Everyone wants to be a super-hero, everyone wants to be a Captain Kirk. But what wins the war (not a few of the battles) is good old fashioned logistics… A theme I keep coming back to. But we don’t want to believe that it’s the boring attention to detail that makes the difference. As with checklists, it offends our sense of the spectacular (or rather, our difference, our spectacularness).
“Constant debate undoubtedly results in delays. During Napoleon’s dominance of the French system, Britain had six prime ministers and 10 foreign secretaries. The emperor had the “advantage of continuity and speed of decision,” but the cost was a lost sense of reality. Surrounded by sycophants, he eventually disappeared under a “cloud of illusion”, as did Hitler in his own time. Meanwhile, in a system that allowed for challenge and accountability, the British could not ignore awkward truths. Governments made it their business to stay well informed and allowed themselves to be “jolted out of old ways.” Victory does not necessarily go to those whose strategies are bold and daring, but to those who understand the importance of organisation and preparations for the long haul.”
Sir Lawrence Freedman The Stomach for battle
Financial Times 28/9 December 2013
Review of Britain against Napoleon: The Organisation of Victory, 1793-1815 by Roger Knight