War and the Past

David G. Chandler completes his series with a look at drill books and tactics.

Victory on the battlefield has always been the product of many interconnected influences and factors. Contrasting standards of leadership and military ability amongst senior commanders, of staying-power and courage in battle amongst their men, and of competence in solving logistical problems on the part of the staff are all major contributory factors, but developments in tactical doctrine and practice have also played a significant part. However brilliant the strategic concepts or battlefield planning, in the final analysis it is at the level of minor tactics that battles are won or lost, but it is often difficult for the historian delving into the past to discover accurate information on the details of the fighting methods actually employed at a particular period by, for instance, infantry battalions.

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