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Histoire et Stratégies

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Evolution or revolution in military affairs? A historical perspective through the First World War

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Par le Chef d'escadrons VALENTIN SEILER

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Military innovation does not occur in a linear manner. In military history the few periods where great acceleration in change dramatically modified the way people waged war are in contrast to periods where incremental change is the norm. If military analysts generally agree on this principle which underpins the concept of «Revolution in Military Affairs» (RMA), they often disagree on the scale and reach of change. It is not easy to demonstrate whether change is revolutionary or evolutionary in a particular period of time. Therefore, before discussing a case study, it is necessary to explore further the keys tenets of an RMA. Andrew Krepinevich suggests an empiric definition of an RMA: «What is a military revolution? It is what occurs when the application of new technologies into a significant number of military systems combines with innovative operational concepts and organisational adaptation in a way that fundamentally alters the character and conduct of conflict. It does so by producing a dramatic increase - often an order of magnitude or greater - in the combat potential and military effectiveness of armed forces»[1].

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The common point of all RMAs is that the combination of several major changes makes the former frameworks obsolete or irrelevant. MacGregor Knox and Williamson Murray make a distinction between a Military Revolution and an RMA. They argue that only a few Military Revolutions really transformed the character of war, whereas RMAs are more underpinned by technical, organisational and doctrinal change. They identify five major Military Revolutions and a non exhaustive list of about twenty RMAs[2]. Focusing on military issues, this essay will consider an RMA in its larger sense, notwithstanding the fact that RMAs occur in a long term dynamic of Military Revolutions. Colin Gray accurately suggests a short and generic definition for an RMA which will be the basic reference for this analysis: «by RMA I mean a radical change in the character or conduct of war»[3]. In other words, an RMA implies a discontinuity in terms of operational effectiveness. Physicists measure a quantum leap - an energetic discontinuity - when they observe matter at the infinitesimal level. In the same way, military analysts measure a leap when they consider an RMA. But, if the RMA hypothesis relies on the possibility of revolutionary change, it does not necessary mean that change is rapid, but profound.



The aim of this essay is to evaluate the importance of the RMA of the First World War and to highlight its key tenets. The arguments will focus on land and air warfare because the maritime aspect did not play a critical role in the transformation.



Keeping Gray’s point in mind, this essay will demonstrate that a major RMA occurred during World War I. The transformation was so profound that the new operational paradigm which emerged from 1917 to 1918 shaped the style of conventional warfare of the 20th century. It was the birth of what is sometimes called the modern style of warfare. Moreover, the RMA was both the outcome of changes in the 19th century and the catalyst for the interwar RMA in mechanisation and aviation.



In order to address these issues, it is first necessary to outline the paradigm of warfare in 1914. Second, the tenets of the combined-arms RMA of World War I based on a three-dimensional form of tactics will be evaluated. It will be argued that the RMA was the result of the combination of conceptual, tactical and technical changes. Third, the outcome of the RMA will be analysed.

The paradigm of warfare in 1914

In 1914, the French and the Germans went to war with enthusiasm because they thought that the war would be short and decisive. They had in memory the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 which demonstrated the ability of an Army to defeat the adversary in a relative short period of time with satisfactory results. Following this war, the conceptual framework of 1914 remained unchanged. It was actually based on the legacies of the French and Industrial revolutions. The French revolution completely altered the classical idea of small professional armies fighting on a precise battlefield for a limited period of time. French leaders introduced the ideas of the nation in arms and «levée en masse» in the early 1790s.[4] At the beginning of the 19th century, Napoleon was the great architect of this new style of warfare based on mass armies which were not easy to move, commit and sustain. Clausewitz studied in detail the Napoleonic campaigns and played a critical role in shaping the conceptual framework at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. In 1914, both sides decided to enter into war on the basis of the Clausewitzian teachings, thinking that war was the «continuation of policy by other means»’[5] and would provide a decisive outcome for the winner. The Industrial revolution which started in Europe in the 19th century provided an industrial base for waging war and sustaining mass armies. As a result of this phenomenon, huge material resources were available in 1914. The scale of destructiveness of the weapons was dramatically increased. The belligerents used this industrial base to mass industrial firepower such as machine-guns and huge quantity of artillery pieces[6]. They also relied on industrial logistics, using the railway as the key vector to move and sustain the armies

[7].

