Jomini’s principles of war paper

How have the theories of Henri Jomini influenced the birth of combined arms warfare?

            Jomini is a military contributor with writings that have become a fundamental part of military operations today. Jomini developed his prototype ‘Principles of War’ by studying the military strategies of Napoleon and Fredrick the Great[1]. Jomini later redefined the strategy of Napoleon and Fredrick into one principle that underlies all the operations of war, a law to follow in all suitable combinations. Utilitarian-military educators readily used his straightforward appeal as it was simple and ensured successful events in battle. Jomini’s principles of war have stood the test of time and influenced the birth of combined arms warfare. For instance, it has led influenced the combined arms organizations to incorporate different arms and weapon systems together for war.

            Jomini’s first theory was the principle of objectivity. He based the argument on the maxim that for success, an army has to strategically locate the mass of an army upon individually decided points.  The move, when applied in a theater of war, would cripple the enemy and lead to victory.  For successful results, the strategy was dependent on identifying the communications of the enemy without compromising one’s transmission as much as possible[2].  The theory influenced the rise of combined arms warfare as identifying the communication of the opponent is dependent on the use of developed radio communication systems, light signaling blinkers, and competent engineers.  While combined, the weapons and instruments used in a war would ensure the protection of one’s army while at the same time give the military an upper hand against its opponents.

In addition to the principle of objectivity, Jomini also discussed the principle of mass. He came up with a maxim that an army has to engage fractions of the enemy’s army as much as possible while fighting with the majority of its own[3]. The strategy applies to modern warfare, where the elements of surprise and security are essential for the army to remain focused on the reduction in casualties. Jomini’s simplistic approach seems to be counter-intuitive, leading to a need to assess each situation uniquely[4].  The theory contributed to the birth of combined warfare as the combined use of infantry and army aviation was instrumental in identifying the weak points of an enemy and engaging them effectively. Militarily this suggests that the physical quantities remain intertwined with psychological forces that impact the military action. Jomini’s theory argues that the fundamental human passions contribute to the energy and the spirits of the military event leading to an influence on the results. The view conspires to assert that warfare is a combined element. Each facet of the army’s feature had its basis on a wide range of components, including emotion.

Jomini’s discussed that for the principle of mass to be effective, the theory of maneuver had to be applied. Jomini developed the theory of maneuver on the maxim that an army should focus its attack on the weak and defenseless areas in the enemy lines. Jomini referred to the regions as decisive points. The principle of maneuver works by movement of large troops to advantageous positions to destroy enemy forces. For the theory to be useful, the army had to be aware of the terrain, which was critical in positioning troops to exploit the vulnerability and the weakness of the enemy[5]. The theory contributed to the birth of combined arms warfare as it pointed to the importance of infantry and armor to support players in a battle.  Combined arms warfare helped in achieving the goals of the theory as helicopter units assisted in the surveillance of an area. The findings would then require the army to bomb or shell that area through a bomber, fighter, aircraft, or naval forces[6]. By asserting that everything is uncertain in war, this argument is basing itself on the fact that calculations must be made with variables in mind for an army to be successful in battle.

Jomini further discussed the principle of surprise as a theory towards a victorious battle.  He based the argument on the maxim that an army had to economize its force such that it could focus its effort in attacking, preferably by surprise, the decisive point with considerable power.Jomini viewed war as an excellent drama for military geniuses and heroes to combine talents and transcend the mundan[7]. To do that, the leadership of the army had to adapt the element of surprise. The principle was incorporated in the combined arms warfare, as is seen in the updated Army regulations related to strategic inclusion across all levels. It seems to show as Jomini’s aim was utilitarian-military educators readily used his straightforward appeal. His work in translation and commentary allows for his point of view to be straightforward.  These elements lead to a substantial contribution to educational theory in the military.  

