Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Captain Henry C. Taylor to Lieutenant Commander Charles J. Train

[Extract]

TOPIC

STRATEGY

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Comr. Train.

Consider the state of affairs consequent upon the declaration of war against Spain, and under the supposition that Spain would exert her entire force, naval and military, against us. What would be the probable line of action pursued by Spain? What would be her principal objective? What would be our base of defense against such line of action? What would be our principal objective and plan of operations against her? Consider and discuss these situations thoroughly and in detail.

Prepare not only the plan of naval campaign, but of such military movements of land forces as the navy may have to do with.

In selecting points of concentration for offensive or defensive purposes, please discuss their tactical qualities in full, and all questions of coal and supplies, railroad or other transportation tending to their efficiency. Do the same with the enemy’s probable points of the enemy’s concentration.

Preparations for War threatens and begins to be proposed for Oct. 1st, and is declared, and active hostilities begin on Nov. 1st. Detail the preparations you regard as essential, and which are possible in this interval the period of preparation (one month).

Base all plans on the facts of the case so far as they can be ascertained.1

Source Note: TD, RNN, UNOpB, Section 10, Envelope 9, No. 263, 1894. This document was undated, unsigned, and heavily edited. Henry C. Taylor was the president of the Naval War College from 1893 to 1896. This letter accompanied Lt. Cmdr. Charles Train’s war plan of 1894. See: Plan of Operations Against Spain Prepared by Lieutenant Charles J Train (1894).

Footnote 1: Later Train wrote: “I wish my course had been twice as long for the study of grand strategy is not one to be lightly taken up and easily dropped.” Spector, Professors of War, 36-37.