Hand Grenade of the Week

Operational History

Hand Grenade of the Week

A sudden loft, from the trench, for the December 2017 Handgrenade

Operational History

Okay, listen, or rather, read, up.  Or down.

Operational history, you know, the kind of stuff Jon House and Rob Citino write, is fabulously successful with readers, yet disesteemed by academic critics, not just inside the tribe of military history, but by the larger historical community.    My evidence, a review of the table of contents of Journal of Military History.

Why is this so?

 

Best, John T. Kuehn,Platte City, Missouri

Also on Twitter @jkuehn50  

Why the South Won

Hand Grenade of the Week

Handgrenade of the Month September 2017

Why the South Won

Just as I was wondering what I might write about next, the recent “Confederate Generals Statues” controvery reared its long-neglected head in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. How about that for a polemic start?

This handgrenade, as so many do, wrote itself. First, some historiography. There are a number of books, a civil war hands and others know, entitled similarly to the title of this month’s handgrenade, let us review them.

Dr. Michael Pearlman

Hand Grenade of the Week

Dr. Michael Pearlman  --- Farewell

All,  In addition to Roger Spiller, we at Fort Leavenworth also lost another alumnus from the same era who taught almost as long inside Combat Studies Institute (CSI) and then the Department of Military History—Dr. Michael Pearlman.  Mike passed on 15 August 2017 in Lawrence Kansas, where he had retired to in 2006.

Handgrenade Vacation

Hand Grenade of the Week

This month I am doing as the Europeans do, I am taking a vaction for the whole month...but only for the handgrenade deal.  But if someone wants to post something, please go right ahead using the blog tab on the main H-WAR page.

 

best,  John T. Kuehn

Fort Leavenworth Kansas

Soliciting Ideas

Hand Grenade of the Week

All:   I have July's hand grenade ready to publish...and will.

However, I am soliciting topics from you, the H-WAR readership in an effort to perhaps broaden my pool of targets.

I have opinions on just about everything out there, but specifically military and warfare related topics, so send 'em my way and I will weigh in on them with explosive prose--or whatever passes for the writing I do.   The gauntlet has been thrown down. Will any pick it up?

 

vr, John T. Kuehn

Fort Leavenworth KS

A Memorial Day Memory

Hand Grenade of the Week

June 2017 Handgrenade

Faithful Readers (or those who stumbled on this by accident):

this month's offering is not a hand grenade per se, but rather a rumination inspired by memorial day, a time when I try to recall not just those who gave their lives in active service for the United States, but also those whom I knew personally that died on active duty in the line of duty.

Here goes.

Hand Grenade of the Month May 2017 - The Hitler Problem

Hand Grenade of the Week

Handgrenade of the Month May 2017

The Hitler Problem

Just as I was wondering what I might write about next, especially since April’s hand grenade appears to have been a dud (as far as generating some dialog),  Mr. Sean Spicer of the Trump Administration brings military history and the fundamental a-historicism of American society into focus with a very public “gaffe.”

The facts first.  Here is what Mr. Spicer said, I tried as much as possible to avoid the “cherry picking” context error we see made so much in American discourse these days:

Theory of Study versus Theory of Doctrine

Hand Grenade of the Week

Handgrenade of the Month April 2017

By John T. Kuehn

As one of my intellectual heroes wrote:  "Theory should be study, not doctrine." (Book 2:Chapter 2, ON War, Carl von Clausewitz with Marie von Clausewitz.)*

He might have written that "Theory should be study, not emotional outbursts."

Oh wait, he did write something about that entitled "Other Emotional Factors."  And just a few pages prior.

Threat Analysis and Military History

Hand Grenade of the Week

HGOTM-February 2017

Problems with the word and concept of “threat” in national security punditry

John T. Kuehn

A response to: NationalInterest.org ,June 2, 2016,  "What America's Big New Defense Plan Gets Wrong, Five points on which the Pentagon’s "Third Offset" deserves scrutiny." By Jeffrey P. Bialos and Stuart L. Koehl

 

One of the problems with how we think about the future has to do with the word “threat”.

No Fly Zones and Air Power

Hand Grenade of the Week

December 2016 Handgrenade of the Month

A Short, Personal History of the Inefficacy of No-Fly Zones

Picking up where I veered off last month (into an esoteric discussion about what history is? when it comes to student sources and topics), I return to my original idea.  That is, an anecdotal reach into the recent past to discuss the issue of “no fly zones” (NFZs for you acronym crazy-folk out there) and by extension air power.

But First....

Hand Grenade of the Week

November 2016 Handgrenade of the Month

A Short, Personal History of the Inefficacy of No-Fly Zones

But first….

We do not need a handgrenade this month, do we?  We all get more than enough of one on November 8th, unless of course we already voted.  However, I have taken this burden on willingly, with no encouragement or discouragement, and it is mine alone to see through.  I made a commitment to myself—so here goes.

Handgrenade of the Month, October 2016

Hand Grenade of the Week

Handgrenade of the Month October 2016

Point A to B or A over X as a Function of Time?  Steady states versus endstates in military planning.

by John T. Kuehn

All:   I realize many of historians may eschew mathematics as a way to think about history, well maybe not all of us, or even most us. Thus, the title here requires some explanation.

