War and the Past - The Pen in Support of the Sword

D.G. Chandler continues our series, looking at the relevance of military history in contemporary training for the armed forces.

The place of military history in the training and education of the soldier is a subject that deserves close attention. Many notable commanders of past, near-present and contemporary times - Napoleon, Wavell, Rommel, Montgomery, Generals Hackett and Farrar-Hockley among them - have stressed the need for the professional soldier to, in the words of le petit caporal, 'read and meditate upon the wars of the greatest captains'. Despite this sage advice - and the impressive examples of USMA West Point, Coetiquidian-St Cyr, or for the matter of that, of the Soviet military colleges, to mention but three-the British attitude has been ambivalent in recent years.

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