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Understanding tactics and strategy - Looking for a good book

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  • Understanding tactics and strategy - Looking for a good book

    I have been interested in military history for many years, but have never studied the "theory of warfare". Now I am looking for a book about fundamentals in strategy and tactict to build a more theoretical base for my readings. The ideal book describes development through time with focus on the Napoleonic era and forwards. Any suggestions?

  • #2
    Originally posted by wheelerxx View Post
    I have been interested in military history for many years, but have never studied the "theory of warfare". Now I am looking for a book about fundamentals in strategy and tactict to build a more theoretical base for my readings. The ideal book describes development through time with focus on the Napoleonic era and forwards. Any suggestions?
    That's too broad. Warfare has changed a lot through the rise of technology, and tactics have been turned on their ear on a regular basis. Napoleon fought with armies fed by forage and contractor-driven wagons, whereas in the ACW railheads & watercraft dictated the ebb and flow of combat.
    Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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    • #3
      May not be your ideal books but
      The Art of Warfare by Sun Tzu and On War by Carl von Clausewitz are good books for strategy

      “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” -- Albert Einstein

      The US Constitution doesn't need to be rewritten it needs to be reread

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      • #4
        A good starters "Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age" edited by Peter Paret and "From Crossbow to H-Bomb: The evolution of the weapons and tactics of warfare" by Bernard and Fawn M. Brodie.
        Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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        • #5
          Thx for the input.

          Armstrong - Both of the books are a little old (Published in 1986 and 1973). Could you suggest some follow up reading about more recent developments?

          Arnold - I know it is a broad subject, but I prefer to start with some general reading and then get to the details in round two. Just as I do when I read about any conflict: The overview - and then the details.
          Last edited by wheelerxx; 14 Feb 15, 04:46.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by wheelerxx View Post
            Thx for the input.

            Armstrong - Both of the books are a little old (Published in 1986 and 1973). Could you suggest some follow up reading about more recent developments?

            Arnold - I know it is a broad subject, but I prefer to start with some general reading and then get to the details in round two. Just as I do when I read about any conflict: The overview - and then the details.
            In history, old does not necessarily mean useless. Makers of Modern Strategy will be an excellent primer in the scope you want to read and will be the perfect stepping stone for reading contemporary writings on strategy for the post-cold war. It will provide you a context for such writings as the Martin van Creveld's The Transformation of War: The Most Radical Reinterpretation of Armed Conflict since Clausewitz" or General Makhmut Gareev's "If War Comes Tomorrow?: The Contours of Future Armed Conflict" or Col. Qiao Liang and Col. Wang Xiangsui's "Unrestricted Warfare: China's Master Plan to Destroy America." There's more out there to wade through, such as William Lind's "Understanding Fourth Generation Warfare"... and you will have to have a grip on the antecedents.

            IMHO, you should have a good grounding before wading into the latter recommendations. History is prologue.
            Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 14 Feb 15, 07:30.
            Leadership is the ability to rise above conventional wisdom.

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            • #7
              Thx a lot for the feedback! I agree that old books/history are neither bad nor wrong, but we have seen a lot of developments in how wars are fought over the last few decades. Hence the question about a more recent book to also cover these developments.

              Parets book definitely looks interesting, and I have added it to my book list.
              Last edited by wheelerxx; 14 Feb 15, 16:54.

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              • #8
                Vietnam II by CR Ryder

                Applies Air Land Battle against Vietnam. Proposes that blitzkrieg style strategy would be successful.

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                • #9
                  Are you looking for a more practical application of strategy and tactics or a more academic / theoretical one?

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                  • #10
                    The Art of War in the Western World by Archer Jones.

                    I read it a good 25 years ago and it always stuck with me.
                    "The blade itself incites to deeds of violence".

                    Homer


                    BoRG

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                    • #11
                      The first one I would recommend is this one. The price is right too...

                      http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/cgsc/car...ryinBattle.pdf

                      The next would be this one:

                      http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Maneuv.../dp/0891415327

                      Another freebe worth reading:

                      http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Pu...arfighting.pdf

                      For Clauswitz and Sun Tzu get this one:

                      http://www.amazon.com/Masters-War-Cl.../dp/0714681326

                      For an overview this:

                      http://www.amazon.com/Strategy-Logic.../dp/0674007034
                      Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 30 Mar 15, 23:49.

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