching all the way back to Trafalgar, since had enjoyed naval superiority since 1805, and had adapted as a principle a policy to ensure it had a navy larger than the next two nations combined, which it had in 1914 by a significant margin, not to mention more Dreadnoughts and better trained and supplied officers and sailors, and the plan of total blockade relied on this. The navy was, to Britain, “… a vital necessity in the exact sense of the word ‘vital’” , and unlike the leadership of France and Germany, who was expected to use their fleet aggressively, the British were extraordinarily cautious. “Risk was the least favourite concept of the British Admirality”22, as they had assumed the lessons of the Russo-Japanese war would pertain to the Great War, and the decisive battle of Tsushima, a decisive clash of battleships . The strategy of concentration and blockade was influenced heavily by John Fisher, whose claim “The whole principle of naval fighting is to be free to go anywhere with every damned thing the Navy possesses” , had dictated the preparedness of the British Navy to sail in full force from Scapa Flow and meet any enemy, but the plan was more nuanced than simply to be ready to fight. The British revised their strategy in July, when the blockade was made more distant, with the hope of “…giving German Naval leaders visual stimuli that should they set sail, it was at their own peril”20, a policy that matched their previous arms race and played on the modern fears of mutual naval destruction (a policy Britain was able to hasten thanks to the cultural importance of their navy and the resulting incredible size).

The Great Powers were products of their times. They were shaped by the events of history and the waves of changing philosophy, from improvisational romanticism to the neat order of the positivists. They had long memories, and could see the battles of Sedan, Austerlitz, Tsushima, and Waterloo clearly, and based their strategies accordingly. Ultimately, all failed to some degree, from the French withdrawal in Lorraine or the German defeat at the Marne, to the worrying British tactical defeat at Jutland. However, they planned as they thought best, keen scholars of the past and present as they were, and ultimately simply failed to account for the utterly new realities of warfare that would become so apparent by 1918.

Bibliography
Esposito, Vincent J., A Concise History of World War I, (New York, 1965)
Tuchman, Barbara, The Guns of August, (Toronto, 1966)
Paret, Peter, Makers of Modern Strategy (Princeton 1986)
“The Franco-Prussian War” Franco-Prussian War, francoprussianwar.com
Dupoy, Trevor, A Genius for War: The German Army and General Staff (Englewood Cliffs, 1977)
Geiss, Imanuel, The Outbreak of World War 1: Selected Documents,(Sage, 1966)
Taylor, A.J.P., Bismarck: The Man and the Statesman,
Bettannier, Albert, The Black Spot 1871, Oil on Canvas, Deutsches Historisches Museum
Dubois, Paul,Le Souvenir, 1870, Bronze, Place Andre-Maginot
Janickim, David, The British Blockade During World War I, Student Pulse, studentpulse.com
Ferguson, Niall, The pity of war (1999)
Pleshakov, Constantine, The Tsar's Last Armada; The Epic Voyage to the Battle of Tsushima, (2002)
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9 Feb 2016 9:16
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Snagglepuss89

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Just letting you know I appreciate the effort you're putting into this. Nothing I've read has overly contradicted my understanding of war throughout history, and I do a lot of reading on it in my spare time too! I'll definitely point out anything I can clarify. Perhaps a large section of mercenary forces and their use throughout the years (As opposed to the relatively 'new' professional armies) would make a good addition? Their use certainly had a huge impact throughout history, including being one of the main reasons (In my amateur historian opinion) for the fall of the Byzantine Empire.

Definitely looking forward to more updates when you get to them! Also, repeatedly mentioning Zizka gets you major points, my personal favorite military commander.
9 Feb 2016 11:21
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@Zugzwang
I feel the Condotta of Italy deserve a mention as they had a monopoly on Italian warfare at one point. This allowed them to use somewhat outdated weapons since they were "fighting" each other and not outside invaders.
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@Snagglepuss89

'Zizka' is a very strange way of spelling 'Chester Nimitz', m80. Nimitz should rightly be everyone's favorite commander. MacArthur can go eat a dick. 'Erich von Manstein' is also an acceptable answer, thanks to his masterpiece of bootysore, anti-Nazi saltiness, 'Lost Victories', in which he conclusively proves he is a much better commander than literally everyone above him.

Also, while you're right, pre-modern mercenary forces are super important, they are not my area of expertise, and with college a constant drain on my free time I do not really have time to do fastidious research. Feel free to contribute if you'd like: educated opinions are always welcome, so long as one is willing to face criticism.

@Mardox

This is an excellent point: closed systems of warfare stymie progress for as long as the system is indeed closed.
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9 Feb 2016 20:36
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Snagglepuss89

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@Snagglepuss89

'Zizka' is a very strange way of spelling 'Chester Nimitz',

Hah, I have no objection to either pick. Zizka has a certain romantic aspect to him though, much like my draw to the aforementioned Byzantine empire.

I'll certainly consider contributing sometime, although much like you I'd need to really pour over my research materials again. In the meantime, whether that comes about or not, I'll be looking forward to your next update.
10 Jul 2016 5:59
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Grinnen Baeritt

Member Seen 16 Nov 2016 16:25

Very impressed by the work put into these posts. Many Thanks!

I'm not really an expert on the matters of military history, but have, through many hours of role-playing campaigns come to appreciate what are probably the two most important and under-appreciated factors in warfare. Morale and Logistics. These are also the most complex to detail and least likely to appeal to a non-wargaming role-player. These type of players play for the action and the heroism (especially the D&D ones.. ;) ).

Me, well, I cut my teeth war-gaming, progressed into fantasy role-playing and then back into historical role-playing. It's amazing how much stuff you learn in this hobby.

I know you haven't posted for a while and are obviously a busy student... but, please, keep up the good work! :)

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10 Jul 2016 8:22
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thebadman7824 A Truly Cruel Dude

Member Seen 12 Jul 2016 1:48

I know you haven't posted for a while and are obviously a busy student... but, please, keep up the good work! :)


I agree! These are some top-notch research mats!

I never really appreciated the intricacies of morale, logistics, and clarity/simplicity of command until I went on my first deployment in 2013. Talk about a crash course in tom-fuckery!

10 Jul 2016 18:49
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POOHEAD189 Warrior

Member Seen 17 Jan 2017 20:44

@Zugzwang, I love what you're doing here. If you want another brain to pick for anything military related just go ahead and poke me. :D

Same

Not a bad overview. There's about 2 or 3 things I had issue with, but overall a pretty good 101.
6 Nov 2016 0:01
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pugbutter the Anti-Moe

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Armor is much better than you think, and fights in armor look very odd to the uninitiated.

I'm looking forward to this one. I've met more than my fair share of dumb protagonists carrying dainty little arming-swords into battle and slicing through plate, mail, and gambeson jacks altogether like softened butter.
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