A Commander’s Battlefield Knowledge: Leading from the Front or In the Rear with the Gear?

“It is of the utmost importance to the commander to have a good knowledge of the battlefield and of his own and his enemy’s positions on the ground.

It is often not a question of which of the opposing commanders is the higher qualified mentally, or which has the greater experience, but which of them has the better grasp of the battlefield.

This is particularly the case when a situation develops, the outcome of which cannot be estimated.

Then the commander must go up to see for himself; reports received second-hand rarely give the information he needs for his decisions.” (Rommel, 1953, p122).

Field-Marshal Erwin Rommel (the Desert Fox), World War I junior officer and World War II General, considered a brilliant military commander; adored by his troops and feared by his enemies.


Rommel, E., Liddel Hart, B.H. (ed) & Findlay, P. (trans) (1953) The Rommel Papers. St James’s Palace, London: Collins.


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