More Readings On Maneuver Warfare

by Col P.G. Collins

* In a recent edition of the GAZETTE, you refer to a reading list that was printed on maneuver warfare in the Books [section] in the Nov81 and Dec81 GAZETTE. Could you please send me these listings? (I have misplaced those editions.)

As I read the various articles on “maneuver warfare” I must admit I find them interesting; but quite frankly I’m amazed at the lack of knowledge or background of some of the authors. I would suggest that maneuver warfare is nothing new, and it has been written about many times in the past. To fully understand maneuver warfare, you must at least read:

1. B.H. Liddell Hart’s Strategy:

The Indirect Approach

The Decisive Wars of History

The Rommel Papers

2. The writings of Clausewitz-particularly On War-and the writings of Moltke.

3. T.E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

There have been numerous campaigns in the past where the indirectness of approach is as manifest as the decisiveness of the issue. The art of the indirect approach (maneuver warfare) can only be mastered and its full scope appreciated by study and reflection upon the whole history of War-I feel you can crystallize the lessons if you’d focus your reading lists on:

*Hannibal’s Lake Trasimene Campaign in Etura.

*Caesar’s Ilerda Campaign in Spain.

*Cromwell’s Preston, Dunbar, and Worcester Campaigns.

*Marlborough’s Flanders Campaign.

*Wolfe’s Quebec Campaign.

*Bonaparte’s Italian Campaigns of 1796, 1797, and 1800.

*Bonaparte’s Campaigns at Vim and Austerlitz in 1805.

*U.S. Grant’s Campaign at Vicksburg.

*Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign.

*Ludendorf’s works (Vols. I & II) of World War I.

Whatever you do or recommend, you must refer to B.H. Liddell-Hart. His works on the indirect approach are what the Wermacht in the 1930s [studied] and [what] the British, [Americans], and French overlooked or scoffed [at]. From his efforts his disciples (Rommel, Manstein, Kluge, and Guderian) perfected the techniques.

If there is one thing I could recommend for officers to read and understand, [it] is anything they can get their hands on that Liddell-Hart wrote.