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xi Foreword When Colonel Charles Jean Jacques Joseph Ardant du Picq fell on the field at Longeville-lés-Metz in August 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War, France lost her most astute military observer and commentator of the last half of the nineteenth century. Born in 1821, Ardant du Picq graduated from the Saint-Cyr military academy in 1844, served in the Crimean War during the siege of Sebastopol, where he was captured, and subsequently in Syria and Algeria. Promoted to colonel in 1869, he had been in command of the 10th Regiment of the Line for a little more than a year and a half. At the time of his death, Colonel Ardant du Picq had published only fragments of his cogent studies on the behavior of men in battle and the dynamics of combat. Some of his observations were edited by a family friend and published in 1880 by Hachette et Dumaine, but it was not until 1903 that his published writing and unpublished notes were edited and presented in a complete edition by the well-known journalist Ernest Judet. The 1903 edition, published by Librairie Chapelot under the title Études sur le combat : ancienne et moderne, became popular in the French army during World War I, being used to support the disastrous doctrine of offensive à outrance, a doctrine that Ardant du Picq himself would probably have rejected. Ardant du Picq’s interests were not in strategy or tactics, but rather the behavior of men in combat and such related topics as courage, fear, and unit cohesion. His observations were based on a thorough reading of the literature on ancient battles as well as eighteenth-century and Napoleonic warfare. Of course, his own experiences in the Crimea, Syria, and Algeria were also considered. He was among the first military commentators to address war at its sharpest end in a comprehensive way. Almost a century after the first and only English translation of Ardant du Picq’s masterwork, Dr. Roger J. Spiller has brought forth a felicitous new English translation of Ardant du Picq’s cogent observations on the behavior of men in combat. Dr. Spiller’s work has two principal virtues. First, it is a fresh, readable English translation of Judet’s 1903 edition. Second, the xii Foreword translation, as well as Dr. Spiller’s commentary and notes, are infused with a thorough knowledge of almost 100 years of evidence and study accumulated since World War I on such subjects as the psychology of battle, shell shock, unit cohesion, and post-traumatic stress syndrome. He has thus aligned the classic work of Ardant du Picq with the scientific scholarship of the past century and produced what will no doubt become the standard English translation of Ardant du Picq’s classic work for some time to come. Charles R. Shrader Carlisle, Pennsylvania ...


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