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Excerpt from Chapter III of the The Art of War
DEFINITION OF STRATEGY AND THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF WAR
The art of war, independently of its political and moral relations, consists of five principal parts, viz.: Strategy, Grand Tactics, Logistics, Tactics of the different arms, and the Art of the Engineer. We will treat of the first three branches, and begin by defining them. In order to do this, we will follow the order of procedure of a general when war is first declared, who commences with the points of the highest importance, as a plan of campaign, and afterward descends to the necessary details. Tactics, on the contrary, begins with details, and ascends to combinations and generalization necessary for the formation and handling of a great army.
We will suppose an army taking the field: the first care of its commander should be to agree with the head of the state upon the character of the war: then he must carefully study the theater of war, and select the most suitable base of operations, taking into consideration the frontiers of the state and those of its allies.
The selection of this base and the proposed aim will determine the zone of operations. The general will take a first objective point: he will select the line of operations leading to this point, either as a temporary or permanent line, giving it the most advantageous direction; namely, that which promises the greatest number of favorable opportunities with the least danger. An army marching on this line of operations will have a front of operations and a strategic front. The temporary positions which the corps d'armee will occupy upon this front of operations, or upon the line of defense, will be strategic positions.
When near its first objective point, and when it begins to meet resistance, the army will either attack the enemy or maneuver to compel him to retreat; and for this end it will adopt one or two strategic lines of maneuvers, which, being temporary, may deviate to a certain degree from the general line of operations, with which they must not be confounded.
To connect the strategic front with the base as the advance is made, lines of supply, depots, &c. will be established.
If the line of operations be long, and there be hostile troops in annoying proximity to it, these bodies may either be attacked and dispersed or be merely observed, or the operations against the enemy may be carried on without reference to them. If the second of these courses be pursued, a double strategic front and large detachments will be the result.
The army being almost within reach of the first objective point, if the enemy oppose him there will be a battle; if indecisive, the fight will be resumed; if the army gains the victory, it will secure its objective point or will advance to attain a second. Should the first objective point be the possession of an important fort, the siege will be commenced. If the army be not strong enough to continue its march, after detaching a sufficient force to maintain the siege, it will take a strategic position to cover it, as did the army of Italy in 1796, which, less than fifty thousand strong, could not pass Mantua to enter Austria, leaving twenty-five thousand enemies within its walls, and having forty thousand more in front on the double line of the Tyrol and Frioul.
If the army be strong enough to make the best use of its victory, or if it have no siege to make, it will operate toward a second and more important objective point.
If this point be distant, it will be necessary to establish an intermediate point of support. One or more secure cities already occupied will form an eventual base: when this cannot be done, a small strategic reserve may be established, which will protect the rear and also the depots by temporary fortifications. When the army crosses large streams, it will construct tetes de pont; and, if the bridges are within walled cities, earth-works will be thrown up to increase the means of defense and to secure the safety of the eventual base or the strategic reserve which may occupy these posts.
Should the battle be lost, the army will retreat toward its base, in order to be reinforced therefrom by detachments of troops, or, what is equivalent, to strengthen itself by the occupation of fortified posts and camps, thus compelling the enemy to halt or to divide his forces.
When winter approaches, the armies will either go into quarters, or the field will be kept by the army which has obtained decisive success and is desirous of profiting to the utmost by its superiority. These winter campaigns are very trying to both armies, but in other respects do not differ from ordinary campaigns, unless it be in demanding increased activity and energy to attain prompt success.
Such is the ordinary course of a war, and as such we will consider it, while discussing combinations which result from these operations.About the Author:
Antoine-Henri, baron Jomini (March 6, 1779-March 24, 1869), general in the French and afterwards in the Russian service, and one of the most celebrated writers on the Napoleonic art of war, was born at Payerne in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland, where his father was syndic.
