The Mechanism and Technique of Warfare

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

The introduction to this 1915 book on the mechanism and technique of warfare might surprise you:

It is a far cry from the noble Homeric combats on the Plains of Troy to wholesale assassination with gas or hand grenades in a neighboring trench a city block away. We are so civilized that we scout with aeroplanes and drop bombs into quiet places where women and children tend their old-fashioned gardens. We come up with a torpedo under the boilers of a great passenger steamer with the aid of a submarine. We invite every force — God-created and man-created — to destroy our fellow man and his hard earned property. The glamour of war is gone, it is hard, unsentimental, unchivalrous, but not uninteresting.

This volume is not a history of the great European war, nor will it depict its horrors — there are already too many books on the war — but it does give a succinct account of what war really means, how it is carried on, how men are gotten up to position, fed, bathed, fought, imprisoned, wounded and killed. It describes how forts are built and reduced, how mines are laid and destroyed, how barbed wire entanglements are made and destroyed, how submarines carry on their audacious and successful enterprises. It is like no other book, being very largely from the pens of high army and navy officers whose names cannot be used in many cases owing to departmental orders. This book could never have been compiled except from the files of the Scientific American, the foremost authority on Naval and Military affairs in the United States. All matter with trifling exceptions is derived from this source which is therefore a guarantee of reliability in a sea of impossible newspaper misinformation.

Yeah, that’s the Scientific American War Book. I don’t think they’ve compiled another one lately.

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