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Citino focuses on operational warfare to demonstrate continuity in German military campaigns from the time of Elector Frederick Wilhelm and his great ...
Citino focuses on operational warfare to demonstrate continuity in German military campaigns from the time of Elector Frederick Wilhelm and his great "sleigh-drive" against the Swedes to the age of Adolf Hitler and the blitzkrieg to the gates of Moscow. Along the way, he underscores the role played by the Prussian army in elevating a small, vulnerable state to the ranks of the European powers, describes how nineteenth-century victories over Austria and France made the German army the most respected in Europe, and reviews the lessons learned from the trenches of World War I.
Through this long view, Citino reveals an essential recurrent pattern—characterized by rapid troop movements and surprise attacks, maneuvers to outflank the enemy, and a determination to annihilate the opposition—that made it possible for the Germans to fight armies often larger than their own. He highlights the aggressiveness of Prussian and German commanders—trained simply to find the enemy and keep attacking—and destroys the myth of Auftragstaktik ("flexible command"), replacing it with the independence of subordinate commanders. He also brings new interpretations to well-known operations, such as Moltke's 1866 campaign and the opening campaign in 1914, while introducing readers to less familiar but important battles like Langensalza and the Annaberg.
TheGerman way of war, as Citino shows, was fostered by the development of a widely accepted and deeply embedded military culture that supported and rewarded aggression. His book offers a fresh look at one of the most remarkable, respected, and reviled militaries of the past half millennium and marks another sterling contribution to the history of operational warfare.
This book is part of the Modern War Studies series.
Posted February 9, 2009
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A well researched book about 300 years of Prussian/German strategic, operational and tactical thinking on the art of war. With plenty of maps and illustrations throughout. It was an interesting read from beginig to end.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 12, 2006
This book has a very interesting somewhat different take and is most enjoyable to read.The illustrations are very good as are the maps. The characters are vividly described.It is interesting to read several aspects of the book. I disagree somewhat with the eloquent defense of Schlieffen, since his plan (and it was a plan not just a sketch out-just read his Great Memorandum) is woefully inadequate in several respects, particularly the movement logistics of masses of infantry once they left the trains at railheads.This is the main reason I did not give the book 5 stars.With Schlieffen's pedantic approach it is amazing that logistics of long infantry marches on his time schedule were so neglected and that a possible British naval blockade was hardly mentioned. He considered Belgium (which was the causus belli for Britain) as a sort of a minor tactical obstacle whose army was negligible. On the other hand I loved this author's treatment of Moltke the Elder and the relationship of the independence of his subordinate commanders in 1870-71. Younger Moltke can be defended in modifying the Schlieffen Plan, as correctly pointed, out even though he should never have had top command in WWI because of age and state of health. The treatment of Frederick II the Great is some of the best I have seen as is the description of some of his commanders (i.e.in particular Ziethen and Seydlitz). The chapter on the Great Elector was very enlightening to me.I finally learned who Derfflinger was I knew about the battle cruiser of that name in Hipper's scouting fleet in WWI. I would have liked to see some more books by this author.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 12, 2009
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