This comment below, (that Bob Burnham provided me in response to my original posting), got me thinking again about How individual Napoleonic Army Cultures (i.e., call it Corporate Culture) influences, shapes and impacts the conduct and Command & Control of Subordinate Units and Commanders.
"I further examined the command and control system within the division. It is mind-boggling and at times it seems that Wellington had set up Craufurd to fail. For example, he was only authorized one ADC, one DAQMG, and one DAAG. And the internal structure was even worse. There were no brigades until August 1810."
Thus, I went back and went through my own notes and files over the last couple of days to see if I could bound this topic/issue and then share it with YOU for your comments and feedback.
Undoubtedly, this looks to be a very interesting topic for our discussion. Because it begs several questions that I am sure will result in some lively debate!
A Few Examples: 1) "Was the Duke of Wellington actually a 'Micro-Manager', who did not trust the capabilities and actions of his subordinate Commanders?" 2) "Was Napoleon the 1st Modern Practitioner of Mission Command?" 3) "How did individual Army Corporate Culture, their Governments and Politics influence each Army and its Leadership?" Enjoy!
The first reference I came across was this discussion General Muffling said he had with Wellington, post Waterloo 1815. I cannot find the reference source itself, but it was provided to me by a 'trusted colleague' Ned Zuparko back in 2005.
Prussian General Muffling commenting on 'Wellington's Rules'
Two (2) Brigades of English Cavalry, of three (3) Regiments each, stood on our left wing: I urged the Commanders of both to cut in upon the scattered Infantry, observing that they could not fail to bring back at least 3,000 prisoners. Both agreed with me folly, but shrugging their shoulders answered:
"Alas, we dare not! The Duke of Wellington is very strict in enforcing obedience to prescribed regulations on this point."*
* I had afterwards an opportunity of asking the Duke about these regulations, which I do the more freely, as the two (2) Officers in question were amongst the most distinguished of the Army, and had rendered the most signal services with their Brigades in the action that day.
The Duke answered me: "The two (2) Generals were perfectly correct in their answer, for had they made such an onslaught without my permission, even though the greatest success had crowned their attempt, I must have brought them to a Court-Martial; for with Us it is a fixed rule, that a General placed in a pre-arranged position, has unlimited power to act within it, according to his judgment: for instance, if the Enemy assails him, he may defend himself on the spot, or meet the enemy from a covered position; and in both cases he may pursue them, but never further than the obstacle behind which the position assigned him lay: in one word, such obstacles, until fresh orders, is the limit of his action."
I was obliged to admit that these precepts, hitherto unknown to me, were as rules, most judicious. I had propounded and defended such myself in my discussions with General Gneisenau; still it seemed to me a point worthy of attention, that though the precept must be acknowledged unconditionally correct for Infantry and Artillery, yet for Cavalry, an exceptional rule ought to be allowed, namely, that a plain on the other side of the obstacle should be reckoned within the extent of their movements.
This last comment by GEN Muffling above (about Cavalry) being the possible exception is very interesting to me because Emanuel von Warnery (MG of the Hussars, Prussian Army under Frederick the Great), provides some insight into the Prussian Army's own view of Command & Control, and their take on this very important question about 'Subordinate's Initiative' below:
“General Officers should place themselves in such situations as to be enabled to ‘See’, if possible, all the ‘Movements and Operations’ of the Troops & Soldiers under their Command;”
“Every other Officer should, at all times, remain at his post*, whether ‘on March’, at Exercise, or in presence of the Enemy; so, that they may be in readiness to correct any error in their movements, or in short, to give such Orders as circumstances might require.”
*Note: I believe MG von Warnery was also alluding (i.e., in his 2nd comment) to the much larger issue that Wellington was really addressing. The one pertaining to: Subordinate ‘Loose Cannons & Independent Thinkers' within one's Army. This was an US Army term, that refers to Subordinate Officers that tend/want to deviate to quickly from their Mission/Objective and the Commander’s Battle Plan without significant cause or justification (My own Brigade Cdr used these terms too and he went on to be the COG @ NTC, after making BG).
And finally, this quote from one of distinguished rulers back before 'Christ was a Corporal.' ;^)
"Let us learn to think in the same way about fundamental truths." - Darrieus
The US ARMY'S recognizes the nature, problems and issues associated with this topic and identified Two (2) primary Concepts of Command and Control: 1) Mission Command and 2) Detailed Command.
