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The Art of War: Restored Edition

The Art of War: Restored Edition

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Published by Legacy Books Press
Until the First World War, the theory of war in Europe revolved around a rivalry between two thinkers – Carl von Clausewitz and Baron Antoine Henri de Jomini. For most of the 19th century, Jomini’s The Art of War was considered the most important book written on the subject, and Jomini the leading expert on military theory.

Napoleon himself, upon reading some of Jomini’s early writings on war, is reported to have remarked, “It betrays to the enemy the whole of my system of war!”

The Art of War was translated into English twice. The first time was in 1854. The standard translation was published in 1862, but that translation was incomplete – the translators had excised Jomini’s introductory material, losing an important part of The Art of War, including key points in the rivalry between Jomini and Clausewitz.

For the first time in English since 1854, Legacy Books Press Classics presents Baron de Jomini’s The Art of War complete and restored, with the original front matter reinstated, and a new introduction by John-Allen Price. Still influential even today, this is a key volume for understanding the art of war and the Age of Napoleon.

This free e-book version is available for sharing and distribution so long as the document is not altered in any way, and no monies are charged.

If you like this book, and would like to buy it for your bookshelf, The Art of War: Restored Edition is currently available at Barnes & Noble (http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Art-of-War/Antoine-Henri-Jomini/e/9780978465247/?itm=1), and Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Art-War-Antoine-Henri-Jomini/dp/0978465245/ref=tag_dpp_yt_edpp_rt?ie=UTF8&s=books).
Until the First World War, the theory of war in Europe revolved around a rivalry between two thinkers – Carl von Clausewitz and Baron Antoine Henri de Jomini. For most of the 19th century, Jomini’s The Art of War was considered the most important book written on the subject, and Jomini the leading expert on military theory.

Napoleon himself, upon reading some of Jomini’s early writings on war, is reported to have remarked, “It betrays to the enemy the whole of my system of war!”

The Art of War was translated into English twice. The first time was in 1854. The standard translation was published in 1862, but that translation was incomplete – the translators had excised Jomini’s introductory material, losing an important part of The Art of War, including key points in the rivalry between Jomini and Clausewitz.

For the first time in English since 1854, Legacy Books Press Classics presents Baron de Jomini’s The Art of War complete and restored, with the original front matter reinstated, and a new introduction by John-Allen Price. Still influential even today, this is a key volume for understanding the art of war and the Age of Napoleon.

This free e-book version is available for sharing and distribution so long as the document is not altered in any way, and no monies are charged.

If you like this book, and would like to buy it for your bookshelf, The Art of War: Restored Edition is currently available at Barnes & Noble (http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Art-of-War/Antoine-Henri-Jomini/e/9780978465247/?itm=1), and Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Art-War-Antoine-Henri-Jomini/dp/0978465245/ref=tag_dpp_yt_edpp_rt?ie=UTF8&s=books).

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Published by: Legacy Books Press on Jan 02, 2009
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08/10/2015

These are operations of rare occurrence, and may be classed as among the

most difficult in war when effected in presence of a well-prepared enemy.

Since the invention of gunpowder and the changes effected by it in

navies, transports are so helpless in presence of the monstrous

three-deckers of the present day, armed as they are with a hundred cannon,

that an army can make a descent only with the assistance of a numerous

fleet of ships of war which can command the sea, at least until the

debarkation of the army takes place.

Before the invention of gunpowder, the transports were also the ships

of war; they were moved along at pleasure by using oars, were light, and

could skirt along the coasts; their number was in proportion to the number

of troops to be embarked; and, aside from the danger of tempests, the

operations of a fleet could be arranged with almost as much certainty as

those of an army on land. Ancient history, for these reasons, gives us

Of Several Mixed Operations

197

examples of more extensive debarkations than modern times.

Who does not recall to mind the immense forces transported by the

Persians upon the Black Sea, the Bosporus, and the Archipelago,–the

innumerable hosts landed in Greece by Xerxes and Darius,–the great

expeditions of the Carthaginians and Romans to Spain and Sicily, that of

Alexander into Asia Minor, those of Cæsar to England and Africa, that of

Germanicus to the mouths of the Elbe,–the Crusades,–the expeditions of

the Northmen to England, to France, and even to Italy?

Since the invention of cannon, the too celebrated Armada of Philip II.

was the only enterprise of this kind of any magnitude until that set on foot

by Napoleon against England in 1803. All other marine expeditions were

of no great extent: as, for example, those of Charles V. and of Sebastian of

Portugal to the coast of Africa; also the several descents of the French into

the United States of America, into Egypt and St. Domingo, of the English

to Egypt, Holland, Copenhagen, Antwerp, Philadelphia. I say nothing of

Hoche’s projected landing in Ireland; for that was a failure, and is, at the

same time, an example of the difficulties to be apprehended in such

attempts.