In 1914, military doctrine in France and Germany was based on the cult of the offensive[8]. This strong belief emerged as of the beginning of the 20th century because of the exaltation of the Napoleonic model, the rise of nationalism in Europe and a biased interpretation of Clausewitz’s work[9]. It became a real ideology. Foch promoted in his lectures at the War College in Paris the idea of offensive at any price because of this belief of the intrinsic superiority of the offensive over the defensive. Besides, despite the increasing lethality of weapons, any major change in tactics was made because of the primacy of the morale to defeat the adversary[10]. Many French officers thought that the offensive combined with a strong morale would be the key of military success[11]. Only a few officers understood that the ideology of the offensive at any price was de facto condemned by change in weaponry and the rise of industrial firepower. In France, Pétain epitomised this school of thought with his aphorism repeated in his infantry course that «le feu tue»[12] (firepower kills). In Germany, the same importance was given to the offensive. It was thought that a rapid and decisive victory could be achieved over the French by replicating the spirit of the German plan of 1870[13]. Consequently, the belligerents entered into war in 1914 with the model of the battle for annihilation in order to strike the enemy’s centre of gravity and shatter his will. It was thought that this objective could be achieved through a manoeuvre of envelopment or double envelopment. The battle for annihilation was actually based on the old two dimensional forms of tactics which was successfully used by Napoleon at the beginning of the 19th century. The primacy was given to the infantry and the cavalry. At its heart, the doctrine of 1914 relied on the successful Napoleonic principles: field guns opening fire at short range on the first enemy lines; infantry assaulting in waves; cavalry exploiting the success of the infantry. Both sides hoped a breakthrough in order to envelop the enemy and enable the battle for annihilation. The Schlieffen Plan was actually only an extension of the ideas that prevailed in Germany in 1870

[14]. Technological advances had not fully been taken into account.

From a technological perspective, the outcome of the Industrial revolution was an acceleration of change. Some important technical improvements and innovations occurred. The lethality of existing weapons was significantly increased, in particular the machine-gun, the modern rifle and quick-firing artillery pieces. Heavy artillery started to play a critical role on the battlefield whereas the precision of the field artillery was enhanced. Firepower of modern artillery assets was so phenomenal that it became the dominant weapon of the battlefield[15]. Flexibility was also increased by the introduction of the field telephone and the telegraph replacing the Morse. Hence, the range of the guns was increased because no longer did the observer have to see both the target and the gun

[16].

Three major new weapons were introduced during World War I. The development of the internal combustion engine allowed the birth of the tank and the aircraft, whereas research in chemistry led to the birth of poison gas. Tanks were developed by the British and the French. They were initially only designed to crush trenches and barded wire. In other words, they were only designed to be an instrument of rupture. The idea was to develop a weapon mounted on an armoured chassis to ensure force protection to the crew. The French initially referred to the idea of assault artillery. The aircraft was used for the first time for military purposes. By late 1915 it became the principal means for reconnaissance. Later on in the war it was used for artillery observation and for close air support to the benefit of land forces with the attachment of a machine-gun[17]. The poison gas became also a terrifying weapon because troops had no efficient gas masks and lacked protection-kits. Nevertheless, there were serious technical limitations in the use of those new weapons. The employment of the aircraft was constrained not only by weather conditions but also by time and daylight. The tank never became an instrument of rupture because it lacked both mobility and firepower. In addition, its intrinsic capabilities were limited by frequent mechanical breakdown. The employment of the poison gas was not reliable; it was heavily dependant on the direction of the wind. Moreover, it could have counter-productive effects on friendly troops. As a result of serious technical limitations, neither the tank nor poison gas could be used as a decisive weapon on the battlefield

[18].

Moreover, at the beginning of the war there were some very important doctrinal limitations. Both sides lacked imagination. Doctrinal laziness was blatant[19]. Technical innovations actually did not really change the existing conceptual framework which was forged decades ago. In essence, the initial phase was based on heavy artillery preparations which could take several days. Hence, when the infantry launched the attack, troops lacked the benefit of surprise. The adversary exactly knew the place of the attack and had time to mass forces at the right place. The attack also occurred in a direct frontal manner toward strong field fortifications because there were no flanks and no real weak point

[20]. There was also the problem that railways had improved mobility at the operational level, but that movement at the tactical level was still on foot. In the circumstances of the First World War, this meant that by the time a tactical penetration had been achieved, the defender had brought up reserves to prevent its exploitation. Finally, both sides did not make the best use of the artillery. It was only used in direct support of the attack in order to dislocate the first echelon. There was also a tendency to assume that the same approach, only with more, would work, rather than looking to radically new approaches.

The offensives of 1914 led to a tactical and operational stalemate. In essence, the combined use of significantly more powerful weapons within an old conceptual framework explain the failure of the Schlieffen Plan which relied on the classical two dimensional form of tactics. The success was supposed to come from a decisive battle of annihilation with a double envelopment by the flanks. Jonathan Bailey argues that the German plan was inspired by the Carthaginian victory at Cannae and that the style of warfare promoted was as old as war itselff

[21].

The new potentialities brought about the emergence of new weapons and the increasing firepower implied conceptual change. Unfortunately the doctrinal reflexion for change was not conducted in 1914. The doctrinal laziness brought to light problems at two levels. At the tactical level, there was initially not enough heavy artillery to break the front. The infantry was unable to breach the obstacles fortifying the trenches due to lack of specific equipment and protection. The machine-gun played a critical role in the defence in stopping the attack of the infantry waves. The artillery was also unable to conduct counter-battery fires. At the operational level, both sides were unable to break-out and to exploit in depth because of lack of mobility of the assaulting infantry, the vulnerability of the cavalry and the inability of the artillery to move rapidly forward[22]. As a result of those tactical and operational problems, World War I became a long and bloody war that Schlieffen had tried to avoid. Gray accurately argues that «the character of warfare which failed in 1914-16 may be described as Napoleonic with an industrial base

[23].

In 1914, the stalemate of the German offensives became blatant very quickly. The huge shock of the 1914 and onwards was unbelievable and unexpected. The amount of casualties became a real problem. The morale of the troops decreased quickly. Up to mid-1917 both sides tried to break the deadlock of attrition warfare without any significant success because the principles applied in 1914 remained roughly the same. In April 1917, General Nivelle launched a massive frontal attack on the Western front in order to overwhelm the German defences. There were so many casualties that it was the last major offensive relying on the doctrinal principles of 1914. Following the failure of the offensive, many French units faced strong mutinies as of April 1917[24]. The need for change clearly appeared at this time. In other words, the impasse of the existing doctrine and the pressure of the events was the catalyst for radical change or indeed what could be called an RMA

[25].

The combined-arms RMA

The new approach to warfighting which emerged in 1917 was primarily based on the massive use of indirect fire in order to solve the tactical and operational issues. It was the key innovation of World War I

[26]. Heavy and long range artillery assets played a critical role by opening new spaces for manoeuvre. Air power was used in a more efficient manner for deep attack and ground-air co-ordinated operations. French and British forces exploited the potentialities of the tank.

The employment of those weapons was combined with innovating tactical approaches. One of the most significant was developed by the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). It was experimented in 1917 during the Battle of Cambrai. For the first time, the BEF tried to combine new doctrinal ideas and the use of tanks in mass. The BEF launched an important offensive on the 20 November 1917 to breach the Hindenburg Line and to test the relevance of a significant tank attack[27]. The combined use of tanks and predicted artillery fires showed the potentials of a new approach to warfighting

[28]. The initial tactical success of the offensive at Cambrai was the proof that a potential RMA was under way.

The RMA which emerged in a short period of time between 1917 and 1918 is the outcome of the lessons of three years of bloody attrition warfare. It induced a true paradigm shift in the conduct of war. If many constituents of the RMA were not new, its roots relied on conceptual, tactical and technical change[29]. The core tenet of the RMA was the combined use of all arms and their co-ordination in time and space on the battlefield. That is why the RMA of World War I is called in this essay the combined- long artillery preparations. Technological innovations led to more accurate and reliable weapons. It was the means to reinforce the effectiveness of the combined-arms tactics. But the RMA did not emerge because of the birth of a dominant new weapon such as the tank or the aircraft; the RMA had at its heart the massive use of indirect fires

[30]. Despite technical improvements, the artillery was absolutely not a new category of weapon. Nevertheless, it was the key technical enabler of the RMA because the only way to breakthrough and exploit was to use massive artillery fires, having no flanks for envelopment. Hence, the fundamental innovation was not technical, but tactical.

