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8/14/2019 US Army: jomini http://slidepdf.com/reader/full/us-army-jomini 1/26 Illtllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll 'COMBAT I ISTUDIES INSTITUTE! iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilliiiliiiliniiiiiiiif CSI REPRINT Introductory Material to Summary of the Art of War by Jomini From Baron de Jomini, Summary of the Art of War or A New Analytical Compend of the Principal Combinations of Strategy, of Grand Tactics and of Military Policy (New York: G. P. Putnam & Co., 1854), 1—21.

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    Illtllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll'COMBAT IISTUDIESINST ITUTE!iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilliiiliiiliniiiiiiiif

    CSI REPRINTIntroductory Material

    toSummary of the Art of Warby Jomini

    From Baron de Jomini, Summary o f th e Art of W ar o r A N ew Analytical C o m pend o f th ePrincipal Combinations o f Strategy, o f Grand Tactics and o f Military Policy (New York:G. P. Putnam &Co., 1854), 121.

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  • 8/14/2019 US Army: jomini







    TRANSLATED FROM TH E F RE N CHBYM A J O R O . F . W I N S H I P , A S S ' T . ADJT. G E N E R A L , U . S . A .

    L I E U T . E . E . M C L E A N , I S T I N F A N T R Y , U . S . A .

    N E W Y O R KPublished for the Proprietors,

    BY G . P. PUTNAM & CO., 10 PARK PLACE1854

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  • 8/14/2019 US Army: jomini



    S I R E ,YOUR IMPERIAL MAJESTY, in his just solicitude for al l

    that can contribute to the progress and the propagation o f thesciences, deigned to order the translation into the Russianlanguage o f m y T R E A T IS E U P O N G R A N D M I L I T A R YOPERATIONS, for the institutes of the crown.

    Eager to respond to the benevolent views o f Y O U RMAJESTY, / believed it my duty to augment this work by anANALYTICAL COMPEND, which would serve as a compliment[sic] to it. This first essay, published in 1830, accomplishedthe object fo r which it had been written; but I have sincethought that by enlarging somewhat its frame, it would bepossible to render it more useful and to make o f i t a workcomplete in itself; I trust I have obtained that result.Notwithstanding its small compass, this Summary nowcontains all the combinations which the general of an armyand the statesman can make for the conduct o f a war: neverwas so important a subject treated within limits at the sametime more compact and more in the reach o f all readers.

    I take the liberty o f doing homage through this Summaryto YOUR IMPERIAL MAJESTY, begging him to be pleased toreceive it with indulgence. M y wishes would be crowned if thiswork could merit th e suffrages o f a judge so enlightened, o r amonarch so versed in the important art which elevates andpreserves empires.

    I am, with veneration,S I R E ,

    Y O U R I M P E R I A L M A J E S T Y ' SM o s t humble and faithful servant,G E N E R A L JOMINI

    St. Petersburg, 6th March, 1837.

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  • 8/14/2019 US Army: jomini


    NOTICE OF THE OFW A R , AND OF ITS UTILITYThe summary of the art of war, which 1submit to thepublic, was written originally for the instruction of an

    august prince, and in view of the numerous additionswhich I have just made to it, I flatter myself that it will beworthy of its destination. To the end of causing its object tobe better appreciated, I believe it my duty to precede it by afew lines upon the present state of the theory of war Ishall be forced to speak a little of myself and my works; Ihope I shall be pardoned for it, for it would have beendifficult to explain what I think of this theory, and the partwhich I may have had in it, without saying how I haveconceived it myself.

    As I have said in my chapter of principles, publishedby itself in 1807, the art o f war has existed in all time, andstrategy especially was the same under Caesar as underNapoleon. But the art, confined to the understanding ofgreat captains, existed in no written treatise. The booksall gave but fragments ofsystems, born of the imaginationof their authors, and containing ordinarily details the mostminute (not to say the most puerile), upon the mostaccessory points of tactics, the only part of war, perhaps,which it is possible to subject to fixed rules,

    Amo ng the moderns, Feuquires [sic],* Folard andPuysegur had opened the quarry: the first by veryinteresting, critical and dogmatical accounts; the second byhis commentaries upon Polybus and his treatise upon the

    * Feuquieres was not sufficiently appreciated by his cotemporaries [sic], at least as awriter; he had the instinct of strategy as Folard that of tactics, and Puysegur that of lalogistique.

