Thursday, October 2, 2014

Differing command styles

A fine book and well worth reading

The late John Keegan wrote a fine book called "The Mask of Command" which discussed the differences in how armies have been led over time, particularly how different commanders have put their own particular stamp on leading.  He contrasts the heroic style of Alexander the Great with the more managerial approach of Ulysses S. Grant, examining in detail the cultural, social and technological pressures that shaped their experience and approach to command. 

It is a hugely significant work and well worth the time. I cannot recommend it to you strongly enough. With that in mind, I would like to bring to particular case studies in command to your attention, less well known, though no less august than Alexander the Great or Adolf Hitler. 

They are of course, General Donogh McCarthy and General Du Gourmand, who led the French and Russian armies at our first Borodino battle some weeks ago. 

For those of you who would like to follow along at home, you will find the map referred to here

General McCarthy

General Du Gourmand

As a small exercise (who says wargaming can not be educational?), I would ask you to watch both of these videos and complete the following assignment. 

1. Describe each general management style in three words or less. 
2. Identify the key points of his plan. 
3. Suggest which of the two won the battle. 

There will be a small prize for the best answer.(1)

(1) An actual fungible prize. No correspondence entered into. Judges decision is final. Do not use while operating heavy machinery. No money returned. To conclude with "God save the King" in full chorus. Value of blogs may go up as well as well as down.