In essence, the development of the combined-arms RMA relied on the development of accurate artillery fire, decentralised infantry tactics, fire, manoeuvre and exploitation. This new form of tactics was underpinned by some basic features. Most importantly, the battle was systematically three dimensional. The third dimension was used to fight the deep battle in order to dislocate the rears of the adversary. It included the use of aircraft for reconnaissance, close air support and later on for air bombing. The RMA focused on tempo and close co-ordination between all arms, in particular between the infantry and the artillery. Intelligence was paramount for precise artillery targeting. Surprise, that is to say shorter artillery preparation, was the key element for realising the breakthrough at a weak point. The application of massive artillery firepower was the only way to breakthrough a fortified linear front. It included changes in the ratio of the artillery to increase firepower. More efficient and reliable means of communication were introduced to improve co-ordination of the application of firepower between all arms. A precise fire plan against headquarters, command and control assets, artillery batteries and logistics was also necessary to dislocate the adversary’s ability to manoeuvre. Ultimately the synergy of the effects was roughly achieved

[31].

Despite the existence of common views about the ways to break the stalemate of attrition warfare, the Germans and British developed some very strong national perspectives. The French view was similar to the British one. Both sides focused on combined-arms and three-dimensional form of tactics, including massive use of artillery and air power. The BEF tried to combine the employment of indirect firepower with tank attacks. This idea was implemented during the battle of Cambrai in November 1917 with significant tactical success[32]. Tudor developed for the first time a coherent predicted fire plan based on planning of tank and artillery co-operation. The British secretly gathered 476 tanks for the attack which was launched without any long artillery preparation, favouring surprise. Tanks crushed obstacles on the front. The artillery engaged predicted targets with success because of air reconnaissance. Initially concealed, about 1,000 artillery pieces covered a front of ten kilometres with high co-coordinated fire planning. 289 aircraft were engaged for reconnaissance, close air support and air bombing

[33]. Consequently, the BEF gained about six kilometres of ground in a relative short period of time. The British offensive did not lead to any operational success, but it laid the ground for fundamental change in conceptual terms. It is one of the best examples of application of new tactics in World War I.

At the beginning of 1918, whereas Pétain thought that it was better to wait for the Americans and the tanks[34] because of the lack of resources to achieve a decisive operational victory, Ludendorff decided to seize the initiative through the offensive[35]. Having learnt the lessons of 1917, the Germans firmly believed that a tactical solution existed. As a result, they launched a major offensive on the 21 March 1918, bringing the Allies near to the point to collapse. In contrast to the British, they did not really develop tanks to break the front. Nevertheless, Ludendorff thought that a decisive outcome could come from deep tactical penetrations avoiding the strong points even if neither side had been able to achieve such an objective up to now[36]. The Germans decided to combine Buchmuller’s new artillery techniques with infiltration tactics of the infantry[37]. They also favoured independent tactical actions. They focused on greater flexibility enabling a revolutionary shift from hierarchical structures to functional ones[38]. Foch, fascinated by the German innovations, argued that the key principles of Ludendorff were surprise by concealing troops until the attack, brutality and brevity of the artillery preparation, rapidity of execution, enlargement of the breach by attacking the flanks, rapid deep penetration within the enemy positions at weak points, initiative and exploitation by reserves[39]. That is why the primary task of the artillery was to provide maximum fire support to a decentralised command infantry. Tempo was critical to maintain momentum of the offensive. The German offensives led to numerous tactical victories. Trevor Dupuy suggests that «the Ludendorff innovations of 1918 may thus justly be regarded as revolutionary, with an impact on the conduct of land battle comparable to those of Macedonian phalanx, the Roman legion… and the line of Gustavus Adolphus»

[40].

The massive use of indirect firepower coupled with decentralised combined-arms tactics was the cornerstone of the RMA. It was one of the most significant RMA in the history of warfare because a true paradigm shift occurred in the conduct of war. For the first time, armies used to a great extent the third dimension including the use of artillery and air power in order to fight in the deep battle, breaking thus the stalemate of attrition warfare. World War I was actually not only a period of profound change, but also a period of rapid change. The combination of those phenomena suggests that the combined-arms RMA is more than a simple RMA; it is a Military Revolution. Moreover, Murray argues that «of all military revolutions, World War I should be regarded as the most revolutionary in military terms»[41]. The combined-arms-RMA really shaped the style of conventional warfare of the 20th century. It is the birth of what is sometimes called the «modern style of warfare»[42]. The general principles remained roughly the same for about eighty years up to the 1991 Gulf War, relying on the combined use of artillery, tanks and aircraft

[43].

From a broader perspective, World War I was the fulcrum of the Industrial age; for the first time several major states committed all human and material resources of the nation, leading to the disruption of the old European order based on the balance of power. For this reason, World War I had a far deeper impact than a purely military focused RMA and had «the most profound impact of all Western military revolutions to date»

[44]. Nevertheless, the British and German tactical victories never ushered into an operational success.

Outcome of the RMA

The RMA occurred in a relative short period of time between 1917 and 1918. But some important challenges had to be overcome because of the simultaneous arrival of new technology which had to be embedded within new concepts. The major challenge for getting the best use of new technological developments is actually that in the face of the unknown of the future, people generally try to find an answer in the past. Military society is reluctant to change or indeed to innovate. The major challenge in 1914 was to understand the potentialities of the use of indirect fire and air power. On both sides numerous senior officers were very conservative. In February 1916, Falkenhayn launched a very costly offensive towards Verdun with classical methods in order to use the French. Because it became impossible to breakthrough, the idea was to kill the maximum of French and enforce them to commit all their reserves in the battle[45]. This basic form of tactics brought many casualties, but little success. In April 1917, despite the lessons of Verdun, the great Nivelle offensive led to the same sort of disaster because no major conceptual innovation took place within the French army. In addition, as of 1917, many senior officers thought that the potentials of the three-dimensional form of tactics were exaggerated by their promoters. The implementation of the RMA was the second major challenge at this time. There was no clear learning process cycle managed from the top. It was rather a bottom up process conducted at the tactical level by colonels and captains

[46]. Moreover, the high command did not give any clear doctrinal guidance for change, in particular on the Allied side.



Despite tactical victories, some significant limitations slowed down the implementation of the ongoing RMA. Both sides learnt mutually from their long experience at war. In 1918, the Germans on the one hand and the Allies on the other hand realised the importance of the RMA and its intrinsic potentialities. Moreover, both sides made dynamic adjustments to their new concepts by taking into account the lessons of successes and failures of the adversary.

But in essence, the RMA was unable to achieve its full potentialities for technical and human limitations. Both tanks and aircraft had severe limitations. Tanks crucially lacked mobility; they were absolutely not reliable. During the battle of Cambrai, the BEF lost the majority of its tanks for technical reasons. Only three hundred tanks among the 476 available were able to reach the line of departure when the attack was triggered. The remaining tanks were too slow and not mechanically capable to penetrate in depth within the enemy lines. More than fifty per cent of those committed broke down in the following twelve hours. The BEF also lacked assets for real-time battlespace management

[47]. Commanders could not co-ordinate the different type of units in an efficient manner because of the lack of reliable means of communication. Tanks had actually only visual means of communications. Finally, the assault infantry was unable to exploit decisively the breakthrough realised by the tanks because it was dismounted and lacked resources as well as indirect fire support. Artillery could open spaces for manoeuvre, but there were no troops able to exploit in the depth. It was impossible to transform the initial tactical success into operational coin. In other words, the artillery which was the key enabler of the RMA could only create opportunities for tactical victories. That is why, despite the efficiency of artillery techniques, the RMA did not amount to a magic bullet at the operational level and indeed at the strategic level.



The victory of the Allies in 1918 was ultimately determined by the balance of resources. The outcome did not rely on a superior form of tactics or a blatant imbalance in terms of technology. The absence of tanks in the German Army only mattered tactically and it was balanced by Ludendorff’s innovations. But the Germans lacked material and human resources. They faced a stronger coalition with the arrival of the Americans, taking the benefit of huge economic and industrial resources, and controlling at this time the sea lines of communications. These factors became crucial by mid-1918. In addition, the Germans became overstretched by their military commitment on a multi-front war in the West and the East. However, returning to Gray’s definition, World War I amounted to an RMA because the outcome of the innovations of 1917 was a «radical change in the character or conduct of war». The RMA was initially militarily focused. But by 1918 it was the combination of the diplomatic, the economic and the military lines of operations which led to the victory of the Allies. After three years of attrition warfare, it was the return of the grand strategy.



Despite technical limitations, the battle of Cambrai showed the premises of mechanised warfare through the massive use of tanks. The potentialities of new technologies gave an idea of future developments and of what future land warfare could look like. In the same way, the great German offensives of 1918 showed the relevance of decentralised combined-arms tactics.

