C.E. Callwell, Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice () – Credit to A. Bradley Potter, Johns Hopkins University SAIS, Classics of. Little wonder, then, that Colonel C E Callwell’s Small Wars, a century-old manual for fighting colonial wars, has been rediscovered. It probably. This essay aims to outline the major arguments of Callwell’s seminal work Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice, first published in

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Danger of very small columns.

Charles Edward Callwell

The two Afghan wars, and especially the first, may be included in this category. It is impossible to get lost, easy to find anything you need, and the text is always clear and concise — Small Wars is a practical manual smxll learning and use.

In cases such as these the warfare will somewhat resemble the struggles between modern armies, and the principles of modern strategy and tactics are largely if not wholly applicable.

However, except for some small unit infantry tactics and sage general advice, be vigilant for example, this fascinating book has little relevance to fighting modern day insurgents. These include the French advance to Antananarivo and their later operations in Madagascar, the guerilla warfare in Cuba previous to the American intervention, the suppression of the rebellions in Rhodesia, the operations beyond the Panjab frontier inthe re-conquest of the Sudan, the operations of the United States troops against the Filipinos, and many minor campaigns in Bast and West Africa.

Small wars dog the footsteps of the pioneers of civilization in the regions afar off. Inconvenience and even disaster may be caused by doubt as to the exact position of some topographical feature or locality, or by an error in a map in which the commander of the troops is trusting.

The first occasion was in the winter ofwhen the great. This was the chief cause of the very serious reverse which befel their arms. To oppose the annexation of his dominions, King Thebaw of Burma had collected bodies of troops having at least a semblance of system and cohesion, although they showed but little.

In a treatise which necessarily covers a great deal of ground it is difficult.

Charles Edward Callwell – Wikipedia

One fruitful source of trouble, for instance, callwelll that the route to be followed may not be accurately known. Amazon Restaurants Food delivery from local restaurants. It is then that the regular troops are forced to resort to cattle lifting and village burning and that the war assumes an aspect which may shock the humanitarian. Callwell discusses strategy waes tactics in the greatest imaginable detail, with extensive examples for every point. The army performed its task of penetrating into Tirah, and of leaving its mark in the usual manner by the demolition of buildings and destruction of crops.


He quotes the words of a British general to his troops during the Tirah Campaign of Again, the resources of the theatre of war in supplies, in water, and in transport may not be properly estimated. It is encyclopedic in form, with each chapter annotated with marginal key-notes, and an exhaustive glossary-index at the back. In countries where small wars take place, communications are generally most indifferent.

On the other hand, the enemy enjoys many advantages in the matter of “intelligence. It’s age is readily apparent from frequent references to “savage” opponents and quaint comments such as “Red Indians” are notorious for their craftiness.

The intelligence department finds great difficulty in organising an efficient service of espionage for obvious reasons – the spy captured by civilized troops does not have a very good time, in the hands of barbarians his lot is even more unenviable. It is recommended to officer as a valuable contribution on the subject of the conduct of small wars.

If the enemy cannot be touched in his patriotism or his honour, he can be touched through his pocket.

Small Wars Their Principles And Practice

The very fact of this being a formidable force will generally cause it to accept battle readily wrs confront an invader. Callwell’s analysis, the sweep of his knowledge, and his ability to integrate information from an impressive variety of experiences resulted in Small War’s reputation as a minor classic.

In cases such as these the objective will generally be clear and well defined.

Somewhat caallwell in the scale, but still with some pretence to organization and efficient armament, were the Dey of Algiers’ troops which confronted the French invasion in They become points of supreme strategical importance, a fact of which the enemy is well aware.

It affects the course of operations to an extent varying greatly according to circumstances, but so vitally at times as to govern the whole course of the campaign from start to finish. This callwekl by boat with its days’ ration as originally intended, but, owing to an exceptionally low Nile, the rapids to be ascended proved to be more difficult than had been anticipated, and the progress of the column was unexpectedly slow. And although the troops in small wars find their opponents as a rule skilled in the arrangement of ambushes and the carrying out of surprises, masters in the art of military deception, crafty and cunning, they find them on the other hand to be by no means so wary in avoiding snares as they are artful in setting them.


But its capture by no. The conditions of a campaign undertaken against a savage race swayed by a despotic sovereign differ so fundamentally from hostilities against gatherings of independent clans, that principles which govern the operations from the very outset in the warw case are wholly inapplicable to the other. To a certain extent then the origin and cause of a small war gives a clue to the nature of the operations which will follow, quite apart from the plan of campaign which the commander of the regular forces may decide upon.

Operations and Intelligence Small Wars was first published in and then republished with revision in callsell He decided to retreat, and the enterprise thereby miscarried. Roberts’s return march to Kandahar, his army of 10, had with it over 8, transport animals. Hostilities were therefore resumed. The only drawback with this work is that it is written from the perspective of an imperial officer dealing with colonies. Service of security when marching in square. Having retired in to devote himself to writing, he was recalled in to serve as Director of Military.

The enemy is generally fully alive to the importance of destroying the water supply, which can easily be smalp in the case of scattered wells; in the Mohmund campaign ofthe hill men broached their tanks, and this was one of the chief difficulties General Elles had to contend with.

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