The Heartbeat of Military Operations

Archive Introduction

Orders direct soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen in combat. They explain to your subordinates who the enemy is, what you're going to do to them, where it is going to happen, when it is going to happen, and most importantly, WHY you chose the course of action that you did. Orders should be concise, clearly understood, and focus all efforts of a combat force onto one purpose: the defeat of your enemy. Consequently, it is vital that leaders at ALL levels of command know how to properly compose and transmit an order to their subordinates.

History is replete with examples of lost opportunities for victory because of incomplete, untimely or misunderstood orders. The Battle of Germantown, the Charge of the Light Brigade, General Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg, the sinking of the HMS Victoria, the defeat of France in 1940, and the disaster at Kasserine Pass illustrate the effects of poorly worded or late orders. A  student in the profession of arms should seek to avoid these outcomes by learning and practicing succinct orders that will lead their units to victory.

The works in this archive depict the evolution of combat orders and the different methods utilized across history to convey tasks to subordinate units. Whether you're curious about how the current five paragraph order came into being, searching for successful orders from the captains of the past, or seek new methods to better your own orders, we have it.