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A classic of military thought that merits a place alongside the works of Clausewitz and Sun Tzu, Battle Studies was first published in Paris ten years after the death of its author, French army officer Charles Ardant du Picq — Among military professionals, the book will stimulate salutary reflection and discussion.

Spiller has made a book crafted over years ago far more applicable and accessible to a new generation of readers. Battle Studies is as influential and impactful today as when first written. Spiller has taken this powerful volume and provided incredible context and perspective through his diligence and expertise. What mattered to him were the combatants—their moral strength, their sufferings, their fears, and their courage.

Surprisingly modern, this path-breaking book will captivate all readers interested in the human experience of combat. His focus was no less unique: the fear that ultimately shapes performance in combat.

Decorated for valor in the Crimean War, killed in the Franco-Prussian War, he never lived to see its eclipse. His posthumous Battle Studies is a classic for two reasons: it sheds important light on the brutal dilemmas of the nineteenth-century European army, and it anticipates timeless questions of leadership, discipline, morale, and motivation that animate armies today as powerfully as they did in Spiller has rescued this unique inquiry from obscurity and caricature.

Ardant du Picq never said the things so often attributed to him—that troops must attack under all circumstances, that morale trumps firepower—rather he groped for the right mix of tactics and attitudes to move all arms forward in the face of withering fire. Scholars in military studies, military history, war and society, and European history, just to name a few fields, will find this book invaluable.

Only S. Marshall can rival his explanation of the dynamics of combat and their effect on human beings. Roger J. Spiller is the George C. Toggle navigation Books.

Spiller A classic of military thought that merits a place alongside the works of Clausewitz and Sun Tzu, Battle Studies was first published in Paris ten years after the death of its author, French army officer Charles Ardant du Picq — About the Author Roger J.



In presenting to the American reading public a translation of a volume written by an obscure French colonel, belonging to a defeated army, who fell on the eve of a battle which not alone gave France over to the enemy but disclosed a leadership so inapt as to awaken the suspicion of treason, one is faced by the inevitable interrogation—"Why? Yet the answer is simple. The value of the book of Ardant du Picq lies precisely in the fact that it contains not alone the unmistakable forecast of the defeat, itself, but a luminous statement of those fundamental principles, the neglect of which led to Gravelotte and Sedan. Napoleon has said that in war the moral element is to all others as three is to one.


Battle Studies

Upon completion of the book, it was clear that it not only met my lofty expectations, but exceeded them. Du Picq served in the French Military from until dying from combat wounds in and achieved the rank of colonel. His career was highlighted by extensive combat experience. It was these experiences that sparked his keen interest on the human dimension of war and the impetus for his writings focused on the subject. The process that saw his interests become a book is both lengthy and intriguing. Prior to his death, he had crafted a number of essays and notes on war.

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Battle Studies

The work was never completed, but Du Picq had written many chapters completely and left sufficient notes behind to complete the book. The theme of the book, according to Marshal of France Ferdinand Foch , is that "moral force" is the most powerful element in the strength of armies and the preponderating influence in the outcome of battles. In general form, he states:. Combat is the object, the cause of being, and the supreme manifestation of an army. Every measure that does not keep combat as the object of the army is fatal. All the resources accumulated in time of peace, all the training, and all the strategic calculations must have the goal of combat. Du Picq's work attempts to deal with the principles of warfare as an empirical study, based on case studies of battles.

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