Another theory that Jomini discussed was the principle of deployment. Jomini stated that the implementation of troops or equipment in a place of war was effective in ensuring success in a battle. Jomini produced a military cookbook where he said that war should get planned to ensure success. Jomini’s solutions are straightforward and allow for a measure of success in a substantial number of military situations. The theory applies to combined arms warfare as an army can deploy fewer military soldiers but complement them with the necessary artillery and firepower. As Jomini stated, success in war is dependent on leadership[8].  The theory led to the birth of combined arms warfare as military leaders got tasked with the duty of coming up with thoughtful approaches to war in the Second World War. The U.S. came up with the concept of the marine-air ground task force, which combined marine aviation and marine ground units for expeditionary missions. Jomini’s theory argues that the fundamental human passions contribute to the energy and the spirits of the military event leading to an influence on the results.

Lastly, Jomini discussed the theory of artistic war as important in ensuring a victorious battle. The argument rests on a need for the realization of lessened casualties and heightened concentrations of strength against weakness[9]. Jomini argued that enhanced weaponry and attacking techniques of an army could make the army could become more successful. Examining the theory provides the military leaders of today with the experience of those that have come before.  Learning the best viable way to leverage this information into success remains a possibility for every new generation of military leaders. The theory led to the development of the TRADOC approach, which reflects simultaneity and endurance in the combined arms warfare[10]. Militarily this suggests that the physical quantities remain intertwined with psychological forces that impact the military action.

In conclusion, Jomini’s theories are among the most applied in modern army leadership, and the essay has provided several illustrations on why it is so.   The theory of mass, as discussed by Jomini, explores ways in which an army can fight fractions of the enemy’s army with the majority of one’s own.  The theoryapplies to today’s military leadership as it demonstrates the importance of the usage necessary equipment and training in ensuring success in battles.  Jomini’s second theory on objectivity is a clear indication of the necessity of identifying the enemy’s communication to allow them to locate decisive points. The argument has pointed to the importance of the use of communication gadgets and competent individuals in a victorious battle. The theories of surprise and maneuver, as discussed by Jomini, point to the importance of having the necessary artillery and firepower in ensuring successful attacks. Finally, the theory of artistic war and deployment point to the significance of the army to concentrate on the strengths rather than the weakness of an army in warfare.

Bibliography

“Explaining The Revolution: Jomini Reading”, Excerpts From Summary Of The Art Of War.

Ankersen, Christopher. “Combined arms.” The Encyclopedia of War (2011).

Bassford, Christopher. “Jomini and Clausewitz: their interaction.” vol. 26. 1993.

Craig, Gordon, and Peter Paret. “Makers of modern strategy.” (1986): 326.

De Jomini, Baron. “Summary of the Art of War.” (1954): 329.

Huber, Thomas. “Explaining The Revolution”. Jomini, 2020.

Peter Paret, “Makers Of Modern Strategy From Machiavelli To The Nuclear Age Book”, 1986.

Sheftick, Gary. “Army Operating Concept Expands The Definition Of Combined Arms”, 2014.

Training, U.S. Army, and Doctrine Command. “The U.S. Army Operating Concept: Win in a Complex World 2020-2040.” (2014): 525-3.


[1]Ankersen, Christopher. “Combined arms.” The Encyclopedia of War (2011).

[2]Sheftick, Gary. “Army Operating Concept Expands The Definition Of Combined Arms”, 2014.

[3]Peter Paret, “Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age Book”, 1986.

[4]Bassford, Christopher. “Jomini and Clausewitz: their interaction.” vol. 26. 1993.

[5]De Jomini, Baron. “Summary of the Art of War.” (1954): 329.

[6]“Explaining The Revolution: Jomini Reading”, Excerpts From Summary Of The Art Of War.

[7]Craig, Gordon, and Peter Paret. “Makers of modern strategy.” (1986): 326.

[8]De Jomini, Baron. “Summary of the Art of War.” (1954): 329.

[9]Craig, Gordon, and Peter Paret. “Makers of modern strategy.” (1986): 326.

[10]Training, U.S. Army, and Doctrine Command. “The U.S. Army Operating Concept: Win in a Complex World 2020-2040.” (2014): 525-3.

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