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2017年7月26日 (水)

THE THREE PERIODS OF WAR

There are three periods in war. There is the onset of war, where swiftness of action is what tells most; there is the grip of war, where numbers of {264} trained men are what tell most; and there is the drag of war, when what tells most is the purse.

Speaking by the book, it is of course numbers which tell all the way through. At the beginning—in the onset—the aim is to hurl superior numbers at a vital point—taking the enemy by surprise, and thereby disordering his whole plan of campaign—very much as you knock a limpet off a rock, with a sharp unexpected blow.

If this effort fails to settle matters, then we are in the grip. Here it is a case of sheer heavy slogging of all the available trained troops. The weaker side is driven to the defensive. It is found making use of every artificial and natural advantage to counteract the superiority which threatens it, and which must speedily prevail, if only it be superior enough.

Finally, after a longer or shorter period of indecisive deadlock, the time comes when trained troops and material of war accumulated in advance begin to run short—when new levies, raised since the war broke out, begin to take the field, well or ill equipped, well or ill armed, as the case may be. When this stage is reached we are in the drag of war; and the side which can best afford to feed, clothe, and arm its fresh reinforcements stands at an enormous advantage.

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