Problems of Withdrawal

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Of all operations of war, von Mellenthin notes, a withdrawal under heavy enemy pressure is probably the most difficult and perilous:

Indeed it is recorded of the great Moltke, that when he was being praised for his generalship in the Franco-Prussian War, and was told by an admirer that his reputation would rank with such great captains as Napoleon, Frederick, or Turenne, he answered, “No, for I have never conducted a retreat.”

Turenne, by the way, became Marshal of France in 1643 and helped to bring an end to the Thirty Years’ War.

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