This article focuses on the general strategy of defense developed by the Aragonese king Pere III during the War of the Two Pedros (1356–66) between the Crown of Aragon and Castile, headed by Pedro I "the Cruel." After eight years of fiscal creativity and defensive luck, Pere retained most of his territory but had lost some sovereignty to his parliaments. He then went on the offensive but never effectively defeated Pedro; this was achieved by his ally Enrique de Trastámara, Pedro's stepbrother. What the war did accomplish, however, was the establishment of administrative and military forces that would ultimately lead toward a Spanish statehood in the fifteenth century.
The cavalry has not been treated kindly by military historians. Portrayed as an anachronism on the twentieth-century battlefield, the arm became a convenient scapegoat for failures in war and the slow pace of modernisation in peacetime. This article traces the debate over cavalry over the course of the last hundred years, drawing both on contemporary sources and later historical analysis. It is suggested that a reassessment of the capabilities of early twentieth-century soldiers and an interest in the military history of eastern Europe has led, in turn, to a more positive interpretation of the cavalry's role in modern warfare.
Among the important British Army reforms following the Boer War (1899–1902) was the introduction of a longer-range rifle for the cavalry instead of a carbine, and a tactical doctrine including dismounted fire. It remains the view of most historians that the cavalry learned dismounted tactics from their Boer opponents, and that postwar reform of the cavalry was imposed from outside. Senior cavalry officers of the period are viewed as reactionary, and their performance in the First World War judged accordingly. This view is based on a partisan interpretation of the Boer War and the cavalry's role in it, fostered by its contemporary institutional critics. In fact, a cavalry reform movement was introducing dismounted tactics before the Boer War, both sides in the war used mounted and dismounted tactics, and the cavalry's problems were largely those of supply and not of their own making. This has much wider implications for the assessment of British military doctrines up to the end of the First World War.
Despite their frequent description as mounted infantry, more than half of the Australian Light Horse finished the First World War as full sword-carrying cavalry, making use of both fire and modern shock tactics. This change ran counter to the traditions of the Australian mounted service, which had long emphasised rifle-based firepower for modern mounted troops. This article will examine the reasons why such a force adopted the sword in 1918, the nature of the change, and the experiences behind it. Even in the last year of the First World War, cavalry shock tactics still had a place on the battlefield.
During the interwar period, while some officers supported mechanization, others, who could accurately be termed "traditionalists", supported the horse. One of the most prominent of these "traditionalists" was Brigadier General Hamilton S. Hawkins. Hawkins contended that mechanized vehicles would never be capable or numerous enough to completely eliminate the use of horse cavalry. Even as mechanized forces dominated the battlefield during World War II, Hawkins continued to write about the need for horse cavalry. Faced with overwhelming evidence in favor of mechanized vehicles, Hawkins ultimately demonstrated that his advocacy of the horse was a matter of faith and not of empirical evidence.
Effects-Based Operations focus on results achieved from using military operations—the output. Too often, military commanders and their staffs concentrate on the means—the inputs—sterile metrics like body counts, bomb tonnage, or the number of sorties flown. U.S. airmen have always recognized the inherent logic and desirability of concentrating on effects, and their doctrine going into World War II emphasized this focus. Unfortunately, the intelligence apparatus necessary to analyze a complex enemy economic system did not then exist. Since then, new technologies and new analytical tools—which came into their own during the Persian Gulf War of 1991—have made this decades-old concept a reality.
This article examines the contribution that Walt Rostow made to the shaping of U.S. military strategy during the second Indochina War. It links Rostow's work as an economic historian with the advice that he dispensed in the field of strategic bombing. In 1964, Rostow explained to Secretary of State Dean Rusk that "Ho [Chi Minh] has an industrial complex to protect: he is no longer a guerrilla fighter with nothing to lose." Rostow's economic determinism led him to advocate the bombing of North Vietnam more forcefully than any of his civilian colleagues.