Battle leadership adolf von schell
Battle Leadership by Adolf Von SchellGood book; short read. I picked up this book in 2014 from a colleague that was cleaning out his desk and getting rid of old/unwanted military or history books. It is one of the best small unit leadership books that Ive read and I later used several examples from the book in leadership talks with small groups.
In Battle Leadership, Captain Adolf von Schell documented his experiences as a company grade infantry officer in the Germany Army during the Great War (World War I). The book was largely written in a narrative format and was captured primarily from lectures von Schell gave to the U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, GA during the period between World War I and World War II. The book is a powerful application of lessons learned from personal experiences at the tactical level and applied to the greater areas of military science and defense policy.
Von Schell described the transformation of individuals and collective units as they progressed from personnel acquisition by the Army, initial training and educations courses to military exercises and ultimately deployment to combat. Von Schell drew from combat examples during German campaigns on the western front against France, the southern front against Italy, and the eastern front against Russians. His main focus was on the actions and factors that impacted the decisions of tactical combat leaders at the platoon, company, battalion, regimental and division levels in both offensive and defensive operations. To summarize, von Schell emphasized the following factors for effective combat leadership: character, psychology, personal courage; battlefield positioning; information processing, mission orders and communications; and dealing with complexity and uncertainty.
For character, psychology, and personal courage, von Schell identified that it is impossible to know how soldiers and leaders would react when they first encountered combat. Training and drills, while they were effective for mechanical warfighting skills and processes, did not enable a deeper look into the psychology of individual men and recommend appropriate actions to take when confronted with the anticipation and fear of initial combat. It was up to tactical leaders to sense this apprehension in the ranks, and then take small, but meaningful and courageous actions, to alleviate soldiers’ fears of potential catastrophic consequences from enemy artillery fire and direct fire. Leaders used a mixture of humor, courage, information dissemination, storytelling, etc. to alleviate fears and build confidence in their units.
Physical presence was a key command and control and leadership decision during combat. Leaders had to craftily balance the requirements to “lead from the front” and effectively control an operation. Mission success depended on being able to quickly see and maneuver to take advantage of opportunities or plug gaps once contact was gained with the enemy. If a leader chose to position themselves with the lead element during an attack, it was likely that they would become occupied with individual tasks associated with fire and maneuver and their physical exposure limited their ability to see their entire formation (main and supporting efforts). After multiple engagements, leaders learned to demonstrate their physical courage in other ways outside of battle and then position themselves on the battlefield in more central locations to influence the outcome by controlling supporting efforts such as machine guns and artillery and follow on maneuver forces. The freedom of physical positioning was only achieved through effective delegation of combat leadership tasks to the lead elements officers and non-commissioned officers.
Leadership Tip: Fighting the “Young Leader” Battle
Although the technologies of war will always change, the insights of great leaders are timeless. And at no time are those lessons more important than in the heat of combat with lives on the line. The key is in preparation before a conflict. Battle Leadership helps you be prepared by teaching such essential skills as:. While military tactics change, the wisdom of true leadership invariably holds. These lessons can even be applied to running a business, non-profit or government department, but they are crucial to every military commander or aspiring officer. Find out why when lives are on the line, generations have turned to and continue to learn from Battle Leadership.
Simply link your Qantas Frequent Flyer membership number to your Booktopia account and earn points on eligible orders. Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. Your points will be added to your account once your order is shipped. Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! Although the technologies of war will always change, the insights of great leaders are timeless. And at no time are those lessons more important than in the heat of combat with lives on the line. The key is in preparation before a conflict.