Thursday, October 8, 2020

The General

 I've read a lot of C. S. Forester, but The General escaped my notice, somehow.

It's about a Brit Cavalry Major that was a war here as a sub-altern in the Boer war and got promoted to head a battalian on the eve of venturing across the channel in August 1914.  

From there his beloved horses are of no use and his cavalry ends up manning a line like infantry at Ypres.  His CO gets KIA and he end up leading the whole brigade.  From the, a Division as Major General to fight at Loos, and his stead performance there nets him Lieutenant Generalship and the commander of a Corps at the Somme.  Then on to the German counteroffensive in 1918...

He is valued by his superiors because he is steady, stubborn, and devoted to duty. 

But he is has no imagination.  He is like the Ox. Invaluable to the farm, but not the necessary to be sure the whole farm succeed  The abbotoir of attrition just grinds on.

Written on the eve or WWII, parts of it reads like it was published ten years later in 1946.  Very prescient of what NOT to do in a coming conflict.  Tanks and manuever warfare desirable and can lead to success?  Really?!  Stubborn adherence to older doctrine can sometimes be conuterproductive?  You don't say, wot?!!



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