C.E. Callwell, Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice () – Credit to A. Bradley Potter, Johns Hopkins University SAIS, Classics of. Little wonder, then, that Colonel C E Callwell’s Small Wars, a century-old manual for fighting colonial wars, has been rediscovered. It probably. This essay aims to outline the major arguments of Callwell’s seminal work Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice, first published in

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Tirah a peculiar case. Some small wars callwwll late years have been against antagonists with the form and organization of regular troops. The consequence was that large calleell of the enemy remained on the hostile right flank awaiting this expected turning movement, a turning movement which was never really intended to take place.

The first reconnaissance to Saran Sar in Tirah as an example of hill. Warw so it came about that “when the troops eventually began to reach Korti, the situation had become so critical at Khartum that Lord Wolseley decided to at once send the camel corps smalo the desert from Korti to Metemma, to open up communications with General Gordon. Difficulty of ensuring combination between a front and a flank attack. Detached bodies may fire into each other. In the campaign against the Hunza-Xagar tribes north of Kashmir inthe British force was, after the storming of the fort of Nilt, brought to a standstill for several days by a formidable line of defence works covering an extensive mountain position of great natural strength.

Small Wars Their Principles And Practice

Depots of supplies were not formed in advance along the line to be followed, and when the army eventually moved forward it was followed by a gigantic but nevertheless insufficient transport train. In great campaigns the opponent’s system is understood; he is guided by like precedents, and is governed by the same code; callwelo is only when some great reformer of the art of war springs up that it is otherwise.

The relieving troops had been assured of water at the foot of an important pass; but on reaching the spot wasr none was found: Selected pages Title Page. The nature of the enemy, his strength, his weapons, and his fighting qualities can be only very imperfectly gauged.


The Boer war of commenced with the incident of Bronker’s Spruit – an incident that would never occur in regular warfare. Picquets covering each others retirements. I don’t believe that the author fully appreciated the incredible impact these weapons would have just a decade or two later in the First World War.

Smalo spite of the most strenuous exertions, the difficulty of collecting the necessary supplies along callweell route and at Korti gave rise to delay. The mistake was only rectified when, riding forward on to some high ground, he was startled by finding Algiers lying immediately below him, and close at hand.

The armament of the enemy is also a point of extreme importance. By such means — by the aggressive delivery of firepower concentrated and close-up — its moral as well as its physical effects were maximised. The routes which the troops will have to follow are little known. They make it possible to kill at long range, or to kill fast in a close-range ambush.

In such struggles the enemy follows as far as he is able the system adopted in regular warfare. Therefore there is much belonging to this branch of the military art still to be learnt from campaigns dating as far back as the conquest of Algeria and as the terrible Indian struggle of Thus it came about that when the French were at last able to land a large force at Saigon, they found a formidable hostile army before them in a highly defensible position, which was just what they wanted.

But the French experiences in Algeria, and the British experiences in Afghanistan, show that these irregular, protracted, indefinite operations offer often far greater difficulties to the regular armies than the attainment of the original military objective. An excellent historical document with valid lessons for today.

As tempting as punitive operations may be, they are effectively banned by the Geneva accords and international law. Sir Charles Edward Callwell”. Their length and liability of attack.

In he was awarded the Chesney medal of the Royal United Service Institution for his services to military literature. From this striking fact there is to be deduced a most important military lesson. The primary object of this expedition was the capture of the Sultan’s capital and stronghold Kota Raja. In the United States, the periodical risings and raids of the Red Indians led to protracted indecisive hostilities of many years’ duration.


But it is not to be regarded as laying down inflexible rules for guidance, or as an expression of official opinion on the subjects of which it treats. Like many of the Russian campaigns in Asia, like the French Madagascar expedition ofand like many other small wars, it was essentially a campaign against nature, a struggle against the difficulties arising from supplying the wants of troops traversing great stretches of desert country. Automatic weapons were just coming into use at this time and the author notes both the advantages of these weapons and their limitations.

But the River Column had also become practically inoperative, likewise on account of supply. The Italians appear to have altogether under-estimated the fighting capacity and the numerical strength of King Meneleck’s army before the battle of Adowa.

Small Wars by Colonel C E Callwell : a Military Times Classic – Military History Monthly

They are necessarily internal not external campaigns. U of Nebraska Press- History – pages.

The Russians in their gradual extension of territory beyond the Caspian have often had to deal with armies – ill armed and organized, of course, but nevertheless armies. These few examples give actual instances of mistakes occurring through ignorance of the theatre of war. By spreading fictitious information as to proposed movements, or by publishing it abroad that some imaginary enterprise is.

Somewhat lower in the scale, but still with some pretence to organization and efficient armament, were the Dey of Algiers’ troops which confronted the French invasion in This was the chief cause of the very serious reverse which befel their arms. Modern magazine rifles shift the military balance in favour of the callwelp.

The difficulty of feeding the troops grew from day to day.

C.E. Callwell, Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice () | Small Wars Journal

The regular army has to cope not with determinate but with indeterminate forces. English Choose a language for shopping. The evil effects which will from time to time result from ignorance of the theatre of war can perhaps best be demonstrated by a few examples.