Cuirassiers at Waterloo

Cuirassiers at Waterloo. Original artwork by Mark Churms,



Friends, I am inspired by recent events and the courageous example of Maréchal Eugène (Barry Maunsell, see posting in the Rhine Tavern under the title "Old Virus") to use this bully pulpit to address momentous issues: Morale, Leadership, Fatigue, and Responsibility.

It is no secret that positions of leadership in the Napoleonic Wargaming Club, not least Army Command (and Editorship of the NWC Newsletter, of course), require generous investments of time, energy, and enthusiasm to be done well. Considering the limited pay-scale (0¢ per hour, last time I checked), this must only and always be a labor of love. We all have busy 21st-Century lives, though our spouses may well question whether we spend a majority of of our elective time immersed in the 19th. People are finite and changeable, real-life responsibilities wax and wane. The upshot is: What was once a labor of love may become a burden.

What to do? I believe that part of the answer is to be found in the examples of such officers as Paul Harris, Michael Gjerde, and Editor-Emeritus Muddy Jones, wisely and voluntarily retiring, full of honor, from positions of heavy responsibility. Rather than half-heartedly going through the motions of the job, they adjusted their involvement in the hobby to a level fitting their realities, assuring continued enjoyment for themselves and allowing us the continued benefit of their company.

Another useful concept is the academic tradition of the sabbatical, in which tenured professors are expected to take time off from their routine duties to engage in travel and the exploration of different intellectual pursuits. Everybody benefits: The professor returns to his tenured chair refreshed, energized, full of new ideas which redound to the benefit of the Department and the students.

Perhaps in the Napoleonic Wargaming Club we should expect high-level commanders to rotate in and out of positions. The Allied Coalition and the Grande Armée could each have a pool of high-ranking, command-qualified officers, a General Staff if you will. Officers in command positions could at any time request a rotation on the General Staff, be it for a month-long sabbatical or an indefinite leave, without recrimination, grief, or loss of prestige. Fresh officers standing-by in the General Staff pool could be assigned as needed to command positions. From the medical world, we can borrow the concept of locum tenens, in which a physician temporarily fills-in for an absent colleague with the understanding that the owner of the practice will resume his previous position soon. Thus, an officer needing a break would have an alternative to permanently retiring from his command.

Naturally, I have my own agenda in this scheme: What the Editor of the NWC Newsletter hopes to see is set of fresh, motivated, energetic Army Commanders and Chiefs-of-Staff who are absolutely loving what they do and eagerly submitting Dispatches well before the deadline!

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