Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Elements of the Art of War.

In a mountainous country it is very seldom, and almost impossible for the enemy to attark the advanced and rear-guards and the centre at the same time: nevertheless, if he should find an opportunity of forming these three attacks at once, by following the dispositions above mentioned, he will find troops at every part to receive him ; ueither will be be able to make himself master of the heights without attackiog them, and the troops already in possession of the ground will easily repulse him ; and by the assistance which the officer commanding the escort should eadeatour to send them, they will be enabled to maintain themselves in them, to protect the convoy, and the enemy will be unable to attack by more than one or two passes.

If the enemy forms but one attack, only a part of the troops must be opposed to bim, because it is to be supposed this attack may be made only with design to draw the whole strength of the detachment to that part, and which, by being all together in that one place, will give the enemy concealed in ambush an opportunity of falling with ease upon that part of the convoy that is unprovided with troops, and wbich will of course be incapable of making any de fence. The troops of the centre should never march to the assistance of the advanced guard, if it is tbat which is attacked, nor those of the rear-guard to the assistance of the centre, but a party from those troops which cover the Aruks of the convoy should he col. lected in a body, and sent to assist the part that is attacked. However narrow and confined the country may be, a convoy may be easily conducted by infantry wben it would be impossible to do it with cavalry.

When any pass er avenue crosscs the road on which the convoy marches, it should be covered by a body of infautry, wbich will remaid there till the rearguard is come up; then it will fall into the post assigned it for conducting the convoy; it is always to be supposed that this pass hath been examined by the advanced detachments. If the escort is composed of infantry and dragoong, the latter should be disinounted, in order to give an additional strength to the guards, and their horscs may be tied to the wagoods; the hussars, if the nature of the country renders them unserviceable on horseback, may also be dismounted; by wbich means, instead of being an embarrassment to the infantry, they will become useful to it. The nature of hussars is such as will admit of their being employed on every occasion ; and although the difference of their arms will not permit them to be as serviceable as dragoons, they may nevertheless amuse a party of troops belonging to the enemy in such a manner as to enable the infantry to beat them, or at least to oblige them to retire.

Hussars are more particularly necessary in the escorting of convoys, because they scamper about on all sides, and are very active and ready in scouring a country thoroughly; they leave no place till they have perfectly examined it, unless the thickness of the woods, or any other unavoidable obstacle, should prevent their penetrating as far as they would otherwise do; and even then they protect the infantry, who can with greater case pass into those places where the hussure canBot. Whatever country the convoy passes through, there should always be bussars with it ; otherwise the officer commanding the escort canait be certain that the country is thoronghly surveyed, because, for waut of bussars, he must employ cavalry on that service; pot twat there can be any doubt of the cavalry's exposing itself to danger with as much cheerfulness and courage an the bussars, but as the horses belonging to the cavalry are naturally heavier tian those of the hussars, and ofteu encumbered with forage, they cannot venture to a proper distance, without running the dauger of being taken, because they cannot retire with that expedition whicb is requisite ; on the other hand, the hussar being more active and more accustomed to reconnoitre, knows how to go over a country will proper cau. tion and care lo himself: besides, the trooper who is used always to march in a

Elements of the Art of War.

body, and to be under command, will bave a very iin perfect idea of the method of scouring a country. Although the disposition of the troops should always be regulated by the nature of the country through which the convoy marches, and by the nature and number of the enemy by which it is liable to be attacked, yet the general should never neglect, whatever his situation may be, to secure the head, centre, and rear : before the convoy begins its march, the disposition, in case of an attack, should be settled; by which means the commanding officers of different corps will know where to post theinselves, and after what manner to act at the time the attack is made. By the knowledge which the commanding officer ought to have of the country, he will form a judgment of those places where it is must probable he may be attacked, and of course make bis dispositions accordingly. In any disposition that may happen, a general should always foresee in what inanner the attack, defence, and retreat, will be conducted.

As there are always some small plains in a woody country, wbere the dragoons and bussars can act with greater ease, they must be posted in them. If the attuck is made in a woody country, the same dispositions must be observed as have been mentioned with regard to a mountainous one ; only with this difference, that a more considerable front can be presented to the eneiny, and the troops will be more together, as they will not be under a necessity of separating to occupy heighits.

When a convoy marches through an open country, the advanced and rear-guards should consist of cavalry sustained by infantry; the infantry in the centre should be continued on the right and left of the waggons, and the cavalry, divided into troops, should be distributed on the flanks, at an hundred or an hundred and afty paces froin the infantry; squadrons of horse, intermixed with platoons of infantry, should be placed at proper distances on the flanks of the remaining part of the convoy. By this position, if the convoy should be attacked in head, centre, or rear, these squadrons and platouns should have orders to march immediately to the assistance of the part that is attacked.

The advanced detachments of hussars, and those upon the Aanks, by giving notice that the enemy is at hand and coming to attack, will furnish time for parking the waggons and uniting the troops ; in which case the infantry must form in the park, and the cavalry post itself on the Bank of that front wbich expecis to be attacked, and the hu ars place themselves upon the flanks of the cavalry.

The attack of a convny is always sudden and rapid, and the success of it is generally decided in the first onset; and as the enemy, whether he succeeds in bis attempt or not, must retire with great expedition, for fear of any succour that may arrive, it is evident that it can be attacked only by cavalry, kussars, or dragoons; tirere bave indeed been some instances where the cavalry have brought infantry behind thein. If the convoy has had time to park itself, the effort of the infantry can only be turned against that which is intrenched behind the waggons. The enemy's cavalry, and that belonging to the escort, attacking each other, will figlit upon equal terms ; but with segard to the infantry it will be different ; tbat which is sheltered by the carriages having a great advantage over that which attacks it. On the contrary, if the enemy's infantry is sustained by hussars only, they will be briskly attacked by the cavalry and hussars belonging to the escort, who will take them in tank and rear. The enemy's bussars being hemmed in, bis infantry, for want of being sustained, will be easily beaten : part of the cavalry and bussars belonging to the escort should be left in pursuit of the enemy's buscars, and the reinainder ought to take his infantry in flank. If the enemy is vtat a, as it is probable te will, bis retreat seems impracticable, or at best very difficult; because, being deprived of his cavalry, he will be forced to Elements of the Art of War.

made bead against the infantry that attacks him in front, and to repulse the cavalry that harrasses him in flank.

If the conroy, in an open country, is obliged to march upon a causeway, these precautions will still be more necessary : the bussars which are advanced ought to examine the country very exactly; for it may bappen that the country, not allowing the carriages to be taken off the causeway, in order to be parked, they must consequently be obliged to remain upon it; in which case they can only be doubled up, the extent of ground contracted, and the troops drawn nearer to each other in such a mapuer as to become stronger, and more closely koit together. The dispositions will then, in a great measure, depend upon circumstances; but tbey should nevertheless be so managed, that each corps may contribute to the preservation of the conroy; and that from the resistance which the enemy shall and in every part, there may be time sufficient to send succour where it shall be most needed.

If the enemy gives ground, the general should be cautious of pursuing him too far, lest, if he should receive a reinforcement, the troops in pursuit of him, finding themselves at too great a distance, will not only be beat, but also be deprived of every method of retreating.

There are some occasions ou which the enemy must not be pursued at all, such as when the armies are very close to each other, or the convoy draws near to some of the enemy's posts ; because then, by the nearness of the army, the enemy's infantry can come to the attack without being under the necessity of mounting behind the cavalry, as it happened in 1747 ; when the French convoye, which set out from Antwerp for Bergen-op-Zoom, were continually attacked by the infantry that was posted from Breda quite to Voude: in which circainstances the same dispositions should be used for its defence; and in case the enemy should be forced to retire, the commanding officer ought to be contented with having saved the convov, and not pursue him, for fear be should find advantage from the nearness of quarters, and receive assistance that may prove fatal both to the convoy and its escort. A general to whose care a convoy is entrusted, should never seek any other advantage than the con. ducting it in safety, even though he should be sure of beating and taking a detachment belonging to the cuemy; a real advantage is often given up by endeavouring to follow an uncertain victory. There is less shame in being beat, when an officer hath done bis utmust, and acted with propriety, than there is glory acquired in con. quering, when he hath exceeded the limits of his duty. An officer is no longer praise worthy thao whilst be acts up to the orders he hath received withi exactness and discreiiou ; whereas lie why, depending too much on his own courage, raslıly suffers biraself to be drawn un by the appearance of success, is not only charged with, but ought to be answerable for the consequences. - If the convoy'batb a bridge or å defile to pass, it is not only suficient that the country, as far as the bridge or the defile, should be known, but also necessary that the busgars should pass over it, and take a survey of the country a great way beyond it. The time in which the hussars are reconvoitring should lie employed in making the vazgons double op by foiir, eigiit, or ten, in front, if the ground allows of it, in order to unite the troops belonging to the escort. The troops intie centre musi join the adranced guard, and cover ilie carriages; the rear-2 dard form in order of battle, and face towarws the couniry ideg bare married over; and fine squadrens aud platoons of infapiry which probed on the side of tle convoy place themselves on the Alanks, in order to cover them. When the country in front chaithrave been thoroughly examiiert, the advanced guard and the troups belonging to the centre, covered by bus urs, shall pass over the bridge, and advance far enougli on the other side to gire room for the carriages, either to double up ur to be parked. The corps of cavalıy and i fantry skich marched on the sides of the convoy must be placed on the fanks to

Elements of the Art of War.

protect them. As soon as the convoy and the escort have passed, the waggons must proceed, and the troops fall into the same disposition they were in before the pas. sage; that is, if there is no alteration in the nature of the ground to make another dispositiou necessary ; in that case the commanding officer must give such orders as lie shall find necessary. For the greater security of the convoy, a detachment of hussars should be left near the bridge, or the opening of the defile, till the rearguard bail marched to sume distance, which detachment will afterwards join the escort.

There still remains another disposition to be made in an open country, whether tbe convoy marches on a causeway, or in the liglı-road, which is to divide the escort into many equal parts, with troops of every sort belonging to each; the first body shotild set out an hour before the convoy is to begin its march, the second balf an bour after, with criers to the commanding officers to scour the adjacent country with great exactress, and to be careful not to be cut off by any detachments the enemy may have in the country; for which reason these two bodies should never be more than three quarters of a league distant from each other, by which means they will be withio reach of assisting each other. The body which sets 'out last should never be more tlian half a leagae before the advanced-guard of the escort.

As the convoy is supposed to march through an open country, the above men. tionesl distances are allotted between the first and second bodies, and between the second body and the advanced guard of the convoy; but if the country should grow tough and unequal, these bodies should draw closer together, and always keep sight of each other, so as to be able to assist one another in case of an attack.

When these bodies are set out, the general must put the convoy in motion, and form the advanced gnard of one of the divided detachments belonging to the escort; the infantry of which detachment will remain at the head of the waggops, the cavahy shall march by troops three huldred paces in advance, and the rear-guard must be formed equal to the advanced; but besides this rear-guard, there sbould be a body of hussars and dragouns reserved, to march a quarter of a league or more, according to the nature of the country, in the rear of the couroy; the remainder of the infantry shall be distributed at proper distances on the sides of the conroy, and the remains of the caralry shall be placed on the flanks of the couroy about three bundred paces distance.

The commanding officer shall take care to keep some hussars with him, to scous the country round about the cavalry that are on the fanks and the rear-guard ; and thus by running orer the country again, that kath already been examined by the adranced detachments, the companding officer will be certain there is no enemy at land.

There hare been often instances of a swarm of hussars falling upon the rear-guard from woods, which have been recounoitred, and where no enemy bath beeu found, and where they themselves were not half an hour before.

