Operational Command Is Something That Anyone Can Do--
an in-depth study of The Mask of Command
PART 2: Alexander the Great
* * * "Alexander the Great, his name struck fear into hearts of man." -Iron Maiden * * *
Keegan's first individual critique outlines his embodiment of what traits create a hero--and he chose Alexander the Great (of Macedonian fame) to personify the word 'hero,' ultimately using this criteria to compare and contrast Wellington, Grant, and Hitler to justify his degrees of heroism--that is, the Anti-heroic, Unheroic, and the False heroic. As an avid admirer of Alexander, I read the first chapter with a completely open-mind, absorbing any fact that I had not already been aware of, and committing it to memory. Keegan excelled at personifying Alexander's lead-from-the-front approach to not only his battlefield tactics, but in his addressing of his soldiers, and his establishment of the role of the 'warrior-king' at the head of a warrior-society.
Alexander excelled at on-site battlefield reconnaissance and was adamant in following his own Standard Operating Procedures (to borrow the modern term) of winning the field in full glory. He not only attacked an enemy who was, more often than not, in a well-established defensive position, but he insisted that his main effort was concentrated on the very place he felt his enemy had strengthened the most. His attack on the strongest point was driven by his desire to exploit the faÃÂ§ade of an unsure defender who 'hid' behind his position, cowering from any open-field confrontation with Alexander and his fearless Companions--a strategy, that once employed, caused the domino-effect of extreme routs of his enemies, as the remaining enemy forces had witnessed the destruction of their finest troops at their strongest defensive positions. It was this strategy that proved to escalate...