Instructions for an armed uprising - Louis August Blanqui

Instructions for an armed uprising - Louis August Blanqui

A manual for armed insurrection, written by Louis-August Blanqui in 1868.

What follows is a purely military programme; it leaves entirely to one side political and social questions, which belong elsewhere, though it should go without saying that the revolution must be carried out for the benefit of labour against the tyranny of capital, and must reconstitute society on the basis of justice.1

A Parisian insurrection that repeats past mistakes no longer has any chance of success today.

In 1830, popular fervour alone was enough to bring down a regime that was surprised and terrified by an armed uprising – an unprecedented event that it never foresaw.

That worked once. The government – which was still monarchical and counter-revolutionary, despite having emerged from a revolution – then learned its lesson. It set about studying street warfare, and the natural superiority of skill and discipline over inexperience and confusion was soon re-established.

Some will claim, however, that the people in 1848 triumphed by the same means as 1830. True. But let us have no illusions! The victory of February [1848] was nothing but the result of good fortune. If Louis-Philippe had seriously defended himself, force [force] would have remained with those in uniform.

The June days [of 1848] proved this. It was then that we saw exactly how disastrous were the tactics of insurrection, or rather its lack of tactics. Never before had an insurrection had such good odds of success: ten to one.

On one side was the government, in complete anarchy, its troops demoralised; on the other side, all the workers rising up and almost sure they would succeed. Why did they fail? Through lack of organisation. To understand their defeat, one need only analyse their strategy.

As soon as the uprising broke out, barricades were erected here and there in the workers’ districts, haphazardly, at many different locations.

Five, ten, twenty, thirty, fifty men, assembled at random, the majority unarmed, started to overturn carriages, dig up paving stones and pile them up, sometimes in the middle of the street, more often at intersections, in order to block the roads. Many of these barriers would hardly present an obstacle to the cavalry.

Sometimes, after making a rough start on the construction of their defences, those building a barricade left it to set off in search of rifles and ammunition.

In June there were more than six hundred barricades: thirty at most bore the brunt of the fighting. Of the others, at nineteen out of every twenty not a single shot was fired. Hence those glorious reports relating the sensational capture of fifty barricades where not a soul was to be found.

While some dug up paving stones from the streets, others went in small groups to disarm the corps de garde or to seize gunpowder and weapons from the gunsmiths. All of this was done neither in unison nor under leadership but according to individual whim.

Meanwhile, a certain number of barricades that were higher, stronger and better constructed gradually started to attract defenders, who gathered around them. The location of these principal fortifications was determined not by careful calculation but by chance. Only a few, as a result of rudimentary military inspiration, were designed to block the openings of important roads.

During this initial period of the insurrection the government troops were mobilised. The generals received and studied police reports. To avoid a defeat that would have demoralised the soldiers they were careful not to risk sending out their detachments until they were fully clear of the situation. Once they were sure of the insurgents positions, they assembled the regiments on several points that from then on would form the base of their operations.

The two armies then stood facing each other. Let us look at their manoeuvres. The shortcomings of the people’s tactics – the undoubted cause of our disasters – will now be laid bare.

There was neither leadership nor any form of general command; there was not even unity amongst the combatants. Each barricade had its own group that varied in size but that was always isolated. Whether a barricade had ten or one hundred men, it maintained no form of communication with the other posts. Often there was not even a leader to direct the defence, and where there was one, his influence was next to nothing. The insurgents did as they pleased. They stayed, left and returned as they saw fit. At night they went home to sleep.

Because of these continuous comings and goings, the number of citizens that were actually present at any given barricade often changed rapidly, by a third, a half, sometimes even up to three quarters. No-one could rely on anyone else, which resulted in discouragement and a lack of belief in the possibility of success.

No-one knew, or indeed cared, about what was happening elsewhere. Rumours circulated – sometimes they were grim, sometimes rosy. People listened peaceably to the canons and gunfire while having a drink at the wine merchant’s counter. The idea of sending help to those positions already under attack did not cross their minds. ‘Let everyone defend their own positions and all will be well’, the most resolute insisted. This remarkable line of reasoning resulted from the fact that most of the insurgents fought in their own districts – a major mistake that had disastrous consequences, notably in the denunciations made by neighbours following the defeat.

Such a strategy indeed makes defeat inevitable. It will eventually come in the form of two or three regiments which charge the barricade and crush its few defenders. The entire battle proves to be nothing but the monotonous repetition of this invariable manoeuvre. While the insurgents smoke their pipes behind the heaps of paving stones, the enemy successively concentrates all its forces on one point, then a second, a third, a fourth, and thereby systematically exterminates the whole insurrection.

The people do nothing to obstruct the execution of this simple task. Each group philosophically awaits its turn and it does not occur to them to rush to the aid of an endangered neighbour. No: ‘We are defending our position; we cannot abandon our post.’

And this is how one perishes from absurdity!

Now, since so serious a mistake allowed even the most pitiful of governments to smash the great Parisian revolt of June 1848 to pieces, consider the fearsome catastrophe that might confront us today, should we resort again to the same stupidity in the face of a ferocious military regime, one that now has at its disposal the most recent discoveries of science and art, the railways, the electric telegraph, rifled canons, the Chassepot rifle.

Among the benefits of these discoveries we should include, for example, the strategic routes that now cut across the city in every direction – these should not be seen solely as another advantage for the enemy.2 We fear them, but we are mistaken. They are nothing to be concerned about. Far from creating yet another danger for insurrections, as is often supposed, they offer, on the contrary, a combination of disadvantages and advantages for both sides. Although the troops can move along them with greater ease, they also leave them much more exposed.

Such streets are impassable under gunfire. Moreover, unlike ordinary windows, balconies are like miniature bastions that provide lines of fire from the flanks. Finally, these long, straight avenues certainly merit the name ‘boulevards’ that they have been given. They are indeed genuine boulevards in the original sense of the term, ramparts that constitute natural front lines, lines that are very strong.

The weapon par excellence in street warfare is the rifle. Canon are better at making noise than getting the job done. Artillery only has a serious effect if it starts a fire, but if employed widely and systematically, such an atrocity would soon turn against its authors and lead to their defeat.

The grenade, which is mistakenly called a ‘bomb’, is a secondary means whose use, moreover, is subject to a great many disadvantages: it uses a lot of gunpowder to little effect, is very dangerous to handle, has no range, and can only be used from windows. Paving stones inflict almost as much damage and are not as expensive. Workers have no money to waste.

When it comes to fighting inside houses, [the most effective weapons are] the revolver and a form of blade – a bayonet, sword, sabre and dagger. In open combat, a pike or eight-foot long partisan3 would triumph over the bayonet.

The army has only two major advantages over the people: the Chassepot rifle and organisation. The latter in particular is tremendous, irresistible. Fortunately the army can be deprived of this advantage, and when it is, the insurrection gains the upper hand.

In civil struggles, the great majority of soldiers march only with reluctance, under constraint and after a good swig of brandy. They would certainly rather be elsewhere, and are more willing to look behind than ahead of them. But an iron hand keeps them as slaves and victims of a pitiless discipline. Without any affection for the power they are defending, they obey only out of fear and are incapable of acting on their own initiative. A cut-off detachment is a lost detachment. Their commanders are well aware of this; their primary concern is to maintain communications with all their forces. Part of their strength is absorbed in meeting this need.

In the popular ranks, the situation is very different. There, they fight for an idea. There, they are all volunteers who are motivated by enthusiasm, not fear. They are superior to their adversary not only through devotion [dévouement], but even more so through intelligence. They have the moral and even the physical upper hand as a result of their conviction, vigour, and resourcefulness, their vitality of mind and body; they combine stout hearts with clear heads. No troops in the world are equal to these elite men.

So what then do they lack in order to vanquish their adversaries? They lack that sense of unity and solidarity which, in leading them to coordinate their efforts towards one and the same goal, thereby fosters all those very qualities that isolation renders powerless. They lack organisation, without which they have no chance. Organisation means victory; dispersal means death.

June 1848 put this truth beyond dispute. So what would happen today? If they were to rely on the old methods, even an uprising of the entire people would succumb if the troops wanted to hold out, and they will indeed hold out as long as they only see before them irregular forces without leadership. On the other hand, the sight of a well-organised Parisian army carrying out manoeuvres based on military tactics will stun the soldiers and overcome their resistance.

A military organisation, particularly when it has to be improvised on the battlefield, is no small matter for our party. It presupposes a commander-in-chief and, up to a certain point, the usual series of officers of all grades. Where can this personnel be found? Bourgeois revolutionaries and socialists are rare, and the few that can be found are only willing to wage a war of words. These gentlemen think they will change the world with their books and newspapers, and for sixteen years they have been scrawling on paper as far as the eye can see without tiring of failures or futility. With the patience of a horse they endure the bit, the saddle, and the riding crop, without ever lashing out. Bah! Strike back? Only the boorish rabble do that.

These heroes of the written word profess the same contempt for the sword as arrogant officers do for their own long-winded screeds. They do not seem to understand that force is the sole guarantee of freedom, that a country is enslaved when its citizens have no experience of the profession of arms and abandon its exercise to a caste or a corporation.

In the Greek and Roman republics of antiquity, everyone knew and practiced the art of war. The professional solider was a completely unknown species. Cicero was a general, Caesar a lawyer. In substituting the toga for a uniform, anyone who might come along could find himself a colonel or captain, and could be expected to do a very good job of it. So long as it is not the same in France, we will remain helpless civilians at the mercy of our swordsmen.

Thousands of educated young people, both workers and bourgeois, tremble beneath an abhorred yoke. To break it, do they think of drawing the sword? No! The pen, always the pen, nothing but the pen. Why not both, as befits the duty of a republican? In times of tyranny, to write is good, but when the enslaved pen becomes powerless then to fight is better. Ah but no! They found a newspaper, they go to prison, and yet no-one thinks to open a book of manoeuvres, so as to learn in the space of twenty-four hours the profession that gives our oppressors all their force, and that would put our revenge and their punishment within our reach.

But what good are these complaints? It is the foolish habit of our times to complain instead of acting. Jeremiads are the fashion of the day. Jeremiah can be found posing in all attitudes: he cries, he flays, he dogmatises, he dictates, he rages – he is himself the scourge of all scourges. Let us leave these buffoons of lamentation, these gravediggers of freedom! The duty of a revolutionary is always to struggle, to struggle no matter what, to struggle to extinction.

We lack cadres to form and train an army? Well then! We will have to improvise them on the terrain, during the action. The people of Paris will provide all the elements – former soldiers, ex-national guardsmen. Their scarcity will mean having to reduce the number of officers and non-commissioned officers. But this does not matter. The zeal, ardour and intelligence of the volunteers will compensate for this deficit.

The essential point is to organise ourselves. Enough of these tumultuous uprisings, with ten thousand isolated individuals, acting haphazardly, in disarray, without any thought for the collective, with everyone in their own corner and following their own whim! Enough of these ill-conceived and ill-placed barricades that waste time, block the streets and prevent movement, which is just as necessary to one party as the other. The republican must be free to move as easily as the troops.

No useless incursions, no commotion, no clamours! Every minute and every step are equally precious. Above all, we must not hole up in our districts as the insurgents have never failed to do, to their great harm. After having caused defeat, this mania has facilitated subsequent proscriptions. We must cure ourselves of it, or risk catastrophe.

Having made these preliminary observations, let us now outline the mode of organisation required.

The battalion is the principal unit. It is composed of 8 companies or platoons [pelotons].4

Each company includes 1 lieutenant, 4 sergeants, 56 soldiers; 61 men in all.

Two companies form a division that is led by a captain. The battalion is therefore made up of 13 officers, namely: 1 commander, 4 captains, 8 lieutenants, plus 32 sergeants, 448 soldiers and the standard bearer. In total: 494 men. Drummers are an addition, if they can be found.

So long as cadres remain in short supply it will be necessary for each company to make do without 2 officers (the captain and the sub-lieutenant) and 2 non-commissioned officers (the sergeant major and the quartermaster), and also 8 corporals. The company’s officer staff is thus reduced from 16 to 5 individuals. It is true that such a company will muster fewer men than one in the regular army, which would normally field 90 soldiers. Relatively speaking, this amounts to a difference of 5 to 11 in the officer staff.

The size of the company remains small in order to facilitate the manoeuvres of both the platoon and the battalion.

Instead of leading one single platoon as he would in the army, the captain leads two – that is, a division. However, manoeuvres as a whole division will almost never take place. Largely unworkable in Paris, the only use of such manoeuvres would be to enable the recomposition of a massed battalion, division by division, across a public square or along a wide avenue. But whether it occupies one, two or four barricades, it is still important to appoint a specific leader to the division. In the first case, the barricade’s importance derives from the large number of defenders it has. In the other two cases, it is essential not to leave the two or four smaller posts without any form of senior command.

Organisation of the platoon

The platoon is divided into two sections, each comprised of 28 soldiers and 2 non-commissioned officers. The section is subdivided into 2 half-sections, each comprised of 14 soldiers and 1 non-commissioned officer.