Military developments after 1918 were principally based on World War I experiences. In the interwar period, both sides tried to draw the lessons of the Great War. But the Germans were the best to understand the potentialities of the internal combustion engine in order to restore battlefield mobility. General Hans von Seeckt, chief of the Army Command from 1921 to 1926 received the task to reorganise the Reichswehr. He had little room for manoeuvre because of the severe clauses of the Treaty of Versailles. The Germans first realised a conceptual transformation on the basis of the lessons of World War I. Robert Citino argues that in the interwar period the Reichswehr «laid the groundwork for its rebirth by preparing a veritable military revolution, one that would do more to change the face of warfare than any development since the introduction of gunpowder»[48] Seeckt initiated a vast programme to analyse in detail the experience of the Great War. He established no less than fifty-seven committees for that specific purpose[49]. At the same time, technical improvements reinforced the capabilities of the tank and the aircraft in terms of mobility and firepower. The telegraph was also replaced by the radio. These elements were the catalyst for the interwar RMA in mechanisation, aviation and information[50]. The Germans gathered their armoured vehicles in Panzer Divisions. They succeeded the integration of their powerful assets in new organisations. They also employed them in a new doctrinal corpus. The efficient use of armoured formations was the key to success and transformed another time the conduct of war. The Germans attached great importance to the core principle of unity of effort. They renounced to limit the use of tanks to the role of infantry support. They created an arm that would be employed in large formations. Thus, they increased significantly their military effectiveness by adapting the combined-arms tactics of World War I to new technological developments. These innovations led to what was called later on blitzkrieg. The result was an RMA because it was more than an incremental change in terms of organisation and doctrine. But there was actually nothing fundamentally new from a conceptual perspective. All the constituents of blitzkrieg had been developed in 1918. The interwar RMA relied on World War I technologies and ideas which have been improved. The introduction of large armoured formations only provided new ways of implementing the operational paradigm set up in 1917-18[51]. There was no real conceptual change despite the efficiency of blitzkrieg. Therefore, the combined-arms RMA of World War I laid the ground for future RMAs, in particular for the combined-arms armoured warfare RMA born in Germany in the interwar period

[52].



The combined-arms RMA of World War I was the outcome of conceptual, tactical and technical innovations made from 1917 to 1918. However, the RMA could potentially have occurred before 1914 because it was principally based on massive and co-ordinated use of indirect fire. Despite technical improvements, the artillery was absolutely not a new weapon system. In addition, the introduction of new weapons such as tanks did not really change the course of the war. The tactical stalemate at the early stages of World War I was only the catalyst of the RMA.

This essay has demonstrated that the combined-arms RMA of the First World War was a true RMA which set the scene for future military developments in the interwar period. The RMA could be described as a Military Revolution because of the depth of conceptual innovations and their impact throughout the 20th century. It actually laid the tactical and operational framework for the next decades in conventional warfare. Murray wrote that «a British or German battalion commander from the battlefields of summer 1918 would have understood the underlying concepts of the battlefields of 1940, 1944, and even 1991. A battalion commander of 1914, however, would not have had the slightest clue as to what was occurring in 1918: that was how far military affairs travelled in the course of four years»

[53].

The following interwar RMA in mechanisation, aviation and information was triggered by technological improvements. But it was only an extension of the combined-arms RMA because nothing fundamentally new emerged in this period. For this reason, World War I is both the culmination of changes in the 19th century and the catalyst for the interwar RMA. As a final comment, the RMA is a useful concept to understand change in warfare. It shows that throughout the secular history of warfare military innovation occurred in a non-linear manner. This great lesson is timeless. The RMA concept should help military leaders to understand and overcome future operational challenges in military transformation provided it is used in the wider framework of grand strategy because «an RMA should fundamentally affect strategy and the role of military power in the international system»

[54].

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[1] Krepinevich, Andrew, «Cavalry to computer: The pattern of Military Revolutions», in The National Interest, Fall 1994, p.30.



[2] Murray, Williamson, and Knox, MacGregor, «Thinking about revolutions in warfar», in Knox, MacGregor, and Murray, Williamson (ed.), «The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050» (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), p.13.



[3] Gray, Colin, Strategy for chaos: Revolutions in Military Affairs and the evidence of history (London: Frank Cass Publishers, 2003), p.4.



[4] Smith, Rupert, The utility of force: The art of war in the modern world (London: Penguin Books, 2006), p.30.



[5] Clausewitz, Carl von, On war (London: Everyman’s Library, 1993), p.99.



[6] Keegan, John, A history of warfare (London: Pimlico Military Classics, 2004), pp.361-362.