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    column; the third by a work which was, I believe, the firstlogistic essay, and one of the first applications of theoblique order of the ancients.

    But those writers had not penetrated very far into themine which they wished to explore, and in order to form ajust idea of the state of the art in the middle of the 18thcentury, it is necessary to read what Marshal Saxe wrote inthe preface to his Reveries.

    "War," said he, "is a science shrouded in darkness, inthe midst of which we do not move with an assured step;routine and prejudices are its basis, a natural consequenceof ignorance.

    "All sciences have principles, war alone has yet none;the great captains who have written do not give us any; onemust be profound to comprehend them

    "Gustavus Adolphus has created a method, but it wassoon deviated from, because it was learned by routine.There are then nothing but usages, theprinciples o f whichare unknown to us."

    This was written about the time when Frederick theGreat preluded the Seven Years War by his victories ofHohenfriedberg, of Soor, &c. And the good Marshal Saxe,instead of piercing those obscurities of which hecomplained with so much justice, contented himself withwriting systems for clothing soldiers in woolen blouses, forforming them upon four ranks, two of which to be armedwith pikes; finally for proposing small field pieces which henamed amusettes, and which truly merited that title onaccount of the humorous images with which they weresurrounded.

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    At the end of the Seven Years War, some good worksappeared; Frederick himself, not content with being agreat king, a great captain, a great philosopher a nd greathistorian, made himself also a didactic author by hisinstructions to his genera ls. G uicha rd, Turp in, M a izeroy,Menil-Durand, sustained controversies upon the tactics ofthe ancients as well as upon that of their own time, andgave some interesting treatises upon those matters.Turp in com m ented M ontecuc u l i a nd V ege t ius ; theMarquis de Silva in Piedmont, Santa Cruz in Spain, hadalso discussed some parts wi t h s u cce s s ; f i n a l l yd'Escremeville sketched a history of the a rt, w hich was notdevoid of merit. But all that by no means dissipated thedarkness of which the conquerorof Fontenoy complained.

    A little later came G rimoa rd, G uibert a nd Lloyd; thefirst two caused progress to be made in the tactics of battlesand in la logistique* This latter raised in his interestingmemoirs important quest ions of strategy, wh i ch h eunfortunately left buried in a labyrinth of minute detailson the tactics of formation, and upon the philosophy of war .B ut al though the au t h o r ha s resolved none of thesequestions in a manner to m ake of them a connected system,it is necessary to render him the justice to say that he firstpointed out the good route. However, his narrative of theSeven Years W a r, of which he finished but two campaigns,wa s more instructive (for m e a t lea st), than all he hadwritten dogmatically.

    Germany produced,in this interval between the SevenYears War and that of the Revolution, a multitude ofwritings, more or less extensive, on different secondarybranches of the a rt, w hich they illum ined w ith a fa int* Guibert, in an excellent chapter upon marches, touches upon strategy, but he did

    not realize what this chapter promised.

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    light. Thielke a nd Faesch published in Saxony, the one,fragments upon castrametation, the attack of cam ps a ndpositions, the other a collection of maxims upon theaccessory parts of the operations of war. Scharnhorst didas much in Hanover ; W a rn e ry published in Prussia apretty good work on the ca va lry; Ba ron Holzendorf anotheron the tactics of ma noeuvres. C ount K evenh uller ga vema xims upo n field w a rfare a nd upon that of sieges. Butnothing of all this gave a satisfactory idea of the elevatedbranches of the science.

    Finally even Mirabeau who, having returned fromBerlin, published a n enormous volum e upon the Prussiantactics, a n a rid repetition of the regula tion for pla toon a ndline evolutions to which some had the simplici ty toattribute the greater pa rt of the successes of Frederick! Ifsuch books ha ve been a ble to contribute to the propagationof this error, it must be o w n e d h o w e v e r that theycontributed also to perfecting the regulations of 1791 onmanoeuvres, the only result which it wa s possible to expectfrom them.