The position of the officers and non-commissioned officers in the platoon when it is drawn up in battle formation:

The lieutenant to the right of his platoon, in the first row.

The first sergeant behind the lieutenant, in the second row.

The second sergeant behind the lieutenant, to the left of the right-hand section, in the first row.

The third sergeant, behind the second, to the right of the left-hand section, in the second row.

The fourth sergeant, to the left of the left-hand section and the platoon, in the first row.

Guides:

The first sergeant is the guide for the right of the platoon and for the right-hand section. He is the guide for the right and the left of the first right-hand half-section.

The second sergeant is the guide for the left of the left-hand section. He is the guide for the right and the left of the second right-hand half-section. He is the platoon’s pennant bearer.

The third sergeant is the guide for the right of the left-hand section. He is the guide for the right and the left of the first left-hand half-section.

The fourth sergeant is the guide for the left of the platoon and the left-hand section. He is the guide for the right and the left of the second left-hand half-section.

The position of the officers and non-commissioned officers when the battalion is drawn up as a column, with either the right or left at its head:

1) In a column made up of platoons, the lieutenant stands on the right of the platoon. The first, second and fourth sergeants go to the first row, the third to the second row, behind the second sergeant.

2) In a column made up of sections, the lieutenant stands on the right of the leading section. The four sergeants go to the right and the left of their respective sections and in the first row.

3) In a column made up of half-sections, the lieutenant stands on the right of the leading half-section. The four sergeants, as guides for the right and the left of their half-sections, are sometimes on the right, sometimes on the left, according to their orders, and they always remains in the first row.

The two sergeants who find themselves at the sides of the battalion in battle formation are its right- and left-hand guides and stand in the first row. The lieutenant for the right-hand platoon moves to the right in order to make space for the guide.

The position of the captains in battle and column formation:

When the battalion is in battle formation, the captains stand a few paces behind the centre of their respective divisions. When the battalion is in column formation, each captain stands on the left flank of their division.

The battalion leader has no fixed position.

Nota bene: the four non-commissioned officers constantly remain within the ranks they are flanking. They are never stood at the rear as they are in the army. Parisian workers, volunteers who enlist in the service of freedom, do not need people ordering them about from behind [des sergents pousse-culs].

The position of the standard bearer in battle and column formation:

1) In battle formation, the standard bearer is on the left of the fourth platoon, in the first row.

2) In battle formation by divisions, the standard bearer is in the centre, at an equal distance between the second and the third division.

3) In battle formation by platoons, the standard bearer is on the left, in the same line as the guides, at an equal distance between the fourth and the fifth platoon.

4) In battle formation by sections or half-sections, the standard bearer is at the centre, at an equal distance between the fourth and the fifth platoon.

The standard is red. Each company has its own pennant or guidon with its own particular colour: 1) a red platoon-pennant; 2) a purple platoon-pennant; 3) a green platoon-pennant; 4) a yellow platoon-pennant; 5) a blue platoon-pennant; 6) a pink platoon-pennant; 7) an orange platoon-pennant; 8) a black platoon-pennant.

The officers and non-commissioned officers will wear a coloured guidon ribbon of the company as an insignia, the lieutenant on their right arm, between their shoulder and elbow, the sergeants on their left wrist. The 8th company’s ribbon will be black with red edging.

The captains will wear a ribbon with the colour of each of the two companies that make up their division between their shoulder and elbow – on their right arm that of the odd-numbered platoon, on the left arm that of the even-numbered platoon. The black ribbon of the 4th captain will have a red edging.

The leader of the battalion will wear a large red ribbon with a hanging fringe on his left arm, between his shoulder and elbow.

Each battalion’s number will be written atop the pole of the pennant of its eight companies.

The reason for having the various colours of the pennants and of the officers and non-commissioned officers is to enable people to recognise one another right away amid the mêlée of different companies, and to reassemble promptly.

Since each man in a row averages around two feet in width, the half-section is five metres wide, the section ten metres, the platoon twenty, the division forty and the battalion one hundred and sixty.

Manoeuvres must always be undertaken with 70 or 75 centimetres distance between the two rows so that the second is not forced to follow too closely behind the first, something that novice combatants find very awkward. If they have to open fire, the second row moves closer to the first in order to aim their rifles between the heads of the men in the first row.

Manoeuvres

All officers must be perfectly versed in both platoon- and battalion-level tactics. In order to be certain of the minimum required, it is good to know as much as possible. Nevertheless, it is obvious that there will be occasion to employ only a small number of the various movements that might be undertaken at either level. It is therefore essential to study particular movements above all. Their principal aim is to regularise the battle formation.

Here are the principal manoeuvres:

1) When the battalion is in battle formation, break off to the right or the left, either by platoons, sections or half-sections.

2) When the battalion is in battle formation, break off to the rear right or left, either by platoons, sections or half-sections.

Nota bene: for this latter movement, carry it out by the flanks without splitting the battalion. In any case, the first method of breaking off is preferable.

3) When the battalion is moving as a column by platoons, break off the platoons.

4) When the battalion is moving as a column by sections, break off the sections.

Nota bene: these latter two movements must be executed at a jog in order not to lose time or ground.

5) When the battalion is moving as a column by half-sections, form them into sections.

6) When the battalion is moving as a column by sections, form them into platoons.

Nota bene: since the platoons are 20 metres wide, the battalion can only march as a column of platoons along the broadest roads. The most common march will be as a column in sections that are no more than 11 metres wide. The sections will need to break off before entering a street that is less than 12 metres wide.

7) When the battalion is moving as a column by platoons, or by sections or half-sections, arrange it in battle formation to the right or to the left.

Nota bene: since it is the quickest to execute, this is the best formation in battle. It does present some difficulties, however. It is only possible to draw up for battle a properly ordered column to the right or left if the platoons or the sections or the half-sections have maintained their distances – that is to say, if the distance that separates them is equal to the width they will need as a front line. If it is larger, holes will appear when the battalion is drawn up for battle. If, on the other hand, the distance is smaller than the width of this front, they will collide into each other when forming the line because of the lack of space.

8) When the column is marching forward by platoons, by sections or by half-sections, draw it up to the right or to the left for battle.

Nota bene: This movement does not have the same disadvantages as the previous one, and when facing the enemy it has the advantage of being able to open fire from the very beginning of the formation. But it is an extremely slow way of simply putting the column into battle formation.

