Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Military Theory X.

This is coolbert:

Again, Du Puy IS of the opinion that NO ONE has significantly advanced military theory since the time of Lanchester.

In MY opinion, this may not be exactly true.

Let me add two names for consideration.

Boris Shaposhnikov and John Boyd. The former a Marshal of the Soviet Union, the latter an American fighter pilot jock of recent times.

Boris Shaposhnikov.

Czarist military officer and communist military leader. Marshal of Soviet Union. Chief of Staff of the Red Army during World War Two [WW2]. A man who was a personal favorite of Stalin. It is reputed that Shaposhnikov was the ONLY man Stalin addressed in the familiar manner [Boris Michaelovitch]. A man respected by Stalin. A Marshal of the Soviet Union who SURVIVED the Stalinist purges of the late 1930's.

The author of Mozg Armii [Brain of the Army]. Describes how a modern army of the Twentieth Century organizes and prepares for combat in the nature of war as fought in both World War One [WW1] and Two [WW2].

Shaposhnikov uses the Austro-Hungarian Empire and it's army as the archetype of a "modern" nation and it's pre-war preparations.

Here is a BabelFish translation from the table of contents for the on line version of Mozg Armii.

[I cannot find an English translation on the web.]

Babel Fish Translation


I. Austria-Hungary in the beginning KHKH [?] of century [20th].

II. Austro-Hungarian army and fleet in the beginning KHKH [?] of century [20th].

III. The General Staff of Austro-Hungarian army.

IV. Chief of the General Staff Conrad [Conrad was Chief of the General Staff.].

V. Shadows of the past.

VI. Dumas [?] about the chief of the General Staff.

VII. Austro-Hungarian General Staff in the persons [personalities thereof??].

VIII. Portrait gallery of General Staff.

IX. "from it all qualities" [?]

X. Conrad and the internal life of Austria-Hungary.

XI. "search" into the history chapter [?].

XII. Domestic policy and General Staff.

XIII. Conrad in questions of armament and supply of army.

XIV. The preparation of Austria-Hungary for the war.

XV. Historical information.

XVI. The economy and war.




That translation is the best I can muster. Sorry if it is not so clear. But I think you get the gist and the flavor.

Shaposhnikov describes how a nation utilizes the human, natural, industrial, and technological resources at it's disposal to organize and prepare for total war. A subject that has been dealt with in a previous blog entry. War as was fought in both WW1 and WW2. Total mobilization of resources to support the war effort. How the General Staff of a nation guides and organizes the effort.

Supposedly this was favored reading material of Stalin. As I have said, Stalin had warm feelings for Shaposhnikov. I am not sure if that is good or bad.

The topic of Mozg Armii was germane for it's time. NOT any more. Nations cannot afford the cost of waging war as it was fought in WW1 and WW2. The necessary weaponry is too costly, sophisticated, and needs trained, experienced manpower [a professional army], to be able to utilize to the fullest.

The ideas of Shaposhnikov are not valid to a large extent for modern militaries. Were valid in their own time, but not now.




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