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  • Your favourite Military thinkers...

    this thread is for those amongst us who like to study the works of those that have shaped, and are shaping, the future warfighting force of tomorrow. Whether they be past or present, please share your favoured authors, soldiers, and even scholars who have had an impact on your understanding.

    For me there are three that stand out:

    Martin Van Crewald
    Col. Douglas A. MacGregor
    General Aleksandr Lebed

    Crewald is the originator of the "4GW" concept, and his ideas regarding military progression is what I base my opinion if you like on how I think the military should organise and prepare itself. Also, it's interesting that he s very critical of Israeli defence policy.

    Doug MacGregor is the author of Breaking the Phalanx - a must fr every wannabe military theorist to read...I just think his ideas, along with those of John Antal is what the miltaries of today should be aiming towards, not the current models.

    General Aleksandr Lebed is in my mind the perfect officer - one who paid the ultimate price, but his exploits during the 1990s in the post-Soviet break up are to me the defintion of how LICs should be fought.

    Ofc, my area of interest is LICs and OOTW.
    Now listening too;
    - Russell Robertson, ruining whatever credibility my football team once had.

  • #2
    Genghis Khan. Could be the top 5 most influential of all time. He stands for the triumph of brains over the stupid medieval machismo. Here are some of his ideas:
    • Instead of getting himself killed in the first charge, the commander observes and commands the battle from a hill through a polished saphire or some other magnification device.
    • New revolutionary battle tactics such as the horseshoe charge or the Mongolian feint. Blitzkrieg tactics; extremely fast elements of riders (3-4 horses) advancing separately from others, attacking from all points of compass rather than coming in a large mass of troops from a single direction. Marching thousands of POWs in front of his army to make them look like Mongols and create the impression of much bigger force. Many enemy cities surrender without a fight.
    • Successful tribal integration to create a loyal, cohesive yet diverse force made up of people who contribute many unique skills. Integration problems always a big headache for his enemies.
    • The original pony express for rapid communications
    • Emphais on professionalism. Superior battle training. Army always educated hard and expected to learn new tactics and weapons.
    • Officers promoted on the basis of achievement rather than nobleman status, vasalage politics or blood ties. Even the lowliest soldier could rise through the ranks; troops loyal to the death and very determined to excell.
    • Introduced a very progressive code of criminal and civil laws for his empire


    These are just some...many people believe Genghis Khan's Mongols were feared because they made mountains from human heads. B.S....they were feared because they were brilliant.
    Last edited by MonsterZero; 13 Feb 04, 13:52.

    "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
    --Frederick II, King of Prussia

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    • #3
      I've been impressed with three individuals:

      1. Major General Lewis MacKenzie: His critical analysis of the failure of UN peacekeeping operations during his service in Bosnia, and broader observation of the flaws which litter the UNSC bureaucracy impressed me greatly.

      2. General Fredrick Franks, Jr.: I was very impressed with his concept known as Battle Dynamics. I saw it as an excellent replacement for AirLand Battle, which really was not designed to handle low-intensity conflicts and OOTW.

      3. The Bush Administration: The Bush Doctrine which embraces pre-emptive action should be taken more seriously. The impact terrorism can have on the welfare and economy of a nation has increased dramatically. Force is best employed on the eve of an imminent attack instead of after. While there is tremendous controversy concerning how the Bush Administration has used the concept of pre-emptive strike, the ideal itself offers an alternative to the impact the loss in confidence about security might have on the global economy.

      I don't believe any of these people were the first to propose change or impact military thinking. However, their words did impress me more, which is very important when trying to push an ideal forward.
      "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

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      • #4
        If we are talking great Military thinkers, I'm amazed that no-one has mentioned Sun - Tzu (the art of war).
        "Teamwork is essential - it gives the Enemy someone else to shoot at"

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Wolf
          If we are talking great Military thinkers, I'm amazed that no-one has mentioned Sun - Tzu (the art of war).
          Well, I thought we were talking about modern thinkers. If any military thinker is relevant, Sun Tzu would certainly be there right with Vegetius, Fredrick the Great, and Napoleon. All their work is still relevant centuries after being written.
          "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

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          • #6
            My three favorite military thinkers would probably be: JFC Fuller as a theorist and analyst of everything up to WWII; Guderian for expounding upon and applying Fuller's ideas in the development of the basis for combined arms warfare; and Patton simply for applying them just as well and being one very outspoken SOB who was probably right...

