Accession Number : ADA195240

Title :   Letters from an Army Officer to His Son Concerning the Study of the Great Captains.

Descriptive Note : Study project,

Corporate Author : ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA

Personal Author(s) : Baggett, David L

PDF Url : ADA195240

Report Date : 01 Jun 1988

Pagination or Media Count : 55

Abstract : Designation of an individual as a Great Captain is a very subjective process. The term 'Great Captain' is used loosely and broad agreement as to who is and who is not a 'Great Captain' depends often on the philosophical viewpoint of the man compiling the list. This paper examines the campaigns, lives, styles, and accomplishments of Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Gustavus Adolphus, and Turenne for their relevance today. This examination takes the form of a series of letters written by a serving army officer to his son who is a West Point cadet. Each man discussed was clearly the preeminent soldier of his day and served his country well, some as servants of the State, others as both ruler and commander of forces. Tactically, much has changed over the nearly 2,500 years since Alexander and much changed between the times of Alexander and Turenne. At the tactical level, the experiences of the great men lose relevance today, although the need for innovation and technological advancement continues. Operationally and strategically: logistics remains the critical path for any operation and a balance between slavish adherence and disregard for the 'principles of war' must be struck. Personal characteristics and traits still relevant today include courage (physical and moral), self-confidence, and an understanding of the moral factors of war. The most important thing to grasp is not which man should be studied, rather the necessity to study is the most enduring requirement; who to study will be self-evident.

Descriptors :   *ARMY PERSONNEL, *OFFICER PERSONNEL, CADETS, CRITICAL PATH METHODS, ETHICS, LOGISTICS, UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY, WARFARE

Subject Categories : Personnel Management and Labor Relations

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE