Thursday, November 27, 2014

Battle Analysis: Manzikert

Source: “The Battle of Manzikert,” The

Battle Analysis: Manzikert
   Looking at the Battle of Manzikert, lets push aside much of what clouds the content of any battle analysis (especially when looking at both Christian and Muslim religious views) and concentrate our gaze at the pivotal point of the battle. A deeper examination of the battle was written in Strategy and Tactics magazine current issue by author Brian Todd Carey entitled, “Manzikert: Alp Arslan & the Seljuk Victory.” The pivot (this author will use the word pivot instead of pivotal for the rest of the analysis) of the battle was the very dangerous, reverse movement with which Romanos and his Byzantine army were trying to make. In Turkish Myths and Muslim Symbol: The Battle of Manzikert author Carole Hillenbrand translated the work of twelfth century writer al-Turtushi on the battle, he opined of the retreat, “They (Arslan’s fighters) began shouting in the language of Byzantium: ‘The king has been killed! The king has been killed!’ The Byzantines heard that their king had been killed and they scattered and were totally torn to pieces.” (1) Quickly one realizes that the battle was more than just a fatal move by Romanos and a work of deception (though Romanos had been captured and not killed). As the Byzantine leadership fought for his life, the deck was exceptionally stacked against them when the resounding calls in the Byzantine tongue echoed throughout the myriad of fighting soldiers, mercenaries and cavalry, “THE KING HAS BEEN KILLED!” But what was the reason for the about-face before the announcement of the King’s death? It is clear that the Byzantines were the ones on the offensive and numerous accounts talk of the sun setting around the time when the Byzantines were routed. “…Realising that they were being drawn further and further from their camp and with the light fading, the Emperor gave the order to head back,” wrote author Giles Morgan in Byzantium: Capital of an Ancient Empire. (2) Here is the pivot of the Manzikert, as light began to fade and a decisive decision for the Byzantines faded with the light, Romanos made the decision to turn back. Was his decision correct? It seems as though he started too late in the day to make a decisive decision against a more mobile enemy. Examining the battle quickly. As Romanus force advanced forward, Arslan’s force stayed in a mobile state looking for the appropriate time, if any to attack the enemy. Time allowed for this decisive action as Romanus was drawn farther away from his base of operations, unnerving him, as the sun began to set. About-face was the order and thus put in motion a complicated transition, jumbling his forces, the balance was pushed into the hands of Arslan. At what point was the force completely thrown into chaos? When the Muslim deception that the King was killed in battle resounded throughout the battlefield. Manzikert falls into the category of bad planning on the part of the Byzantines and tremendous patience, adaption and a suitable use of deception by Arslan’s forces (the Byzantines were punching into a liquid that molded to their fist, then becoming a deadly wave that drowned them completely).    
1. Carole Hillenbrand, Turkish Myth and Muslim Symbol: The Battle of Manzikert (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007), 29, ProQuest ebrary.
2. Giles Morgan. Byzantium: Capital of an Ancient Empire (Herts: Oldcastle Books, 2007), 100, ProQuest ebrary.
Carey, Brian Todd. “Manzikert: Alp Arslan & the Seljuk Victory.” Strategy & Tactics no. 290 (2015): 26-35.
Hillenbrand, Carole. Turkish Myth and Muslim Symbol: The Battle of Manzikert. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007. ProQuest ebrary.
Morgan, Giles. Byzantium: Capital of an Ancient Empire. Herts: Oldcastle Books, 2007. ProQuest ebrary.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Free Book Giveaway, Bryan Perrett’s "Why the Japanese Lost"

A single copy will be given away of author Perrett’s Why the Japanese Lost. Shipping will be paid by me the author of the blog. Why did I choose this book? It has had some really bad reviews on Amazon currently but a number of Perrett’s books in the past have had some very good reviews. Are the reviewers on Amazon correct? Also, the Pacific theater of the Second World War has been a forgotten theater. Compared with that of the European theater there is scanty research done on the Pacific. Let us find out what Perrett's seeks to teach the reader. The first person to get back to me will get the copy. I will review this book in the future also. I can only send the copy to a U.S. address. In the future, I will have other books for giveaway.   

The Problem with Science and Its Effect on Warfare in the Future

Is science truth? If not, how will it affect the future of military science? Relativism has seriously influenced the American culture. Truth for one person is different than for another. What then is truth? As our military endeavors onto the battlefield in the future what problems, if any, could this cause? In light of such concepts as “chance” and evolutionary theory, which devalues human beings, will strategy and basic human rights become increasingly frustrated? Currently, this author is working on reading through R.C. Sproul’s Not a Chance, covering the concepts of then current science in the mid-nineties. Starting with the “chance” (something coming from nothing), author Sproul opines that scientists use such theories as a “soft-pillow” of ignorance for actual, hard scientific concepts. Does society really seek to find truth or, or do we seek to find what is societally acceptable? Some may be saying at this point, this is a blog on military theory and concepts, why the science lecture? Whenever anyone reads military theory the underlining words are not military history but military science. Now if society’s theories of science are based on fallacies not necessarily academic research and thought but as an easier soft pillow of academia then what should we expect within the sphere of military science. If evolutionary theory infiltrates every arena, will the value of human life really be a priority when fighting a war (both for soldiers and civilians)? But also as a military thinker, if science uses “soft pillows” for academic research can military scientists fall into the same “fairytale” slumber? When looking at the United States, our reliance on advanced military technology has left us wanting on the battlefield. Since Korea, the United States has not had an exemplary record on the battlefield. The truth needs to be accepted and research needs to be done. Research if it hurts (but realizing that it is a doctors scalpel and not a mortal wound) and allowing the truth to be brought to the fore of our knowledge. Realistically will this hurt? No it can only help. Reality is better than a fa├žade. Does the West have an unrealistic perception and view of warfare (as Iraq is in turmoil)?  Has science helped to perpetuate our unrealistic strategies throughout the decades? With societal norms becoming more relative will our theories on warfare be accurate (realizing that warfare is a blend of art and science)? Let us wake from our slumber and be realistic with our research on warfare historical and scientific (with the view of our families, friends and fellow Americans behind us that require our unending protection and knowledge).