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Two Interludes
Sat Jun 10, 2006 18:04
68.11.220.50 (XFF: 192.168.1.3)

1

The frontiers of nations are either large rivers, or chains of mountains, or deserts. Of all these obstacles to the march of an army, deserts are the most difficult to surmount; mountains come next; and large rivers hold only the third rank.

2

A plan of campaign should anticipate everything which the enemy can do, and contain within itself the means of thwarting him. Plans of campaign may be infinitely modified according to the circumstances, the genius of the commander, the quality of the troops and the topography.

3

An army invading a country may either have its two wings resting on neutral countries or on great natural obstacles, such as rivers or chains of mountains; or it may have only one of its wings thus supported; or both may be without support.In the first case, a general has only to see that his line is not broken in front. In the second case, he must rest on the wing which is supported. In the third case, he must keep his different corps resting well on his center and never allow them to separate from it.

4

It may be laid down as a principle that in invading a country with two or three armies, each of which has its own distinct line of operations extending towards a fixed point at which all are to unite, the union of the different corps should never be ordered to take place in the vicinity of the enemy.

5

All wars should be systematic, for every war should have an aim and be conducted in conformity with the principles and rules of the art. War should be undertaken with forces corresponding to the magnitude of the obstacles that are to be anticipated.

6

At the commencement of a campaign, the question whether to advance or not requires careful deliberation; but when you have once undertaken the offensive, it should be maintained to the last extremity. A retreat, however skillful the maneuvers may be, will always produce an injurious moral effect on the army, since by losing the chances of success yourself you throw them into the hands of the enemy. Besides, retreats cost far more, both in men and materiel, than the most bloody engagements; with this difference, that in a battle the enemy loses nearly as much as you, while in a retreat the loss is all on your side.

7

An army should be every day, every night, and every hour, ready to offer all the resistance of which it is capable. The army should be always in a position to assist, support and protect each other. When the army is in column of march, there must be advanced guards and flank guards to observe the enemy's movements in front, on the right and on the left; and at sufficient distances to allow the main body of the arm to deploy and take up its position.

8

A general should say to himself many times a day: If the hostile army were to make its appearance in front, on my right, or on my left, what should I do? And if he is embarrassed, his arrangements are bad; there is something wrong; he must rectify his mistake.

9

The strength of an army, like the momentum in mechanics, is estimated by the weight multiplied by the velocity. A rapid march exerts a beneficial moral influence on the army and increases its means of victory.

10

When your army is inferior in numbers, inferior in cavalry, a pitched battle should be avoided. The want of numbers must be supplied by rapidity in marching; the inferiority in cavalry by the choice of positions. In such a situation, it is of great importance that confidence should prevail among the soldiers.

11

To operate upon lines remote from each other and without communications between them, is a fault which ordinarily occasions a second.

12

An army should have but a single line of operations which it should carefully preserve, and should abandon only when compelled by imperious circumstances.

13

The intervals at which the corps of an army should be from each other in marching, depend on the localities, the circumstances and the object in view.

14

Among mountains there are everywhere numerous positions extremely strong by nature, which you should abstain from attacking. The genius of this kind of war consists in occupying camps either on the flank or the rear of the enemy, So as to leave him no alternative but to withdraw from his position without fighting; and to move him farther back, or to make him come out and attack you. In mountain war the attacking party acts under a disadvantage. Even in offensive war, the merit lies in having only defensive conflicts and obliging your enemy to become the assailant.

15

In giving battle a general should regard it as his first duty to maintain the honor and glory of his arms. To spare his troops should be but a secondary consideration.

16

A well-established maxim of war is not to do anything which your enemy wishes and for the single reason that he does so wish. You should, therefore, avoid a field of battle which he has reconnoitered and studied.

17

The natural positions which are commonly met with cannot secure an army against the superiority of a more numerous one without the aid of art.

18

An ordinary general occupying a bad position, if surprised by a superior force, seeks safety in retreat; but a great captain displays the utmost determination and advances to meet the enemy.

19

The passage from the defensive to the offensive is one of the most delicate operations of war.

