Handbook of the War

By John C. De Wilde; David H. Popper et al. | Go to book overview

3. ARMED MEN

THE military man power of the major powers is pictured in the chart opposite. Once seen, however, these quantities must be partially forgotten, for numbers are no longer a guide to military power. During the nineteenth century, the generals counted on winning battles by sheer mass. Even in 1914, a German miscalculation about distributing forces between the Eastern and Western Fronts lost them the battle of the Marne. But once the long war between fronts had set in, the infrequent gains on either side were achieved by tactical surprise or by the use of superior or novel weapons: the British tanks, the German gas, the massing of fire power for the second German drive to the Marne. Even this last device, the massing of fire power, was measured less in armed men than in numbers of guns. In the peace interval after 1918, three crucial pieces of destructive machinery were brought to perfection: the tank, the bombing plane, and the fixed fortification. With them the relative value of machines and men shifted still farther over to the machine. Planes and tanks conquered Spain and Poland; fortifications may decide the outcome on the Western Front. Today, says Liddell Hart, badly equipped mass armies only make mass cemeteries. On the other hand, overwhelming strength in both men and equipment is almost a sure-fire formula for success.

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Handbook of the War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Maps and Pictorial Charts v
  • Note vii
  • 1. What They Are Fighting For - A Rapid Glance at Europe Since Versailles 1
  • 2. the Geography of Land War 15
  • 3. Armed Men 33
  • 4. the War of Attrition 44
  • 5. the War of Annihilation 57
  • 6. Air: the New Dimension 69
  • 7. Ships and Strategy 89
  • 8. the Sea Front 109
  • 9. the Economic Front 135
  • 10. Can Germany Be Blockaded? 153
  • 11. Merchant Shipping 181
  • 12. Paying for the War 203
  • 13. Propaganda 215
  • 14. the Defense of America 227
  • Index 243
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