Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Captain Henry C. Taylor’s Naval War College Address of 1895

 

[EXTRACT]

. . . Of the War Charts1 and Defense Plans nothing new need be said. The great value of this work has been previously shown and is confirmed by the present session, and I need not urge further upon your attention their importance in case of sudden war. This consideration is outside of their value as an exercise for the mind in the study of war; for this purpose they were undertaken and will be carried on, but it is not to be denied that their intrinsic value in case of war is very great, for we will then have but few days or weeks allowed us for preparation. These charts will represent years in their construction; and, when placed in the hands of an admiral and his staff already overburdened with the hurry and responsibility of sudden emergency, will be welcomed most heartily as a valuable accessory in the campaign. They need not hamper nor retard a commander-in-chief’s plans, for it will be a simple matter, if that officer does not approve of them, to throw them to one side and invent his own; but it will often be the case that the time will not allow the formulating of new plans, and that these war charts, the result of patient work and intelligent study, may be of inestimable value to our fleet in a moment of crisis.

Among other exercises the single-ship game2 has been improved, while the tactical game has advanced far towards that effectiveness which the College finally expects it to attain. The strategic game3 continues its hold upon the attention and teaches us many lesson concerning naval warfare on our coast and in the Caribbean Sea...4

Source Note Print: USNIP, vol. 22, no. 1 (Baltimore: Press of the Friedenwald Co., 1896), 205-06. Heading: “NAVAL WAR COLLEGE/Closing Address, Session of 1895./By Captain H.C. Taylor, U.S. Navy/President of Naval War College.”

Footnote 1: A war chart was a map of a potential theater of operations.

Footnote 2: A Single-Ship game employed cardboard models played on a surface with grids. See, Peter P. Perla, The Art of Wargaming: A Guide for Professionals and Hobbyists (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1990), 66.

Footnote 3: A strategic game could be one of three types adapted by Lt. William M. Little: the Single-Ship Game, the Fleet Tactical Game, or the Strategic Game. See, Ibid., 66.

Footnote 4: The Naval War College under the aegis of Capt. Henry Taylor began preparing for war in the Caribbean in 1894. For more information on war planning at this institution, see: Taylor to Train, 1894.