Great Battles of the World on Land
By Peter Young
Publisher: Bison Books Ltd 1978 320 Pages
PDF 171 MB
The battles in this book cover a relatively brief space in the story of mankind. The earliest is the decisive sea Battle of Tsushima in 1905. The latest, curiously enough, is Vietnam. 'Curiously enough' because one would have been justified in thinking that the operation of the Super-fortress Enola Gay at Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 might have proved the last great 'battle' of the World. It seems, however, that atomic warfare was rather too efficient for the military profession and its political employers. And so in the nuclear age we have seen the two atomic victories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and a multitude of old-fashioned conventional campaigns. Of course, we know that the conduct of war is far too serious a business to be entrusted to the inept hands of soldiers. Lord Zuckerman, in his autobiography, has recently made it perfectly clear that it should be directed by scientists. However war is, in fact, waged at four distinctly different levels, two of them Strategic, and two Tactical. This is not a very difficult concept to master. What it amounts to is that a war is run for political ends and, therefore, at the highest level, it is conducted by the political leaders, who reap what they have sown. (And that very often is the product of years of neglecting their armed forces!) At this level the service chiefs are little more than expert advisers.
The next level is that of the campaign, where the admirals, the generals, and the air marshals operate. At this level the Ministers interfere at their peril, still as we have seen in our own time, they frequently have had the hardihood to do so! Time plays its little jokes. Sometimes a Corsican subaltern is pitted against one from Ireland. A fair match you may say. But what of the days when an Austrian corporal fought to the death with an English lieutenant? But let that pass.