Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
the more troops the greater the strength.
Les gros bataillons ont toujours raison.*
*Large battalions are always victorious.
For military science to say this is like defining momentum in
mechanics by reference to the mass only: stating that momenta are
equal or unequal to each other simply because the masses involved
are equal or unequal.
Momentum (quantity of motion) is the product of mass and velocity.
In military affairs the strength of an army is the product of its
mass and some unknown x.
Military science, seeing in history innumerable instances of the
fact that the size of any army does not coincide with its strength and
that small detachments defeat larger ones, obscurely admits the
existence of this unknown factor and tries to discover it--now in a
geometric formation, now in the equipment employed, now, and most
usually, in the genius of the commanders. But the assignment of
these various meanings to the factor does not yield results which
accord with the historic facts.
Yet it is only necessary to abandon the false view (adopted to
gratify the "heroes") of the efficacy of the directions issued in
wartime by commanders, in order to find this unknown quantity.
That unknown quantity is the spirit of the army, that is to say, the
greater or lesser readiness to fight and face danger felt by all the
men composing an army, quite independently of whether they are, or are
not, fighting under the command of a genius, in two--or three-line
formation, with cudgels or with rifles that repeat thirty times a
minute. Men who want to fight will always put themselves in the most
advantageous conditions for fighting.
The spirit of an army is the factor which multiplied by the mass
gives the resulting force. To define and express the significance of
this unknown factor--the spirit of an army--is a problem for science.
This problem is only solvable if we cease arbitrarily to
substitute for the unknown x itself the conditions under which that
force becomes apparent--such as the commands of the general, the
equipment employed, and so on--mistaking these for the real
significance of the factor, and if we recognize this unknown
quantity in its entirety as being the greater or lesser desire to
fight and to face danger. Only then, expressing known historic facts
by equations and comparing the relative significance of this factor,
can we hope to define the unknown.
Ten men, battalions, or divisions, fighting fifteen men, battalions,
or divisions, conquer--that is, kill or take captive--all the
others, while themselves losing four, so that on the one side four and
on the other fifteen were lost. Consequently the four were equal to
the fifteen, and therefore 4x = 15y. Consequently x/y = 15/4. This
equation does not give us the value of the unknown factor but gives us
a ratio between two unknowns. And by bringing variously selected
historic units (battles, campaigns, periods of war) into such
equations, a series of numbers could be obtained in which certain laws
should exist and might be discovered.
The tactical rule that an army should act in masses when
attacking, and in smaller groups in retreat, unconsciously confirms
the truth that the strength of an army depends on its spirit. To
lead men forward under fire more discipline (obtainable only by
movement in masses) is needed than is needed to resist attacks. But
this rule which leaves out of account the spirit of the army
continually proves incorrect and is in particularly striking
contrast to the facts when some strong rise or fall in the spirit of
the troops occurs, as in all national wars.
The French, retreating in 1812--though according to tactics they should
have separated into detachments to defend themselves--congregated into a
mass because the spirit of the army had so fallen that only the mass
held the army together. The Russians, on the contrary, ought according
to tactics to have attacked in mass, but in fact they split up into
small units, because their spirit had so risen that separate
individuals, without orders, dealt blows at the French without needing
any compulsion to induce them to expose themselves to hardships and
The so-called partisan war began with the entry of the French into
Before partisan warfare had been officially recognized by the
government, thousands of enemy stragglers, marauders, and foragers had
been destroyed by the Cossacks and the peasants, who killed them off
as instinctively as dogs worry a stray mad dog to death. Denis
Davydov, with his Russian instinct, was the first to recognize the
value of this terrible cudgel which regardless of the rules of
military science destroyed the
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