Warfare and the Future

Republished from ARMOR, March-April 1953 edition

There have been only two great revolutions that have radically changed the organization of armies. The first followed the adoption of the horse as a military animal, and the second, the introduction of the internal-combustion engine as a military machine.

Before the advent of the horse, city and village militias were organized in phalangial order – that is, into an unarticulated line of men six or more ranks deep, and as fighting consisted of push of pikes, victory depended on choice of ground and endurance. Because the strength of a phalanx lay in its men maintaining a wall-like front, actions were purely frontal; maneuvering was virtually impossible and so was pursuit. Even more important, because supply depended upon porterage, it was exceedingly difficult to maintain an army for any length of time in the field; therefore rapid wars of conquest, as known in later ages, were impracticable, and in consequence wars were little more than raids restricted to clashes between neighboring city-states.

The introduction of the horse in about 2000 B.C. not only completely revolutionized this primitive warfare but also the character of war itself. First, it radically changed the supply system of armies, for the horse can carry or haul far more than a man, and what is even more important, unlike man, it can normally live off the country. The first great change was, therefore, the extension of the range of action of armies. Second, by using the chariot as a means of human conveyance, it enabled troops to be brought in a state of freshness onto the battlefield and massed at tactically advantageous points. Third, when the horse was used to mount the soldier, which took place long after chariots were introduced, an arm was created that could operate either independently of or in cooperation with infantry and that eventually evolved into two main types: heavy cavalry for shock action and light for reconnaissance and pursuit.

Though these developments covered many centuries, they finally led to a radical change in organization. An army geared to the muscular power of the horse replaced the old infantry army of pre-horse days, geared to human muscular power for both fighting and supply. Not only was range of action increased, but the introduction of cavalry led to the birth of tactics – ability to reconnoiter, charge, maneuver, reinforce and pursue. Arising out of this emerged a new factor: power to surprise, and therefore, attack on an enemy morally as well as physically. In all this, the point to note is that the adoption of the horse led to the development of a totally different army – a horse-powered in place of a man-powered organization.

Toward motorized army

With the introduction of the internal-combustion engine, which could supplement or replace horsepower by mechanical power of a vastly higher ratio, the same evolution was to be expected. Had this been grasped at the opening of the present century, when the motor car was in its infancy and the airplane was born, a hypothetical chart could have been drawn showing – very imperfectly though it would have been – the probable influences of the internal-combustion engine on military organization. From it could have been learnt what changes were likely needed to enhance the power of armies; what could be done and – as important – what could not be done as things actually were, and lastly what steps should be taken to render them possible.

Though no such chart was made, and the changes that so vast an increase of motive power would affect were left to circumstances to dictate, changes nevertheless closely followed those that had arisen after the horse was adopted. The first was the rapid replacement of the draught-horse by the lorry, not only to supply troops in the field, but also to meet the ever-increasing demands for artillery ammunition. In fact, the great artillery battles of World War I would have been impossible without mechanical transport. The second was the use of the lorry for troop movements, which became increasingly frequent during the above war, and normal in the next. The third was the introduction of the tank, armored mechanical cavalry, of which two main types were designed: a heavy tank for assault and a light for reconnaissance and pursuit. The fourth was an enormous increase in opportunity and ability to effect surprise.

Here we have the main ingredients of what may be called a “motorized army” – that is, an army organized round the internal-combustion engine. In greater part, such an organization was visualized within two months of tanks first taking the field. In the memorandum entitled, “A Tank Army,” MAJ (now LTG Sir Giffard) Martel opened the study by stating: “Unless this war ends in disarmament and a temporary universal peace, there can be little doubt that the present unarmored and unprotected soldier will take his place. A present-day army could never fight an army consisting of, say, 2,000 tanks.”

Two years later, when the war ended, such an army was almost in being. Not only was the Allied plan of operation for 1919 based on tanks supplied by cross-country tractors, but the following tracked vehicles were either in existence or were being built: self-propelled guns, supply tanks, salvage tanks, armored infantry carriers, mine-exploding tanks, bridging tanks, engineering and signal tanks – in fact, the main ingredients of a fully motorized army. So convinced was I that the internal-combustion engine would revolutionize military organization that, in 1922, I wrote: “In the next great war we may expect tactical organization to proceed ... at enormous speed, if muscle be replaced by petrol. ... Weapons will become more and more powerful, protection more and more mobile, mobility more and more speedy, and morale, safeguarded by these three, more and more firm. What does this mean? It means that no army will organize for a [20]-round contest, but instead ... in such a manner that it can deliver ... a knockout blow as soon as possible after the first round opens. An army inferior to its opponent in numbers but superior in mobility will stand every chance of knocking out its adversary before he can even step into the arena.”

