Works of Julian Corbett

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The most cursory study of naval history is enough to reveal the falseness of such an assumption. It tells us that the most common situation in naval war is that neither side has the command; that the normal position is not a commanded sea, but an uncommanded sea.

8 thoughts on “Clausewitz and Corbett are Now Too Much”

He believed that one of the two goals of naval operations was to obtain or dispute the command of the sea and the other was to exercise such control of communications as it previously had. Such opinions differed significantly from those of Mahan, who placed importance on the concentration of forces and a decisive fleet battle. Mahan earned his place in history by emphasizing that oceans, navies, and international relations were of paramount importance to states. Indeed, he observed the significance of joint operations, limited war, adjusting naval operations for political or diplomatic purposes, the control of sea lines of communication, and the attack and defense of commercial shipping and the fleet-in-being strategy.

His strategic thought that underscored the superiority of defense became a focus of criticism—both the Royal Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy were opposed to such thought. His works continued to be ignored for decades after his death, even in the United Kingdom and the United States, but since then, they have gained gradual acceptance. According to this paper, the elaborate assessments of Some Principles of Maritime Strategy and comparisons of Corbett with Mahan have appeared gradually in Chinese military literature since His theory seems to have had a deep influence on both U.

The views of both Mahan and Corbett contain weak and strong points. Different eras of history seem to validate or bring into question different parts of their arguments.


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Their reputations do change with time, but Mahan and Corbett are great figures in the history of strategic studies, and both arguments have their strong points. Which of them should be chosen, learned, and applied?

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The wisdom of a state or an organization is tested by its capability to assess and properly use sea power strategies and other strategies. What is worrisome is the fact that Japan is ill equipped to research strategic studies, and the lack of strategic-studies knowledge makes one feel insecure.

Even those in Japan whose positions require them to have some background in strategic studies lack a theoretical grounding and have trouble discussing the arguments of foreign experts such as Holmes and Chinese experts.


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  • Julian Corbett books.

Events on LibraryThing Local. No events listed. You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data. Corbett, Julian Stafford. British naval historian. Links Wikipedia. Member ratings Average: 3. Corbett Author division Julian S. Includes Julian S.

Combine with… No authors suggested. His belief in the concentration of forces as vital to combat success was as much influenced by U. In the years before the First World War the primary strategic threat to the U. Only through concentration of its battle fleet would the U. The Prussian officer and the British operational theorist still have a part to play in the War College classroom, but their role in the curriculum should be adjusted for current events.

Julian Corbett

The message was also a warning that the United States did not focus enough on operational art in the achievement of its military and national objectives. The rise of new competitors, the return of old challengers, and increasing disorder throughout the globe calls for an emphasis on historical strategic thinkers like Mahan and Wylie rather than operational artists like Clausewitz and Corbett.

Steve Wills is a retired surface warfare officer and a PhD student in military history at Ohio University.

Theorist of Maritime Strategy

His focus areas are modern U. Parker, p. Wylie, p. Corbett, p.

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Nicholas A. Corbett, pp , Aaron l. Wylie, pp. Wylie, p Robinson and Gallagher, Africa and the Victorians, p. The US has generally been able to dispense with Corbett only because our sea lines of communication have been secure for so long, but our prosperity depends upon them no less than that of Great Britain in the 19th century. The security of these sea lines that Corbett advocated have been largely taken for granted. Good point Chuck, thanks. My point is that the US has more flexibility in how we defend those sea lines. The value of Corbett today is not so much his discussion of imperial lines of communications, but rather 1 his emphasis on joint operations, including the necessity for senior military leaders to seek clearly defined objectives from their civilian masters and 2 the concept of a contingent force, by which a geographically isolated state such as Britain or today the US can conduct a limited war by deploying a contingent force into a war zone where the other combatants may be conducting UNlimited war.


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Both of these concepts are exquisitely relevant to the US. Two thoughts in reply.

Books by Julian Stafford Corbett (Author of Principles of Maritime Strategy)

The Indo-Pacific, with long distances between landmasses, relative shortage of air bases and lack of ground combat missions may not demand a joint solution every time. There seems little current support in the west for engaging in limited wars, and even if possible, they demand that both sides are fighting limited wars. The Gulf War and the Falklands war qualify, but few other conflicts meet such a narrow definition.