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Some Principles of Maritime Strategy   By: (1854-1922)

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First Page:

SOME PRINCIPLES OF MARITIME STRATEGY

JULIAN S. CORBETT

London

1911

[Illustration: Sir Julian Corbett (courtesy D.M. Schurman) ]

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

THE THEORETICAL STUDY OF WAR ITS USE AND LIMITATIONS

PART I. THEORY OF WAR

I. THE THEORY OF WAR II. NATURES OF WARS OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE III. NATURES OF WARS LIMITED AND UNLIMITED IV. LIMITED WAR AND MARITIME EMPIRES V. WARS OF INTERVENTION LIMITED INTERFERENCE IN UNLIMITED WAR VI. CONDITIONS OF STRENGTH IN LIMITED WAR

PART II. THEORY OF NAVAL WAR

I. THEORY OF THE OBJECT COMMAND OF THE SEA II. THEORY OF THE MEANS THE CONSTITUTION OF FLEETS III. THEORY OF THE METHOD CONCENTRATION AND DISPERSAL OF FORCE

PART III. CONDUCT OF NAVAL WAR

I. INTRODUCTORY 1. INHERENT DIFFERENCES IN THE CONDITIONS OF WAR ON LAND AND ON SEA 2. TYPICAL FORMS OF NAVAL OPERATIONS II. METHODS OF SECURING COMMAND 1. ON OBTAINING A DECISION 2. BLOCKADE III. METHODS OF DISPUTING COMMAND 1. DEFENSIVE FLEET OPERATIONS "A FLEET IN BEING" 2. MINOR COUNTER ATTACKS IV. METHODS OF EXERCISING COMMAND 1. DEFENCE AGAINST INVASION 2. ATTACK AND DEFENCE OF TRADE 3. ATTACK, DEFENCE, AND SUPPORT OF MILITARY EXPEDITIONS

Appendix: The "Green Pamphlet"

INDEX

INTRODUCTION

The Theoretical Study of War Its Use and Limitations

At first sight nothing can appear more unpractical, less promising of useful result, than to approach the study of war with a theory. There seems indeed to be something essentially antagonistic between the habit of mind that seeks theoretical guidance and that which makes for the successful conduct of war. The conduct of war is so much a question of personality, of character, of common sense, of rapid decision upon complex and ever shifting factors, and those factors themselves are so varied, so intangible, so dependent upon unstable moral and physical conditions, that it seems incapable of being reduced to anything like true scientific analysis. At the bare idea of a theory or "science" of war the mind recurs uneasily to well known cases where highly "scientific" officers failed as leaders. Yet, on the other hand, no one will deny that since the great theorists of the early nineteenth century attempted to produce a reasoned theory of war, its planning and conduct have acquired a method, a precision, and a certainty of grasp which were unknown before. Still less will any one deny the value which the shrewdest and most successful leaders in war have placed upon the work of the classical strategical writers.

The truth is that the mistrust of theory arises from a misconception of what it is that theory claims to do. It does not pretend to give the power of conduct in the field; it claims no more than to increase the effective power of conduct. Its main practical value is that it can assist a capable man to acquire a broad outlook whereby he may be the surer his plan shall cover all the ground, and whereby he may with greater rapidity and certainty seize all the factors of a sudden situation. The greatest of the theorists himself puts the matter quite frankly. Of theoretical study he says, "It should educate the mind of the man who is to lead in war, or rather guide him to self education, but it should not accompany him on the field of battle."

Its practical utility, however, is not by any means confined to its effects upon the powers of a leader. It is not enough that a leader should have the ability to decide rightly; his subordinates must seize at once the full meaning of his decision and be able to express it with certainty in well adjusted action. For this every man concerned must have been trained to think in the same plane; the chief's order must awake in every brain the same process of thought; his words must have the same meaning for all... Continue reading book >>




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