The Leavenworth Way of War

History Discussion at CGSC

Book Review: Schoolbooks and Krags

Schoolbooks and Krags:  The United States Army in the Philippines, 1898-1902.  John M. Gates.  Westport, CT:  Greenwood Press, 1973.

Gates is at his best discussing the American strategy.  He effectively describes how the two aspects of  the dual strategy of attraction and chastisement complimented each other.  The book begins with the efforts of General Otis, the first commander, who did not have the military strength to accomplish his mission, vague guidance from the President, and few intelligence sources.  Otis did not understand the strategy of the Philippine revolutionaries led by Emilio Aguinaldo.  None-the-less, the American army quickly defeated the Filipinos in the conventional phase of combat in 1899.  Gates then details how General Arthur MacArthur wrestled with the challenge of devising and executing a strategy aimed at defeating the Filipinos who had reverted to a deliberate stratagem of guerrilla warfare. MacArthur aimed at separating the insurgents from the civil population and then defeating them.  This strategy required close cooperation with William Howard Taft, the U.S. civil administrator in the islands, and pro-American Filipinos.  The book concludes with an analysis of how the entire strategy was almost undone by MacArthur’s replacement, General Adna Chaffee, as the Army, according to Gates, over-reacted to the Balangiga massacre.  This reaction included the brutal Samar pacification campaign under General Jacob H. Smith.

Read complete review here.

May 11, 2009 Posted by | books | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment