ART OF WAR
Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of river and streams;
like the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew; like the
four seasons, they pass but to return once more."
SunTzu (500 B.C.)
"Attacking does not merely consist in assaulting walled cities
or striking at an army in battle array; it must include the act
of assaulting the enemy's mental equilibrium."
"When your forces are dull, your edge is blunted, your strength is exhausted, and your supplies are gone, then others will take advantage of your debility and rise up. Then even if you have wise advisers you cannot make things turn out well in the end."
"A tactical success is only really decisive if it is gained
at the strategically correct spot."
Von Moltke (the elder)
"How can there be a science of war in which, as in every practical matter, nothing can be definite, and everything depends on countless conditions, the influence of which becomes all in a moment, and no one can know when that moment is coming?
War & Peace
"War is a trial of moral and physical forces by means of the latter....One might say that the physical seem little more than the wooden hilt, while the moral factors are the precious metal, the real weapon, the finely-honed blade."
Clausewitz, On War
"In war, the moral is to the physical as ten to one."
"I perceived that it was easier than is commonly believed to beat an enemy, and the great art lies in not wavering during action, and above all in not making any but decisive movements, because it is thus that the soldier is carried along."
"When you start to take Vienna….Take Vienna."
"It is remarkable how many people export themselves and go through contortions to prove that battles and wars are won by any means except that by which they are most commonly won, which is by fighting."
"Unless a man is born with a talent for war, he will never be other than a mediocre general."
"The first quality of a General-in-Chief is to have a cool head which receives exact impressions of things, which never gets heated, which never allows itself to be dazzled, or intoxicated, by good or bad news."
"The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike at him as hard as you can and as often as you can, and keep moving on."
General U.S. Grant
"When Grant explained his plan to the President, he remarked that even the smaller Federal forces not fighting would help the fighting by advancing and engaging the attention of the enemy. We have dealt with maxims here, and we may fittingly conclude with one. Lincoln grasped Grant’s point immediately and uttered a maxim of his own. At least for the Civil War it had more validity than anything written by Baron Jomini, "Those not skinning can hold a leg, " said the commander in chief."
T. Harry Williams
The Military Leadership of North and South
Why the North won the Civil War
"Nine-tenths of tactics are certain, and taught in books, but the irrational tenth is like the King fisher flashing across the pool, and that is the test for generals."
"Good tactics can save even the worst strategy. And bad tactics can ruin even the best strategy."
"It simply consists in seeing to it that you have two soldiers on the battlefield to every one of your enemy."
"What is war? A barbarous profession whose art consists in being stronger than the enemy at a given moment."
"War remains an art rather than a science, despite the immense amount of invention, industry, and technology lavished on war since the beginning of organized society."
How Great Generals Win
"The whole secret of the art of war lies in making oneself master of the communications."
"War is the unfolding of miscalculations."
"An army of lions led by a sheep is not a match for an army of sheep led by a lion."
The foe advances-we retreat
The foe halts-we advance
The foe attacks-we withdraw
The foe retires-we pursue
"War, far from being an exact science, is a terrible and impassioned drama…."
"To muster his host and bring it into danger-this may be termed the business of the general."
The Art of War
"confront your soldiers with the deed itself, never let them know your design. When the outlook is bright, bring it before their eyes, but tell them nothing when the situation is gloomy. Place your army in deadly peril, and it will survive; plunge it into desperate straits, and it will come through safely."
SunTzu (400 B.C.)
"The art of war is of vital importance to the state. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence under no circumstances can it be neglected."
"The supreme Art of War is to subdue the enemy without fighting."
"The only rule is that there is no rule-only the pressing need to size up a constantly changing situation, while making the most imaginative use of the forces at one’s command. There is, however, one exception to the rule: surprise. It can turn the weak into the strong, and conversely, can make the strong into the unchallengeable."
Paul Seabury & Angelo Codevilla
War Ends & Means
"Get there fustest with the mostest."
General Nathan Forrest
"History’s clearest teaching about war is its utter unpredictability."
Paul Seabury & Angelo Codevilla
War Ends & Means
"I hope you have kept the enemy always in the picture. War books so often leave them out."
"Fundamentally, public opinion wins wars."
"It is universally agreed upon, that no art or science is more difficult than that of war; yet by an un-accountable contradiction of the human kind, those who embrace this profession take little or no pains to study it. They seem to think that the knowledge of a few insignificant trifles constitutes a great officer."
Henry Lloyd (1766)
"Yet the purpose of war is not battle at all. It is a more perfect peace. To attain peace, a belligerent must break the will of the enemy people to wage war. No nation goes to war to fight. It goes to war to attain its national purpose. It may be that a nation must destroy the enemy’s army to achieve this purpose. But the destruction is not the end, it is only the incidental by-product or the means to the end."
How Great Generals Win
"Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy, if possible; and when you strike and overcome him, never let up the pursuit so long as your men have strength to follow; for an army routed, if hotly pursued, becomes panic-stricken and can then be destroyed by half their number. The other rule is never fight against heavy odds."
"….And why do they all talk of military genius? Is a man to be called a genius because he knows when to order biscuits to be given out, and when to march his troop to the right and when to the left? He is only called a genius because of the glamour and authority with which the military are invested, and because masses of sycophants are ready to flatter power, and to ascribe to it realities quite alien to it. The best generals I have known are, on the contrary, stupid or absent-minded men. The best of them is a Bagratin-Napoleon himself admitted it."
War & Peace
"Mobility is the keynote of war."
"Above all, maintain freedom of operations."
"In war. . .the difficult thing is to assess the enemy's strength. That is something that only comes with an instinct for war. There is no such thing as intellect in war, especially not at the speed with which we make war today. "
"Our strategy is to destroy the enemy from within. Our aim is to conquer the enemy through himself. "
"The man oeuvre which brings an ally into the field is as serviceable as that which wins a great battle."
"The secret will be speed....speed....speed! Fast as lightning!
Blitzkrieg! Lightning War."
(describing NAZI tactics)
"The art of war was the game in which he exerted his arithmetic. It consisted, according to him (Napoleon) , in having more forces than the enemy, on the point' where the enemy is attacked , or where he attacks. "
"But lads, you must not fear death; when soldiers brave death, they drive him into the enemy's ranks. "
"Everything is very simple in War, but the simplest thing is difficult. These difficulties accumulate and produce a friction which no man can imagine exactly who has not seen war. "
"The essential thing is to be afraid last."
"Few men are gifted with sound reasoning powers, thus it is the human heart that we must search. Without having studied this most profound and sublime side of war, one can scarcely hope for the favors of fortune."
"Wars are not won by fancy tactics.. .Only simple and direct measures
have any chance at all. . .Move, shoot and communicate."
"The true test of generalship is to know when to retreat-and have the courage to do it."
Duke of Wellington
"The merit of an action is in finishing it to the end."
"In almost all other arts and occupations the agent can make use of truths which he has learnt, but in whose spirit he no longer lives, e.g. truths extracted from dusty books. Even truths which he uses daily may remain quite external to himself. . .he applies them as if by mechanical dexterity. But it is never so in war. The fact that he is concerned with re-action, and the ever-changeful face of things, makes it necessary for a commander to carry in himself the whole living apparatus of his knowledge, so that anywhere and at any pulse-beat he may be capable of giving the right decision from himself. Knowledge must, by his complete assimilation with his own need and life, be converted into power. This is the reason why everything seems so easy with men distinguished in war, and why everything in it is commonly ascribed to natural talent.. .in contradistinction from what is learnt by prolonged observation and study"
"The disarming or destruction of the enemy. ..or the threat of this. . .must always be the aim in warfare."
"All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe that we are away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him."
Sun Tzu 500 b.c.
"It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on. "
"Thus the highest form of generalship is to baulk the enemy's plans; the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy's forces; the next in order is to attach the enemy's army in the field; the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities."
"So in war, the way to avoid what is strong is to strike what is weak."
"He will conquer who has learnt the art of deviation."
"When you surround an army leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard."
"There is a warning to the modern world, as well, in Hannibal's life. It is that warfare need not be a vast conflict of technological skills and accumulation of weapons of destruction. Regardless of its mechanisms, war remains an equation of human beings, and their minds. It has never ceased to an art, in which a supreme artist may appear out of a pass of the Alps to prevail over money-and man-and weapon-power. No amount of stock-piling of things can offset a superiority in minds."
"War is an act of violence pushed to its utmost bounds."
"The whole art of war consists in getting at what is on the other side of the hill, or, in other words, in learning what we do not know from what we do. "
Duke of Wellington
"War is very simple, direct and ruthless. It takes a simple, direct and ruthless man to wage war."
"A man needs many things in war, but a strong imagination is not one of them, . In Vietnam, the best soldiers were usually unimaginative men who did not feel afraid until there was obvious reason. But the rest of us suffered from a constant expectancy, feeling that something was about to happen, waiting for it to happen, wishing it would happen just so the tension would be relieved."
A Rumour of War
"There is required for the composition of the great commander not only massive commonsense and reasoning power, not only imagination, but also an element of legerdemain, an original and sinister touch, which leaves the enemy puzzled as well as beaten. There are many kinds of maneuvers in war, some only of which takes place upon the battlefield."
The World Crisis
" "essence of defense is to attack the enemy upon us leap at his throat and keep the grip until the life is out of him. "
"But we must remember that there is a moral force in wars, that in the long run is stronger than any machine. "
Colonel Bill Donovan
"The history of failure in war can be summed up in two words: Too Late. Too late in comprehending the deadly purpose of a potential enemy; too late in realizing the mortal danger; too late in preparedness; too late in uniting all possible forces for resistance; too late in standing with one's friends.
"Battles are won by frightening the enemy. Fear is induced by inflicting death and wounds on him. Death and wounds are produced by fire. Fire from the rear is more deadly and three times more effective than fire from the front. But to get fire behind the enemy, you must hold him by frontal fire and move rapidly around his flank. Frontal attacks against prepared positions should be avoided, if possible."
(Or as he paraphrased "Grab em by the nose, and kick em in the pants")
"Learning to suspend your imagination and live completely in the very second of the present minute with no before and no after is the greatest gift a soldier can acquire."
"In our profession, we pretty much lived by superstition. We had to. When all of knowledge and of past experience had been utilized, the outcome of a fire-fight, or of a defense or an attack, depended largely on luck. Awe of and reverence for the inexplicable, that heart of the dedicated gambler’s obsession, was the only religion that fit our case. We followed a God which coldly incorporated luck within itself, as one of its major tools For a commander, give us a commander who had luck. Let the other' s have the, educated, prepared Commanders. "
"A prince. . .should have no other object or thought nor acquire skill in anything, except war, its organization, and its discipline... the first way to lose your State is to neglect the art of war."
"There is no art higher than that of destroying the enemy's resistance without a fight on the battlefield. The direct tactic of war is necessary only on the battlefield; but only the indirect tactic can lead to a real and lasting victory. Subvert anything of value in the enemy' s country. Implicate the emissaries of the major powers in criminal undertakings; undermine their position and destroy their reputation in other ways as well, and expose them to the public ridicule of their fellow citizens. Do not shun the aid of even the lowest and most despicable people. Disrupt the work of their government with every means you can. Spread disunity and dispute among the citizens of the enemy's country. Turn the young against the old. Use every means to destroy supplies, and the discipline of the enemy's forces. Debase old traditions and accepted gods. Be generous with promises and rewards to purchase intelligence and accomplices. Send out your secret agents in all direction. Do not skimp with money or with promises, for they yield a high return."
"Rules for Political Psychological Subversion" laid down by Sun-tse 500 B.C.
quoted in Encyclopedie Francaise 1959
"knowledge of the future cannot be acquired from the gods or demons; nor can it be obtained by comparisons or measurements or calculations. Knowledge of the enemy is acquired only by human agencies. The kinds of spies that are used are five in number: there are the native spies, and there are the spies within; there are the spies that return from the other side; there are the spies of death and the spies of life. If all five kinds of spies are employed, then nobody will ever learn their secret ways; that is what we call a divine secret. It is the most priceless possession of the lord and master. The lord and master must control his spies' work in person. The spies that return are those that render the best knowledge of the enemy, so show particular nobleness unto them."
