Cannae [Illustrated Edition]

Cannae [Illustrated Edition]

Language: English

Pages: 408


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Over 100 maps and diagrams are included.

Field-Marshal Alfred Graf von Schlieffen had a long and distinguished career in the Prussian military service, although he initially eschewed a military life despite being the son of a Prussian officer. However in completing his one year compulsory military service in 1853 he was picked as an outstanding candidate for officer selection, and so began a fifty-three year career in the German military. As one of the foremost of a new generation of officers around the time of Prussian expansionism and the birth of a federal Germany, he was to experience much warfare first-hand. After graduating with honours from the famed Prussian Kriegsakadamie, the cradle of such military men of the standard of Clausewitz, Von Moltke, von Steinmetz, he was appointed to the planning unit of the German General Staff. He was to see the plans that he worked upon come to bloody but successful conclusions during the wars with Austria in 1866 and most famously the annihilation of French military force during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Schlieffen’s lasting impression on the world was his famous “Schlieffen Plan” which he designed to enable the German army to knock France out of a two front war by a huge flanking manoeuvre through the Low Countries.

Schlieffen was fascinated with the art of war and assiduously studied the campaigns of history from Alexander the Great to Napoleon, to divine a theory and practice of manoeuvring that would force the basis of enduring military success. As an esteemed teacher at the Kriegsakadamie, he set about to mould his students into disciples of his theory of war, in doing so he wrote extensively intending to commit all of his experience to paper. He most famous work was “Cannae”, intended to explain and illustrate the driving idea of the battle of encirclement that had achieved so much success throughout history. Using examples from the wars of Hannibal, Frederick the Great, Napoleon and the recent German led wars with Austria and France, he sets out how the encirclement and destruction of an enemy’s army should be achieved.

The book was seen as a watershed in military theory and was widely read across the world; to ensure that the ideas were disseminated to their students the American Army translated it into English. The effect of Schlieffen’s thinking was still felt by the senior officers that fought in the Second World War who were imbued with the principles of Cannae which would be so well defined as part of the German Blitzkrieg. No less a military leader but First Quartermaster General Erich Ludendorff, the principal German strategists of the First World War, declared that Schlieffen was “one of the greatest soldiers ever.” no mean testament to the man and his principal book.
















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