BOOK REVIEW: Moltke on the Art of War: Selected Writings

This is the first of a series of book reviews I will put on my blog. Not necessarily because I think anybody cares what I think about a book. The commenters on Amazon certainly don’t. But rather because I think it is helpful for my readers to get an idea of where my knowledge comes from and also because I hope to highlight some great books that are out there that I don’t think a lot of people have read, even history buffs. Most will be good reviews but I do have some books I absolutely think are worthless or despise. I will put those up too. The bottom line … More after the Jump…

Technology and 19th Century War

Here is another subject I was ruminating about this morning and last night. What is the relationship between technology and victory?   This is especially important from the late 18th century forward when the pace of technological innovation in western civilization sped up.  Keep in mind that to the modern mind, change is a constant but that was not always the case, indeed for most of human history it was not the case.  For example, the horse was the main means of transport for 90% of human history, it has only been since the 1840’s since the horse began to be superseded and only really since the 1950’s when the horse … More after the Jump…

The Prussian General Staff

It has often been asserted that one of the things that set the Prussian/German Army apart from others is the General Staff System. I can buy that the Prussian General Staff was the best and has been widely imitated. I don’t know however, if the Staff System itself gave the Germans a decisive edge in warfare. Staff work counts most at the beginning of a conflict and the German experience in WWI shows that even the best staff work and fastest mobilization does not guarantee victory. It can allow a nation to drag a war out but is not a war winning advantage in and of itself. My reading of … More after the Jump…

Still working on an archives write-up

I am still working on putting together a piece about my trip to the Austrian Kriegsarchiv this past spring.  I it will probably not be up until next Tuesday at the earliest.  This is my wife’s birthday weekend so I wont have a lot of time to play with the computer and I usually don’t get online that much during the weekends anyway. It will be coming though, with some images of documents I had copies made of.

My MA Thesis-The Battle of Königgrätz -3 July 1866-Part # 3

the present.  This episode is about my visit to the Königgrätz Battlefield in the fall of 2009.  I had actually been bugging my wife to make this trip since we moved to Europe in the summer of 2008 and she finally relented in August of 2009 and surprised me by giving me the itinerary for the trip on our wedding anniversary.  I have dragged my wife many battlefields in both America and Europe during our marriage but I was triply impressed because she actually volunteered to go on this one. We went to Königgrätz the weekend of 26 September, 2009 and it was an adventure the whole way.  We left … More after the Jump…

My MA Thesis-The Battle of Königgrätz -3 July 1866-Part # 2

One of the things about the battle that got me the most was the terrain. One thing I immediately noticed about Austrian dispositions for the battle was that they had refused both flanks and oriented their position on the main road from Königgrätz to Gitschin. It was only the successive hammer blows of multiple Prussian attacks that defeated the Austrians and not superior Prussian technology.  Below is a map of Austrian dispositions before the battle; I know it is hard to really make anything out but I am having trouble getting the full 3mb file uploaded, when I do I will post it. Map from Österreichisches Staatsarchiv-Kriegsarchiv Accession Information: Karton … More after the Jump…

My MA Thesis-The Battle of Königgrätz -3 July 1866-Part # 1

I am currently working on completing my MA in European History.  All I have left to finish is writing my actual thesis which I have been planning for the past 3 years ever since I started my MA program.  I am going to write my thesis about the Battle of Königgrätz during the Seven Weeks War between Austria and Prussia in 1866.  Specifically, my thinking leads me to believe that there is more than the Prussian possession of the Dreyse Needle Gun to account for their victory.  Accordingly, I have been researching this battle and reading books about it for the past 4 years since I wrote my first paper about … More after the Jump…