previous next

Scientific Strategy

Every operation requires a time fixed for its commencement, a period and place for its execution,
The points of inherent importance in the conduct of a campaign,—time, place, secrecy, code of signals, agents, and method.
secrecy, definite signals, persons by whom and with whom it is to be executed, and a settled plan for conducting it. It is evident that the man who has rightly provided for each of these details will not fail in the ultimate result, while he who has neglected any single one of them will fail in the whole. Such is the order of nature, that one insignificant circumstance will suffice for failure, while for success rigid perfection of every detail is barely enough.

Leaders then should neglect no single point in conducting such expeditions.

Now the head and front of such precautions is silence; and

Things necessary. 1. Silence.
not to allow either joy at the appearance of an unexpected hope, or fear, or familiarity, or natural affection, to induce a man to communicate his plans to any one unconcerned, but to impart it to those and those alone without whom it is impossible to complete his plan; and not even to them a moment sooner than necessary, but only when the exigencies of the particular service make it inevitable. It is necessary, moreover, not only to be silent with the tongue, but much more so in the mind. For it has happened to many generals before now, while preserving an inviolable silence, to betray their thoughts either by the expression of their countenances or by their actions.

The second requisite is to know accurately the conditions

2. Knowledge of the capabilities of the force in moving.
under which marches by day or night may be performed, and the distances to which they can extend; and not only marches on land, but also voyages by sea.

The third and most important is to have some knowledge of the seasons, and to be able to adapt the design to them.

Nor again is the selection of the ground for the operation to be regarded as unimportant, since it often happens that it is this which makes what seems impossible possible, and what seemed possible impossible.

Finally there must be no neglect of the

3. Care in concerting signals. 4. Care in selecting men.
subject of signals and counter signals; and the choice of persons by whom and with whom the operation is to be carried out.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Theodorus Büttner-Wobst after L. Dindorf, 1893)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: