September 1918

The Element of Surprise in War

Volume 3, Issue 3

THERE are exceptions to every rule, but in nine cases out of ten surprise (to the surprised) means a failure or disaster that might have been avoided with greater circumspection or vigilance. Avoidable failure is bad for prestige, and one of the greatest assets of a General is to inspire confidense. If he fails under difficult conditions he may still retain all his old influence over his men, as Sir Redvers Buller did on the Tugela; but if he is surprised there will always be some in the Army who will distrust him in future.

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