[7] Ibid., pp.307-308.



[8] Van Evera, Stephen, «The cult of the offensive and the origins of the First World War», in International Security, Summer 1984, pp.58-63. See also Sagan, Scott, «1914 revisited: Allies, offence and instability», in International Security, Fall 1986, pp.154-158.

[9] Coutau-Bégarie, Hervé, Traité de stratégie (Paris: Economica, 2nd edition, 1999), p.213.

[10] Weygand, Maxime, Foch (Paris: Flammarion, 1947), p.42.

[11] Masson, Philippe, Histoire de l’armée française de 1914 à nos jours (Paris: Perrin, 1999), pp.16-18.

[12] Duroselle, Jean-Baptiste, La grande guerre des français, 1914-1918 (Paris: Perrin, 1994), p.75.



[13] Snyder, Jack, The ideology of the offensive: Military decision making and the disaster of 1914 (London: Cornwell University Press, 1984), p.122.



[14] Howard, Michael, «Men against fire: The doctrine of the offensive in 1914», in Paret, Peter (ed.), Makers of modern strategy: from Machiavelli to the nuclear age (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), p.522.

[15] Serman, William, and Bertaud, Jean-Paul, Nouvelle histoire militaire de la France, 1789-1919 (Paris: Fayard, 1998), pp.732-736.



[16] Dupuy, Trevor, The evolution of weapons and warfare (New York: Hero Books, 1988), p.214.



[17] Ibid., pp.241-242.



[18] Ibid., p.221.



[19] Bailey, Jonathan, The First World War and the birth of the modern style of warfare (Strategic and Combat Studies Institute, The occasional No 22, 1996), p.10.



[20] Dupuy, op.cit., p.218.



[21] Bailey, op.cit., p.18.



[22] Ibid., p.13.



[23] Gray, op.cit., p.173.

[24] Duroselle, op.cit., pp.202-206.



[25] Bailey, op.cit., p.19.



[26] Ibid., p.6.



[27] Woollcombe, Robert, The first tank battle, Cambrai 1917 (London: Arthur Baker, 1967), p.30.



[28] Gray, op.cit., p.183



[29] Bailey, op.cit., p.7.



[30] Gray, op.cit., p.176.



[31] Bailey, op.cit., pp.4-5.



[32] Smithers A, Cambrai: The first great tank battle, 1917 (London: Leo Cooper, 1992), pp.101-105.



[33] Bailey, op.cit., pp.41-42.

[34] Pedroncini, Guy, Pétain, le soldat, 1914-1940 (Paris: Perrin, 1998), p.129.



[35] Duroselle, op.cit., p.349.



[36] Jones, Archer, The art of war in the Western world (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1987), p.475.



[37] Gudmunsson, Bruce, On artillery (Westport: Praeger, 1998), p.95.



[38] Geyer, Michael, «German strategy in the age of machine warfare: 1914-1945», in Paret, Peter (ed.), Makers of modern strategy: from Machiavelli to the nuclear age (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), p.541.

[39] Duroselle, op.cit., pp.353-354.



[40] Dupuy, op.cit., p.229.



[41] Murray, Williamson, «Thinking about Revolutions in Military Affairs», in Joint Force Quarterly, Summer 1997, p.72.



[42] Bailay, op.cit., p.7.



[43] Bailay, op.cit., p.46.



[44] Murray and Knox, op.cit., p.10.

[45] Duroselle, op.cit., pp.109-117.



[46] Gray, op.cit., p.182.



[47] Ibid., p.175.



[48] Citino, Robert, The path to Blitzkrieg: Doctrine and training in the German Army, 1920-1939 (London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1999), p.5.



[49] Murray, Williamson, «Armored warfare: The British, French and German experiences», in Murray, Williamson, and Millet, Allan (ed.), Military innovation in the interwar period (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), p.37.



[50] Krepinevich, op.cit., p.36.



[51] Horowitz, Michael, and Rosen, Stephen, «Evolution or Revolution», in The Journal of Strategic Studies, June 2005, p.438.



[52] Murray, Williamson, «May 1940: Contingency and fragility of the German RMA», in Knox, MacGregor, and Murray, Williamson (ed.), The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), p.154.



[53] Murray, «Thinking about Revolutions in Military Affairs», op.cit., p.72.

[54] Benbow, Tim, The magic bullet? Understanding the revolution in military affairs (London: Brassey’s, 2004), p.22.

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