Clausewitz’s Theory of the Combat


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This interview was a discussion with Olivia Garard. Olivia annotated and edited Carl von Clausewitz’s Theory of the Combat. This is a lesser-known work by the great Prussian military writer, who is best known for his book On War. In this work, we see where Clausewitz’s theories about tactics and combat took shape. Olivia’s Annotated Guide is meant to provide military thinkers with a useful tool to work through Clausewitz’s theories. She says reading Clausewitz is like a “mental field exercise.”

About Olivia: She served in the Marine Corps for six years as a UAS officer. She finished her service in the Marine Corps as a Captain. Prior to the Marine Corps, she received a BA from Princeton University and an MA from King’s College in London. She is a writer at War on the Rocks and at Strategy Bridge. The best way to keep up with her work is by following her on Twitter @teaandtactics.

In the interview, we discuss:

  • Olivia’s motivation to join the Marines.
  • How she became interested in Clausewitz
  • Who is Clausewitz and why should anyone care about him?
  • What is war? What does it mean to have a “theory” of combat?
  • The destructive act and the decisive act
  • Clausewitz on the offense and defense
  • Clausewitz on what a “moral” force means
  • Thoughts on leadership
  • Reflections on Clausewitz and current events from cyber threats to China and Taiwan
  • Thoughts on esprit de corps
  • And we briefly touch on the concept of “Trinity of War”.

This was a very informative and interesting interview with someone who is extremely knowledgeable on the topic.

Get the book in PDF format here:

Article on sleep in the Marine Corps Gazette:

To get a hardcopy, go to the following website: or email with name and address and request for copies.

To follow Olivia, check out @teaandtactics on Twitter.


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