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Norfolk nChance

Book: Naval Strategy by Captain A.T. Mahan

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Book: Naval Strategy by Captain A.T. Mahan

Collection of his lectures given at the Naval War College between 1887 and 1911

https://www.amazon.com/Mahan-Naval-Strategy-Selections-Writings/dp/1591145597

I’m a lucky man indeed, Mrs. nChance bought me a FIRST EDITION a few years back. I believe free editions are available also. His key concepts and theories all laid bare at the turn of the 20th Century all in one book. He shows how most Nations invested and judged their strength by the ground forces raised. The British differently established a strong navy that pushed Great Britain into a Super Power status.

The effective use of Port blockades neutralized an army’s ability to conduct operations. Whether that force was many times larger than its opposition it still was of No influence and mute. This Mahan was the first to show from a Global standpoint how an effective Navy can bring any superpower to its knees.  

His time in history was the end of the Age of Sail and the rise of STEAM to the introduction of the DREADNAUGHT prior to the start of the Great War. It might be dated in terms of tactics but the strategies and thoughts are still prevalent in todays modern world.

 

“Force is never more operative than when it is known to exist but is not brandished.”

Alfred Thayer Mahan

 

I’m a big believer in finding the FORCED MULTIPLER in any situation whether a small Clan punching above its weight or facing a larger force. Mahan time and again uses examples that the fight is won well before any Naval Action occurs...

 

Norfolk nChance [ELITE]

 

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Like many great military thinkers, Mahan didn't necessarily "create" an idea or discover a new application. He rather codified and identified something that good generals or admirals had been doing instinctively, and then presented it in a way that was easier to grasp not just for mediocre officers but the public at large (and those often most ignorant of all, the politicians).

 

But, despite being a name most who play games like these are familiar with, it is shocking how many people who play both Naval Action and World of Warships completely disassociate themselves from Mahanian reality. I mean, how much more common sense can you get with "force concentration"?

 

As with Sun Tzu, Clausewitz, and Jomini, despite sometimes having different practical and philosophical outlooks on war, the general theories are just as valid today as they were when written.

 

I frequently shake my head in frustration at what some people playing these sorts of games think is a "good idea".

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On ‎8‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 10:16 PM, Sir R. Calder of Southwick said:

Clausewitz

I read the Russian campaign and since then I have a somewhat negative image of Clausewitz. It is one thing to explain tactical or strategic errors of the Russian generals throughout the campaign and another to underestimate them by writing about them in MODE GOD. It is easy to give lessons once everything has passed and without having the responsibilities of those who made the decisions against the best army of the world of the time. What image do you have of Clausewitz? regards!!

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On 8/11/2018 at 4:40 PM, Sento de Benimaclet said:

I read the Russian campaign and since then I have a somewhat negative image of Clausewitz. It is one thing to explain tactical or strategic errors of the Russian generals throughout the campaign and another to underestimate them by writing about them in MODE GOD. It is easy to give lessons once everything has passed and without having the responsibilities of those who made the decisions against the best army of the world of the time. What image do you have of Clausewitz? regards!!

Of clausewitz i will point two articles from two great websites:

https://thediplomat.com/2014/11/everything-you-know-about-clausewitz-is-wrong/

http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/the-continuing-irrelevance-of-clausewitz

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I read a few years ago:

From Mahan to Pearl Harbor: The Imperial Japanese Navy and the United States by Sadao Asada

https://www.amazon.com/Mahan-Pearl-Harbor-Imperial-Japanese/dp/1557500428

which picked my interest as I wanted to see what kind of influence he had on the Japanese Navy and it's an interesting read. It might be a little bit dry and repetitive but it shows the American thinker huge influence on the IJN strategy and its development.

Edited by Louis Garneray
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On 8/13/2018 at 2:25 AM, Captain Jean-Luc Picard said:

Interesting article. I remember when I was reading Liddell Hart I thought at the time that he was making sense... but after a few books he looked like he was only serving one strategic school: the English school of indirect wars... which was in my mind already outdated during ww1.

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@Louis Garneray

 

Ask anyone to name a Military Strategist/theorist and a half dozen names always come up. Name a Naval Theorist unless you know Mahan it becomes really very hard. Looking further back at Pellew is mainly tactics so too is Cochrane. Nelson himself took some major risks with his fleet that paid off but it’s the overall blockade strategy that won the war.

Trafalgar was the decisive battle, but if it hadn’t occurred the outcome was still the same. If Nelson had lost, then England’s invasion was odds on. Was it worth the risk without hindsight?  

The IJN focus on Mahan’s the “Decisive Battle...” like his love of Trafalgar and Nelson was in my opinion their error. They completely ignored “Choke Points” or to Mahan, “command of the sea” did not mean absolute or total command, but rather, the ability to use the sea as a highway, and to prevent one's adversary from doing the same... to then bring the decisive battle...

That’s my ill-educated view...

http://forum.game-labs.net/topic/26632-book-strategic-studies-a-reader/

 

“Interesting article. I remember when I was reading Liddell Hart I thought at the time that he was making sense... but after a few books he looked like he was only serving one strategic school: the English school of indirect wars... which was in my mind already outdated during ww1.”

You’re not alone in that opinion. What Germany did with it though was remarkable in application. The main reason for the Book recommends was the On-War description and order the chapters should be read in. Made the whole Trinity concepts fit.

The Book gives balance context and thought breaking down Sun Tzu, Clausewitz, Liddell-Hart and finally Thomas Schelling (who only just passed away) giving a modern view.

 

 Norfolk.

 

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My introduction to Clausewitz was through the eyes of a French writer Raymond Aaron: Clausewitz: Philosopher of War, London: Routledge, 1983 (Penser la Guerre being the original title in French).

I like strategic reading and I'm just an amateur in its simplest sense.

I think it's always a good way to spend some time thinking. :D

 

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Hi All,

 

Is it worth asking @Ink to add a third thread in this “AoS Historical Discussions” along the lines of “Military & Naval Strategist”?

I’ve really enjoyed reading your views and opinions with just the Book reviews and would like to read more and discuss...

 

Norfolk

 

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