Prussian Military Reforms

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Innovation and Evolution: Prussian Military Reforms of the 19th Century The concept of war as a static and unchanging occurrence is an outdated and dangerous miscalculation. More accurately, war is a fluidic, evolving and shifting phenomenon constantly reinventing itself, rendering stagnant, inflexible principles potentially disastrous. Consequently, as students of war and future players in this transforming theatre, the study of eras of significant development is an extremely relevant pursuit. Recognizing the need for adaptation and the creation of doctrine is now a prerequisite for any effective modern commander. War is unpredictable in nature and particularly so in current theatres of operation, in which change is rapid and volatile. Examination and deliberation on periods of past development in the conduct of war is an immensely important necessity in the development of flexible, capable and competent officers. One such example to investigate is the period of distinct development in post-Napoleonic Prussia. The enhancements made in this period were a response to the disastrous defeats suffered during the Napoleonic Wars, as well as the recognition of the deficiencies in Napoleon's system of war, and a need to improve upon it. Prussia's ensuing military and state reorganisation and restructuring revolutionized the art of war in 19th century Europe. The affects of this reformation were lasting and noticeably effective, as illustrated by the impressive Prussian victories during the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 and the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. The onset of this period was the recognition of the critical problems of command and logistics facing commanders of the immense armies of the Napoleonic period. The P... ... middle of paper ... ...Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1994 Hawthornthwaite P. & Fosten B. Napoleon's Specialist Troops. 1st Ed. Osprey / Reed Consumer Books Ltd., 1988 Hebitch, Dan. "To what extent was Napoleonic warfare made possible by solving the problem posed by logistics?", 2004 Karl Hoffman, "Auftragstaktik: Mission - Based Leadership", Engineer, Vol 23, Issue 4 December, 1994 Marbot, M.D. Memoirs du General Baron de Marbot, III,Paris, Plon, 1892. Marshall-Cornwall, J. Napoleon As a Military Commander, Clowes and Son Ltd, London, 1965. Millotat, Oberst. Strategic Studies Institute U.S. Army War College. Understanding the Prussian-German General Staff System. 1992. Paret, Peter. Makers of Modern Strategy. Princeton University Press: New Jersey, 1986 Shanahan, William. Prussian Military Reforms 1786-1813. Columbia University Press. New York, 1945

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