What you read next has been percolating for some time, and I have run it by my students at the  Command and General Staff College (CGSC) for the last couple years or so.

Tell the Truth (Frail Facades of Reality)

Hand Grenade of the Week

Handgrenade of the Month August 2016

by

John T. Kuehn

Tell the Truth (Frail Facades of Reality)

“There is a simple answer for every complex problem, and it’s wrong.” Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum

“Our problem is not that we know too little history to understand the present but that we know too much, and most of it is wrong.”                        N.A.M. Rodger, Naval War College Review (Winter 2013)

            Colloquial tone—strap in, this one is kind of long.

The Warrior Ethos--HGOTM July 2016

Hand Grenade of the Week

Handgrenade of the Month July 2016

by

John T. Kuehn

The Warrior Ethos versus the Professional Officer Ethos

(This one wrote itself)

Warrior-Schwarrior. A recent article extolled the warrior ethos in today’s military. #Essays on War: Warrior Ethos by Zach Mierva—which riffed off of the _Warrior Ethos_ by Steven Pressfield.  Recently there have been some grumbling about the so-called decline of this ethos.

The Lost Art of Editing

Hand Grenade of the Week

Handgrenade of the Month

June 2016

The Lost Art of Editing

John T. Kuehn

 

Exhibit A for the prosecution:  Army History Magazine, Winter 2016 issue, published by the Center of Military.

This is a fine magazine/journal and almost always presents high quality scholarship and book reviews in its issues, but…

One finds the following on page 32-33 about the operations of Nathanial Greene AFTER Yorktown and after his own battle at Eutaw Springs (a tactical defeat but an operational victory).

 

Maps Please

Hand Grenade of the Week

Handgrenade of the Month May 2016

by

John T. Kuehn

 

More Maps, Please

 

 

What is up with maps in books and scholarly journals these days?  Especially in military history books?

 

Military History and Primary Sources

Hand Grenade of the Week

March 2016 Handgrenade of the Month

John T. Kuehn

Primary Sources and Military History

I said I would do it and now I am. One of the problems I find I have with military history students, both inside Professional Military Education (PME) and outside of it in programs such as that Master of Military History Program at Norwich University or the University of Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom is this issue of what is an acceptable primary source?

Hand Grenade of the Month December 2015

Hand Grenade of the Week

Handgrenade of the Month December 2015

With the Paris, Lebanon, and Tunisian bombings, plus the Russian airliner downing, it might seem inadvisable to talk about bomb throwing,  inappropriate even.

However, the metaphor--  really a way of stirring up discussion of unchallenged myths, assumptions, legends, and other pieces of various folks’ confirmation biases—still applies.  Or put another way, the show must go on.

Trafalgar

Hand Grenade of the Week

Hand Grenade of the Month for October 2015

Trafalgar 210 Years On—Why WAS it decisive?

October 21, 1805.The winds were light and variable, but at last the game was afoot, after two years before the mast sailing day after day, week after week, month after month,  the British fleet had cornered its prey.

Hand Grenade of the Week 28

Hand Grenade of the Week

Hand Grenade of the Month -- September 2015

Refusing to Learn

“Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual.”
Georges Santayana, The Life of Reason

Hello hand grenade fans (and those souls who dislike this forum but are drawn to it by a morbid sense of curiosity, to see what nonsense that Kuehn fellow is spewing forth this month). 

Hand Grenade of the Week 27

Hand Grenade of the Week

[Editor Note: This blog was originally posted by John T Kuehn on March 9, 2015]

Hand Grenade of the Week 27
(March 8, 2015)

Lam Son 719 and the Upcoming Offensive to Retake Mosul

All: Springtime is almost here and with it a return to the hand grenade of the week, seeing that many weeks have passed since the last one. Note I have dated this one so all can see when in time these things were “lobbed.” Apologize for the sabbatical.

Hand Grenade of the Week 26

Hand Grenade of the Week

[Editor Note: This blog was originally posted by John T Kuehn on January 20, 2015]

 

Hello All, have been absent, back east doing research and hanging out with my brother and cistern "wizards" of the DC area.
Something came up as I examined the General Board of the US Navy files prior to the beginning of the Great War (ie. World War I).

Here is the hand grenade (maybe a dud for some of you).

Pearl Harbor--Revisiting the Efficacy of the Attack

Hand Grenade of the Week

[Editor Note: This blog was originally posted by John T Kuehn on December 7, 2014]

 

Hand Grenade of the Week 25

Pearl Harbor--Revisiting the Efficacy of the Attack: December 7, 2014

On this, the 73rd anniversary of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor I want to revisit the efficacy of this engagement-- a “big” word that means both the effectiveness and utility as relates to the accomplishment of the mission ends.

Hand Grenade of the Week 24

Hand Grenade of the Week

[Editor Note: This blog was originally posted by John T Kuehn on November 25, 2014]

All, In one final effort to make this work I am trying post this the way I have been directed to by the powers that be.

