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THE



• P E K A T I N 8 F W A R •



Tr(rp I j i rii



EXPLAINED AND ILLUSTRATED



BY



LIEUTENANT-GENERAL

SIR EDWARD BRUCE HAMLEY

v • i

K.C.B., K.C.M.G., M.P.



FOURTH EDITION




WILLIAM BLAlJKWT)OD AND SONS

EDINBURGH AND LONDON

MDCCCLXXXV]



All Rights n ■ rved






3*3



7%



PREFACE.



The Author of this book may venture to think that it is held
to be of value by his professional brethren, for, though former
editions comprised among them many thousand copies, it is as
much in demand as at first, which, in a volume of such size
and cost, and of so technical a character, argues an enduring
popularity. To the continuance of this the Author has always
endeavoured to entitle it, by the most careful revision, with
reference both to the changes in military art, and to the great
contemporary wars which have occurred at about the time of
the publication of each successive edition. The American Civil
War, the Austrian War of 1866, the Franco-German War of
1870, have all in their turn furnished illustrations and subjects
of comment : and, if much matter has not been derived from
the campaigns in Turkey and Armenia, it is partly because the
volume was already in great part printed while the operations
were yet in progress, and more because the war afforded few
examples of any but the most obvious facts, such as had already



VI PREFACE.

received sufficient illustration. In the course of these wars he
has not unfrequently had the satisfaction of rinding prognosti-
cations which were put forth in an earlier edition verified : an
instance in point has occurred in the campaign just concluded
in Armenia (note, p. 441); and a view expressed in a former
edition respecting a remarkable episode in the Franco-German
War was, some years later, confirmed by the highest foreign
authority (note, p. 332).

New matter which appears to the Author important will be
found in this edition, especially on the questions of Supply and
of Transport of Troops by Rail (Part I., Chap. III.) ; and on
points of Tactics (Part VI., Chaps. III., VI., VIII.) Many
considerations that will be found in these latter have occurred
to him in the course of the peculiar duties of his late command.
For many years he enjoyed, in this respect, an advantage which,
to the expositor of military operations, can hardly be overrated.
In accordance with the recommendation of a Royal Commission,
which came into operation when the Author became Commandant
of the Staff College in 1870, it has been a most important part of
his duty to direct the exercises of officers studying at the College,
on actual ground, and on a supposed plan of continuous opera-
tions, as if they were acting under a general in a campaign.
Every year a new tract of country was selected for the capa-
bilities it possessed of being turned in this way to good account,
and the details of the whole series of operations were carefully
worked out. It can hardly be doubted that such training was of
great consequence to our future staff; and the Author is well



PREFACE. vii

satisfied to believe that such professional knowledge as he has
endeavoured to impart has reached the great body of his com-
rades, not merely through this volume, but through a large
number of highly intelligent officers who have studied their
business under him. He would be glad to think that this is
one among many causes of that increasing spread of professional
knowledge which renders him conscious of addressing now an
audience very different from the readers of his First Edition
twelve years ago.

London, April 1878.



CONTENTS.



PART I.

THE MODERN CONDITIONS OF WAR.

CHAP. PAGE

I. INTRODUCTORY, 1-7

Military history essentially popular, but read chiefly for its romantic interest.
— More scientific study demanded. — The difficulties it presents. — Method
pursued in this work. — The subject of the First Part of this work necessarily
preliminary to the study of military operations. — The advantages of organisa-
tion and discipline taken for granted.

II. THE NECESSITY OF A SECURE STARTING-POINT, . . 8-19

Military system of the feudal period. — Froissart's account of the military expe-
ditions of his age. — The manner in which feudal armies made war. — Change
in the military system produced by the augmentation of the power of the
sovereign, and the consequent formation of standing armies. — Further changes
which civilisation caused in the system of war. — Change in the composition of
armies. — Consequent elaboration of the system of supply. — Extract from a
review of 'Campagne de l'Empereur Napoleon III. en Italie ' in 'Blackwood,'
by the Author. — 'Wellington's Despatches' (1809) on the necessity of a sys-
tem of supply. — Sherman's march in Georgia not exceptional.;

III. THE NECESSITY OF GOOD ROADS FOR THE OPERATIONS OF A

MODERN ARMY, ....... 20-24

Carriage-roads indispensable to sustained operations. — M'C'lellan's Report on
difficulties from bad roads. — Operations of brief duration may be accom-
plished by inferior roads. — Movement of troops by railway. — Proportion of
railway transport to infantry, cavalry, artillery. — Time for loading the trains.
— Rate of despatch of trains.



X CONTENTS.

