Maneuver In War (Reprint of 1939 Edition)FMFRP 12-13U.S. Marine CorpsTHE NAPOLEONIC CONCEPT OF MANEUVERTHE NAPOLEONIC CONCEPT OF BATTLEhttps://www.marines.mil/Portals/1/Publications/FMFRP%2012-13%20%20Maneuver%20in%20War.pdf
When you use history as a training tool there is a danger that the need for a good story can overtake the duty to history, if the author is not careful. Instead of a microscope, all you are doing is reversing the telescope, projecting the modern lesson backwards. The real problem is when it is confused with history in the adademic sense, or when it's practitioners assume this projection of ideas is what good writing is about.
Before anyone accuses me of being a snob, I'm no academic but I'm a professional instructional trainer and frequent course materials designer in my day job. I've received this style of instructional training with historical examples at RMAS and Staff College. The academic staff there are careful when they are published not to replicate these instructional notes. In a training manual there is no sense of duty to historical enquiry and although carefully and skilfully written lacks the same academic rigour.
For me the problem is with those officers who have received this training and think they have learned something of historical enquiry. They haven't really, all they have done is had historical context put around modern concepts. It's several levels up from the "Regimental History" shared around the kit maintenance sessions in the barrack room or recited around the mess table, but suffers from the same rearward projection.
It therefore tends to often trot out hackneyed myths and apochryphies, tying them to sweeping generalisations and shedding little or no real light. These manuals owe rather more to the approach of PT Barnum than AJP Taylor.
Just my personal opinion you understand, and who am I? No horse breeder for sure, but I can still tell the difference between a thoroughbred and a donkey.
And if you look at the entire Napoleonic section there are footnotes and references listed. However, the author/authors do not waste time in endless footnotes to no purpose. A careful look at the text will find the sources listed, as well as explained, at the bottom of the pages. There are also primary source quotations, attributed to who said or wrote them, in the text.
This manual presents Napoleon's methods of waging war much more thoroughly and completely as well as simply, much better than the over-thought ideas in Chandler's Campaigns of Napoleon.
The subject audience is Marine officers. And I would suggest that the Napoleonic section of the manual would stand up to actual historic scrutiny and accuracy.
That being said, there were, and currently are, Marine Corps historians and scholars whose work is valuable and undoubtedly good enough to be used as source material. The work of Lynn Montross, Robert Heinl, John Thomason, and Laurence Stallings comes to mind.
I cannot see any sources stated.
What is noteworthy regarding the Napoleonic period in the text is on page 136.
'...it is still worth while to observe the workings of a superb professional mind, to savor the intellectual quality of his conceptions, to recognize that they have retained a distinct flavor of modernity and to determine why they have survived a century of warfare.'
Your attention is invited to the following tabulation, showing a typical Napoleonic organization—the forerunner, in fact, the foundation of all modern army organization. It is not too difficult to substitute the term "division," in the modern sense, for the Napoleonic "corps," in order to arrive approximately at the set-up of a modern field army...'
This publication is still relevant to military operations today and the entire section of the book from pages 136-167 is excellent.
I had seen and read this publication before and had forgotten about it. Excellent find, Tom-well done.