Why Does the West Seem Incapable of Winning Wars Anymore? – Part 5

A reluctance to prosecute war to the extent necessary to achieve victory even when a realistic definition of victory was elucidated. This one should be a no-brainer as recent American experience has shown that stupidity very much exists at the top of American strategic thinking at least, which is compounded by clueless media talking heads who I am more and more convinced actively wish to see Western society fail.  Clausewitz says that war naturally tends to extremes but in reality never gets there. This point goes back to deciding what determines victory.  Clausewitz is undoubtedly correct in his assertion that ultimately victory is in fact using force to compel the … More after the Jump…

Why Does the West Seem Incapable of Winning Wars Anymore? – Part 4

Wars are no longer fought to achieve victory but to achieve often nebulous goals short of the actual defeat of the enemy and often were unrelated or even contrary to national strategic interests. This one is a personal bug-bear of mine.  It has been common in the post-World War II world for Western nations in particular to set nebulous and generally unattainable war goals.  The submission of an enemy state is often not an objective and when it is even when achieved international pressure limits making a total victory truly stick.  This is not helped by unrealistic expectations on the part of the public that military victory can be achieved … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath by Ted Koppel

Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath is not what I would call a typical prepper book, if there is such a thing, instead it is a serious look at a very plausible scenario and the ways in which it is and is not being addressed by both government and the private sector. The scenario is a cyberattack on the computers that control the US electric grid. Given the nature of cybercrime this is an extremely plausible scenario. The book itself is not huge at 249 pages of text and includes notes and an index but no bibliography. Ted Koppel is a respected journalist who has not … More after the Jump…

D-Day 72nd Anniversary

This is an annual tradition at Battles and Book Reviews.  This year is the 72nd anniversary of the Allied Landings at Normandy in France during WWII. Just a reminder for everyone to stop today and take a moment to reflect on the events that happened 68 years ago today on the shores of Normandy in France.   This is the day that the Allies opened up the long-awaited Second Front against Hitler’s Germany.   The invasion took place along almost 50 miles of French coast using five named invasion beaches.   From south to north the beaches were named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.   The first days objectives … More after the Jump…

BOOK REVIEW: GUNSHIP ACE: THE WARS OF NEALL ELLIS, HELICOPTER PILOT AND MERCENARY

BOOK REVIEW: GUNSHIP ACE: THE WARS OF NEALL ELLIS, HELICOPTER PILOT AND MERCENARY By A J. Venter Casemate Publishers, 324 Pages Review by J.C. Tejeda Jr. Usually the word “mercenary” will either conjure up images of disgust or starry-eyed fascination. The sullied reputation of “Les Affreux”, those mercenaries of the Congo era, was a case in point. However, that does not give the average reader an accurate, much less glamorous picture of what a real life mercenary is like. To his credit, Al J. Venter has made a career covering the various wars that plagued the African continent over the last thirty years. It was he, better than anyone else … More after the Jump…

Why Does the West Seem Incapable of Winning Wars Anymore? – Part 3

Example: The Israeli bombing of a hospital in Gaza and use of white phosphorous munitions during Operation Cast Lead in 2008 During the 2008-2009 Israeli-Gazan war there were back and forth allegations that Israel had deliberately bombed hospitals in Gaza in violation of the Geneva Convention.  Israel responded by claiming that Hamas was using these hospitals as shields.  The general consensus since then has seemed to be that elements of Hamas and their leadership did indeed use hospitals as shelter but that has not been widely reported in the West.  Another was the claim that Israeli use of White Phosphorous artillery shells is a war crime because white phosphorous is … More after the Jump…

Book Review: War Stories: by Stephen Macdonald

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] War Stories chronicles one Marine’s into the Marine Corps, to Vietnam, and back to the US. This is not a huge book at 240 pages but is well worth the read. This is not a book like Robert Mason’s Chickenhawk but that does not take away from the matter of fact and realist story told. The book is a straight matter of fact account of one man’s journey into the Marine Corps and to Vietnam in 1967. The author was … More after the Jump…

Why Does the West Seem Incapable of Winning Wars Anymore? – Part 2

Modern interpretations of the law of war are flawed from a war winning perspective This point cannot be hammered home enough as it is the root of the problem with Western war making in my opinion.  The establishment of the UN post-World War II and the ratification of a new set of Geneva conventions on the conduct of war in 1949 have radically changed the Western approach to war and following those rules have had a major impact on the West’s inability to decisively win the wars they have fought.  In fact, it could be argued, and I do that post-war notions of war making have led to unsatisfactory peace’s … More after the Jump…

Napoleon & the French Army of Italy 1796

The French Army in Italy was a failing army but was revitalized in 1796 by the arrival of Napoleon and his dynamic leadership style that allowed his soldiers to realize their potential.   The soldiers were unpaid and underfed; they were clothed in rags and often had no shoes.   The artillery park was not maintained properly and the cavalry had unsuitable mounts, if any.   The soldiers in the army were suffering from malnutrition and illness to such a degree that out of a paper strength of 42,000 only 30,000 soldiers were considered battle ready.[1] The hospitals were overflowing and non-battle deaths numbered in the hundreds per month.   … More after the Jump…

Book Review: The Battle of Agincourt edited by Anne Curry & Malcolm Mercer

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] October, 2015 was the 650th anniversary of the French defeat at Agincourt during the Hundred Year’s War. The Battle of Agincourt is a new volume released by the Royal Armories in commemoration of the battle featuring all new scholarship and the latest research on the battle and the campaign of which it was a part. First as always, some details about the book itself. This is a coffee table sized book with 273 pages of text separated into 3 parts … More after the Jump…

Why Does the West Seem Incapable of Winning Wars Anymore? – Part 1

I got to thinking about the question at the title of this post a few months ago.  Being me I started doing some research and then put my thoughts down in what ended up being a fairly long paper for some casual writing.  Rather than dump it all at once I am going to serialize it into parts and probably publish one part every 2 weeks to a month until it is done.  I am going to put it here and also on my survival site because I think the issues it brings up are relevant in that arena as well.  What I hope to do is provoke some discussion … More after the Jump…

The Battlefield of Cannae: a Site Visit

The Battlefield of Cannae: a Site Visit The Battle of Cannae in 212 B.C. is perhaps the platonic ideal of what a decisive victory should look like.  Western commanders have been trying to replicate it since it happened over two millennia ago.  It was the final in a series of crushing defeats suffered by the Romans in the second Punic War to Hannibal Barca the other two being the Battles of Trebia and Lake Trasimene; one day I will visit these sights as well.  I covered the battle in a post almost exactly five years ago here: http://www.military-history.us/2010/10/rome-and-cannae/.  This past summer while on vacation in Italy I finally got around … More after the Jump…

Podcast: Strategy: It’s Different aspects

This podcast is a wider discussion of strategy and the different aspects and types of strategy there are. Strategy is not one overarching concept except at its most basic. There are different nuances to strategy and strategy development that exist depending on the level at which the strategy is being developed and implemented. Download this episode (right click and save)