Nelson and Mission Command

Edgar Vincent analyses the spectacularly successful, and surprisingly modern, leadership strategy of Horatio Nelson.

It is startling to find that, in this technological age, The Nelson Touch is the first heading in the British Navy’s current bible, British Maritime Doctrine. It extols Nelson’s simple instructions, his belief in delegation, and the time and effort he spent in getting his captains to understand his intentions. What Nelson practised is now  known as Mission Command, a concept that first surfaced in nineteenth-century Prussia (Auftragstaktik), was used in the German Army to distinguish between the role of Headquarters and the role of Army commander, and was eventually abandoned by Hitler in his disastrous personal direction of German armies.

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