Years later, in 1936, when again considering this subject, I wrote, “Even under existing circumstances, it is possible for mechanized arms to overrun a country such as France, Germany or Poland in a fortnight.”

Although in the last war this prediction was dramatically fulfilled, during it, a fully motorized army was never created; armies remained largely in their chariot stage. Even so elementary a question as whether there should be one or two types of tanks was still being debated when the war ended. This was due to confused thinking, arising out of the inability of soldiers to realize that an army should be organized around the prime motive power of its day.

Let me here recapitulate in slightly different form. A man is not a weapon, he is a 1/10th horsepower creature who can carry weapons or a load, and as long as he is the sole means of carrying weapons or loads, he is the prime mover. Similarly, with the horse, it is not a weapon; it is an animal about 10 times more powerful than man is. It can carry a man and his weapons and haul a weapon or a cart. As long as a more powerful motive force does not exist, the horse remains the prime mover. Lastly, as regards the tank, it is not a weapon, nor incidentally is an airplane. It is an armored, self-propelled cross-country vehicle many times more powerful and less vulnerable than the horse. As long as it maintains its supremacy, it cannot be other than the prime power of its day.

Had the soldier before the last war looked upon an army as a complex machine instead of as a bagful of war tools, he would not only have built tanks but also bulletproof cross¬-country supply vehicles. He would not have decided to haul his guns with tractors but would have mounted them on bulletproof machines, and he would have moved his infantry in bulletproof carriers instead of in lorries. In short, he would have built his army around the petrol engine, armor and the caterpillar track, as armies of old were built around the horse, body armor and the wheel. True, in the last war many of these changes did materialize, but only through force of circumstances and not in accord with an organized pattern – a blueprint of a fully motorized army.

Now it is not my intention in this study to elaborate such a point, for the simple reason that I do not possess the requisite technical and administrative knowledge to do so. Instead, it is to examine certain tank problems which, in my opinion, have an important bearing on future warfare, and which may possibly assist the would-be army designer in devising a fully motorized army.

The problems I have in mind stem logically from those which arose after the horse first became a military animal, and though I will omit increased radius of action, which is now so apparent that to examine it would be platitudinous, I will consider the remaining four: surprise, supply, coordination and independent action. After which I will examine three special problems: war with Russia, night operations and the influence of atomic weapons on armored mobility.


How to effect surprise is the basic problem in tank warfare – one which in peacetime is apt to be overlooked and therefore in wartime to become doubly conspicuous.

After the Battle of the Somme in 1916, when tanks first took the field, we were told that it was a mistake to have used them because they were not sufficient to warrant success and their surprise effect was consequently lost. After the Battle of Cambrai the following year, in which tanks played a decisive part, we were told that a similar surprise could never again be repeated. Of course, surprise was not lost, and of course, it could be repeated – and could not fail to be as long as tank armor rendered rifle and machinegun fire ineffective. That anti-tank weapons modify tank surprise is obvious, but they cannot annihilate it, because the main power of the tank does not rest in its armor and weapons but in the paralyzing affect its mobility has on the enemy’s mind.

In Poland in 1939, the affect of the German armored assault was immediate, for within 48 hours of the initial attack, Polish General Headquarters was paralyzed, whereupon the body of the Polish army fell to pieces. This sudden collapse was not only due to the unmechanized state of the Polish army but, as may be seen in the next great assault on the Netherlands and France, to correct tank tactics, for in May 1940, the French had greater numbers of tanks than the Germans, as well as tanks of a superior quality.

In this second German invasion, a British staff officer at the time serving in France wrote May 19: “The panzers still drive about at their own sweet will ... with no main body behind them. No infantry within [60] miles, just motorcyclists and tanks. … This is like some ridiculous nightmare. … The Germans have taken every risk – criminally foolish risks – they have got away with it. … [T]hey have done everything that should not be done by orthodox, book-trained, stereotyped soldiers, and they have made no mistake. The French General Staff has been paralyzed by this unorthodox war of movement. The fluid conditions prevailing are not dealt with in the textbooks, and the 1914 brains of the French generals responsible for formulating the plans of the Allied armies are incapable of functioning in this astonishing layout.”

Stop those tanks

Not only were the French General Headquarters surprised, but also the German, for on several occasions during the assault à outrance, GEN Heinz Guderian was ordered to halt his tanks so the infantry might catch up!

In this case, it may be said that the French tactical collapse was due to faulty tank organization. Although this defect certainly contributed to German success, in the Battle of Tunis in 1943, when the British and Americans were at clinch with the Germans and Italians, identical results are to be seen. At the time of the final Axis collapse, a British war correspondent wrote: “Our tanks roared past German airfields, workshops, petrol and ammunition dumps, and gun positions. They did not stop to take prisoners – things had gone far beyond that. If a comet had rushed down the road, it could hardly have made a greater impression. ... [T]he German generals gave up giving orders since they were completely out of touch. … [I]n a contagion of doubt and fear, the German army turned tail ... and became a rabble.”

Again, it was the same in 1944, during the invasion of Normandy, when tanks were called upon to operate in a difficult terrain and were faced by many powerful anti-tank weapons. In August, when GEN George S. Patton Jr. broke through at Avranches and set out on his headlong advance, this is what we read: “’Halt for nothing’ was the guiding principle of the armored columns. … Forward patrols [of armor] shot up everything, batteries, headquarters, strongpoints. … Disorganization robbed them [the Germans] of both a plan and the means to carry it out.”

Surprise was as potent in 1944 as in 1939 or in 1917; therefore, we may conclude that it will remain so, though the means of effecting it will have to be modified, not only according to the terrain but also with reference to the anti-tank weapons tanks will be called upon to face.

What does all this point to? That whatever tank organization is elaborated in the future, it will be defective unless it permits of violent surprise; and the violence of surprise will in the future, as in the past, be in direct ratio to the mobility tanks are able to develop and maintain.


The preceding logically introduces the problem of logistics, that branch of the art of war which embraces transport and supply and which constitutes the basis of strategy and tactics. Because, as Napoleon truly said, “An army marches on its stomach,” it follows that unless the speed of its supply serves is greater than or equal to that of its fighting arms, the latter cannot make the most of their mobility.

Two examples taken from the last war suffice to illustrate this: namely the initial German Russia campaign and the 1914 Allied campaign in France.

In the first, the Germans were faced by a very different problem from the one they had to solve in France. The depth of Russia was immensely greater, and whereas in France road and rail communications were plentiful and good, in Russia they were few and indifferent. Added to this, because of climate – rain, frost and thaw – the season of mobile operations in Russia was restricted to between June and October.

To win the campaign was possible were Moscow occupied before the autumn rains set in, because Moscow is the hub of the entire Russian rail system, and once gained, the supply of the Russian armies would be so crippled that a knockout blow might have been struck in 1942. The logistical problem was, therefore, how to cross a distance of some 800 operational miles in three months.

As in France, the campaign was opened with an armored assault, which was so rapid that in 24 days, some 500 miles were traversed and Smolensk reached. Could this speed of advance have been maintained, there is little doubt that Moscow would have been occupied early in September. Why was it not maintained? Setting aside Hitler’s faulty strategy, the answer is because of the breakdown of the German supply system. The armored divisions were not fed by cross-country supply columns but depended on lorry transport, which was tied to the roads and in rainy weather was restricted to the main roads – few in number – because the secondary roads were at once converted into rivers of mud. Further, the motorized infantry divisions, also lorry-borne, could not keep pace with the armored divisions, which neither could, nor were intended to, hold ground.

After Oct. 10, [GEN Heinz] Guderian wrote: “The next few weeks were dominated by mud. Wheeled vehicles could only advance with the help of tracked vehicles,” and “these latter, having to perform tasks for which they were not intended, rapidly wore out.” Also he informed us that “corduroy roads had to be laboriously laid for miles on end to ensure the troops received even the limited supplies available. The strength of the advancing units was dependent less on the number of men than on the amount of petrol on hand to keep them going.” Lastly, when winter came, “to start the engines of the tanks, fires had to be lit beneath them. Fuel was freezing on occasions and the oil became viscous.”

The second example is very different because distance was less, roads good and the climate the normal Western Europe summer weather.

Logistics and strategy

On July 31, 1944, Patton’s Third Army broke through the German left flank at Avranches, after which the speed of its advance was such that a supply crisis began to develop. When Third Army neared the Seine Aug. 17, GEN Dwight D. Eisenhower informed us that “truck transportation became utterly inadequate to cope with the situation,” and, in consequence, aircraft had to be withdrawn from the newly created First Allied Airborne Army as well as from the strategic bombing force to supply Patton with 1,000 tons of petrol daily, a figure that soon had to be doubled.