A flanking movement, undertaken by splitting the battalion in two, has the great advantage of instantly re-arranging it from a battle formation to a column formation, or vice-versa. But it has the disadvantage of making it impossible to bring the column tightly together. Moreover, the two movements – carried out to the flank or to the front – are difficult for men who have never had any military training. Nevertheless, it will be useful to teach the battalion this manoeuvre as soon as it is organised. The intelligence of the Parisian workers will enable them to understand how the tactic works in a few minutes.

When a battalion on the move has to reform the head of its column so as to turn left or right and enter a side street, the ‘turn to the right’ or ‘turn to the left’ movement must be employed as it is preferable to the regular wheel or pivot [conversion] which is slower and more difficult to execute.

All of the column’s changes in direction must be carried out in keeping with this same movement of ‘turn to the right or to the left’.

The battalion must always march and manoeuvre at a steady walking pace – that is to say, with the two lines at a distance of seventy or seventy-five centimetres from one another so that the second line is not forced to follow close behind and can march freely.

All movements must be executed rapidly, without too much concern for precision or elegance. Speed is the most important thing.

Weapons should be carried in keeping with the port of arms in non-commissioned officer position – the rifle in the right hand, the arm extended along the thigh, the trigger-plate and guard facing forwards.

A call must go out for men who know how to play the drums. Drums are crucial for communicating orders.

Manoeuvres by division

Manoeuvres by division can only very rarely take place in Paris. It is nonetheless important to study the following movements:

1) When the battalion is in a column formation by platoons, either massed together in a close column, or else spaced apart at arm’s length or less, form into divisions.

2) When the battalion is in battle formation, press it into a close column by divisions led by any one of the four divisions, the right or the left in front.

3) When the battalion is in a column formation arranged by divisions, either marching forward or holding its ground, deploy it to follow any of the four divisions.

An outline of the steps that an armed uprising in Paris should take

The men who take the initiative in organising the popular movement will have chosen in advance a commander-in-chief and a certain number of officers, whose duties will begin with the insurrection itself.

Organisation

As soon as the citizens rush into the streets in response to the uprising, arrange them into battle formation with two rows.

Urge them to remain calm and silent; address them with a short speech. Then tell them that all citizens who march beneath the flag of the Republic will receive provisions and five francs a day as indemnity for their loss of income for the duration of the fighting.

Invite all those who have served in the army or who were part of the National Guard to emerge from the ranks and to move to the front of the line. Sort these veterans into their previous ranks as officers, non-commissioned officers and common soldiers; appoint the first to serve as senior officers, and choose non-commissioned officers to serve as lieutenants or platoon leaders, and the former common soldiers to serve as sergeants.

Distribute among the lieutenants and sergeants a document that explains to them the organisation of the popular army and the various measures to be taken.

Assign them to their respective places as officers and non-commissioned officers and group the soldiers of each platoon around them. Continue to form companies in this way from all the remaining personnel.

If there are not yet enough men to make up an entire battalion then, in keeping with the model of those platoons that have already been formed, organise the officers who will lead the platoons to come, and prepare them to accept new volunteers.

If, on the other hand, there are not enough officers, then call upon the men who think they are intelligent enough to command to step forward, assign them the duties of lieutenants and sergeants, and give them the document outlining the organisation of the units.

Should less than eight platoons be formed in this way, declare nonetheless that the battalion has been formed.

If there are more than eight platoons, form a second battalion from the surplus. New volunteers will be added to it.

Distribute among the lieutenants and the sergeants the different coloured ribbons they must wear as insignia; deploy the battalion’s flag as well as the companies’ pennants, which should be entrusted to the second sergeants.

As soon as the flag has been deployed, administer to the officers, the non-commissioned officers and the soldiers the following oath: ‘I vow to fight for the Republic to the death, to obey the leaders’ orders, and not to stray from the flag for an instant, day or night, until the battle has ended.’

Distribute the available weapons to the companies and the battalions in the chronological order of their formation: the first to be organised are the first to be armed.

If there are only a few rifles, give them to the pennant-bearing sergeants.

The officers and non-commissioned officers should repeatedly give the following instructions to the soldiers: never waste a second; remain in order; maintain silence (except for the cry of ‘Vive la République!’, which is only to be shouted out on a given signal); march quickly; in the event of combat, follow orders and nothing else; if their side has the upper hand, rally as quickly as possible, without fuss, to the pennants; if our side has the upper hand, remain in your ranks, silent and ready to march; execute all orders rapidly, and if you are forced to move away from the flag in order to carry them out then rally to it promptly once the order has been accomplished.

Since marching in silence is often imperative, the cry of ‘Vive la République!’ must only be taken up on the leaders’ signal.

Whether it is marching forward or holding its position, all the workers who join the column as it advances must be organised as quickly as possible.

If there are more officers than required, they will march behind the column in the order of their companies’ numbers, incorporating along the way, though without stopping, all the men of good will they come across.

The officers and non-commissioned officers of the platoons thus organised while on the march should immediately ask the newly incorporated citizens if they have ever served in the army or belonged to the National Guard. They are to put such men on the flank of the column.

Staff officers accompany the column in order to appoint company and battalion commanders from these new elements, by assigning grades according to the rule outlined above. They distribute the ribbons that serve as insignia, deploy the pennants and the flags of the new corps that will follow behind.

The organisation of the new battalions will continue in this way, without interruption, for the duration of the fighting. Every column on the move will rally the workers they come across and will organise them into companies and battalions according to the process outlined above.

As soon as the number of battalions is greater than nine, they can be combined into regiments and brigades.

From the very beginning of the insurrection, dedicated citizens will be charged with cutting the telegraph lines and destroying the government’s lines of communication with the provinces.

Insurrectionary measures

The commander-in-chief will establish, as soon as possible, commissions for armaments, provisions and public security.

Arms commission:

The arms commissioners will go to either the arms sellers and manufacturers or to private homes in search of all available weapons – combat and hunting rifles, pistols, revolvers, sabres and swords, as well as gunpowder kept in ammunition depots or licensed shops, fireworks manufacturers in particular.

The commission will requisition any lead that plumbers may have, and bullet moulds of all calibres from the ironmongers; it will have turners make mandrels [for forming paper cartridges], along with powder scales, and will set up workshops where women and children will be employed to melt down bullets and to prepare cartridges.

It will prepare the pennants, flags and insignia ribbons.

It will request from manufacturers of chemical products the materials needed to make up the various sorts of gunpowder, notably sulphuric and nitric acid in anhydrous or concentrated form, the elements of guncotton. Pharmacy students will be requisitioned to carry out this work.

Provisions commission:

The commission for provisions will requisition from the bakers, butchers and drinks warehouses the bread, meat, wine and liquors that the republican army will require. It will requisition staff from the groceries, restaurants and other similar establishments in order to prepare food.

