Moltke and his Generals

Wednesday 27th April 2022

St John’s Place, Lower Road, Bemerton, SP2 9NP


When Helmuth von Moltke took over as Chief of the Prussian General Staff, the Prussian army had not fought for more than forty years. Yet within a decade and a half he had brought it to the point where it was the strongest in Europe. His successes on the battlefield led to his methods being painstakingly analysed by commentators and slavishly imitated by Western armies. His success was not only due to far-sighted strategic planning, the comprehensive reorganisation of the General Staff and his grasp of new technologies; it was also due to his leadership of a talented, if disparate, group of subordinates, even if some of them sometimes failed to grasp his overall intentions.

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Quintin Barry has held a variety of offices in both public and private sectors, including solicitor, employment judge, notary public, and in the National Health Service and local radio. Following a lifelong interest in history, he is the author of a number of books on military and naval history. These include an acclaimed two-volume history of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871, a history of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, and the first modern history of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878. He has made a particular study of the life and career of Helmuth von Moltke, and has published a number of other books on the Franco-Prussian War. Forthcoming books are The Battle of Lissa 1866, and From Ushant to Gibraltar, a history of the Channel Fleet from 1778 to 1783.