Given that it appears there was little response to the posting on the USS Arizona Band (Hand Grenade 23), I want to continue the discussion by posing a question about the force levels in the Pacific and how significantly they were affected by the Pearl Harbor raid by Admiral Nagumo's Dai Ichi Kido Butai.

The Rest of the Story, Thank you for your Service Part II

Hand Grenade of the Week

[Editor Note: This blog was originally posted by John T Kuehn on November 16, 2014]

All,  Hand grenade of the week 22 was the prefatory to a speech I gave at a dedication of an artifact in Acheson Kansas to the memor of the USS Arizona on Memorial Day several years ago.  As Pearl Harbor Day approaches, here is the second part of that speech.

 

Thank you for your service? No. Thank you, fellow-citizens

Hand Grenade of the Week

[Editor Note: This blog was originally posted by John T Kuehn on November 10, 2014]

I have posted this in a number places. It started out as a speech I gave several years ago.  I think it goes well in the venue.

Acheson Kansas Memorial Day Speech

Thank You,  ____________ …

Trafalgar Week

Hand Grenade of the Week

[Editor Note: This blog was originally posted by John T Kuehn on October 20, 2014]

Okay, So here we are, 209 years later after the Royal Navy defeated the combined fleet, the combined Franco-Spanish fleet that is on 21 October 1805.  Nelson was killed, but not before literally annhilating the French and Spanish fleets to the tune of some 20 ships elminated or taken and nearly 20,000 casualties. 

None

Hand Grenade of the Week

[Editor Note: This blog was originally posted by John T Kuehn on July 29, 2014]

No HGOTW this week. Happy holiday, summer is half over.

Whose Boots on the Ground?

Hand Grenade of the Week

[Editor Note: This blog was originally posted by John T Kuehn on October 6, 2014]

All:  Just back from a quick trip around the nation--Kansas City to Dallas and then to Jacksonville and back to KC by way of Chicago Midway airport (an experience these days, Midway that is).

The Covert Agents of History

Hand Grenade of the Week

[Editor Note: This blog was originally posted by John T Kuehn on September 22, 2014]

Hand Grenade of the Week #18

Someone once said, “You can get a lot done in this town [Washington DC] if you don’t take any credit.”  (It may have been Donald Rumsfeld.)

Grow or Decline?

Hand Grenade of the Week

[Editor Note: This blog was originally posted by John T Kuehn on September 15, 2014]

Hand Grenade of the Week   #17

By John T. Kuehn

This week, while discussing the origins of the Peloponnesian War as outlined by Thucydides in his timeless classic in one of my classes, the issue of why fear was the chief reason that the Athenians went to war arose.  Here is the famous passage:

Report from the Fleet

Hand Grenade of the Week

[Editor Note: This blog was originally posted by John T Kuehn on September 8, 2014]

HGOTW  16

Report from the Fleet

All:  Just back from lovely San Diego, once upon a time the home of the US Fleet whose commander was known as CINCUSFleet.   Bonus points to the first  (and possibly only) reader to id who changed this acronym and why.

Militarization

Hand Grenade of the Week

[Editor Note: This blog was originally posted by John T Kuehn on August 18, 2014]

It seems that everyone is interested in militarization these days, or at least they should be.  Of course, much of the recent interest is of the negative sort, the whole idea that police forces in the United States are too militarized and that this is an underlying explanation for the violence/tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri over a shooting there.

Lucky 13

Hand Grenade of the Week

[Editor Note: This blog was originally posted by John T Kuehn on August 12, 2014]

August 1945

Hand Grenade of the Week

[Editor Note: This blog was originally posted by John T Kuehn on August 4, 2014]

Today’s topic, as it should be, addresses the contentious topic of the end of World War II in Asia.

Although some have argued that the war in Asia sputtered on (to 1979 in some cases), the unifying element of Japan as the principle co-belligerent against the Allied Powers came to an end during August-September 1945 because of three (four) major events:

Analogies

Hand Grenade of the Week

[Editor Note: This blog was originally posted by John T Kuehn on June 30, 2014]

What IS Operational Art

Hand Grenade of the Week

[Editor Note: This blog was originally posted by John T Kuehn on June 22, 2014]

What IS operational art?

Okay, this seems to be a hand grenade of sorts these days.  There are doctrinal definitions in places like Joint Pub 3.0 and FM 3.0 or  the Army Doctrine Pub (ADP) 3.0.

Revisiting the Decision to Invade

Hand Grenade of the Week

[Editor Note: This blog was originally posted by John T Kuehn on June 8, 2014]

All:  I just finished up an essay wherein I took the following position:

"Was the U.S. – led coalition justified in invading Iraq in 2003?"

No, circumstances after the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center did not justify the U.S.-led coalition’s invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Hand Grenade of the Week

Hand Grenade of the Week

All,  Still trying to get a handle on this medium, but decided we needed something that was better "truth in advertising" than "inaugural posting."   The next HGOTW, therefore will be posted as a response to this new blog thread.

John T. Kuehn, Ph.D., William A. Stofft Professor

U.S.  Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS