Intelligence In War: Knowledge of the Enemy from Napoleon to Al-Qaeda Paperback – 7 Oct 2004
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"Authoritative and stimulating" (Daily Telegraph)
"This stimulating and informed book...has no contemporary equal. Keegan has done it again" (Daily Telegraph)
"Intelligence in War combines the lucid prose, perceptive judgements and narrative power that Keegan's readers have come to expect" (Christopher Andrew The Times)
"This excellent and highly readable book is vintage Keegan" (Alistair Horne Literary Review)
"A fascinating book on a fascinating subject, written by a master of the craft" (Raymond Carr Spectator)
A fascinating and highly readable study of this most topical of subjects by the most distinguished contemporary writer of military history.See all Product Description
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An early example is a naval code system capable of conveying several hundred altetnative complex messages by the positioning of a few flags. The code book made it possible to identify and read the message quickly. Alas code book worked on decoding the message quickly but it was very difficult to encode a message. The comparison would be an English to German dictionary with no German to English section.
Keegan’s (not very surprising) conclusion is that, however good one’s knowledge of the enemy’s plans and dispositions, that enemy still has to be fought and beaten. Knowing the German battle plan did not enable the British to successfully defend Crete in 1941. In June 1942, at the Battle of Midway, American wireless traffic analysis and cryptanalysis had identified the Japanese intention and the order of battle of their task force. This enabled the Americans to concentrate their limited naval forces at the decisive point. Even so, the battle could have gone either way. The Americans needed a large slice of luck, plus Japanese indecisiveness, in order to win an overwhelming victory.
The focus on Intelligence makes this is an interesting book. However there were a number of minor errors which suggest poor proof reading, or possibly poor research by Keegan. On page 242, Keegan says that, in the Battle of the Atlantic, during the first three years, sinkings of British ships in convoy were 0.02% of ships sailed; in 1943-45, losses were 0.009%. According to the raw data of ships sailed and sunk given in the text, the percentages were 1.5% and 0.9% respectively. Either Keegan or his reference source has miscalculated.Read more ›
AND -my fault for not checking-the publication date is so old that the last chapter is trivial.