“This type of last-minute planning,” commented Martel, “is not the way to organize these vitally important administrative arrangements in fast mobile warfare.”

Why did the crisis take hold? The answer is because air power had been so fully exploited strategically and tactically that, when supremacy in the air was assured, it was found that its administrative possibilities had been overlooked. In fact, it had not been grasped that, because the airplane can dispense with roads and because it is the most mobile vehicle in existence, it is the ideal supply transporter when cost does not enter the question. Had fewer bombers been built, and in their stead had Eisenhower had at his call, say, 2,000 flying, four-ton tankers, there need have been no pause west of the Rhine – in which case the high probability is that Berlin would have been entered by the Allied powers long before Christmas.

The following, therefore, are the two most important lessons to be learnt and applied before another war engulfs us:

  • Because armored forces move on tracks, their supply vehicles must do the same; and
  • Because in highly mobile operations road, rail and cross-country supply may not prove sufficient, organized aerial supply columns must be at hand to feed the chase at a moment’s notice.

Granted power to surprise and means to supply armored forces, I will next turn to the question of tank cooperation and independent action, which are best considered conjointly.

Cooperation and independent action

During the last war, and mainly on the insistence of Field Marshal [Bernard Law] Montgomery, it was decided that a dual-purpose tank was all that was needed – that is, a tank that equally well can cooperate with infantry and work independently.

This conception, due to confused thinking, was quite unknown to the original tank designers, who worked on the principle that a heavy, slow­moving tank would be required to cooperate with infantry and a lighter and faster one to cooperate with cavalry. What, at the time, was not appreciated was that, though heavy tanks and infantry could cooperate, as they successfully did at the battles of Cambrai and Amiens, because of the vulnerability of the horse, light tanks could not effectively do so with cavalry. What they could do, however, was to replace cavalry altogether.

Between the two wars this replacement was made – our cavalry regiments were converted into tank regiments and equipped with medium tanks. But during this changeover, mainly because of its cost, the heavy assault tank faded out of the picture until 1938, when it was resurrected in the form of the infantry tank and organized in army tank brigades. At about the same time, the faster tanks became known as cruisers and were formed into armored divisions. The main differences between these two types were that, whereas the infantry tank had a maximum speed of 15 mph and was protected by armor varying from 78mm to 65mm in thickness, the speed of the cruiser was 28 mph with armor varying between 40mm and 20mm. Both were armed with a 2-pounder gun.

Meanwhile, late in the field, to guarantee the greatest output of tanks, the Germans concentrated on two main models, the [Panzerkampfwagen III, or Panzer III] and [Panzerkampfwagen IV, or Panzer IV] (a close-support tank). Both were medium machines with a speed of about 20 mph, the armor of the one varying from 50mm to 30mm, and of the other, from 30mm to 20mm. The first was armed with a 50mm gun and the second with a 75mm. With these machines, supported by a large number of six- and nine-ton light tanks, the Germans overran Poland and France in 1939 and 1940.

It was in the second of these campaigns that the British infantry tanks under Martel proved their worth. Of their action May 21, 1940, he wrote: “This attack was just the type of action for which the infantry tank was intended. There was no case of a long move round a flank for which cruiser tanks are needed. … His [German] tanks were knocked out quite easily,” whereas some of our tanks “were hit [15] times without having any effect on the tank or the crew. When a tank can advance and ignore the fire of the enemy anti-tank guns, a great moral[e] effect is produced. Such a tank dominates the battlefield.”

The obvious lesson of this action, that in close-fighting armor and gun power – and not speed – are the decisive factors, was but partially appreciated by the Germans. Though they reinforced their armor, they continued to use Mark IIIs and IVs until in Russia in November 1941 they came up against the Russian T-34 cruiser tanks. These machines were more heavily armored and gunned, and against them, the German 37mm anti-tank gun proved ineffective. “The result,” wrote Guderian, “was a panic.”

Battle of types

From then on the battle of the types steadily passed from its independent cavalry to its cooperative infantry phase. We [the British] produced the Churchill Infantry Tank with armor varying from 90mm to 75mm. The Germans produced the Panther and Tiger – the one with 100mm to 45mm of armor, and the other with 102mm to 62mm. Of the value of these infantry tanks, two examples suffice: the breakthrough at the Battle of El Alamein in 1942, and the fighting in Normandy in 1944.

