Friedrich von Waldersee

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Friedrich Gustav Graf von Waldersee (21 July 179515 January 1864) was a Prussian Lieutenant General and military author, and the uncle of Field Marshal Alfred von Waldersee. He served as Prussia's Minister of War from 1854 to 1858.


  • War is the life-element of an army.
  • Of great bodily and mental mobility—which, however, is often enough increased to a continuous restlessness—the French soldier is indefatigable and persevering in battle, as well as in hard work of all kinds.
  • All these good military qualities which urge on the French soldier to advance impetuously, show their brilliant effects only so long as you allow him to advance. The sentiment individuel, which is at the root of all his qualifications for attack, has its great disadvantages too. The soldier, being principally busied with himself, goes along with the mass as long as it advances successfully; but if this mass be forcibly, and, perhaps, unexpectedly, made to retire, its cohesion, the connection of every individual with his comrade, is soon severed, and the more so as, in such a case, the careless tactical training of the troops renders all steadiness impossible, and leads to confusion and utter dissolution.
  • The French soldier follows his officers eagerly and willingly into battle, but only so long as these officers are in front of him, and literally lead him on.
  • On the whole, the French officer is intelligent and eager for war; he knows what he is about, and—especially under fire—he knows how to act on his own responsibility, and how to excite the men by the example of his own bravery. Add to this—for the majority of them—a good deal of campaigning and fighting experience, and we must say that they are possessed of qualities which place them very high in their profession.
  • French generals must be regarded as comparatively young and bodily active, intelligent, energetic, experienced in war and well adapted for it, though but a few have, so far, shown themselves unusually clever and well acquainted with the handling of large bodies of troops, and though neither the Crimean nor the Italian war have developed any extraordinary military genius.

Quotes about Waldersee[edit]

  • He is a man of very high standing in the Prussian army, where he has particularly distinguished himself by revolutionising the old pedantic system of teaching the soldier skirmishing, patrolling, outpost, and light infantry duty generally. His new method is now introduced in that army. It is remarkable for doing away with all pedantry of forms, and exclusively appealing to the intellectual resources of the soldier in the performance of a duty which can only be carried out well by the intelligent and harmonious co-operation of a number of men.

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