    Such wa s the a rt of wa r a t the commencement of the19th century , when Porbeck, Ventur ini a nd B u l o wpublished some pamphlets on the first campaigns of theRevolution. The latter especially made a certain sensationin Europe by his Spirit of the System of Modern Warfare,the work of a man of genius, but which w a s merelysketched, a nd which added nothing to the first notionsgiven by Lloyd. At the same t ime appeared also inGerma ny, under the modest title of a n introduction to thestudy of the military art , a va luab le work by M. deL a r o c h e - A y m o n , ver i t ab le encyc loped i a for all thebranches of the art , strategy excepted, which is therescarcely indicated; but despite this omission, it is


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    nonetheless one of the most complete and recommendableof the cla ssic w orks.I was not yet acquainted with the last two books,

    when, after having quitted the Helvetic service a s chief ofbattalion, I sought to instruct myself by reading, withavidity, all those controversies which had agita ted themili tary world in the last h a l f of the 18th century;commencing with Puysegur, finishing w ith Menil-Duranda nd Guibert, and finding everywhere but systems more orless complete of the tactics of battles, w hich could give buta n imperfect idea of war, because they a ll contradictedeach other in a deplorable manner.

    I fell back then, upon works of military history inorder to seek, in the combinations of the great captains, asolution which those systems of the writers did not giveme. Already had the narratives of Frederick the Greatcommenced to initiate me in the secret which ha d causedhim to gain the miraculous victory of Leuthen (Lissa). Iperceived that this secret consisted in the very simplem a noeuv re of ca rrying the b ulk of his forces upo n a singlewing of the hostile army; and Lloyd soon cam e to fortify mein this conviction. I found again, afterwards, the samecause in the first successes of Napoleon in Italy, whichgave me the idea that by applying, through strategy, to thewhole chess-table o f a war (a tout V echiquier d'une querre),this same principle which Frederick had applied to battles,we should have the key to all the science o f war.

    I could not doubt this truth in r e a d i n g a g a i n ,subsequently, the campaigns of Turenne, of M a rlborough,or Eugene of Savoy, and in com pa ring them w ith those of

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    Frederick, which Tempelhoff ha d just publ i shed wi thdetails so full of interest, a lthough somew ha t hea vy a nd byfa r toom uch repeated. I comprehended then that Marshalde Saxe had been quite right in saying that in 1750 therewere no principles la id down upon the art of war , but thatma n y of his readers had also very badly interpreted hispreface in concluding therefrom that he had thought thatthose princ iples did not exist.

    Convinced that I ha d seized the true po int of v iewunder which it wa s necessary to regard the theory of wa r inorder to discover its verita ble rules, a nd to q uit the a lwa ysso uncertain field of personal systems, I set myself to thework with a ll the ardor of a neophyte.

    I w rote in the course of the yea r 1803, a vo lum e w hichI presented, at first, to M. d'Oubril, Secretary of theRussian legation at Paris, then to Marshal Ney. But thestrategic work of Bulow, and the historical narrative ofLloyd, translated by Roux-Fazillac, ha ving then fa llen intomy ha nds, determined me to follow another plan. My firstessay was a didactic treatise upon the orders of battle,strategic m a rches and lines of opera tions; it wa s a rid fromits nature and quite interspersed with historical citationswhich, grouped by species, ha d the inc on v en ien ce ofpresenting together, in the same chapter, events oftenseparated by a whole century; Lloyd especia lly conv incedme that the critical and argumentat ive relat ion of thewhole of a wa r ha d the advantage of preserving connectionand uni ty in the reci ta l and in the events , wi thoutdetriment to the exposition of maxims, since a series oftenc a m p a i g n s is a mpl y s u f f i c i e n t for p r e s e n t i n g theapplication of all the possible maxims of war . I burnedthen my first work , a nd re-commenced [sic], with the

