Ask any naval history aficionado to list the most influential maritime strategic thinkers and U.S. naval officer Alfred Thayer Mahan and British writer Sir Julian Corbett invariably appear. This is hardly surprising as these two late 19th-/early 20th-century scribes are considered the doyens of the field of maritime strategy.
Mention Major General Charles Callwell, however, and expect puzzled looks from all but the most learned naval historians. Prima facie, one invariably would think: “How much could an army man know about saltwater affairs?” As a contemporary of Mahan and Corbett, Callwell is noted more for the seminal Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice, a book that deals with irregular warfare and is considered required reading for the modern counterinsurgency practitioner.
1. COL Charles E. Callwell, Military Operations and Maritime Preponderance: Their Relations and Interdependence (London and Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1905), 163.
2. Callwell, Military Operations, 163.
3. Callwell, Military Operations, 74.
4. Callwell, Military Operations, 64.
5. James R. Holmes, “Anti-Access and the Fortress-Fleet,” The Diplomat, 10 September 2012.
6. Callwell, Military Operations, 129.
7. CAPT Wayne P. Hughes Jr., USN (Ret), and RADM Robert P. Girrier, USN (Ret), Fleet Tactics and Naval Operations: Third Edition (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2018), 29.
8. Andrew Krepinevich, “How to Implement the National Defense Strategy in Pacific,” Breaking Defense, 21 February 2018.
9. Shawn Snow, “Marines Seize an Airfield and Small Island while Testing Tactics for Fight against China,” Marine Corps Times, 21 March 2019.
10. Robert D. Kaplan, “How We Would Fight China,” The Atlantic, June 2005.
11. Callwell, Military Operations, 5.