Each battalion will have a commissioner for provisions charged with attending to the distribution of food, and responsible for relaying the battalion’s needs to the commission.

Commission for public security:

The task of the commission for public security is to thwart the manoeuvres of the police and the counter-revolutionaries; to print, distribute and display the commander-in-chief’s declarations or decrees; to maintain surveillance of the telegraphs, railways and all established centres of imperial power – in a word, to dismantle the enemy’s means of action, and to organise and maintain those of the Republic.

The funds necessary to run these three commissions and to pay the daily indemnity of five francs allocated to those citizens marching under the republican flags will be drawn from the state finances.

A regular receipt will be sent to merchants and manufacturers listing the goods that have been requisitioned from them. The republican government will reimburse them for these supplies.

The three commissions will send a report detailing their work, hour by hour, to the commander-in-chief, and will execute his orders.

A special service for ambulances will be set up.

Barricades

Since no military movement is to take place without the commander-in-chief’s orders, barricades will be built only in locations that he has himself designated.

Today barricades can no longer be built as they were in 1830 and 1848, in a confused and disorderly fashion – to do so would invite a swift debacle. They must form part of a wider plan of operations that has been decided on in advance.

In this system, each entrenchment is occupied by a garrison that never abandons its position, that remains in regular contact with the reserves and that continuously receives reinforcement proportional to the danger posed by the attacking forces.

Commotion and dispersal were not the only defects of the old barricades. The construction of the barricades themselves was no less flawed.

A shapeless heap of paving stones, interspersed with carriages on the flanks, beams and planks of wood – this poor barrier was no obstacle to the infantry, who soon removed it. Only a few of the larger entrenchments might have been an exception to this. Again, though, they could all be scaled. Indeed, they served as ladders [for the government troops].

Stopping troops, forcing them into a siege, even resisting canon fire for a certain amount of time – such are the barricade’s basic functions. It must therefore be built in line with these considerations, so as to achieve these three aims. Hitherto they have not fulfilled this in the slightest.

Despite the recent introduction of tarmacadam as a form of street surface, in Paris today the paving stone still remains the basic element of a temporary fortification, but only on the condition that it is used more carefully than in the past. It is a matter of good sense and calculation.

The old paving stone, which still covers the majority of roads, is a 25 cm cube. It is possible, therefore, to calculate in advance the number of these blocks that will be needed to build a wall whose three dimensions – length, width, height – are all clearly determined.

Regular barricade

A complete barricade consists of a rampart and its counterguard or couvre-face.

The rampart is made of paving stones held together and covered by plaster. It is one metre wide, three metres high, and is built onto the external walls of the adjacent houses.

The counterguard, positioned six metres in front of the rampart, is composed of two adjoining parts – namely, an internal wall that has the same dimensions and structure as the rampart, and a glacis of dry paving stones piled up and spread out for four metres until reaching the beginning of the road.

Fig. 1: barricade profile5

One cubic metre contains 64 paving stones that are 25 centimetres on one side. The rampart and the internal wall of the counterguard always have fixed factors: the height (3 metres), the width or the depth (one metre). Only the length varies, depending on the width of the road.

Assuming here that the road is 12 metres wide, and therefore that 12 is the common factor for the rampart, the built-up internal wall of the glacis and the glacis itself, it will give:

The rampart = 3 x 1 x 12 = 36m³

The internal wall of the glacis = 3 x 1 x 12 = 36m³

The glacis = 3 x 4 x 12 = 144m³

The total cubic space of the barricade and its counterguard will be 144 metres cubed which, at 64 paving stones per cubic metre, gives 9186 paving stones, representing 192 rows at 4 x 12 or 48 stones per row. These 192 rows are 48 metres long. 48 metres of the street will thus need to be dug up in order to provide the materials for the whole entrenchment. As the calculations do not to take into account the space taken up by the plaster in the rampart and the internal wall of the counterguard, the number of paving stones may be reduced accordingly. A similar reduction will apply to the glacis, because of the gaps that there will be between the randomly piled up paving stones.

The small rectangular paving stones that have partly replaced the macadam on the major roads could also be used to construct barricades. But the work required for the built up parts would take longer and would use up more plaster. In all cases, it is clear that such an entrenchment could not be thrown up in an hour. And yet it is crucial to establish defensible positions as quickly as possible. We can address this difficulty by preparing for it in advance: the detachment charged with constructing and occupying the barricade must first report there with a cart filled with sacks of plaster, plus wheelbarrows, handcarts, levers, picks, shovels, mattocks, hammers, cold chisels, trowels, buckets and troughs. All these objects will be requisitioned from the respective merchants whose addresses can be found in the business almanac. Those closest to the point of departure will be chosen.

Once he has arrived on site, the leader of the post will begin building the rampart about fifteen metres from the end of the road. Rather than three metres high he will make sure it is only half that. This wall of four and a half feet is exactly the same height as the average soldier’s standing shooting position. It can be scaled no doubt, but not easily. It already presents a sizeable obstacle. And this barrier consists of only eighteen cubic metres or 1152 paving stones, an amount that corresponds to twenty-four rows or six metres of street to dig up. This can be done quite quickly.

The rampart is then completed by increasing its height to three metres. Halfway up, that is to say at one and half metres high, holes are left at regular intervals for joists. Boards will be placed on these joists in order to form a banquette that can serve as a firing step.

The top of the internal wall of the counterguard must be level [plan], with no inclination either inside or out, so as to minimise the chances of cannonballs lopping off its highest and thinnest part.

The top of the rampart can be slightly inclined, in order to help enable plunging fire from above. Like the wall facing the counterguard it will be roughcast and smoothed down with a trowel.

The holes placed halfway up for the scaffolding on both the counterguard wall and the rampart will be carefully blocked up. The surface of both the rampart and the facing counterguard must be smoothed down with a trowel so there are no bumps that might allow it to be climbed.

The rows of paving stones on the foundations of each of the two walls, like the foundations themselves, will be made in a chequered pattern, one in relation to the other.

If the rampart were to be higher than the counterguard wall cannonballs would destroy the part that is exposed. In the event that those on the rampart wanted to shoot at the enemy from afar, however, one could simply put plaster bags filled with earth there. The combatants could raise themselves up by standing on the paving stones.

In any case, the entrenchment is more a barrier than a platform for real action. The veritable combat positions are in the windows. From there hundreds of sharpshooters can keep up a deadly fire in all directions.

The officer charged with defending the opening of a street will, on arrival, send in a third of his men – the best armed men – to occupy the houses on the two corners. He will send out in advance a few sentinels to reconnoitre the streets and avert any surprise attack, before beginning the entrenchment work with the care and in the same order as indicated above.

If an attack takes place before the preliminary one and a half metre high wall has been completed, the officer is to retire with all his men into the houses on the two corners after having put the carts, horses and all the materials safely away in one of the interior courtyards. They defend themselves by firing from the windows and throwing paving stones down from upper floors. The small rectangular paving stones on the newly surfaced roads are excellent for this.

Once the attack has been repelled, the commander should resume and press on relentlessly with the construction of the barricade, despite the interruptions. Reinforcements should arrive, if necessary.

Once this task has been completed, those manning the barricade should then establish contact with the two adjacent barricades by knocking through the large walls that separate the houses located on the defensive front. The same procedure is to be carried out simultaneously in the houses all the way along the two sides of the barricaded street, and then in addition, from right to left, along the street parallel to the front of the defence, to its the rear.

Openings are to be made on the first and top floors so as to have two access routes. This work is to be carried out simultaneously in all four directions.

All the blocks of houses on the barricaded streets must have their outer perimeter walls knocked through in such a way that the combatants are able to come and go by the parallel road to the rear, out of view and range of the enemy.

While this work is taking place, each barricade’s garrison must meet with two garrisons of the neighbouring barricades (on the right and left) halfway between the front of the defence and the road to the rear.

An example of defensive barricades linked by knocking through the walls of houses in adjacent blocks.

Here is an illustration of such an interconnected series of barricades, assuming the Boulevard Sébastopol to be the front of the defence; a stretch of around 140 metres in width along this front – which includes the openings of three streets, that is the rues Aubry-le-Boucher, La Reynie and des Lombards, plus a little more – has been taken over.

Fig. 2: sector plan6

The three streets are closed off where they join with the boulevard by barricades and counterguards. The dimensions and distances are rigorously exact on the drawing.

The garrison of the La Reynie entrenchment, after having completed (or if possible during) the constructions on the road, knocks through the houses along the boulevard, towards the rue Aubry-le-Boucher on the right, and towards the rue des Lombards on the left.

It carries out the same operation on the two sides of the rue de La Reynie, gaining the rue des Cinq-Diamants and, arriving at the end, turns left towards the rue Aubry-le-Boucher, right towards the rue des Lombards, continuing its work.

Meanwhile, on their side, the garrisons of the barricades at Aubry-le-Boucher and Lombards move towards the workers of La Reynie by the same means, and they should meet halfway.

The houses have been only roughly indicated on the boulevard Sébastopol. On the rues de la Reynie, Aubry-le-Boucher, des Lombards and des Cinq-Diamants, however, the number of houses, or rather the number of large walls that separate them, has been accurately noted on a old but very detailed drawing.

The La Reynie garrison would thus have to knock through half of the houses on the boulevard, between the two lateral roads, as well as penetrate twelve walls on the rue de La Reynie – five on one side, seven on the other – plus seven others on the rue des Cinq-Diamants – five on the right, two on the left.

Supposing that there are ten houses along the Sébastopol front, which gives each house a nine-metre façade, there would be twenty-four walls to knock through in total – that makes six for every squad of workers, since the work would proceed in four directions at once.

Moreover, if many people are available then they can knock through the houses of the barricaded street and the street behind it at the same time, since they can move and communicate freely behind the entrenchment.

The interiors of the blocks of houses generally have courtyards and gardens. Lines of communication can be established through these areas, which are usually separated only by thin walls. This will indeed be indispensable at the points whose importance or particular location exposes them to the most serious attacks.

It will thus be useful to organise companies of non-combatant workers, masons, carpenters and so on, to undertake this work together with the infantry.

When a house located on the defensive front is particularly vulnerable to attack, demolish the ground floor staircase and make openings in the floors of various rooms on the first floor in order to fire on the soldiers who will storm the ground floor in order to place explosive charges. Boiling water could also play a useful role in this circumstance.

If the attack stretches across a large part of the front, cut off the staircases and break through the floors in all the exposed houses. As a general rule, when time and the other more urgent defensive work allow, the ground floor staircases in all the houses of the block should all be destroyed, except one located at the least exposed place along the street.

The troops ordinarily remove the barricades with relative ease, because of the small number of people defending them, because of the isolation to which they are abandoned, and because of the lack of mutual confidence that results from an absence of organisation and leadership. With energetic leadership and the continual arrival of strong reinforcements things would be completely different.

Thus far, in the battles that have taken place in Paris, the insurgents have always remained inactive behind their pseudo-barricades – a fatal laziness for combatants who are very poorly armed, without artillery and almost without ammunition. Bravery alone is not enough to compensate for every material disadvantage.

The Parisian workers seem to be unaware of their principal strength, their superior intelligence and adroitness. With their inexhaustible resources, their ingenuity, tenacity and knowledge of all the forces of industry, it would be easy for them to improvise all the equipment necessary for war in a few hours. Carpenters, joiners, mechanics, foundry workers, turners, masons – they can meet any possible need, and for the enemy’s every sapper or engineer of genius they can match him one hundred to one.

To achieve this, however, constant activity is necessary. Every single man must be doing something at all times. When one job is finished, another must be started: there is always something to do. Here are a few of particular importance:

Attach scythe blades to seven-foot long shafts, after straightening their hooks in a blacksmith’s forge and removing any clips that lend them one blunt edge. Get the shafts made at the nearest turner. Scythe blades can be found in abundance at ironmongers.

Remove the doors from apartments or take shelves and planks from shops. Pierce them with straight loopholes ten centimetres long and wrap them in pieces of thick sheet metal that have been pierced in the same way. Fit the front and the sides of the windows on the balconies with these mobile shutters in order to deflect flanking fire along the length of the road.

Pile up supplies of paving stones on every floor, the smallest on the fourth, fifth and the garret, the largest on the second and the third. Supply above all the rooms situated directly above the entrenchment with these.

Each barricade leader is to take the materials and tools that will be useful for the defence from the nearest merchants. He will requisition manufacturers such as turners, joiners, ironsmiths, etc. to make those things the soldiers of the garrison are unable to fabricate themselves. In exchange he will provide regular receipts that will serve as future invoices.

The barricade commanders will not retain new recruits who arrive to join them. They will refer them to their immediate superior – the lieutenants to the captain, the captains to the battalion leader – so that these men are directed to the reserves from which the new corps are being organised.

This rule is enforced on the grounds that: 1) payment of the indemnity can only be made to volunteers on condition of official certification of their presence under the flag, with a precise date; 2) the commander-in-chief must always know the exact figure of each entrenchment’s forces; 3) proper order demands that numbers for the companies and the battalions remains more or less uniform.

The barricade commanders send regular reports to their superiors who in turn will forward them on to the general headquarters.

Barricade defence

Assuming that the army mobilises and engages in the struggle, it is easy to predict its strategy for attacking republican positions.

First of all, more or less numerous detachments will advance to remove the barricade, firing at the windows as they march forward. If they are repelled, and perhaps even without running that risk, they will break into the blocks of houses facing the insurgents across the street, and thus reach the front of the defensive line, protected within the interiors of these houses.

Once the two parties are only separated by the width of the street, the soldiers will let off a violent burst of fire at the windows opposite, to drive away the defenders. If the resistance is drawn out, one can also expect the troops to bring canon through the block they are occupying.

They will line up the canon as a battery hidden behind the door of a carriage entrance, opposite one of the houses at the front of the defence, and then, suddenly opening the door, they will bombard the walls at point blank range, with the aim of destroying the building. The first shots will not cause it to collapse; this will take a certain amount of time.

As soon as the canon is exposed, the republicans will fire on the artillerymen through the openings in the ground floor – from the basement windows, the doors and the balconies – that embrace the alley of the carriage entrance in their line of fire. More loopholes facing the alley should be quickly cut in the defences, in order to multiply the points of fire.

A general rule: returning fire at soldiers who are shooting from windows is useless. It is a waste of gunpowder. The enemy has gunpowder to spare; for the insurgents it is scarce. It is therefore crucial to use it sparingly. The shutters wrapped in sheet metal fitted to the balcony windows will provide protection from their bullets.

Ignoring any shots from the windows, the garrison will keep watch on the street below to prevent the enemy soldiers from crossing it. As soon as they attempt to cross it, they must be sprayed with bullets, and pelted with rocks and paving stones from the tops of the houses. At the same time, one must be ready to shoot at them, to shower them with boiling water through the gaps made in the first floor, should they manage to gain entry to the ground floor in spite of the barricading of its doors and windows. One must be vigilant during the fighting to make sure the enemy soldiers cannot attach petards or explosive charges. Do not hold back in the throwing of paving stones, of bottles full of water, and even of the furniture if there are no other projectiles. Remove the metal shutters from the top floors in order to throw stones, while avoiding the bullets from the house opposite.

As for the entrenchment, it will not be easy for them to take it. Canon fire can only hit the rampart through a ricochet, and the small gap of six metres that separates it from the counterguard will render such a shot ineffective.

Shells will be equally impotent. They will cause explosions in front of or behind or in the gap between the two constructions; their bursts will do nothing more than scratch the plaster of their walls, for no-one will be there. The barricade will be defended from the windows.

The assault will be very costly for the assailants. They will have to endure gunfire right up to the foot of the glacis, when they will then have to brave an even more formidable peril: they will only be able to climb down the internal wall then clear the rampart with the use of eight-foot long ladders, an unwieldy piece of equipment, and they will have to do so under a hail of paving stones and bullets.

If construction of the barricade made it possible to enclose one or two carriage doors within the six metre gap between the rampart and the counterguard, then platoons of combatants armed with the long-handled scythes, amassed behind the doors, will suddenly emerge from them and hurl themselves upon the soldiers climbing down from the counterguard. Caught in such a trap, the soldiers will be cut to pieces, for their bayonets will be shorter than the insurgents’ pikes.

If there are no carriage doors then combatants armed with scythes will gather on the ground floor in order to rush forward through the alley doorways as well as through the ground floor windows. Before this happens, the commander will have called a halt to the hail of bullets and paving stones, which the troops may take as a sign of defeat – a fatal error on their part.

If the enemy grows disheartened by the sustained resistance of one or more barricades, they may resort to setting fire to the houses, by shelling them. The fire will be difficult to extinguish. Failure to do so will make retreat inevitable. The insurgents must withdraw, house by house, to a second line of defence. But the troops cannot play this game for long. They will not turn Paris into a second Zaragoza.7

The barricade fighting will provide the commander-in-chief with the opportunity to launch his own offensives, and to unleash the attack columns on the flanks and the rear of the assailants.

The wounded will be evacuated by ambulances appointed by the corps leader; the dead will be taken to hospitals.

Mines

The troops may have recourse to mines in order to break through a tenacious defensive front. It is a powerful tactic, but rather unlikely to be deployed. The enemy will certainly not use it during the initial stages of the uprising. It is a tactic that takes a long time to deploy; moreover, it denotes a certain timidity that might unsettle the soldiers’ spirits, by showing them that they face a very formidable insurrection.

Necessity may override this disadvantage, however. The sewer system then becomes very important. Every street has sewers; they would become the starting point for mining tunnels.

The enemy has a detailed map of the Paris sewers, which come in several different sizes. Everyone has seen the map of the largest ones, known as the system of sewer mains. It can be found in the second volume of Paris-Guide. But this only accounts for a very small number. The majority of medium-sized channels and drains remain unknown. It would be useful to ask the sewer workers about them.

During the fighting, it will be crucial to provide for numerous detachments to identify these subterranean pathways and to map them out. They will be equipped with ladders so that they can come up from any manhole.

The junctions that lead to the main sewers will be barricaded following a plan based on the operations under way above ground.

Since every street that is used for defence can be crossed by a mining tunnel, one must check if there is a sewer beneath it and, if so, fill it with barricades when the defence front comes under a sustained enemy attack.

Sentinels will stealthily work their way up and down the road, putting an ear to the walls on the troops’ side in order to listen out for digging and to warn people of this as soon as possible. Moreover, the enemy will only try to dig their way into the sewer system if they unable to access it more easily, by means of the existing intersections of tunnels. Any encounter of the enemy in these subterranean detours can therefore be taken as an indication of its plan to deploy mines – but such encounters would soon make the operation more difficult and, therefore, less likely.

In streets without sewers, if indeed there are any, the enemy will have to bore a direct tunnel from a cellar on their side of the street, in order to cross it and reach the opposite house. It will be harder to detect and intercept this work than that undertaken in the sewers. Sentinels must put their ears to the walls of the cellars next to the street in order to detect the noise of the miners. The garrison, alerted to this threat, will wait for them at the exit to attack them.

Overall, recourse to mine warfare is not likely; the enemy is more likely to attack via the sewers.

