Friday, 9 August 2013

Bond Wars

By William H. Gross

Adaptation is tantamount to survival in the physical world. So argued Darwin, at least, and I am not one to argue with most science and its interpretation of natural laws. Adaptation has been critical as well for the survival of countries during wartime, incidents of which I am drawn to like a bear to honey, especially when they concern WWI. Stick with me for a few paragraphs on this – the following is not likely to be boring and almost certainly should be instructive.

In the first decade of the 20th century, British war colleges and their generals were philosophically trapped by the successful strategies of a prior era – an era before the invention of a functional machine gun. They felt that machine guns might dampen the spirit of their fighting forces. What counted was the horse and the sword. Britain’s cavalry training manual of 1907 in fact stated that “the rifle or machine gun, effective as it is, cannot replace the devastation produced by the speed of the horse, the magnetism of the charge, and the terror of cold steel.”

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