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            • #7
              I think Sun-Tzu ideas are still quite important.
              He more or less formulated one of the most important laws of battle:
              If you got no good intelligence information you canīt win, and now look at the problems of a superpower in a small country to eliminate some "terrorists".
              "A platoon of Chinese tanks viciously attacked a Soviet harvester,
              which was peacefully working a field near the Soviet-Chinese border.
              The harvester returned fire and upon destroying the enemy
              returned to its home base."

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              • #8
                Don't forget Clausowitz.

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                • #9
                  I like the great military filosof Dicke Bertha who often said:
                  -I don't care what losses the red army takes.
                  "You can't change the rules in the middle of the game."
                  "Hey, you just made that rule up."


                  Heil Dicke Bertha!

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                  • #10
                    I always thought von Manstein's flexible defense strategy was quite influencial. I was also impressed with Tukhashevski's writtings on Deep Battle.

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                    • #11
                      In terms of modern-future combat, definitely Doug MacGregor. He was my commander for 3 years at Fort Riley with 1-4 Cav, and I was honored to serve as his medical Platoon Sergeant AND Platoon Leader.

                      I have fond memories of him putting the Commanding General in his place while we were conducting ops as the OPFOR and the CG (then-MG House) tried to tie our hands and let the BLUEFOR win. This was the first time I had seen a commander stand-up for what he believed in and not back down. LTC Mac insisted that the units we were fighting would not get the best training benefit if they were allowed to win, but MG House was flustered and upset, and basically told LTC MacGregor that he would do as told or lose his command. MacGregor was, of course, correct. The brigade that went to NTC had their collective asses handed to them.

                      1-4 Cav went to NTC as a pure Cav Squadron in the year before it moved to Germany, and we kicked the OPFOR's butt left and right. We stayed "in the box" for the entire rotation, not only providing recon for a brigade's rotation, but also conducting the first individual cav missions for the first time at the NTC in 14 years. Needless to say, under LTC MacGregor's command, and the awesome support of his CSM, Charles Smith, we ruled that desert! One screen resulted in all but 3 or 4 OPFOR vehicles dead out of over 100 in the initial onslaught. Our little cav unit ended with 72% combat power.

                      Ahh, the good old days.

                      More to the point, Doug Macgregor was THE best commander I had ever had. He not only knew what it took to close with, engage, and destroy the enemy, he knew how to do it without wasting lives, which I sincerely believed he cared for each one under his command. His ideas are unpopular with the Army status quo, but troops KNOW great military ideas when they see them, and when you look at the combat and operational record in addition to the educational and published history of the person with the ideas, it's a no-brainer.

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                      • #12
                        cheers for that Curt, I knew a little about his military background, but nothing compared to what you just shared

                        1-4 Cav? No wonder you like ATF
                        Now listening too;
                        - Russell Robertson, ruining whatever credibility my football team once had.

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                        • #13
                          I love the ATF engine,...although I have yet to find a good combat sim that also plays medical and logistics without requiring 80 personnel to run it! Now THAT would be awesome!

                          My ultimate goal is to create a platoon-level sim that hooks into a Company-level sim, with a Battalion-level component that hooks into a Brigade-level sim, and so on, so anyone, no matter what level, can enter the exact same program, select what level he or she wants tio play, and the proper units and such are there for use. This would be, in the terms of where I work, the ULTIMATE military simulation! For right now, ATF fulfills a part of that for me

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                          • #14
                            How about Soviet Marshal Zhukov? He may not be textbook definition 'Military Thinker' but he sure effectively executed the Deep Battle doctrine that the Red Army (Not the Wehrmact) developed in the 1930's. Zhukov perhaps is the best executor of doctrines. His political maneuver must also be admired, anyone that survived Stalin's purges must be commended. Without him, the Soviet Union would not have made it to Berlin first.


                            -There's only one brand of Imperialism that'll do it for me: American
                            Furthermore, they had calculated that if 25,000 of them died for every one of us, they would finish us first, for they were many and we were but few.
                            -Hernan Cortez

                            The Pacific is our ocean. The power that rules the Pacific, therefore, is the power that rules the world. That power is and will forever be the American Republic.
                            -Senator Albert J. Beveridge, 56th Congress

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                            • #15
                              My favourite military thinkers, or more specifically the soldiers who had the most impact on my understanding of warfare were a few of my instructers. The Warrant Officers I met while doing my Corporals subjects had the greatest impact with their real life hard learned lessons from Vietnam where they were young corporals. They had a very real perspective on the fundamentals of infantry warfare and the importance of section commanders fully understanding and applying those fundamentals. Then later on a British exchange officer instructor at RMC taught me to think about security the way an infantryman is always thinking about where his next fire position is.

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