Essai Général de Tactique 1772
To re-read the "Essai général de tactique" is to be struck by the news of Guibert. True break in the military thought, his writings are at the origin of an operational art which, under new modalities, is still in use today. Guibert is the theoretician of the great "revolution in military affairs" of the late eighteenth century, which led to the "modern war system" still prevailing despite the evolution of technology. Direct heir of Frederick the Great, Guibert advocates a "divisional principle" much richer than what the recent military history has done. Promoter of the maneuver and the war of movement, he pleads for the simplification and the homogeneity of the structures which lead to the creation of modules of forces interarms, modifiable and interchangeable, able to move autonomously then to be engaged with flexibility, singly or in groups.
He conceives a maneuver supposing a permanent reconfiguration of the disposition of his different constituents; He invents a system of forces that would act in their entirety but would be constantly able to concentrate or expand, to modify their organization. Rejecting the fixed rules, he is the persuasive advocate of the only rule worthy of war: adaptation to circumstances. Guibert is perfectly contemporary: his teachings even find a modernity renewed by the space given back to the maneuver. We must therefore re-read his General Essay of Tactics, because it constitutes a fundamental turning point in military thought and is truly at the source of operational modernity.
Author: Comte Jacques de Guibert
Foreword by Lieutenant General Jean-Claude Thomann
Presentation by Professor Jean-Pierre Bois