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    project of giving the sequel of the seven years wa r [sic]which Lloyd ha d not finished. Th is mode suited m e a ll thebetter, as I was but twenty-four years old and had but littleexperience, whilst I was about to attack many prejudicesa nd great reputations somewhat usurped, so that therewa s necessary to me the powerful support of the eventswhich I should a llow to speak, a s it were, for themselves. Iresolved then upon this last p l a n , w h i c h a p p e a r e dm o r e o v e r , more su i t ab le to a l l classes of r e a d e r s .D oubtless a didactic treatise wo uld ha ve been prefera ble,either for a public course, or for re t rac ing wi th moreensemble the c om bina t ions of the sc ience som ew ha tscattered in the narrat ion of those campaigns; but, a s formyself, I confess I have profi ted much more from theattentive reading of a discussed campaign, than from a llthe dogm a tic w orks put together; a nd m y book , pub lishedin 1805, was designed for officers of a superior grade, a ndnot for schoolboys. The wa r with Austria supervening thesame year, did not permit m e to give the work all the caredesirable, and I was able to execute but a part of myproject.

    Some yea rs a f t e rwards , the Arch Duke gave a nintroduction to his fine work by a folio volume on grandwarfare , in which the genius of the ma ster a lready showeditself. About the same time a ppea red a small pamphlet onstrategy by Major W a gner, then in the service of Austria;this essay, full of wise views, promised that the authorwould one da y give something more complete, which ha sbeen rea l ized qui te recent ly . In Prussia, G e n e r a lScha rnhorst commenced a lso to sound those q uestions withsuccess.

    Finally, ten years after my first treatise on grandoperations, appeared the important work of the Arch Duk e

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    Cha rles, which united the tw o kinds, didactic a nd historic;this prince ha ving at first given a small volume of strategicmaxims, then four volumes of critical history on thecampa igns of 1796 a nd 1799, for developing their pra cticalapplication. This w ork, which does a s much honor to theillustrious prince as the battles which he has gained, putthe complement to the basis of the strategic science, ofwhich Lloyd a nd Bulow had first raised the veil, and ofwhich I had indicated the first principles in 1805, in achapter upon lines of opera tions, a nd in 1807, in a cha pterupon the funda m enta l principles of the a rt of war, printedby itself a t Glogau in Silesia.

    The fall of Napoleon, by giving up many s tudiousofficers to the leisures of pea ce, became the signal for theappar i t ion of a host of mili tary writ ings of all kinds .G eneral Rogniat gave m a tter for controversy in wishing tobring back the system of the legions, or of the divisions ofthe republic, a nd in attacking the somewha t a dventuroussystem of Napoleon. Germany wa s especially fertile indogmatic works; Xi lander in B a v a r i a , T h e o b a l d a ndM ulle r of W ur tem berg , W a gner , D ecker , H oyer a ndValintini in Prussia, published different books, whichpresented substantially but the repetition of the maxims ofthe Arch D uke Cha rles a nd mine, with other developmentsof application.

    A lthough severa l of these a uthors ha ve com ba tted mychapter on central lines of operations with more subtletythan real success, and others have been, at times, tooprecise in their calculations, we could not refuse to theirwritings the testimonials of esteem which they merit, forthey a ll conta in more or less of excellent views.


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    In Russia, General Okounief treated of the importanta rticle of the com bined or pa rtial employment of the threearms, wh ich ma kes the basis of the theory of combats, a ndrendered thereby a real service to young officers.In France, Gay-Vernon, J a c q u i n o t de Presle andRoquancourt , published courses w hich were not want ing inmerit.Under these circumstances, I wa s assured by m y ownexperience, that there w a s wanting, to m y first treatise, a

    collection of ma xims like that w hich preceded the work ofthe A rch D uk e; w hich induced me to publish, in 1829, thefirst sketch of this a na lytica l compend, a dding to it twointeresting articles upon the military policy of States.I profited of this occasion to defend the principles of mychapter on lines of operations, which several writers ha d

    badly comprehended, and this polemic brought about atleast more r a t i ona l de f in i t i ons , at the s a m e t i m em a inta ining the real a dvantages of central operations.A year after the publication of this analytical table,the Prussian General Clausewitz died, leaving to hiswidow the care of publishing posthumous works whichwere presented a s un finish ed sketches. This w ork m a de agreat sensation in Germany, and for my part I regret thatit wa s w ritten before the author was acquainted with mysummary of the A rt of War, persuaded that he would hav erendered to it some justice.One ca nnot deny to General Clausewitz great learninga nd a facile pen; but this pen, at times a little vagrant , isabove a ll too pretentious for a dida ctic discussion, thesimplicity a nd clearness of wh ich ought to be its first merit .