Throughout history, Military Commanders have typically favored Detailed Command, but over time (i.e., say the last 300 years as they gained a better understanding of the nature of war and the patterns of military history, started to recognize and appreciate the advantages of Mission Command. Mission command is the Army’s preferred concept of command and control. Two hundred years ago, C2 practices were consistent with the Concept of Detailed Command. C2 focused on searching for accurate information about enemy and friendly forces. A commander could generally see the entire battlefield and most of his army, as well as the enemy’s. Battles were often concluded in one day. This philosophy served well in earlier times; however, the growth of armies in size and complexity required commanders to command in battles that lasted longer than a day on battlefields that extended beyond their direct view. This change began in Napoleon’s time. Napoleon developed an organizational method—the Corps d’Armee system—to reduce the uncertainty and complexity while still employing Detailed Command methods.
The concepts of Detailed Command (i.e., akin to many of the characteristics of Micro-Management) and Mission Command (i.e., Greater individual autonomy) represent the theoretical extremes of a C2 spectrum. While the US Army’s preferred C2 concept is Mission Command, in practice no commander relies on purely detailed or purely Mission Command techniques. The degree to which commanders incorporate Detailed Command techniques into their practice of Mission Command depends on a variety of factors. These may include the nature of the environment or task, the qualities of the staff and subordinate commanders, and the nature and capabilities of the enemy. The major attributes of these two (2) C2 systems are compared and contrasted below:
Acceptable decisions faster Optimal decisions, but later
Ability all echelons Ability focused at the top
Implicit Communication types used Explicit
Vertical and horizontal Vertical
Organic Organization types fostered Hierarchic
Ad hoc Bureaucratic
Delegating Leadership styles encouraged Directing
Art of war Appropriate to Science of war
Conduct of operations Technical/procedural tasks
DETAILED COMMAND Detailed Command stems from the belief that success in battle comes from imposing order and certainty on the battlefield. A commander who practices detailed command seeks to accomplish this by creating a powerful, efficient C2 system able to process huge amounts of information, and by attempting to reduce nearly all unknowns to certainty.
Detailed Command centralizes information and decision making authority. Orders and plans are detailed and explicit, and successful execution depends on strict obedience by subordinates, with minimal decision making and initiative on their part. It emphasizes vertical, linear information flow, where information flows up the chain of command and orders flow down. The commander ensures compliance with all details of the plan by imposing discipline and coordination from above. Detailed Command achieves unity of effort through detailed, prescriptive techniques. 1-66. Commanders who use this C2 concept command by personal direction or detailed directive. They make many—often too many—decisions personally, not all of which are the important ones. Often, they make these decisions prematurely. Detailed Command techniques may result in a high degree of coordination during planning. However, during execution, they leave little room for independent adjustments by subordinates; subordinates must consult the higher commander before deviating from the plan. Detailed Command is ill-suited to taking advantage of rapidly changing situations. It does not work well when the communications and information flow is disrupted. It inhibits the judgment, creativity, and initiative required for success in fluid military operations. Because of these disadvantages, mission command is a better C2 concept in almost all cases.
MISSION COMMAND Mission Command is the conduct of military operations through decentralized execution based on mission orders for effective mission accomplishment. Successful Mission Command results from subordinate leaders at all echelons exercising disciplined initiative within the commander’s intent to accomplish missions. It requires an environment of trust and mutual understanding. Successful Mission Command rests on the following four (4) elements:
1. Commander’s intent
2. Subordinates’ initiative
3. Mission orders
4. Resource allocation.
Commander’s Intent The commander’s intent is a clear, concise statement of what the force must do and the conditions the force must meet to succeed with respect to the enemy, terrain, and desired end state. It focuses on achieving the desired end state and is nested with the commander’s intent of the commander two (2) levels up. Commanders formulate and communicate their commander’s intent to describe the boundaries within which subordinates may exercise initiative while maintaining unity of effort. To avoid limiting subordinates’ freedom of action, commanders place only minimum constraints for coordination on them.
Subordinates’ Initiative Subordinates’ initiative is the assumption of responsibility for deciding and initiating independent actions when the concept of operations no longer applies or when an unanticipated opportunity leading to achieving the commander’s intent presents itself. Subordinates decide how to achieve their missions within delegated freedom of action and exercise initiative during execution, but they have an absolute responsibility to fulfill the commander’s intent. They are also required, not just permitted, to exercise initiative when an opportunity or threat presents itself. Mission Orders.