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View Diary: The Face That Launched 1,000 Lunchboxes: Davy Crockett Was Kind of a Tool (58 comments)

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  •  European observers did... (2+ / 0-)
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    alevei, Dave925

    but many American officers felt differently. No less a figure than Henry Wager Halleck (the practical author of mid-19th century American strategic policy) had flatly stated in 1839 that he didn't see the aim of American military strategy being directed at small threats like "the Indians or the Mexicans" since the plain strength of the United States would be more than sufficient to subdue them. Many other American officers (like Halleck's patron and teacher at West Point, Dennis Hart Mahan) were of the same mind.

    Much of the difference lies in attitude. The European officers (being either adherents of Clauswitz or Jomini) tended to favor the professionalized armies that they knew well, a mold into which the Mexican army seemed to fit nicely. But this was one of the areas that American theory had gone a different way; they favored the cadre system that was the hallmark of our armies from the Revolution to World War II. The Mexican army depended on what were basically the conscripted poor for its rank and file, while the American army depended on raising volunteers from the still-viable pools of the state militias. They knew what the Europeans observers overlooked or discounted: the power of the cadre system to produce decent rank and file quickly and motivate them as strongly as far more professional troops.

    Add to that the small but important technological advantages in weaponry (which European observers also tended to discount but American officers as trained engineers paid attention to) and we see why the Army and the politicians that took their advice held the attitudes that Halleck expressed so bluntly. Even though others didn't think this an uneven fight, our own Army generally did...and they were absolutely right.

    Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

    by Stwriley on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 01:22:26 PM PDT

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