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    Besides that, the author shows himself by far too skepticalin point of military science; his first volume is but adeclamation against all theory of war, whilst the twosucceeding volumes, full of theoretic maxims, proves thatthe author believes in the efficacy of his own doctrines, ifhe does not believe in those of others.

    As for myself, I own that I have been able to find inthis learned labyrinth but a small number of luminousideas and remarkable articles; and far from having sharedthe skepticism of the author, no work would havecontributed more than his to make me feel the necessityand utility of good theories, if I had ever been able to callthem in question; it is important simply to agree well as tothe limits which ought to be assigned them in order not tofall into a pedantry worse than ignorance;* it is necessaryabove all to distinguish the difference which existsbetween a theory o f principles a nd a theory o f systems.

    It will be objected perhaps that, in the greater part ofthe articles of this summary, I myself acknowledge thatthere are few absolute rules to give on the divers subjectsofwhich they treat; I agree in good faith to this truth, but isthat saying there is no theory? If, out of forty-five articles,some have ten positive maxims, others one or two only, arenot a 150 or 200 rules sufficient to form a respectable bodyof strategic or tactical doctrines? And if to those you addthe multitude of precepts which suffer more or lessexceptions, will you not have more dogmas than necessaryfor fixing your opinionsupon all the operationsofwar?

    * An ignorant man, endowed with a natural genius, can do great things; but thesame m a n stuffed with false doctrines studied at school, and c r a m m e d with pedanticsystems, will do nothing good unlesshe forget what he had lea rned .


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    At the same epoch when Clausewitz seemed thus toapply himself to sapping the basis of the science, a work ofa tota lly opposite na ture a ppea red in France, that of theMarquis de Ternay, a French emigre in the service ofEngland. This book is without contradiction, the mostcomplete that exists on the tactics of ba ttles, a nd if it fa llssometimes into a n excess contra ry to that of the Prussiangeneral, by prescribing, in doctrines details of executionoften impracticable in war, he cannot be denied a trulyrem a rka ble m erit , a nd one of the firs t grades a m ongtacticians.

    I have made mention in this sketch only of generaltreatises, a nd not of pa rticula r w orks on the specia l arms.The books of Montalembert, of Saint-Paul, Bousmard, ofCarnot , of Aster, and of Blesson, ha ve caused progress to bemade in the art of sieges and of fortification. The writingsof Laroche-Aymon, Muller a nd Bismark, ha ve also throw nlight upon many questions regarding the cavalry. In ajournal with which, unfortunately, I was not acquainteduntil six years after its publication, the latter has believedit his duty to attack me and my works, because I had said,on the faith of a n illustrious general, that the Prussiansha d reproached him with hav ing copied , in his lastpa m phlet, the unp ublished instructions of the gov ernm entto its generals of cavalry. In censuring my works, G eneralBismark ha s availed himself of his rights, not only invirtue of his claim to reprisals, but because every book ismade to be judged a nd controverted. M ea nw hile, instea d ofreplying to the reproach, a nd o f giving utterance to a singlegrievance, he has found it more simple to retaliate byinjuries, to w hich a milita ry m a n will never reply in books,w h i c h should have another objec t than co l l ec t ingpersonalities. Those w ho shall compare the present notice


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    with the ridiculous pretensions which General Bimputes to me, will judge between us.

    It is extraordinary enough to accuse me of having saidthat the art of war did not exist before me, when in thechapter of Principles, published in 1807, of which I havebefore spoken, and which had a certain success in themilitary world, the first phrase commenced with thesewords: "the art o f war has existed f r o m time immemorial."* * * What I have said is, that there were no books whichproclaimed the existence of general principles, and madethe application of them through strategy to all thecombinations of the theatre of war: I have said that I wasthe first to attempt that demonstration, which othersimproved ten years after me, without, however, it beingyet complete. Those who would deny this truth would notbe candid.

