Steven L. Ossad

biographer, historian, technology analyst, and speaker

Quick Links

Works



Latest News



Henry Ware Lawton: Flawed Giant and Hero of Four Wars, Army History, Winter 2007
A century ago, Henry Lawton was the most acclaimed soldier of his generation. A "Boy Colonel" and regimental commander during the Civil War, by the age of 23 he had survived 22 major battles unscathed and had been awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery during Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. After a year at Harvard Law School, his former colleagues - Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan - persuaded him to rejoin the army. He served first with the Buffalo Soldiers and then as Quartermaster of the 4th Cavalry under the legendary Colonel Ranald MacKenzie. Leader of the epic 2,000 mile trek that finally tracked down Geronimo in 1886, he was the victor at the Battle of El Caney, Cuba on 1 July 1898, the greatest land battle fought by Americans since the Civil War. Protected by President McKinley when his alcoholism threatened scandal, Lawton was assigned to the Philippines where he was killed in action. He died in America's first major counterinsurgency operation on foreign soil, trying to bring democracy to an Asian people.

BG Joseph Mansfield, Military Heritage Magazine, February 2007
BG Joseph K.F. Mansfield (1803-1862) prepared his whole life for the ultimate test of a soldier - command of troops on the battlefield. After a long and distinguished career, that moment finally came at the Battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862 - the bloodiest day in our history. In command of XII Corps, Union Army of the Potomac, his moment of glory lasted less than a half hour. When Joseph K.F. Mansfield fell at the Battle of Antietam, he was the ranking casualty on either side, the oldest general and West Point graduate to die in battle.

Major General Maurice Rose: World War II's Greatest Forgotten Commander, 2006
"Rose was a brave man, single-minded, whose only mission was to defeat the Nazis as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. Whether that was due to his Jewish background (which he seemed to shun) or not is problematical. He demanded absolute loyalty from his men. He would not accept any excuse from any of his subordinate commanders -- accomplish your mission or move on! This book sheds a lot of light on the man whom General J. Lawton Collins regarded "as the top notch division commander in the business at the time of his death." Robert K. Pacios, WWII Veteran, 3rd Armored Division


---------------------

Command Failures: Lessons Learned from Lloyd R. Fredendall, Army Magazine, March 2003

Winner, 2003 Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award

A hero of the early days of World War II, Lloyd Fredendall presided over the debacle at Kasserine Pass, one of the worst defeats of American arms during World War II. Kicked upstairs and given a training job, he receded into obscurity, re-entering the American consciousness briefly during the 1970 hit movie, Patton. The lessons we can learn from him, however, are a case study for the dynamics that lead to Command Failure.

The Frustrations of Leonard Wood, Army Magazine, September 2003
Graduate of Harvard Medical School, Medal of Honor winner, pursuer of Geronimo, friend and confidant of presidents, Commander of the Rough Riders, Governor of Cuba and the Philippines, sponsor of Walter Reed, Army Chief of Staff, spokesman for Preparedness, and Provost of Univ. of Pennsylvania, Leonard Wood's greatest aspirations fell victim to his unrestrained ambition.


Martin Blumenson (1918-2005)
For more than fifty years, Martin Blumenson served our nation as a military historian, first as a citizen soldier during World War II, then as a professional Army historian, and finally as an independant scholar and teacher. Chronicler of the Normandy and Italian Campaigns, biographer of George S. Patton and Mark Clark, and author of dozens of books and articles, he was one of the team assembled by S.L.A. "Slam" Marshall to write the Army's Official History of World War II.

This web page is in honor of his memory and in gratitude for his service and his friendship.

Xenophon's "Hipparchicus, Commander of Cavalry"
Xenophon's Hipparchicus, (ιππαρχικος) is a "how to" book for those aspiring to command cavalry. Specifically addressed to the leaders of the Athenian standing cavalry force, it should be read with reference to Xenophon's Memorabilia, III, 3, 1-3, where Socrates raises questions about the duties of the Hipparch. The perspective and outlook, as well as some of the issues discussed - like readiness, logistics, maintenance, and esprit de corps - will certainly be familiar to a modern armored cavalry regiment commander and staff. Even more important, the lessons of leadership buried in the brief text are as relevant today as they were in the cavalry clashes during the 4th Century BC wars of the Greek city states.

The Battle of Kadesh: Public Relations Trumps Performance
Kadesh is the first battle in recorded history about which we have comprehensive contemporary documentation describing specific events, leadership, organization of forces, overall operations, field tactics, logistics, weapons, and general outcome. The modern fascination with the clash, however, is rooted in the question of how a near disaster came to be remembered as a tremendous victory; the answer lies in the character, will, and strategic vision of a world-historical figure, Pharaoh Rameses II, known as "Rameses The Great", colorfully portrayed by Yul Brynner in Cecille B. DeMille's spectacular epic The Ten Commandments (1956). Rameses was a man of immense abilities, vigor, and longevity - he ruled for more than 70 years fathering dozens of children. Egypt's greatest builder, he was among the most skillful and cunning diplomats and peacemakers of all time. A copy of his peace treaty with the Hittites which resulted in a period of peace that lasted almost a century today greets visitors to the Security Council of the United Nations in NYC.

Publications


Wharton Leadership Digest