When a convoy happens to be of such importance, that its being taken may influ. ence the operations during the remainder of the campaign, the general should not only assiga a strouger or more numeroas escort to it, but he should also send off detachments, which, without having orders to altack the enemy, should keep between him and the road that the couvoy keeps, in order to oppose and balle any designs, the enemy inay bave furined to carry it off. The two examples with which the last war faraides us will shiew both the security and necessity of this method. D)," terasapaign of 1746, Marsba1 Saxe, being encamped on the Orde, was

if a cuusiderable convoy fruin Judvigne. As its safe arrival in the.

morsequerce, he caused the Marquis d'Armentieres, then majore genei.

a large detachimeni, in the night preceding the day on which

in

[ocr errors]

Elements of the Art of War.

the convoy was to begin its march, with orders to march on the side of Ramillies, At the same time be caused another detachment to set out from the camp of his Serene Highness the Prince of Clermont, with orders to march on the side of the abbey of Ramé : these two detachments, by amusing the enemy on one side, and by entirely concealing the march of the convoy ou the other, enabled it to proceed ia secarity, and it arrived in the camp without having been at all molested.

In the begianing of the campaigu in 1743, the same General having a design to Jay siege to Maestricht, and consequently having occasion for all bis troops, was willing to throw a supply of provisions Into Bergen-op-Zoom, as he was going to & distance from that place, and could no longer be in a situation of assistiog it. For that purpose, he ordered a considerable convoy, wbich set out from Antwerp for that town under a good escort ; but in order to prevent an attack, wbich ciz. cumstance had often happened during the winter, and that with loss, the allies at that time occupying a chain of quarters from Breda as far as Voude, he de. tached the Count d'Estrées with a considerable body of cavalry to march on the side of Breda, with orders to push on detachments almost to Voude. This detach. meut had two objects in view, one of which was to lieep the allies in suspenee.witta regard to the siege that was to be formed, and the other to cause them to remaia near Breila. This large body of cavalry kept the allies, who were in the neighbourbood of that town, in suspence; during which interval, Marshal Saxe marched to Maestricht, the allies not daring to attack the convoy, because they would have put themselves betweea the escort and the troops under Count d'Estrées. From these two examples may be concluded the necessity of covering convoys of importance by detachments independent of the eseort assigned them. In short, a general should do every thing that will contribute to the security of his dispositions ; and preeaoLions ought vever to be thought superfluous when they are managed with prudence, and have for their end the success of a well-concested plan.

MILITARY CURONICLE,

MAY, 1812.

CONTAINING THE GAZETTE, PROMOTIONS, &C.

LONDON GAZETTE.
WAR DEPARTMENT.

ADMIRALTY OFFICE, MARCH 28, 1812. Sir,

Blake, off Villa Nueva, Jan. 26, 1912. AN easterly gale of wind prevented our gaining any communication with the coast -until the 11th, when I joined the Invincible in Salon Bay: shortly afterwards Cap. tain Adara came on board with General Lacy from Reus, and acquainted me with a meditated attack upon 'Tarragona, by the division of the Baron d'Erolcs, previously to their intended march into Arragon, as a diversion in favour of Valencia.

On the morning of the 19th I went to Reus, hy desire of General Lacy, to be pre. seat at the final arraugement for the attack upon Tarragona tliat pight : I found the comnanding officers belvoging to the different corps assem!led; and the order of attack was scareely made known to them, before an aid-du-camp of the Baron d'Eroles announced the actual arrival of the French at Cambrillas from Tortosa, (having left Valencia after its surrender), amounting, according to a letter previ ously received, to about 3,000 men, “ Alas armas,” cried the Buron d'Eroles, with An animation which seemned to have a suitable effect on all the officers present; and I do not believe more tban half an hour bad elapsed, before the whole of the diz. ajor, consisting of between live and six thousand men, were on the ground, and ready

« ForrigeFortsett »