    As for the rest, I have never soiled my pen byattacking personally studious men who devote themselvesto science, and if I have not shared their dogmas, I haveexpressed as much with moderation and impartiality; itwere to be desired that it should ever be thus. Let usreturn to our subject.

    The artillery, since Gribeauval and d'Urtubie has hadits Aide-Memoire, and a mass of particular works, in thenumber of which are distinguished those of Decker,Paixhaus, Dedon, Hoyer, Ravichio and Bouvroy. Thediscussions of several authors, among others those of theMarquis de Chambray and of General Okounieff upon thefire of Infantry. Finally, the dissertations of a host ofofficers, recorded in the interesting military journals ofVienna, ofBerlin, ofMunich, of Stutgard [sic] and of Paris,


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    have contributed also to the successive progress of theparts which they have discussedSome essays have been attempted towards a history of

    the art, from the ancients down to our time. TranchantLaverne has done so with spirit and sagacity, butincompletely, Cario Nisas, too verbose with regard to theancients, mediocre for the epoch from the revival to that ofthe Seven Years War, has completely failed on the modernsystem. Roquancourthas treated the same subjects withmore success* The Prussian M a j o r Ciriaci and hiscontinator have done still better. Finally, Captain Blanch,a Neapolitan officer, has made an interesting analysis ofthe different periods ofthe art as written and practised.

    After this long list of modern writers, it will be judgedthat Marshal de Saxe, if he were to return among us, wouldbe much surprised at the present wealth of our militaryliterature, and would no longer complain of the darknesswhich shrouds the science. Henceforth good books will notbe wanting to those whoshall wish to study, for at this daywe have principles, whereas they had in the 18th centuryonly methods and systems.

    Meanwhile, it must be owned, to render theory ascomplete as possible, there is an important work wanting,which, according to all appearances, will be wanting yet along time; it is a thoroughly profound examination of thefour different systems followed within a century past: thatof the Seven Years War; that of the first campaigns of theRevolution; that of the grand invasions of Napoleon;finally, that of Wellington. From this investigation itwould be necessary to deduce a mixed system, proper forregular wars, which should participate of the methods ofFrederick and of those of Napoleon; or, more properly


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    speaking, it would be necessary to develop a double systemfor ordinary wars of power against power, and for grandinvasions. I have sketched a view of this important labor,in article 24, chapter HI: but as the subject would requirewhole volumes, I have been obliged to limit myself toindicating the task to him who should have the courageand the leisure to accomplish it well, and whoshould at thesame time be fortunate enough to find the justification ofthose mixed doctrines, in new events which should servehim as tests.

    In the meantime, I will terminate this rapid sketch bya profession of faith upon the polemics of which thiscompend and my first treatise have been the subject. Inweighing all that has been said for or against, incomparing the immense progress made in the science forthe last thirty years, with the incredulity ofM.Clausewitz,I believe I am correct in concluding that the ensemble ofmy principles and of the maxims which are derived fromthem, has been badly comprehended by several writers;that some have made the most erroneous application ofthem; that others have drawn from them exaggeratedconsequences which have never been able to enter myhead, for a general officer, after having assisted in a dozencampaigns, ought to know that war is a great drama, inwhich a thousand physical o r m o r al causes operate more o rless powerfully, and which cannot be reduced tomathematical calculations.

    But, I ought equally to avow without circumlocution,that twenty years ofexperience have but fortified me in thefollowing convictions:

    "There exists a small number of fundamentalprinciples of war, which could not be deviated from without


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    danger, and the application of which, on the contrary, hasbeen in almost all time crowned with success.

    'The maxims of application which are derived fromthose principles are also small in number, and if they arefound sometimes modified according to circumstances,they can nevertheless serve in general as a compass to thechief of an army to guide him in the task, always difficultand complicated, of conducting grand operations in themidst ofthe noise and tumult ofcombats.

