I was amused to read an analysis of the classic children's novel 'The Wind in the Willows' as a military exercise.
I'm sure many overseas readers are familiar with the book by Kenneth Grahame, and the justly famous illustrations drawn for it by Arthur Rackham (as shown on the cover image above). US readers may not be as familiar with the book, but it's well worth reading, even as an adult. It's not a classic for nothing. I grew up on it, amongst others.
I was therefore very amused to find that The Angry Staff Officer had written an article using 'The Wind in the Willows' as a study in 'small unit actions in warfare'. Here's how it begins.
That sound? Oh, that’s just the clunking of heads hitting desks, as people react to their beloved childhood book being brought under the scrutiny of the military microscope. But really, we’d be doing an injustice to that mighty asymmetric warfighter, the Badger, if we neglected to share his courageous story with an entirely new generation of military strategists. Wind in the Willows is not a military work by any means. But the Battle for Toad Hall bears noting, because Kenneth Grahame unwittingly factored in some key elements of small unit warfare.
So, if you’ve nothing better to do, let’s begin deconstructing a childhood favorite, shall we?
The situation – if you recall from when your parents read you The Wind in the Willows – is as follows. Two heavily armed factions – the Weasels and the Stoats – have undermined the local power in the region; namely, that of Toad and Toad Hall. While Toad was a fairly unsteady leader – investing at random in items that took his fancy – he remained the rightful leader of the region. The usurping powers were led by the Chief Weasel who used his connections with organized crime to help build an armed force that could overpower Toad Hall. Taking advantage of a time when Toad was absent, the Weasels and Stoats infiltrated the seat of power and established themselves as the new brokers in the region. The Weasels and Stoats were task organized into a garrison force and a sentry force. The garrison force was powerful, but was reluctant to leave the confines of their new base. It was mainly made up of Weasels. The sentry force consisted of Stoats which patrolled the outer cordon of Toad Hall and kept watch over main avenues of approach. Although originally paramilitary in nature, these two forces adopted militaristic overtones with conventional titles for their time in power. Both forces were heavily armed with rifles, although there was little to show that they had adequate training with them. The actions of the Weasels and Stoats destabilized the area and necessitated the mobilization of a strike force to retake Toad Hall and return the rightful leader to authority.
There's more at the link.
The analysis is a lot of fun for those trained in military small unit actions, and an interesting perspective on a childhood favorite book for those who are not. Recommended reading.