20

Changing it when circumstances require, is one of the most skillful of military maneuvers. An army which changes its line of operations skillfully, deceives the enemy, who no longer knows where his antagonist's rear is, or what are the weak points to threaten.

21

When an army is encumbered with siege equipage and large convoys of wounded and sick, it should approach its depots by the shortest roads and as expeditiously as possible.

22

The art of encamping on a position is nothing else than the art of forming in order of battle on that position; a position should be selected which is not commanded, cannot be turned, and from which the ground in the vicinity is covered and commanded.

23

When you occupy a position which the enemy threatens to surround, you should collect your forces quickly and menace him with an offensive movement. By this maneuver you prevent him from detaching a part of his troops and annoying your flanks, in case you should deem a retreat indispensable.

24

A military maxim, which ought never to be neglected, is to assemble your cantonments at the point which is most remote and best sheltered from the enemy.

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Locke looked up from his book placidly, examining the men in front of him. He was seated beside Rianyll, who was inspecting the troops. Most were men who could not channel - they were enlisted men, infantry, in the Dragon's Army. Two hundred channellers, fifty Dedicated, the rest Soldiers. All were bedecked in their blacks, but aside from that, they had found themselves armored. Locke himself had donned a breast plate and banded arms, his legs were covered by brushed field plate, strapped to his thighs with heavy leathers. Across his stomach was black steel mail. His helmet wasn't on yet - it sat heavily between his feet, at a sidelong angle to the sky. It was smooth and unadorned, fitted to the shape of his head. The facemask didn't go down past his nose, it left his mouth exposed, for shouting orders. Rianyll's armor was more flashy, but still mostly black. He was addressing the troops, a small morale boost before the beginnings of what would certainly be a long, long three days.

Two interludes - my book, and his speech.

  • Reeds and Dry WoodMajor Locke Lemain, Dedicated, Sat Jun 10 17:06
    Locke's eyes flickered masterfully across the expanse of map provided him. It was wrinkled, and, in the top right corner, torn, but it was masterfully done, nearly artful. The Damona mountains were... more
    • Two Interludes — Major Lemain, Sat Jun 10 18:04
      • FrictionMajor Lemain, Sat Jun 10 21:29
        Locke surveyed the Gateways idly from atop Sim, his gray-dappled black horse. The porters were coming through, now, the main perimeter of their staging area. First the spearmen, then the archers,... more
        • SparksMajor Lemain, Mon Jun 12 21:05
          "It's almost time, Major Lemain." Rianyll had matured quite a bit since his first outing. It had been nearly a year since he'd embarked on the doomed expidition which Locke had saved - the two had... more
          • FlamesMajor Lemain, Thu Jun 15 13:04
            The last of the scouts had reported in - Jack's man. According to him, the final preparations in the forest had been made - the tar had been spread on the trunks of the trees, hay had been stuffed... more
            • The InfernoMajor Lemain, Thu Jun 15 13:28
              The Airwall was completed, and being held steadfast by more channelers, secreted away quite a ways from the battle - Jack and Mat were doing a fantastic job from the safety of the slightly elevated... more
              • The WhirlwindMajor Lemain, Thu Jun 15 15:51
                Locke span the warm blood of his compatriots out of his mouth disdainfully, impaling an attacker straight on with Prodigy, kicking him to release the black blade, and then burning him to ashes with a ... more
                • The Blazing ForestMajor Lemain, Sat Jun 17 18:45
                  The silence in the now wrecked camp was deafening. The thin strip of plains where the bulk of the engagement had taken place, 'twixt the releif unit and the Dedicated, was smashed with the Power to a ... more
                  • The ImmolationMajor Lemain, Sat Jun 17 18:46
                    The bitter smell got stronger, catching on the Southward wind, the mouth of the forest giving off heat, hotter and hotter. Then, suddenly, from the silence, came the first explosion. The black powder ... more
                    • Traditions of the TradeMajor Lemain, Sat Jun 17 20:15
                      Feeding off the enemy was a universally accepted power manuever in the traditions of war. The troops were fed fat, the casks of wheat and barleey having been opened, the water kegs, the wine, and the ... more
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