Collections: Logistics, How Did They Do It, Part II: Foraging

This is the second part of a three part (I) look at some of the practical concerns of managing pre-industrial logistics. In our last post we outlined the members of our 'campaign community,' including soldiers but also non-combatants and animals (both war- and draft-); they required massive amounts of supplies, particularly food but also fodder … Continue reading Collections: Logistics, How Did They Do It, Part II: Foraging

Collections: Logistics, How Did They Do It, Part I: The Problem

In this series we’re going to be bowing to reader demand and taking a close look at the nuts and bolts of maintaining an army in the field.  In our last series, after all, we noted that before gunpowder the ability of a general to affect the course of a battle after it had begun … Continue reading Collections: Logistics, How Did They Do It, Part I: The Problem

Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part IIIc: Morale and Cohesion

This is the conclusion of the third part of our series (I, II, IIIa, IIIb) looking at the role of the general in commanding pre-gunpowder armies in battle. Last time we looked at how junior officers, when empowered to act independently, could give armies a degree of flexibility and reactiveness on the battlefield but didn't … Continue reading Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part IIIc: Morale and Cohesion

Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part IIIb: Officers

This is the continuation of the third part of our four(ish) part (I, II, IIIa) series looking at the role of the general in commanding pre-gunpowder armies in battle. Last time we looked at how an army's discipline could limit or expand the options available to its general: drill creating synchronized discipline could expand the … Continue reading Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part IIIb: Officers

Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part IIIa: Discipline

This is the third(ish) part of our four(ish)-part (I, II) look at the role of the general in the command of pre-modern armies, particularly in the context of a pitched battle. Last time, we looked at the limits on the ability of the general to communicate his orders to his army. While films and video … Continue reading Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part IIIa: Discipline

Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part II: Commands

This is the second of a four-part (I) look at the role of the general in a pre-modern army, particularly in the context of a pitched battle. Last week, we looked at the information a general might have before and during a battle. What we found was that, in contrast to the broadly omniscient generals … Continue reading Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part II: Commands

Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part I: Reports

This week we're going to start a four-part look at the role of the pre-modern general or army commander, particularly in the context of a pitched battle. This is of course a vast topic, but we are going to focus not on tactical or strategic questions but on a lot of the nuts and bolts … Continue reading Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part I: Reports

Collections: Ancient ‘Tanks’? Chariots, Scythed Chariots and Carroballistae

Building on last week's post on tanks and a few of the comments there, this week I wanted to talk about the ancient (and medieval) weapon-systems often analogized to tanks and the degree to which they had a role similar to tanks. I have lost count of how many times I have seen in this … Continue reading Collections: Ancient ‘Tanks’? Chariots, Scythed Chariots and Carroballistae

Collections: When is a ‘Tank’ Not a Tank?

(There were some technical difficulties with this post when it first went live. They should be resolved now. My apologies for anyone who got multiple email updates as a result of efforts to get the post working.) This week we're going to look at everyone's favorite kind of armored fighting vehicle, the tank. In part … Continue reading Collections: When is a ‘Tank’ Not a Tank?