The large armies kept on foot in our day by the great states of the world

prevent descents with thirty or forty thousand men, except against

second-rate powers; for it is extremely difficult to find transportation for

one hundred or one hundred and fifty thousand men with their immense

trains of artillery, munitions, cavalry, &c.

We were, however, on the point of seeing the solution of the vast

problem of the practicability of descents in great force, if it is true that

Napoleon seriously contemplated the transportation of one hundred and

sixty thousand veterans from Boulogne to the British Isles: unfortunately,

his failure to execute this gigantic undertaking has left us entirely in the

dark as to this grave question.

It is not impossible to collect fifty French ships-of-the-line in the

Channel by misleading the English; this was, in fact, upon the point of

being done; it is then no longer impossible, with a favorable wind, to pass

over the flotilla in two days and effect a landing. But what would become

of the army if a storm should disperse the fleet of ships of war and the

English should return in force to the Channel and defeat the fleet or oblige

it to regain its ports?

Posterity will regret, as the loss of an example to all future generations,

that this immense undertaking was not carried through, or at least

attempted. Doubtless, many brave men would have met their deaths; but

were not those men mowed down more uselessly on the plains of Swabia,

of Moravia, and of Castile, in the mountains of Portugal and the forests of

198

Of Several Mixed Operations

Lithuania? What man would not glory in assisting to bring to a conclusion

the greatest trial of skill and strength ever seen between two great nations?

At any rate, posterity will find in the preparations made for this descent one

of the most valuable lessons the present century has furnished for the study

of soldiers and of statesmen. The labors of every kind performed on the

coasts of France from 1803 to 1805 will be among the most remarkable

monuments of the activity, foresight, and skill of Napoleon. It is

recommended to the careful attention of young officers. But, while

admitting the possibility of success for a great descent upon a coast so near

as the English to Boulogne, what results should be expected if this armada

had had a long sea-voyage to make? How could so many small vessels be

kept moving, even for two days and nights? To what chances of ruin would

not so many frail boats be exposed in navigating the open seas! Moreover,

the artillery, munitions of war, equipments, provisions, and fresh water that

must be carried with this multitude of men require immense labor in

preparation and vast means of transportation.

Experience has shown clearly the difficulties attending such an

expedition, even for thirty thousand men. From known facts, it is evident

that a descent can be made with this number of men in four cases:– 1,

st

against colonies or isolated possessions; 2, against second-rate powers

nd

which cannot be immediately supported from abroad; 3, for the purpose

rd

of effecting a temporary diversion, or to capture a position which it is

important to hold for a time; 4, to make a diversion, at once political and

th

military, against a state already engaged in a great war, whose troops are

occupied at a distance from the point of the descent.

It is difficult to lay down rules for operations of this character. About

the only recommendations I can make are the following. Deceive the enemy

as to the point of landing; choose a spot where the vessels may anchor in

safety and the troops be landed together; infuse as much activity as possible

into the operation, and take possession of some strong point to cover the

development of the troops as they land; put on shore at once a part of the

artillery, to give confidence and protection to the troops that have landed.

A great difficulty in such an operation is found in the fact that the

transports can never get near the beach, and the troops must be landed in

boats and rafts,–which takes time and gives the enemy great advantages. If

the sea is rough, the men to be landed are exposed to great risks; for what

can a body of infantry do, crowded in boats, tossed about by the waves, and

ordinarily rendered unfit by sea-sickness for the proper use of their arms?

I can only advise the party on the defensive not to divide his forces too

much by attempting to cover every point. It is an impossibility to line the

entire coast with batteries and battalions for its defense; but the approaches

Of Several Mixed Operations

199

to those places where large establishments are to be protected must be

closed. Signals should be arranged for giving prompt notice of the point

where the enemy is landing, and all the disposable force should be rapidly

concentrated there, to prevent his gaining a firm foothold.

The configuration of coasts has a great influence upon descents and

their prosecution. There are countries where the coasts are steep and

present few points of easy access for the ships and the troops to be landed:

these few places may be more readily watched, and the descent becomes

more difficult.

Finally, there is a strategical consideration connected with descents

which may be usefully pointed out. The same principle which forbids a

continental army from interposing the mass of its forces between the enemy

and the sea requires, on the contrary, that an army landing upon a coast

should always keep its principal mass in communication with the shore,

which is at once its line of retreat and its base of supplies. For the same

reason, its first care should be to make sure of the possession of one

fortified harbor/ or at least of a tongue of land which is convenient to a

good anchorage and may be easily strengthened by fortifications, in order

that in case of reverse the troops may be re-embarked without hurry and

loss.

200

CHAPTER VI – LOGISTICS; OR, THE

PRACTICAL ART OF MOVING ARMIES

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