J. F. C. Fuller

British Army general (1878-1966)

Major-General John Frederick Charles Fuller, CB, CBE, DSO (September 1, 1878February 10, 1966), commonly J.F.C. Fuller, was a British major-general, military historian and strategist, notable as an early theorist of modern armoured warfare. He was also the inventor of "artificial moonlight" and an occultist.

In 1919 I was the sole person who saw war in the form it would be; yet saw it only as an acorn and not as an oak.
Major-General JFC Fuller, the man credited with developing modern armored warfare in the 1920s, called failure to use It "the greatest blunder of the whole war." He even suggested that British and American tank divisions could have overrun Germany before the Russians – if it had been deployed, that is. ~ As qtd. by David Hambling

Quotes edit

  • I believe that, in future warfare, great cities, such as London, will be attacked from the air, and that a fleet of 500 aeroplanes each carrying 500 ten-pound bombs of, let us suppose, mustard gas, might cause 200,000 minor casualties and throw the whole city into panic within half an hour of their arrival. Picture, if you can, what the result will be: London for several days will be one vast raving Bedlam, the hospitals will be stormed, traffic will cease, the homeless will shriek for help, the city will be in pandemonium. What of the government at Westminster? It will be swept away by an avalanche of terror. Then will the enemy dictate his terms, which will be grasped at like a straw by a drowning man. Thus may a war be won in forty-eight hours and the losses of the winning side may be actually nil!
    • The Reformation of War (1923), p. 150
  • In 1919 I was the sole person who saw war in the form it would be; yet saw it only as an acorn and not as an oak.

Attributed edit

About J. F. C. Fuller edit

  • Fuller’s finest wartime moment was the promulgation of his Plan 1919. Believing World War I would continue into 1919, he suggested victory with a single penetrating, surprise, mass tank attack aimed not at killing lots of German soldiers but at reaching and killing the enemy “brain”—the rear-area command-and-communications infrastructure—and thus paralyzing the body. But Fuller’s most meaningful tactical concept came to naught, as the war ended in November 1918. Had it continued, Fuller today might be as widely known as Guderian, Montgomery and Patton.
  • In the early 1930s he predicted, as Anthony Trythall wrote, “future armies would be surrounded by swarms of motorized guerillas, irregulars or regular troops making use of the multitude of civilian motorcars that would be available.” Fuller also mused that one day “a manless flying machine” would change the face of war. Early on he was intrigued by the development of radio, not only for communication but also as a way to control robot weapons. He also thought then-primitive rocket technology would one day lead to the development of superb anti-aircraft weapons.
    And as early as the 1920s, Fuller was a proponent of amphibious warfare. He envisioned a naval fleet “which belches forth war on every strand, which vomits forth armies as never did the horse of Troy.” Indeed, he foresaw future navies as being entirely submersible. On the negative side of the balance sheet, Fuller also championed the military use of poison gas, particularly when spread by airplanes. Even as late as 1961, with the publication of his book The Conduct of War, he blamed resistance to chemical warfare on “popular emotionalism.”
    If Fuller had a fatal flaw as a tactician, it was that he derided the importance of putting infantry “boots on the ground.” To him, combat was simply a matter of wool uniforms versus steel armor—and that seemed to him a no-brainer. Of course, Fuller had failed to consider the development of portable, shoulder-fired and helicopter-borne antitank weaponry.

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