    "Natural genius will doubtless know how, by happyinspirations, to apply principles as well as the best studiedtheory could do it; but a simple theory, disengaged from allpedantry, ascending to causes without giving absolutesystems, based in a word upon a few fundamental maxims,will often supply genius, and will even serve to extend itsdevelopment by augmenting its confidence in its owninspirations.

    "Of all theories on the art of war, the only reasonableone is that which, founded upon the study of militaryhistory, admits a certain number of regulating principles,but leaves to natural genius the greatest part in thegeneral conduct of a war without trammeling it withexclusive rules.

    "On the contrary, nothing is better calculated to killnatural genius and to cause error to triumph, than thosepedantic theories, based upon the false idea that war is apositive science, all the operations ofwhich can be reducedto infallible calculations.

    "Finally, the metaphysical and skeptical works of afew writers will not succeed, either, in causing it to bebelieved that there exists no rule for war, for their writings


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    prove absolutely nothing against maxims supported uponthe most brilliant modern feats of arms, and justified bythe reasoning even of those who believe they arecombatting them/'

    I hope, that after these avowals, I could not be accusedof wishing to make of this art a mechanism of determinedwheelworks, nor of pretending on the contrary that thereading of a single chapter of principles is able to give, allat once, the talent of conducting an army. In all the arts,as in all the situations of life, knowledge and skill are twoaltogether different things, and if one often succeedthrough the latter alone, it is never but the union of thetwo that constitutes a superior man and assures completesuccess. Meanwhile, in order not to be accused of pedantry,I hasten to avow that, by knowledge, I do not mean a vasterudition; it is not the question to know a great deal but tok n ow well; to know especially what relates to the missionappointed us.

    I pray that my readers, well penetrated with thesetruths, may receive with kindness this new summary,which may now, I believe, be offered as the book mostsuitable for the instruction of a prince or a statesman.

    I have not thought it my duty to make mention, in theabove notice, of the military historical works which havesignalized our epoch, because they do not in reality enterinto the subject which I have to treat. However, as those ofour epoch have also contributed to the progress of thescience, in seeking to explain causes of success, I shall bepermitted to say a few wordson them.


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    Purely military history is of a thankless and difficultkind, for,in order to be useful to men of the art, it requiresdetails not less dry than minute, but necessary in order tocause positions and movements to be judged accurately*/Therefore, until the imperfect sketch of the Seven YearsWar which Lloyd has given, none of the military writersha d come out of the beaten track of official narratives or ofpanegyrics more or less fatiguing.

    The military historians of the 18th century who hadheld the first rank were, Dumont, Quincy, Bourcet,Pezay,Grimoard, Retzow and Tempelhoff; the latter especiallyhad made of it a kind ofschool, although his work is a littleovercharged with the details of marches andencampments: details very good, without doubt for fieldsof combat, but very useless in the history of a whole war,since they are represented almost every day under thesame form.

    Purely military history has furnished, in France as inGermany, writings so numerous since 1792, that theirnomenclature alone would form a pamphlet. I shall,nevertheless, signalize here the first campaigns of theRevolution by Grimoard; those of General Gravert; thememoirs of Suchet and of Saint-Cyr; the fragments ofGourgaud and of Montholon; the great enterprise ofvictories and conquests under the direction of GeneralBeauvais; the valuable collection of battles by ColonelWagner and that of Major Kaussler; the Spanish War byNapier; that of Egypt by Reynier; the campaigns ofSuwaroff by Laverne; the partial narratives ofStutterheina n d o f L a b a u m e . *

    * W e might cite yet the interesting narratives of Saintine, of Mortonval,ofLapenneU Lenoble, Lafai l le , a s well a s those of the Prussian Major Sp ah l uponCatalonia, of Ba ron V :lderndorf on the campaigns of the Bavarians, and a host of otherwritings of the same nature.17

