Nov. 8th, 2011

I've made more inroads into A. T. Mahan's thesis than I'd ever ventured into any of the Aubrey-Maturin novels. Go figure.
  • The feature which the steamer and the galley have in common is the ability to move in any direction independent of the wind.
  • When the imagination is carried away by the detection of points of resemblance,—one of the most pleasing of mental pursuits,—it is apt to be impatient of any divergence in its new-found parallels
  • The distinguishing feature of the weather-gage was that it conferred the power of giving or refusing battle at will, which in turn carries the usual advantage of an offensive attitude in the choice of the method of attack.
  • Henceforth the ships which have the greatest speed will have the weather-gage.
  • Before hostile armies or fleets are brought into contact (a word which perhaps better than any other indicates the dividing line between tactics and strategy)
  • This doubtless arises from the fact that an improvement of weapons is due to the energy of one or two men, while changes in tactics have to overcome the inertia of a conservative class.
  • Would not Gibraltar have been more surely recovered by controlling the English Channel, attacking the British fleet even in its harbors, and threatening England with annihilation of commerce and invasion at home, than by far greater efforts directed against a distant and very strong outpost of her empire?
  • the Roman control of the sea, which throughout the war limited the mutual support of the Carthaginian brothers to the route through Gaul.
  • With respect to Hannibal and his base, therefore, Rome occupied two central positions, Rome itself and northern Spain, joined by an easy interior line of communications, the sea; by which mutual support was continually given.
  • It learns to profit by all opportunities of settling on some chosen point of a coast, and to render definitive an occupation which at first was only transient.



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