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Ferdinand Foch (1851 – 1929)


French soldier and writer.
Ferdinand Foch
The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.
Foch quotes
The military art is not an accomplishment, an art for dilettante, a sport. You do not make war without reason, without an object, as you would give yourself up to music, painting, hunting, lawn tennis, where there is no great harm done whether you stop altogether or go on, whether you do little or much. Everything in war is linked together, is mutually interdependent, mutually interpenetrating. When you are at war you have no power to act at random. Each operation has a raison d'etre, that is an object; that object, once determined, fixes the nature and the value of the means to be resorted to as well as the use which ought to be made of the forces.
Foch
In tactics, action is the governing rule of war.




Foch Ferdinand quotes
None but a coward dares to boast that he has never known fear.
Foch Ferdinand
In war there are none but particular cases; everything has there an individual nature; nothing ever repeats itself.
In the first place, the data of a military problem are but seldom certain; they are never final. Everything is in a constant state of change and reshaping.
Ferdinand Foch quotes
The laurels of victory are at the point of the enemy bayonets. They must be plucked there; they must be carried by a hand-to-hand fight if one really means to conquer.
Ferdinand Foch
To inform, and, therefore to reconnoitre, this is the first and constant duty of the advanced guard.
Foch Ferdinand quotes
What you did was the greatest thing accomplished by any private soldier of all of the armies of Europe.
Foch
A radish will never stand in the way of victory.
Foch Ferdinand
One does simply what one can in order to apply what one knows.
Ferdinand Foch
The will to conquer is the first condition of victory.




Ferdinand Foch quotes
Every manoeuvre must be the development of a scheme; it must aim at a goal.
Ferdinand Foch
The distribution of troops devoted to the defence of a place includes a garrison, an occupying force, numerically as weak as possible; a reserve as strong as possible, designed for counterattacking and for providing itself, at the moment it goes into action, with a security service which will guard it from any possible surprise.
Foch quotes
There is but one means to extenuate the effects of enemy fire: it is to develop a more violent fire oneself.
Foch Ferdinand
The truth is, no study is possible on the battle-field; one does there simply what one can in order to apply what one knows. Therefore, in order to do even a little, one has already to know a great deal and to know it well.
Foch Ferdinand quotes
An army is to a chief what a sword is to a soldier. It is only worth anything in so far as it receives from him a certain impulsion (direction and vigour).
Ferdinand Foch
Far from being a sum of distinct and partial results, victory is the consequence of efforts, some of which are victorious while others appear to be fruitless, which nevertheless all aim at a common goal, all drive at a common result: namely, at a decision, a conclusion which alone can provide victory.
Ferdinand Foch quotes
In a time such as ours when people believe they can do without an ideal, cast away what they call abstract ideas, live on realism, rationalism, positivism, reduce everything to knowledge or to the use of more or less ingenious and casual devices — let us acknowledge it here — in such a time there is only one means of avoiding error, crime, disaster, of determining the conduct to be followed on a given occasion — but a safe means it is, and a fruitful one; this is the exclusive devotion to two abstract notions in the field of ethics: duty and discipline; such a devotion, if it is to lead to happy results, further implies besides… knowledge and reasoning.
Ferdinand Foch
To be disciplined does not mean being silent, abstaining, or doing only what one thinks one may undertake without risk; it is not the art of eluding responsibility; it means acting in compliance with orders received, and therefore finding in one's own mind, by effort and reflection, the possibility to carry out such orders. It also means finding in one's own will the energy to face the risks involved in execution.
Foch Ferdinand
Against what should fire be opened? Against the obstacles which may delay the march of infantry.
The first obstacle is the enemy gun. It will be the first objective assigned to artillery masses.


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