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 HQ Batallón) November 06, 2014

The document here published is based upon a study made by the French General Staff immediately after the armistice. A lost war never permits the leaders of a defeated Army to rest and demands insistent searching for the reason of the defeat, but victory breeds self- confidence and a disposition to rest content with precisely the tactics that once proved successful. The clarity and incisiveness of this document are evidences of its coming from a staff that has learned this lesson, though at tragic cost.

The conclusions to be drawn from the study are obvious and are herein sufficiently underlined. It is worth noting, however, that while the German tactics appeared new, in certain respects they were simply applications to modern conditions of classical battle concepts formulated by the great captains of the past. The Western Front of 1914-18, after the Battle of the Marne, became a sustained struggle of position and attrition; before it could be transformed into a war of movement, the armistice brought the conflict to an end. The French were
naturally left with their thoughts committed to a repetition of the methods that had gained them a victory.

The theory of maneuver and all the principles based upon centuries of actual combat seemed to be forever obsoletein 1918. On the other hand by 1940 the Germans had realized the tremendous advantage to be gained by a coordinated use of the air arm, the shock action of
armored forces, and the motorized movement of the mass. They made the science of war once more conform to the maxims of long experience.


Military Intelligence Service - War Department - U.S. Army - U.S. Goverment
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