Inhabitants of occupied houses

The inhabitants of the houses occupied by the republicans will be told that it is in their own interest to evacuate them, with whatever valuables, money and silverware they might have, after securing their belongings as best they can. They will be reminded of 2 December [1851], when Bonaparte’s soldiers entered into every house from which a shot had been fired, and slit the throats of everyone they found, without distinction – men and women, elderly people in their beds, infants at the breast.

If the elderly, the women and the children are evacuated, the men should follow. They should not be left to stay alone in their homes.

Once the walls of all the houses in a block have been knocked through, the families that live along the defensive front can be evacuated through the rear of the block.

If such families should come to lack provisions, as a result of being cut off by the enemy, the republicans will give them some, informing the battalion’s commissioners of this so that they can collect further supplies.

Again, it must be repeated: organisation, unity, order and discipline are the sine qua non conditions of victory. Troops are unlikely to resist for long an insurrection that is organised and acting by means of the whole apparatus characteristic of the government’s own forces. Hesitation will overcome them, then uncertainty, then discouragement, until finally, debacle.

Declaration to the army

Soldiers! The people of Paris are taking up arms. Will you oppose them? In liberating France, it is you, above all, whom they are liberating. Are you not slaves like us, even more than us?

On the pretext of maintaining discipline, the arrogant officers crush you under the heel of their boots. For one word, for one gesture, it is the guardhouse, the dungeon, a court-martial. Humble, mute, you must submit in the face of terror.

You are no longer citizens, nor even men. The squadron horses are treated better than you, for they are costly to replace when they die, while you, you cost nothing. When they run out of you, there are still more where you came from, there are always more. Mothers are there to provide flesh for the dungeons, flesh for the canons.

Can the clothes they dress you in make you forget what you were yesterday, what you will become again tomorrow – civilians, destined just like us to face insults and bullets?

These uniforms are a sign of your servitude, and they will serve as a shroud for your bones, on all those distant shores to which your masters send you to die. How many of your comrades lie dead beneath Mexican soil,8 following a campaign whose survivors returned with nothing to show for it, apart from their broken health and the shame of defeat!

Inside the country you are used as henchmen, as prison guards; outside it, as satellites of a tyrant who wants to destroy freedom everywhere, everything that is free; the whole world over sees France as responsible for the army’s servility.

The peoples of all countries hate us, and yet they ask only to love us. What do they want? Exactly what you also want: to earn a living in the fields and in the workshop. Workers of all nations are brothers, and they have only one enemy: the oppressor who forces them to kill each other on the battlefields.

Everyone, workers and peasants of France, Germany or England, of Europe, Asia or America – everyone, all of us have the same toils, the same forms of suffering, the same interests. What do we have in common with this race of gilded idlers who are not content to live merely from our sweat but who also want to drink our blood?

Soldiers, do not be their dupes and their victims and their instruments! Do not make us both the victims of these barbarities! For them, for these arrogant men, a man of the people who falls, whether he be worker or soldier, is one less member of the rabble, nothing more. If they command you to fire, well open fire on these very scoundrels themselves! The hour has come to punish their betrayals and to avenge your wrongs. You need no longer fear court-martials. The people are here. Join their ranks; your cause is theirs.

Do you want Parisians to suffer the mortal regret of having to fire on you, of killing you – you their comrades, when they offer you their hands and proclaim: ‘Come now, let us drink to our liberation, and then you can return to your cottages where your mothers and fiancés await you. Away with the devouring leeches; we shall have comfort and happiness through work and freedom. If the kings of Europe threaten us, they will find us confronting them, upright and fearsome, while the proletarians of all countries will be rising up behind them to crush these enemies of humanity from their midst.’

Soldiers! Give us your hand! Soldiers! Vive la liberté! Vive la république universelle!

Officers! You do not serve the country; you serve a tyrant and his scourge. Who among you has any doubt about this? No-one. You are not ignorant, nor stupid. You know perfectly well what you are doing.

In exchange for ranks and medals you have sold the freedom and the very life of France. For Bonaparte can only maintain his yoke through darkness and violence. The priests deaden people’s minds, the army muzzles them. And you are the army. Soldiers are nothing but your slaves and whipping boys.

The regime of the sabre can have only one pretext: the country’s external glory and grandeur. What has it brought us? Dishonour, destitution and decadence.

Mexico and Mentana9 have earned us nothing but opprobrium, and as a result of Sadowa,10 which was the work of your master, we have fallen even lower than we fell after 1815.

Militarism has brought us nothing but dishonour, ruin and decadence. The sabre and the pulpit are joining forces to annihilate thought and drive us back to the Middle Ages.

No consideration will be shown for the guilty parties who not only want to oppress France but who also seek, by deadening the minds of its people, to erase it from the list of nations!

So be on your guard! If honour and patriotism still speak to your heart, and if you abandon the cause of crime for that of justice, the country will not be ungrateful; it will reward the services you render it, magnificently.

But if you continue down the path of betrayal, the people will be merciless with you, just as you are merciless with the people.


  1. Source: MF, 257-292, and Instructions pour une prise d’armes (Grenoble: Éditions cent pages, 2009), based on the manuscript in MSS 9592(1), ff. 54-86.
  2. A reference to Baron Haussmann’s massive programme of public works in Paris during the Second Empire.
  3. Pertuisane, a type of medieval spear.
  4. In what follows Blanqui tends to use the terms ‘company’ and ‘platoon’ interchangeably.
  5. Source: MSS 9592(1), f. 66.
  6. Source: MSS 9592(1) f. 74.
  7. A reference to the two brutal sieges of Zaragoza that took place during the Peninsular War, in June-August 1808 and December 1808-February 1809.
  8. A reference to the French intervention in Mexico which began with an invasion in 1861, and which resulted in the establishment of the conservative but short-lived Second Mexican Empire (1863-67).
  9. At the Battle of Mentana of November 1867, an alliance of French and Papal troops defeated the Italian volunteers led by Giuseppe Garibaldi.
  10. The Kingdom of Prussia’s defeat of the Austrian Empire at the Battle of Sadowa of July 1866 was a decisive event in the Austro-Prussian War.

Posted By

Craftwork
Oct 14 2017 18:02

Share


  • In the Greek and Roman republics of antiquity, everyone knew and practiced the art of war. The professional solider was a completely unknown species. Cicero was a general, Caesar a lawyer"

    Blanqui

Attached files

Comments

mikail firtinaci
Oct 15 2017 04:52

Is this a new translation?

Craftwork
Oct 18 2017 18:19
mikail firtinaci wrote:
Is this a new translation?

This archive from Kingston University contains an extensive (more so than the Marxist Internet Archive) collection/new translations of his texts.

mikail firtinaci
Oct 18 2017 21:06

thanks Craftwork!