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    Until the fall of Napoleon, politico-military historyhad had for many centuries but a single remarkable work;that of Frederick th e Great, entitled History o f m y time*This species, which demands at the same time an elegantstyle and a vast and profound knowledge of history andpolitics, requires also a military genius suff icient forjudging events accurately. It would be necessary todescribe the relations or the interests of states likeAncillon, and recount battles like Napoleon or Frederick,to produce a chef-d'ouvre of this kind. If we still await thischef-d'ouvre, it must be owned that some good works haveappeared within the last thirty years; in this number wemust put the war in Spain of Foy; the summary of militaryevents ofMathieu H. Dumas, and the manuscripts of Fain;although the second is wanting in firm points ofview, andthe last sins through toomuch partiality. Afterwards comethe works of M. Segur the younger, a writer full of geniusand of wise views, who has proved to us, by the history ofCharles VIE, that with a little more nature in his style hemight bear away from his predecessors the historic palm ofthe great age which yet awaits its Polybus. In the thirdrank we shall place the histories of Toulongeon and ofServan.t

    Finally, there is a third kind, that of critical history,applied to the principles of the art, and more especiallydesigned to develop the relations of events with thoseprinciples. Feuquieres and Lloyd had indicated the roadwithout having had many imitators until the Revolution.

    * Several political historians, like Ancillon, Segur the elder, Karamsin, Guichardin,Archenholz, Schiller, Daru, Michaud and Salvandy, have recounted also with talentmany operations of war, but they cannotbe counted in the numberof military writers.

    11 do not speak of the political a nd military life of Napoleon recounted by himselfbecause it has been said that I was the author of it; with regard to those of NorvinsandofTibaudeau, they are not military.


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    This last species, less brilliant in its forms, is for thatperhaps only the more useful in its results, especiallywhere criticism is not pushed to the rigor which shouldoften render it false a nd unjust.Within the last twenty years, this half didactic, halfcritical history ha s ma de more progress tha n the others, ora t least it has been cultiva ted w ith more success, and hasproduced incontestable results. The ca mpa igns publishedby the A rch-D uke Cha rles, those a non ym ou s ones ofGeneral Muffling, the partial relations of Generals Pelet,

    Boutourlin, Clausewitz,* Okounieff, Valentini , Ruhle;those of Messrs, de Laborde, Koch, de Chambrai , Napier;finally, the fragments published by Messrs. Wagner andScheel, in the interesting journals of Berlin and Vienna,have a ll more or less assisted in the development of thescience of war. Perhaps I ma y be permitted also to claim asmall part in this result in favor of my long critical andmilitary history of the wars of the Revolution, and of theother historical works which I ha ve published, for, w rittenespecia l ly to prove the permanent t r iumph of theapplication of principles, those works ha ve never failed tobring all the facts to this dominant point of view, and inthis respect a t least, they hav e ha d some success; I invokein support of this assertion, the piquante critica l a na lysis ofthe w a r of the Spanish Succession, given by C a p t a i nDumesnil.

    * The work s of Clausewitz hav e been incontestably useful, although it is often lessby the ideas of the author, than by the contrary ideas to which he gives birth. They wouldha ve been m ore useful still, if a pretentious and pedantic style did not frequently renderthem unintelligible. But if, as a didactic author, he has raised more doubts than he hasdiscovered truths, as a critical historian, he has been an unscrupulous plaigerist [sic],pillaging his predecessors, copying their reflections, a nd saying evil afterwa rds of theirworks, after having travestied them under other forms. Those w ho shall have read m ycampaign of 1799, published ten years before his, will not deny m y assertion, fo r there isnot one of m y reflections w hich he has not repeated.


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    Thanks to this concurrence of didactic works and ofcritical history, the teaching of the science is no longer sodifficult, and the professors who would be embarrassed atthis day, in making good courses with a thousand examplesto support them, would be sad professors. It must not beconcluded, however, that the art has arrived at that pointthat it cannot make another step towards perfection.There is nothing perfect under the sun!!! And if acommittee were assembled under the presidency of theArch Duke Charles or Wellington, composed of all thestrategic and tactical notabilities of the age, together withthe most skillful generals of engineers and artillery, thiscommittee could not yet succeed in making a perfect,absolute and immutable theory on all the branches ofwar,especially on tactics!

    *U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE:1999-555-001/02033