Early life and career
Jomini's youthful preference for a military life was disappointed by the dissolution of the Swiss regiments of France at the start of the Revolution. For some time he was a clerk in a Paris banking-house, until the outbreak of the Swiss Revolution. At the age of nineteen he was appointed to a post on the Swiss headquarters staff, and when scarcely twenty-one to the command of a battalion. At the peace of Lunéville 1801 he returned to business life in Paris, but devoted himself chiefly to preparing the celebrated Traité des grandes operations militaires, which was published in 1804-1805.
Service in the French Army
Introduced to Marshal Michel Ney, Jomini served in the campaign of Austerlitz as a volunteer aide-de-camp on Ney's personal staff. In December 1805 Napoleon, being much impressed by a chapter in Jomini's treatise, made him a colonel in the French service. Ney thereupon made Jomini his principal aide-de-camp.
In 1806 Jomini published his views as to the conduct of the impending war with Prussia. This, along with his knowledge of Frederick the Great's campaigns, which Jomini had described in the Traité, led Napoleon to attach him to his own headquarters. Jomini was present with Napoleon at the Jena, and at Eylau won the cross of the Legion of Honour.
After the peace of Tilsit Jomini was made chief of the staff to Ney, and created a baron. In the Spanish campaign of 1808 his advice was often of the highest value to the marshal, but Jomini quarrelled with his chief, and was left almost at the mercy of his numerous enemies, especially Louis Alexandre Berthier, the emperor's chief of staff.
Departure from French service, to join the Russian Army
Overtures had been made to him, as early as 1807, to enter the Russian service, but Napoleon, hearing of his intention to leave the French army, compelled him to remain in the service with the rank of general of brigade.
For some years thereafter Jomini held both a French and a Russian commission, with the consent of both sovereigns. But when war between France and Russia broke out, he was in a difficult position, which he dealt with by taking a non-combat command on the line of communication.
Jomini was thus engaged when the retreat from Moscow and the uprising of Prussia transferred the seat of war to central Germany. He promptly rejoined Ney, took part in the battle of Lützen. As chief of the staff of Ney's group of corps, he rendered distinguished services before and at the battle of Bautzen, and was recommended for the rank of general of division. Berthier, however, not only erased Jomini's name from the list but put him under arrest and censured him in army orders for failing to supply certain staff reports that had been called for.
How far Jomini was responsible for certain misunderstandings which prevented the attainment of all the results hoped for from Ney's attack at Bautzen there is no means of knowing. But the pretext for censure was in Jomini's own view trivial and baseless, and during the armistice Jomini did as he had intended to do in 1809-10, and went into the Russian service. As things then were, this was tantamount to deserting to the enemy, and so it was regarded by many in the French army, and by not a few of his new comrades. It must be observed, in Jomini's defense, that he had for years held a dormant commission in the Russian army and that he had declined to take part in the invasion of Russia in 1812. More important--and a point that Napoleon commented upon--was the fact that he was a Swiss citizen, not a Frenchman.
His Swiss patriotism was indeed strong, and he withdrew from the Allied Army in 1814 when he found that he could not prevent the allies' violation of Swiss neutrality. Apart from love of his own country, the desire to study, to teach and to practise the art of war was his ruling motive. At the critical moment of the battle of Eylau he had exclaimed, "If I were the Russian commander for two hours!" On joining the allies he received the rank of lieutenant-general and the appointment of aide-de-camp from the tsar, and rendered important assistance during the German campaign: an accusation that he had betrayed the numbers, positions and intentions of the French to the enemy was later acknowledged by Napoleon to be without foundation. As a Swiss patriot and as a French officer, he declined to take part in the passage of the Rhine at Basel and the subsequent invasion of France.
In 1815 he was with Tsar Alexander in Paris, and attempted in vain to save the life of his old commander Ney. This defense of Ney almost cost Jomini his position in the Russian service. He succeeded, however, in overcoming resistance his enemies, and took part in the Congress of Vienna.
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Book Description Presidio Pr, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX1853671193
Book Description Presidio Pr, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M1853671193
Book Description Presidio Pr, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111853671193