In the first, which was a battle of assault against a prepared position, the cruiser tanks used – namely, the American Grant and Sherman – were not sufficiently armored, and in consequence suffered heavy casualties. “There is no doubt,” wrote Martel, “that if a brigade of Churchill tanks had been available, they could have overcome … [the] 50mm anti­tank guns quite easily.” Actually, only four Churchill tanks were used in this battle. “All … were struck many times by 50mm anti-tank guns, and there was only one penetration.”

Of the fighting in Normandy, Martel said: “The German Panther tank showed its superiority against our Cromwell tank [cruiser] … by having heavier armor in front and a more powerful gun. The ground in Normandy was so enclosed that head­on fighting between tanks was a common occurrence and an advantage to the Panther tank. … Our Shermans and Cromwells were no match for them, and our Churchills were only a little better. What we wanted in this type of warfare was the new design of really heavy infantry tank we had always asked for, but this was not available. Future operations, however, showed that the Panthers were equally unable to hold up our armored divisions [cruisers] when it became a war of movement in open spaces.”

The conclusions to be drawn from these two examples – and others could be added – are that, whereas in position warfare, armor and gun dominate, but in mobile warfare it is speed that does so. This truism, which should never have been lost sight of, has now been accepted, for our present policy is to build three main types of tank: a cruiser, an infantry tank and a light tank. Therefore, in idea, we are approximately back to where we were in 1916-18 and can design for the future on the proved logic of the past.

War with Russia

This being so, our tank problem is no longer a question of types; instead, it is one of proportion between types vis-a-vis Russia, our most formidable potential enemy. The answer must he sought in the tactics and organization of the Russian army. What are the facts?

The first is that the power of the Russian army derives from its mass and not from its mobility; it is a quantity army and as such, it stands unrivalled. The second is that to prevent congestion of supply, mass compels movement over a wide front. The third, which logically springs from the second, is that Russian offensives are nearly always launched on extensive fronts. They may be compared to inundations that peter out against stubborn resistance and flow through at weak points. They seek the lowest tactical levels and normally are, therefore, slow and percolative.

Like all past Oriental armies, the Russian is composed of two categories of troops: a corps d’elite and an armed horde. The first is par excellence the fighting instrument; the horde is secondary to it, and should the enemy’s resistance be negligible, is the occupying instrument which, by flooding over the territories conquered by the first, holds them in submission by terror.

The existing corps d’elite is composed of heavy tanks and picked infantry working in close combination. The horde of infantry, cossacks, etc., largely depends for supply on horse­drawn vehicles. Although in dry weather, the expanses of Russia enable horse transport to move across country, in the highly cultivated and urbanized areas of Central and Western Europe, many of which are also mountainous, masses of horse-drawn vehicles are road-blockers.

Because both categories of troops have to be supplied, it follows that the greater the horde, the more complex becomes the supply of the corps d’elite. Therefore, the Achilles heel of the latter is to be sought in its supply system. Today this holds good more so than in the past because petrol-fed vehicles cannot live on the land; throughout they have to be supplied from the rear.

Without supply – particularly petrol and oil – the Russian corps d’elite becomes inoperative. Therefore, the problem is not how to defeat it by superior strength but by superior tactics: 1) how to slow down the corps d’elite by an elastic frontal resistance, and (2) how to break through the Russian front at selected points and paralyze the communications in rear of it. Otherwise put, how to cut the corps d’elite off from its supply.

So far as tanks are concerned, the first of these operations demands machines which can deal with the heaviest Russian tank, also powerful self-propelled artillery and large numbers of mobile anti-tank weapons. The second demands tanks of the highest mobility as well as motorized infantry. Both should be supported by powerful tactical air forces.

It may be said that the Russians will be able to establish so formidable a battlefront that a breakthrough, such as witnessed in France in 1940 and 1944, is no longer possible. But it should not be overlooked that at the opening of a war, conditions are generally more fluid than later on. The reason is that the sudden changeover from peace to war is followed by an experimental tactical period in which no one from commander-in­chief to private soldier is certain of himself and in which friction is prevalent until operations are run in. The psychology of an untried army differs from that of a salted one, and though, when a war is well ground in, setbacks appear at their true value, at the opening of a war they are apt to be exaggerated. Thus, for instance, should the Russian armies, on taking the field, suddenly suffer an unexpected reversal, its effect, not only on their leaders and their masters in the Kremlin, but also on the satellite and subjugated peoples, might well prove catastrophic.

