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Ferdinand Foch
1851 - 1929

French military leader, commander of the Allied troops in France in World War I, author of The Principles of War (1903). Foch led his troops to an unlikely victory in the decisive second Battle of the Marne. While he has been criticized for the heavy losses of his campaigns and his prediliction for offensive rather than defensive tactics, his unshakeably confident determination led to surprise victories which some historians believe turned the course of the war for the Allies.


Defensive battle never brings about the destruction of the enemy forces; it never allows one to conquer the ground held by the enemy... therefore it is unable to create victory.

1903 - from Principles of War
A battle won is a battle in which one will not confess oneself beaten.

1903 - from Principles of War
Hard pressed on my right; my left is in retreat. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I am attacking. Attaquez!

Sep. 1914 - from a communication to General Joseph Joffe, commander-in-chief of French forces