-Sun-Tse Treatise on the Art of War
"The primary factor in a successful attack is speed."
"When you appeal to force, there's just one thing you must never do-lose...Remember this: there's no such thing as a little force ...you have to use it overwhelmingly."
"Always mystify, mislead and surprise the enemy if possible."
"Central to his (Sun-Tzu 6th century B.C.) was the principle that the most effective strategy should either avoid the use of force altogether or employ force only to consummate a victory already won in political, moral, espionage, logistic, and territorial terms. Under no circumstances should an enemy be faced with annihilation: such an enemy would fight to the utmost and inflect more damage on the victor than the annihilation of his forces would be worth. At any given point the enemy should be allowed to retreat to a position of further disadvantage. Successive retreats to worse and worse positions would end in the final loss of the enemy’s effectiveness."
Colonel William R. Kintner U.S.A.
(explaining Sun-tzu's tactics)
"Enemy advances, we retreat; enemy halts, we harass; enemy tires
we attack; enemy retreats, we pursue. "
Mao Tse Tung
"I make plans out of the dreams of my sleeping soldiers."
"Whichever side takes the initiative in the morning will make
the other retire."
"Organizations created to fight the last war better are not going to win the next."
General James Gavin
"The destiny of mankind is not decided by material computations. When great causes are on the move in the world.. .we learn that we are spirits, not animals, and that something is going on in space and time, and beyond space and time, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."
(Radio Broadcast June 16,1941)
"No one can guarantee success in war, but only deserve it."
Churchill (Their finest Hour)
"My own view was that in the long run only he who fights with a
spotless shield will triumph"
"The uniqueness of poker consists in its being a game of chance where the element of chance itself is subordinated to psychological factors and where it is not so much fate as human beings decide. In this respect poker is the game closest to the Western conception of life, where .life and thought are recognized as intimately combined, where free will prevails over philosophies of fate or of chance, where men are considered free moral agents, and where-at least in the short run- the important thing is not what happens but what people think happens. The reason for this is that in poker you play not against chance or fate but against people, human beings; and what is important about them is not so much how they lay their cards but how they bet their money. There is, thus, in the game of poker-perhaps alone among games of chance-a unique element of reality. This reality-which is the fourth characteristic of the game-derives from the condition that you must play within your means . "
Book: "The Art of War in the Western World" by Archer Jones
Book: "The Art of War: War and Military Thought" by Martin Van Creveld
Book: "Napoleon's Glance: The Secret of Strategy" by William Duggan
Book: "Ripples of Battle: How Wars of the Past Still Determine How We Fight, How We Live, and How We Think" by Victor Davis Hanson
Book: "How Wars Are Won: The 13 Rules of War-From Ancient Greece to the War on Terror" by Bevin Alexander
Book: "How to Make War, Fourth Edition: A Comprehensive Guide to Modern Warfare in the Twenty-First Century" by James f. Dunnigan
Book: "Xenophon: And the Art of Command" by Godfrey Hutchinson
Book: "Alexander The Great's Art of Strategy: The Timeless Lessons of History's Greatest Empire Builder" by Partha Bose
Book: "Alexander the Great, Killer of Men: History's Greatest Conqueror and the Macedonian Art Of War" by David J. Lonsdale
Book: "Deception in War" by Jon Latimer
Book: 'Mongols, Huns & Vikings: Nomads at War" by Hugh Kennedy
Book: "By Their Deeds Alone: America's Combat Commanders on the Art of War" by John F. Antal et al
Book: "Turning The Tide Of War: 50 Battles that Changed the Course of Modern History" by Tim Newark
Book: "Jefferson's War: America's First War on Terror" by Joseph Wheelan
Book: "Rommel and His Art of War" ed by Dr. John Pimlott'
Book: "Last Stand! Famous Battles Against the Odds" by Bryan Perret
Book: "Battlegrounds: Geography and the History of Warfare" Ed. by Michael Stephenson
Book: "The Spartans: The World of the Warrior-Heroes of Ancient Greece, from Utopia to Crisis and Collapse" by Paul Cartledge
Book: "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World" by Jack Weatherford
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