To repeat the tank tactics of the last war, whether on the lines of Guderian in 1940 or of Patton in 1944, is not sufficient, for copies seldom equal originals. Something novel and surprising is therefore needed.

Night operations

Today the only tactical field that remains largely unexploited is night fighting. Once armies went into winter quarters and cut down their operational year by six months. Still armies go into night quarters and cut down their operational day by 12 hours. When are soldiers going to tumble to it that an army that can fight round-the-clock has 100-percent advantage over one that can fight only halfway round it?

This problem was tackled before the last war, leading to the CDL’s invention, a tank fitted with a powerful projector of special design emitting a fan-shaped, flickering beam of light that illuminated a wide field and dazzled the eye. The projector was protected in such a way that it could not be put out of action by anything less than a direct hit with a shell that could penetrate five inches of armor.

The purpose of this weapon was to solve the problem of night-fighting on a large and organized scale, enabling an attack to be carried out more methodically and rapidly than during daylight, and far more economically and securely. Whereas the field over which the attacker advanced was brilliantly illuminated, all the defender was able to see was a wide expanse of dazzling light that obscured everything behind it and that was so brilliant it rendered aimed fire by eye impossible.

That the CDL is considered of value is proved by the fact that two brigades of CDLs, one of three battalions and the other of two, were raised in England, and two armored groups, each of three battalions, was raised in America. Nevertheless, though prior to D-Day (June 6, 1944), the 1st (CDL) Tank Brigade and the 10th (CDL) Armored Group were fully mobilized and ready to proceed overseas, so little interest was taken in the new weapon that it was not until Aug. 11 that the first of these formations landed in France, the second following 11 days later. Even then, instead of being used in the operations following Third Army’s breakthrough – operations in which the Germans could seldom move except under cover at night – the six battalions were never moved forward from their disembarkation camps and were gradually disbanded, as were the rest.

Though the CDLs have long vanished on the scrap heaps, the idea of turning night into day still offers endless tactical possibilities, the most obvious being the ability to break through an enemy’s front under cover of darkness and put blitzkrieg into pajamas. If in the last war the French generals were paralyzed by the German tanks in broad daylight, what would have been their state of mind had it been possible for the latter to operate even more freely during the night than during the day, and thereby establish a round-the-clock blitzkrieg? Transfer this possibility to the situation now facing us, and a solution to the problem of how the Russian front can be penetrated and its rear services thrown into panic becomes apparent. Thus, we return to the basic tank problem: surprise.

Atomic warfare

Lastly, as regards atomic weapons, what influence will they have on the tank? One thing is certain: their introduction will enhance the value of mobility because rapid dispersions and concentrations, such as can be effected with cross-country vehicles, will become doubly necessary. Further, as the 1951 tests in Nevada have shown, armored vehicles are more immune to blast, heat and radiation than unarmored. Therefore, of all forces, armored ones are the least vulnerable on the atomic battlefield.

The deductions to be drawn from this are that, in future warfare, armies should not only be armored but, so they may be able to disperse and concentrate with extreme rapidity, they must be capable of developing a far higher mobility than in the past. On this question, MAJ Lamar McFadden Prosser wrote (ARMOR, January-February 1952): “Forces must concentrate only at the critical moment of action and disperse rapidly thereafter. At this critical moment, and only then, should the force offer a profitable target for atomic weapons. The swiftness of the concentration must introduce the element of surprise and so reduce the danger of atomic annihilation.”

Thus we reach the summit of the second great revolution in the organization of armies.


Finally, what does all this point to? To, although tactical essentials remain constant, unceasing readjustments of means have to be made to meet the changing conditions of war. The soldier still has to hit, guard and move; he has still to endure, be supplied and surprise. New weapons do not change these things, but how to effect them always changes.

Fear of the atomic bomb may abolish war by making it appear too unprofitable to wage, but as long as wars continue, though this annihilating weapon will change methods, it can no more change the essentials of tactics than did the discovery of gunpowder. The soldier will go on hitting, guarding and moving. Without endurance, he will be unnerved; without munitions and food, he cannot fight; and surprise will remain for him his staunchest friend and most deadly foe.

Though the roots of future warfare are hidden in the past, the plant of war must be cultivated creatively. No stereotyped copying is likely to succeed. Victory is to be sought in the imagination.

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