Military Principles: 1st in a series

There are several things that are important when studying any military battle or campaign.  There are also several versions of this list and which list you use essentially depends on personal preference.  What follows is my personal list of what for lack of a better term can be called Military Principles.  These are things that in my opinion the victorious commander and his army must get right to be victorious.  Let me clarify that, the victorious military force must get more of these right than his opponent to win.  It is rare indeed that any commander or army gets every one of them right every time.

If you study military history, at a minimum you should have a grounding in military principles that includes what the terms mean and what both other historians and what military generals and commentators mean when they use these terms.  At times this can be difficult because not every country uses the same principles and it is certain that every historian does not use the same principles.  To add to the confusion depending on the system being used the same term can mean something slightly different.  Because of the time period I will mostly post about I am going to describe in-depth the principles used by France, Britain, Austria-Hungary, and Germany while throwing in a discussion of modern American usage.

I will go down the list in a series of posts detailing one national system per posts with a final posts that attempts to tie it all together and talk about the method I use which is kind of a hodgepodge of all the national systems described with some subtractions and additions based on experience and inclination.  I will also explain how I analyze a battlefield.