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But when there is no king to conquer, no capital to seize, no organized army to overthrow, and when there are no celebrated strongholds to capture, and no great centres of population to occupy, the objective is not so easy to select. By spreading fictitious information as to proposed movements, or by publishing it abroad that some imaginary enterprise is. But on the other hand the principle of holding back the bulk of the troops and pushing supplies on ahead, must not be carried too far.

The very serious inconvenience which may arise when a neighbouring tribe unexpectedly assumes an unfriendly demeanour is singularly well illustrated by the Ambela campaign. But its capture by no. Callwell and his “Small Wars,” most important for our purposes I believe — and most important specifically re: Campaigns of conquest or annexation are of necessity directed against enemies on foreign soil, they mean external not internal war, and they will generally be directed against foemen under control of some potentate or chief.

He was commissioned as a lieutenant in Januaryjoining a battery of the 3rd Brigade, Royal Field Artillerythen stationed in India, and serving in the closing stages of the Second Anglo-Afghan War. It was also that Afrikaner nationalism, embodied in the two Boer republics, the Transvaal and the Orange Free State, gave to the farmers of the veldt an identity, a social cohesion, and a politico-military organisation that were thoroughly modern.

In January his battery was transferred to Natalarriving just in time to take part in the final operations of the ill-fated expedition against the Transvaal Boers.

Naval History and Heritage Command

Sekukuai’s and Morosi’s mountains are examples of this, and their capture put an immediate end fharles the campaign in each case. In both the Red River Expedition and the Nile Expedition ofrow-boats were used, by which at once the force itself and the supplies for the force advanced. Previously to the second attack wras Dargai in the Tirah campaign, information had been allowed to leak out that it was contemplated to wwars the operation on the same lines as on the previous occasions – to advance direct on the position with one column and to turn the right with another.

The Ashanti imbroglio of and the French operations against the Hovas in and the following year may be similarly classed. He was promoted to captain on 17 March It may, however, be accepted as a general rule – and the reason why this is so needs no demonstration – that the less organized the forces of the enemy are, the more difficult is it callewll form any estimate of their strength or their quality.

Only the approximate position of this was known. Such warriors depend on spears and knives and not on firearms. The unfortunate reverse suffered by the Italian troops at Dogalt near Massawa arose almost entirely from ignorance of the hostile strength.


Orders wore drawn up for a combined attack by land and sea upon the Aboukir forts. If the enemy cannot be touched in his patriotism or his honour, he can be touched through his pocket. Monarchical institutions are to be found in many semi-civilized and savage lands, amounting often to forms of despotism which are particularly well calculated to ensure a judicious management of available military forces when at war.

The delay was entirely due to supply difficulties, for instead of marching straight across, it was found necessary to form a depot at Jakdul about half way where there were good wells, and to send the transport back from there to Korti to bring up more food, before the rest of the distance could be covered.

Regular armies are governed by certain strategical laws – elastic laws no doubt, but none the less laws – a complete disregard of which will lead to disaster.

Small Wars by Colonel C E Callwell : a Military Times Classic – Military History Monthly

Stewart’s force on its march from the Abu Klea wells to the Nile in was taken, unnecessarily as was subsequently discovered, through some thick bush at night. The conditions here were peculiar, but they illustrate well the broad principle that in warfare of this nature it is half the battle to have a distinct task to perform. Importance of capturing enemys guns. So it comes about that campaigns of conquest and annexation mean for the most part campaigns against forces which, however irregular they may be in their composition, are nevertheless tangible and defined.

Military operations are always undertaken with some end in view, and are shaped for its achievement. The two Afghan wars, and wsrs the first, may be included in this category.

Mainly these were studies on tactics and on sars connected with the World War; he also produced works that satirized army procedure and War Office routine; this may have contributed to his being passed over for promotion.

It was of the utmost importance that a secure footing should be gained in the Suez Canal before Arabi Pasha should guess that this was the real point of attack. Similarly the United States troops had not at first expected to find the Filipinos with artillery; but these brought up two guns to defend Kalumpit. He assumed from the position of what he took to be the sea, that the point he was making for lay quite differently from that what was shown on the map, and he started his columns in an altogether false direction.

Most of the punitive expeditions on the Indian frontier may be included in this category; but many of these latter have resulted in annexation of the offending district, and the French campaigns in Annam in and recently in Dahomey ended in like fashion.

Long-range, rapid-fire, precision weapons cut two ways. This reprint adds vital historical dimension to the growing literature on unconventional conflict.

It is intended merely to give a sketch of the principles and practice of small wars as regards strategy and tactics, and of the broad rules which govern the conduct of operations in hostilities against adversaries of whom modern works on the military art seldom take account.


C.E. Callwell, Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice () | Small Wars Journal

The consequence was that the column was soon enveloped and almost annihilated, and that the whole of the arrangements designed by the Samll commander-in-chief were thrown out of gear.

Neither the commander-in-chief nor his brigadiers seem to have had any idea that they were within a few miles of an army five-fold smlal to their own, and consisting of formidable warriors effectively armed and full of fight, when the unfortunate nocturnal advance was made which brought on the battle. Warz the hands of Europeans facing a rush of Dervish or Zulu spearmen, they can engineer a massacre, a one-sided slaughter that is hardly battle at all.

Remarks on the arrangement of ambuscades. Supplies have then to be carried sufficient to subsist the force while it traverses the whole distance, and the consequence of this is that supply trains grow to an enormous size and become very troublesome to control and difficult to protect.

Royal United Services Institute.

In Algeria the French were incessantly despatching expeditions against the Kabyles which could effect nothing because the enemy disappeared. There is, moreover, another peculiarity which is very generally found in the antagonists with whom the organized forces in small wars have to cope.

The Mahdists made a desperate attempt to prevent Sir Smalo. Sometimes, however, the circumstances do not admit of it, and then their villages must be demolished and their crops and granaries destroyed; still it is unfortunate when this is the case. The enormous importance of moral effect in these campaigns will be dealt with in a later chapter, suffice it to say here.

The question of water also greatly cahrles the operations of the desert force, and introduced this wara element of supply into the problem.

Charles Edward Callwell

In almost all tropical campaigns the subject of water is a source of anxiety and it is constantly in the mind of the commander as he shapes his plan of operations. The less fertile and productive the theatre of ears, the more elaborate have to calwell the arrangements for the commissariat. Whenever a regular army finds itself engaged upon hostilities against irregular forces, or forces which in their armament, their organization, and their csllwell are palpably inferior to it, the conditions of the campaign become distinct from the conditions of modern regular warfare, and it is with hostilities of this nature that this volume proposes to deal.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. He sees his opponent’s hand. It is not the question of pushing forward the man, or the horse, or the gun, that has to be taken into account, so charlea as that of the provision of the necessaries of life for the troops when they have been pushed forward.

Hostilities entered upon to punish an insult or to chastise a people who have inflicted some injury, will generally be on foreign soil.