Wednesday, August 8, 2007

More Keegan

Christopher Duffy, who was lucky enough to spend some weeks teaching Yugoslav militia the elements of Napoleonic drill for a film enactment of War and Peace, described to me the thrill of comprehension he experienced in failing to manoeuvre he troops successfully across country 'in line' and of the comoparative ease with which he managed it 'in column', thus proving to his own satisfaction that Napoleon preferred the latter formation to the former not because it more effectively harnessed the revolutionary ardour of his troops (the traditional 'glamorous' explanation) but because anything more complicated was simply impracticable.

(The Face of War, p 34)

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