Methods of Resistance
The conception of the defence is warding off; in this warding off lies the state of expectance, and this state of expectance we have taken as the chief characteristic of the defence, and at the same time as its principal advantage.
But as the defensive in war cannot be a state of endurance, therefore this state of expectation is only
a relative, not an absolute state; the subjects with which this waiting for is connected are, as regards
space, either the country, or the theatre of war, or the position, and, as regards time, the war, the campaign,
or the battle.
A defence of the country, therefore, only waits for attack on the country; a defence of a theatre of war an
attack on the theatre of war; and the defence of a position the attack of that position. Every positive, and
consequently more or less offensive, kind of action which the defensive uses after the above period of
waiting for, does not negative the idea of the continuance of the defensive; for the state of expectation,
which is the chief sign of the same, and its chief advantage, has been realised.
The defensive consists, therefore, of two heterogeneous parts, the state of expectancy and that of action.
By having referred the first to a definite subject, and therefore given it precedence of action, we have
made it possible to connect the two into one whole. But an act of the defensive, especially a considerable
one, such as a campaign or a whole war, does not, as regards time, consist of two great halves, the first
the state of mere expectation, the second entirely of a state of action; it is a state of alternation between
the two, in which the state of expectation can be traced through the whole act of the defensive like a
For the present we shall employ ourselves in explaining how the principle of the state of expectation
runs through the act of defence, and what are the successive stages in the defence itself which have
their origin in this state.
We shall take the defence of a theatre of War as being the subject, in which we can best show the
relations of the defensive.
If we suppose an army with its theatre of war intended for defence, the defence may be made as follows:
1 By attacking the enemy the moment he enters the theatre of war (Mollwitz, Hohenfriedberg).
2 By taking up a position close on the frontier, and waiting till the enemy appears with the intention of attacking it, in order then to attack him (Czaslau, Soor, Rosbach). Plainly this second mode of proceeding, partakes more of endurance, we wait for longer; and although the time gained by it as compared with that gained in the first, may be very little, or none at all if the enemys attack actually takes place, still, the battle which in the first case was certain, is in the second much less certain. Perhaps the enemy may not be able to make up his mind to attack; the advantage of the waiting for, is then at once greater.
3 By the army in such position not only awaiting the decision of the enemy to fight a battle, that is his appearance in front of the position, but also waiting to be actually assaulted (in order to keep to the history of the same general -- Bunzelwitz). In such case, we fight a regular defensive battle, which however, as we have before said, may include offensive movements with one or more parts of the army. Here also, as before, the gain of time does not come into consideration, but the determination of the enemy is put to a new proof; many a one has advanced to the attack, and at the last moment, or after one attempt given it up, finding the position of the enemy too strong.
4 By the army transferring its defence to the heart of the country. The object of retreating into the interior
is to cause a diminution in the enemys strength, and to wait until its effects are such that his forward
march is of itself discontinued, or at least until the resistance which we can offer him at the end of his
career is such as he can no longer overcome.