C.E. Callwell, Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice () – Credit to A. Bradley Potter, Johns Hopkins University SAIS, Classics of. Little wonder, then, that Colonel C E Callwell’s Small Wars, a century-old manual for fighting colonial wars, has been rediscovered. It probably. This essay aims to outline the major arguments of Callwell’s seminal work Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice, first published in

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See all 13 reviews. The rivers in Cochin China and Tonkin proved in this manner of great service to the French in their campaigns in and The transfer by sea of the British expeditionary force from Alexandria to Ismailia, inwas carried out under the cover of a pretended attack on Aboukir.

Lockhart had ordered the tribesmen’s attention to be occupied in front, while a force was to proceed as rapidly as possible, past the front of Dargai so as to threaten their line of retreat; this turning movement was not, however, carried out, the result being that great difficulty was experienced in capturing a position which would probably have been evacuated by the enemy the moment our troops had established themselves in rear of it.

In the hands of guerrillas, they can contribute to a new paradigm of war. Technological superiority is an important, but seldom critical, ingredient in the success of low-intensity operations.

Lord Wolseley had for a time hoped before closing operations for the season to capture Berber by a combined movement of the desert force and of the River Column which was in the meantime following the Nile, and thus to establish an advanced post at an important strategical point in anticipation of a campaign against Khartum callwwell months later.

The roots of modern counterinsurgency strategy are deep.

In dealing with tactical questions arising in small wars the more recent campaigns are chiefly taken into consideration, owing to the advances in the science of manufacturing war material.

But the principle remains the same. War up a giveaway. It was so in the Chinese war ofwhen all efforts at negotiation failed till the allied forces were at the gates of Pekin.

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Get them both, they both belong in ones Military History Library. In Algeria the French, adopting the methods of Abd-el-Kader and his followers, made sudden raids or “razzias” – dealt with later in the chapters on guerilla warfare and raids – carrying off the live stock and property of their wandering opponents. These characteristics served him well while examining small wars, though perhaps not in leading troops. The position of the wells fixes the lines of military operations in a desert, just as it fixes the caravan routes and the highways of commerce.


Modern magazine rifles shift the military balance in favour of the guerrilla. Denghil Tepe, for instance, became the stronghold in which practically the whole military power of the Tekke Turkomans concentrated itself in andalthough the Turkomans are, in the main, a nomad race; the Russians failed in their first campaign through mismanagement, but the objective never was in doubt, and in their second venture the formidable nomad race, which might have taken years to subdue, was crushed for good and all when the fortress fell.

In an earlier chapter it has been pointed out that the conditions which bring about small wars are such as generally to throw upon the regular troops the responsibility of acting. The Dutch in Achin, where the jungle was in places almost impenetrable, found an enemy ready enough to fight and who fought under skilful guidance.

The heritage of extended empire and callwwell. The fact that tills transport has to be fed itself and that it may have to carry its own food has been warss upon. The worse are the tracks, the more difficult is it to ensure an efficient transport service to carry the supplies which do not exist on the spot.

By bold and skilful dispositions they signally defeated the Annamese drawn up to meet them, and the effect of the blow was so great that they were able to overrun the country afterwards almost unhindered.

C.E. Callwell, Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice () | Small Wars Journal

Having retired in to devote himself to writing, he was recalled in to serve as Director of Military. But then the supplies which it carried would be consumed by troops which were not engaged on active operation at the moment because there happened to be no enemy at hand – by troops which could have been fed without the slightest difficulty on the railway. The fighting forces of the Arabs, Moors, and Tartars have always largely consisted of irregular cavalry, and the regular troops campaigning in these countries have been exposed to sudden onslaught by great hordes of mounted men.

Advantages of this formation in bush fighting. Campaigns of the third class have characteristics analogous to the conditions ordinarily governing wars of conquest and of annexation. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime.

Small Wars Their Principles And Practice

As well as being translated into French, copies were highly sought after by IRA officers during the Irish War of Independence ! Troops on the move at night. So it became necessary to recall the column to Korti, and the operations came to an end. Two forms of squares the rigid and the elastic The rigid form. The enemy is often represented by a people with comparatively speaking settled institutions, with a central form of government, and with military forces regulated and commanded by a central authority.


The relieving troops had been assured of water at the foot of an important pass; but on reaching the spot designated none was found: Even savages, who a few years ago would have defended themselves with bows and arrows, are often found now-a-days with breechloading rifles – the constant smuggling of arms into their territories, which the various Powers concerned seem wholly unable to suppress, promises that small wars of the future may involve very difficult operations.

For it is perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of small wars as compared with regular hostilities conducted between modern awrs, that they are in the main campaigns against nature. The enemy has no organized intelligence department, no regular corps of spies, no telegraphs caklwell and yet he knows perfectly well what is going on.

Ina Russian column under General Tchernaieff attempted to march from Tashkend to capture Samarcand; but after proceeding a considerable distance it was obliged to turn back owing to difficulties as to supply, principally water. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews.

It must be remembered that the transport animals themselves have to be fed, and that if no forage is obtainable they have to carry their own food. This doubt reflects itself in the movements of the regular forces; it dogs them in their advance, cramping their liberty of action to such an extent that it not unfrequently brings them to a complete standstill, to the great encouragement of the enemy and to the detriment of a decisive campaign.

The mistake was only rectified when, riding forward on to some high ground, he was startled by finding Algiers lying immediately below him, and close at hand.

Earlier in this chapter the enormous amount of transport required for a force penetrating far into a territory destitute of supplies has been pointed out. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.