IV. ARMIES OPERATE GENERALLY BY SEVERAL ROADS AT ONCE, 25-32

Why armies on the defensive operate by several roads. — "Why invading armies
do so likewise. — M'Clellan's Report on the difficulties of a single road. —
Necessity of good lateral communications. — Compactness of movement on the
march prescribed. — Railways do not supersede ordinary roads for manoeuvring.
— Eate of marching. — Length of marches.

V. SUPPLY OF ARMIES AT A DISTANCE FROM THEIR BASE, . 33-41

Evils attendant on a rude system of warfare. — These evils modified by the
establishment of standing armies. — System of supply grows in importance
with discipline and organisation. — Templehoff on the supply of Frederick's
armies. — The organisation of armies in the 18th century rendered them un-
duly dependent on magazines. — Increased mobility of armies brought greater
facility of supply, but did not enable them to dispense with magazines. —
Supply-trains of a Prussian army corps. — Influence of railways on supply. —
Principles of supply unchanged. — Influence of railways exemplified in Sher-
man's campaign in Georgia and in the siege of Paris. — Condition of an army
Avhose supplies are intercepted. — Matters to be noted on beginning to study a
campaign.



PAKT II.

THE CONSIDERATIONS WHICH MUST PRECEDE THE
OPENING OF A CAMPAIGN.

I. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE WAR, 42-49

It is for governments to choose between the offensive and defensive. — Eeasons
for choosing. — The advantage of assuming the offensive. — Cost of invasion to
the invader. — Advantage of the defensive. — Advantages of an army operating
in its own country. — Impolicy of operations absolutely defensive. — Balance
of advantage. — Subject of this chapter as affected by railways. — Great pre-
parations still necessary for invasion. — Railways facilitate the first operations
of the assailant. — Reasons why they subsequently favour the defence. —
Influence that railways might have exercised on the Waterloo campaign. —
Assailant's choice of a line of operation as affected by railways. — Danger of
flank movements by rail.

II. THE SELECTION OF AN OBJECT, ..... 50-52

What are generally the objects of military operations. — Conquest of territory.
— Occupation of an enemy's capital. — Defeat of the defensive armies also
necessary. — Sebastopol an exceptional object. — Intermediate object found in
;i defensive line.



CONTENTS. XI

III. THE SELECTION OF A THEATRE OF OPERATIONS, AND LINE

BY WHICH TO OPERATE ...... 53-58

Several alternatives may offer. — Considerations for selection of a theatre. —
Example of selection in Marengo campaign. — Political elements in selection.
— Selection of theatre should rest with the government, execution of the
campaign with the general.



PART III.

OPERATIONS ILLUSTRATING THE RELATIONS BETWEEN THE FRONTS
OF OPPOSING ARMIES AND THEIR RESPECTIVE LINES OF COM-
MUNICATION WITH THEIR BASES.

I. OBSERVATIONS ON THE MODE OF TREATING THE SUBJECT

OF THE WORK, ....... 59-62

General object of strategy. — Kinds of advantage to be attained by strategy. —
Particular objects of strategical movements. — Military problems involving
obstacles are deferred. — Battles, how treated. — Plan followed in narrating
campaigns.

II. THE EFFECT OF OPERATING ON A FRONT PARALLEL TO THE

LINE OF COMMUNICATION WITH THE BASE, . . 63-76

Campaign of 1849. — Disposition of the Sardinians. — Sardinian base and lines
of communication. — Austrian front, base, and communications. — Nature of
the theatre. — Plans of campaign. — Passages of the Ticino. — Austrian move-
ments. — Sardinian movements as ordered, but imperfectly executed. — Aus-
trian movements as ordered. — Austrian movements as executed. — Results
of the Austrian operations. — Radetzky's movements explained. — General
deductions.

III. CONTINUATION OF THE SUBJECT. — CAMPAIGN OF SALAMANCA, 77-80

IV. CASE OF BOTH ARMIES FORMING ON A FRONT PARALLEL

TO THE LINE OF COMMUNICATION WITH THE BASE.

CAMPAIGN OF JENA, ...... 81-96

Reasons for operating thus. — Campaign of 1806. — Positions of the French corps.
— Possible French lines of operation. — Position of the Prussian forces Prus-
sian base and front. — French base and front. — Prussian plans. — Napoleon's



Xll CONTENTS.

views of the situation. — Prussian movements of concentration and retreat. —
Napoleon's anticipations and orders. — Movements in pursuit. — Intercepting
movements. — Kesults of the campaign. — Similar case of Chzarnowsky and
Radetzky. — Important deduction. — Why Jena was a more critical point than
Naumburg for Napoleon. — Napoleon's miscalculations. — Why Hohenlohe
occupied the heights above Jena. — Special reference of the campaign to the
subject of this chapter.



V. HOW THE CONFORMATION OF A BASE MAY ENABLE THE
ARMY POSSESSING IT TO FORCE ITS ADVERSARY TO
FORM FRONT TO A FLANK. — MOREAU'S CAMPAIGN OF
1800, ......... 97-109

Campaign of 1800. — Positions of the French. — Positions of the Austrians. —
Austrian communications. — Roads of the Black Forest. — Different plans of
Moreau and Bonaparte. — Moreau's plan detailed. — French operations. —
Austrian movements. — The armies concentrating towards the threatened
point. — Austrians lose one line of communication by Stokach.



VI. THE CASE OF AN ARMY PROLONGING ITS MOVEMENT
AGAINST THE ENEMY'S COMMUNICATIONS BY PLACING
ITSELF ACROSS THEM, ...... 110-126

Campaign of Marengo. — Austrian positions. — Object of Napoleon. — Feints on
Turin cover the advance on Milan. — Austrians, threatened in rear, obliged to
concentrate. — French astride Austrian communications. — Campaign of 1805.
— Austrian base and communications. — Napoleon's object. — Feints on the
Austrian front cover the advance against the flank. — March of the French
columns. — French form front to the Danube. — Austrians change front to the
Danube. — French cross Austrian communications, and close upon the enemy.
— Austrians change front to the proper rear. — Austrians attempt to traverse
the French communications. — French concentrate round Ulm. — Mack capit-
ulates. — Direction of the French march exactly calculated. — Operations of
1805 compared with those of 1800. — Consequences if the Austrians had made
a concentrated effort on the side of Nuremberg. — Moreau and Kray on the
Danube. — Austrian attack on French communications fails. — Austrian line of
Ratisbon intercepted. — Kray marches round Moreau's outward flank, and
recovers his communications with Ratisbon.



VII. GENERAL CONCLUSIONS FROM THE FOREGOING EXAMPLES, 127-130

Direction to be pursued by an army that aims at its adversary's rear. — Neces-
sity of closing on the intercepted army. — The intercepting force must not be
inferior to the enemy unless immediately supported. — Comparative advan-
tages of partial and complete interception. — Best course for the assailant in
general. — Best course for the general of the intercepted army. — Concentra-
tion indispensable.



CONTENTS. XI li



PART IV.

OPERATIONS ILLUSTRATING THE RELATIONS BETWEEN THE FRONTS
OF OPPOSING ARMIES, WITHOUT SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE
COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE BASES.

I. THE MANNER IN WHICH PART OF AN ARMY MAY HOLD
IN CHECK OR RETARD A SUPERIOR FORCE OF THE
ENEMY DURING AN OPERATION : THIS MATTER BEING
NECESSARY TO THE DISCUSSION OF THE GENERAL SUB-
JECT STATED ABOVE, . . . . . . 131-136

The march of a column may be retarded by a very inferior force.— The retard-
ing force must engage only partially, withdrawing when outnumbered. —
Example of a Prussian corps retarding Napoleon's march on Ligny. — The
advance checked. — French advance checked at Gosselies. — French advance
checked at Gilly. — French advance checked at Lambusart. — Subject of the
chapter continued. — Operation of a rear-guard. — Only part of an army need
pursue. — Comparative strength of pursuing force. — Course of the defeated
bodies. — Grounds established for pursuing the subject.

II. THE EFFECT OF INTERPOSING AN ARMY BETWEEN THE

PARTS OF AN ENEMY'S EXTENDED FRONT, . . 137-154

Campaign of 1796 in Italy. — Positions of the French. — French communications.
— Positions of the Austro-Sardinians. — Bases and communications of the
Allies. — French plan. — Austrian plan. — Austrians extend. — French concen-
trate. — Austrian centre broken. — French army, interposed between the
Allies, throws its weight against their right. — Sardinians retreat towards
Turin. — Austrians move to rejoin the Sardinians. — French mass still inter-
poses. — Result. — Bonaparte's instructions. — Reasons for striking at the
(cntre. — Massena's circuitous march. — Austrian offensive movement discon-
certed. — Why the divided army, though superior, could not attack. — Object
of the assailed force. — Necessity of pressing a divided enemy. — Effect of the
parts of a separated army having divergent bases. — New combination open
to the Sardinians. — Why neglected. — Greater advantage gained by breaking
the centre than by turning the flank. — Campaign of 1809 in Germany. —
Armies assemble in the theatre. — French bases and communications. — Aus-
trian base and communications. — Austrian plan. — Austrians approach the
Danube. — Napoleon orders concentration. — Austrians separate. — French left
wing joins the centre. — Austrian right wing halts. — Combination against
Austrian left wing. — French pursue the beaten wing. — French retarding
force interposes. — Combination against the Austrian right wing, which, de-
feated, retreats apart. — Movements in pursuit. — Result. — Approximate value
of the advantage of concentric over divided action. — Advantage of the con-
centric against the divided army not due to the moral effect only. — Different



XIV CONTENTS.

ways of employing the containing force. — General dednctions. — Necessary
proportion of the hostile forces.

III. THE CASE OF INDEPENDENT AGAINST COMBINED LINES OF

OPERATION CAMPAIGN OF 1796 IN GERMANY, . 155-168

The hostile fronts. — French base. — Austrian Lase. — Roads from one base to the
other. — Passages over the Rhine. — Means of passage by either party. — First
object of the French. — Moreau passes the Rhine. — Austrian positions. —
French positions. — General Austrian plan. — General French plans. — Num-
bers of the hostile forces. — Archduke reinforces Wartensleben. — Jourdan re-
treats. — Moreau advances.— Jourdan recrosses the Rhine. — Moreau, in doubt,
sends his left across the Danube. — Latour's right crosses. — Archduke assails
Moreau's communications. — Moreau retreats. — Austrians manceuvre widely
on his flanks. — He defeats them, and retreats through the Forest, and
emerges in the Rhine valley. — Archduke concentrates there. — Moreau re-
crosses the Rhine. — What constitutes a double line of operation. — Limitation
of the containing force. — Transverse lines necessary for combination. — Cir-
cumstances in favour of the Austrian combination. — General deductions. —
Disadvantage of separation enhanced in the present case. — Archduke Charles
on the duties of a containing force. — Railway communications now existing
in the theatre.

IV. SUBJECT CONTINUED, ...... 169-178

Campaign in Virginia, 1861. — Various lines of operation. — Confederate trans-
verse line. — Consequences of losing it. — Johnston, in falling back, covers
this line. — M'Dowell advances. — Johnston moves to combine with Beaure-
gard. — Confederates combine against M'Dowell. — Patterson recrosses the
Potomac. — Campaign in Virginia, 1862. — Federal lines. — Confederate posi-
tions. — Jackson defeats Fremont. — M'Clellan advances on Richmond. —
Jackson defeats Banks. — The President retains M'Dowell's corps. — Ander-
son falls back to Hanover. — M'Clellan seizes Hanover Court-House. — Jackson
combines with Johnston. — M'Clellan changes his front and base, and retreats
to the James. — The other Federal army advances under Pope. — Jackson
opposes Pope. — Lee combines with Jackson. — M'Clellan embarks for Wash-
ington. — Pope retires. — Jackson turns Pope's right. — M'Clellan reinforces
Pope. — Lee supports Jackson. — Pope, defeated, retreats. — Pope retreats on
Washington. — Concentric army generally forms two wings and a central
reserve. — Proportion of force on each line. — Minimum of radii of operation. —
Radii must be short in proportion to their divergence. — Losses of the retard-
ing force also limit its radius. — Advantage of the situation is at least 5 to 4.
— Choice of a line for the retarding force. — Swiftness essential.



V. CASE OF COMBINED ARMIES OPERATING FROM DIVERGENT

BASES. — CAMPAIGN OF WATERLOO, . . . 179-199

Reasons for assuming the offensive. — Selection of a theatre of war. — Allied
bases and communications. — Extension of the Allied front. — Prussian posi-
tions. — British positions. — Choice of a line of operation. — Allied plans. —



CONTENTS. XV

Concentration of the French. — Advance of the French. — Zieten's corps a
retarding force. — Prussians concentrate. — British concentrate. — Napoleon's
estimate of the situation. — Battle of Ligny. — Retreat of the Prussians. —
Battle of Quatre Bras. — British retreat. — French centre combines with left.
— French right pursues the Prussians. — Thielemann's corps a retarding force.
— Allied armies combine. — French defeated. — French right wing, though
successful, retreats. — Disadvantage of divergent bases. — French operate in
two wings and reserve. — Reasons for attacking Blucher first. — Cause of
failure. — Ney's containing force could not advance alone. — Movements of the
pursuing wing. — Advantage of divergent bases to combined armies.

VI. CASE OF DISLODGING AN ARMY BY OPERATING WITH

A DETACHMENT AGAINST ITS REAR. CAMPAIGN IN

GEORGIA, 1864, ....... 200-206

Federal forces. — Confederate forces. — Bases. — Result. — Separation, when
judicious.

VIE. GENERAL CONCLUSIONS FROM THE FOREGOING EXAMPLES, 207-214

Risks of separation often incurred. — Causes of this. — Decisive points. — Compari-
son of the advantages of turning the flank and breaking the front. — The latter
generally best. — Effect of the electric telegraph on military operations. —
Mode of using" the field - telegraph. — Kinds of influence exercised by the
telegraph. — Influence of the telegraph on defensive measures. — Influence of
the telegraph on offensive operations.



PART V.

THE INFLUENCE OF OBSTACLES.

I. GENERAL TOPOGRAPHY OF A THEATRE OF WAR, . 215-218

Reading of the map. — Features of Italy. — Features of Spain. — Of America. —
Nature of obstacles must be appreciated. — Effects of cultivation of land on
military operations. — Importance of preliminary study of the map.

II. EFFECT OF THE CONFIGURATION OF BASES AND FRON-
TIERS, ........ 219-228

Extent of the influence of an angular frontier. — Advantage of commanding
an enemy's coasts. — Example of the Peninsula. — Different kinds of angular
frontiers considered. — Importance of possessing the issues. — General con-
clusions. — Case of a double re-entering angle. — Importance of an extensive
base.



XVI CONTENTS.



III. OF OBSTACLES WHICH DIRECTLY TRAVERSE THE PATH

BY WHICH AN ARMY ADVANCES, . . . 229-268

Conditions of a military obstacle. — Its effect in limiting the number of roads.

I — Defence of a long line of mountains difficult and dangerous. — Defence of a
few chief passes equally ineffectual. — Passage to be effected if possible by
stratagem, not by force, and not at several distant points. — Continued de-
fence of a mountain-chain ought to be turned to the advantage of the assail-
ant. — Its real uses as a defensive obstacle. — Case of Torres Vedras excep-
tional. — Rivers considered as obstacles. — The defence of rivers safer than that
of mountains, but the passages more numerous. — Use of the river to screen
the assailant's movements. — Possession of the higher bank at an inward bend
very advantageous for crossing, and may insure the passage of the whole
army in face of the enemy. — Some rivers indefensible. — The lower bank still
defensible if it offers strong points. — Passage in presence of a concentrated /
enemy hazardous. — Stratagem usually employed. — Necessity for multiplying
the means of passage. — First troops pass at a weakly-guarded point. — Advan-
tage of seeing a defensible point on the opposite shore. — First troops that
pass aid in the attack on the main passage. — Examples of passing a river on
the front of the defensive line. — Moreau's passage of the Rhine, 1796. — Use
of a tributary stream. — Feint to deceive the enemy. — False attacks at the
moment of commencing the enterprise. — Use of a defensible point. — Assail-
ants concentrate fastest. — First troops turn to attack a main passage. —
Main passage assured, army passes. — Dispersion of the defensive forces. —
Moreau's passage of the Rhine, 1797. — Use of the tributary stream. — Use
of a defensible point. — Defenders concentrate fastest, but fail to drive
back the assailants. — Assailants strongest at point of attack. — Concentric
advance from the river : main passage gained. — Assailants continue to push
the defenders apart. — A river frequently affords an opportunity of breaking a
defender's front. — Examples of passing a river on the flank of the defensive
army. — Passage of the Gave de Pau. — Extent of the French line of de-
fence. — Turning force passes, and covers the passage of the main body. —
Defenders take position in rear.— Passage of Ticino, 1859. — Preliminary
operations. — Feint towards Piacenza. — Advance - guard of turning force
crosses, followed by the rest. — Turning force moves upon the main passage.
— The front attack is precipitated. — Turning force aids in attack on the
main passage. — Turning force not liable to be separated from main body,
even if separately defeated. — Real peril lies in the exposure of outward
flank. — Examples of the risk incurred by a turning force. — Passage of Bull
Run. — Extent of the defensive line. — Direct attack repulsed. — Turning force
passes, and descends the bank. — Is opposed in front. — Turning force
attacked on its outward flank. — Passage of the Rappahannock and Rapidan.
— Turning force passes, and gains other fords. — Defenders attack the exposed
flank. — Operation fails. — Disadvantage of a double passage on the flanks. —
The line of operation must be covered during the turning movement. — Dis-
tribution of the turning and covering forces. — Passage of the Chickahominy.

— Federals astride the river, are attacked on the left bank. — The most
effectual counter - movements open to the defender. — Effect of increased
width of the stream. — Improved weapons, in this case, favour the assailant.

— Effect of fortified passages. — General conclusions. — True uses of obstacles.



Online LibraryEdward Bruce HamleyThe operations of war explained and illustrated → online text (page 1 of 50)