Guest Post: Recommended readings, real and imagined for Military Leaders—Part III. Timothy R. Furnish, PhD

“we led a totalitarian state into war against a representative Empire, a republic in all but name. Hannibal’s ironic victory was that his actions forced the Romans to adopt policies that did doom their Republic….” Likewise for the First Empire of Man.

Other great examples of grand strategy in the Pournelle-Carr Future History series are the accounts of the later 21st century attempts by Grand Admiral of the CoDominium Fleet, Sergei Lermontov, to deploy elements of the CoDo Marines—in particular the 42nd Marine Regiment commanded by Colonel John Christian Falkenberg, which had been decommissioned and turned into a mercenary outfit—to prevent any other colony planets’ military forces from rising to challenge to CoDominium.  And to help ensure stability on key planets so that society will survive on them once the CoDominium inevitably collapses. Lermontov’s grand strategic goals were largely successful. 

A level down from grand strategy is strategy: “the level of military action and analysis that has to do with deciding the objectives of operations in specific theaters.” There are legions of examples of such (pun intended), many of which involved the aforementioned Colonel Falkenberg. In particular, two of his brilliant campaigns are worth studying in this regard. One, on Haven, against a Muslim leader claiming to be the Mahdi. (See Carr, War World: Falkenberg’s Regiment, 2018, as well as Carr, ed., War World: Jihad!, 2013). Another, on New Washington, which is trying to stave off conquest by another colonized planet in the same solar system, Franklin—the latter employing its own mercenaries, infantry from the Scottish planet Covenant and armor from the German-settled Friedland. (Laid out in Pournelle and S.M. Stirling, The Prince, 2002). 

Haven is the setting for many of the War World stories.  It’s actually a (barely) habitable moon of a gas giant, quite cold and with thin atmosphere. It’s also, in the 21st century, the most distant colony from Earth—some 65 light-years away, which takes a year or so to reach. That makes it a convenient dumping ground for Earth’s undesirables and criminals; so “BuReLoc”—the Bureau of Relocation—transports many such there. Haven is also a very important source of several crucial minerals, as well as precious stones. And there’s a sizable presence of a new religious sect, the Church of New Harmony. In 2075 an Arab Muslim, Tawfiq al-Talib, is proclaimed Mahdi and begins a jihad on Haven—supported, behind the scenes, by the Arab planet Levant. He finds willing troops, as 60% of Haven’s 4.5 million population is Muslim. Falkenberg’s 42nd is sent to bolster the 77th Marine regiment already on Haven. They also bring in a Gurkha battalion from Earth, and arm miners’ militias. But the CoDo forces number at most 15,000, and face at least 200,000 Mahdists. 

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