• To produce strategic knowledge in the pursuit of real-life objectives
• To promote the use of innovative technology in the pursuit of real-life objectives
• To generate interest in history and academics as a whole
The Art of Battle and the Palmer History Group are operated solely by Jonathan Webb from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. In 2013, Jonathan completed an Honours Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Political Science and Cultural Studies & Critical Theory at McMaster University. In summer 2013 between degrees, Jonathan completed Russian language courses in St. Petersburg, Russia and traveled through Russia, Ukraine, and Poland. In 2014, Jonathan completed a Masters of Arts, majoring in International Relations and specializing in Global Political Economy, also at McMaster University. Jonathan currently works as an intelligence analyst with the Canadian Armed Forces. If you wish to contact Jonathan, please do not hesitate to do so at email@example.com or connect with him on LinkedIn.
The Art of Battle first came online in 2008 on a (frankly poor) free website-maker. The Art of Battle moved to History Net servers in 2009 and was maintained with the courteous assistance of History Net staff until 2015. The Art of Battle is currently hosted on an independent server.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use your content?
With the exception of content and media already sourced to an external author (images or animations not attributed to Jonathan Webb), all content may be used in whole or in part so long as its use: 1) does not serve any commercial purpose and; 2) gives proper credit to its original author and source. In other words, do not make money by presenting the site’s content, and always source back to myself and this website, pretty simple. This means if you are an educator and want to use the site’s content in your lessons, do not even bother asking, as I encourage you to use the content for this purpose. If you are not sure if your use will violate these terms, just ask.
Can I make requests for battles and campaigns to be animated?
Absolutely! While I already have an extensive list of engagements I would like to one day animate, I take requests very seriously. Requests let me know which battles and campaigns viewers wish to see and which ones I should animate. I cannot promise your requested battle will be completed in any timely manner, or if at all (just ask one of my earliest viewers who requested the Battle of Torvioll), but I can promise I will add it to my list and make a note that it was requested by one of my wonderful viewers. Many of the animations you currently see featured on the site are in fact requests over the years.
Do you make any money from the website?
No, it is a registered revenue-neutral non-profit organization with no financial objectives. Its only objectives are the three education-based ones listed above. The website is a hobby of mine and trying to make it into anything other than that would take the enjoyment out of it.
Why do you use PowerPoint instead of flash or video?
There are a few reasons here. For starters, PowerPoint is what I started on and what I have become very proficient in, using animation sequences and triggers in ways I do not really think its creators imagined it being used. The time and effort it would now require to put aside my life’s other responsibilities (you know, gainful, paid employment, social life, etc.) and switch over to another media format is overwhelming, and would likely mean a significant hiatus from actually creating and posting new content to the site, which is what I really enjoy. Second, PowerPoint is an extremely versatile format that can do a lot of things that video and flash may not be able to do. So while viewers often like the animations that have videos in addition to PowerPoint, a significant amount of information and interaction is lost in the video format. PowerPoint is also the absolute easiest file format to transfer and display. With educators and students two of my main target audiences, this is essential. How often has your teacher tried to include this great video or flash animation only for it to simply not work? Instead of switching media formats I have decided to upgrade PowerPoint animations to make them even better.
What do you mean when you refer to these upgrades?
I constantly struggle to balance between maintaining consistency among all animations and ensuring evolution and improvement in their quality. If anyone remembers the original website back in 2008, the animations did not include context or aftermath slides to describe the historical background. The first series of upgrades in late 2008 added these features now taken for granted. The second series of upgrades began in mid-2015 to improve the animations’ quality once again. With many more animations to upgrade, and the jump in quality more substantial, this process is still ongoing with 70% completely upgraded. These upgrades include the addition of a scale, symbol guide, terrain slide to describe the battlefield, improved geography slides to show the political context, conversion to the 2007/2010 Powerpoint file format to ensure content plays on most platforms, as well as general editing of the entire animation and analysis to a higher standard.
What are your favourite military history books and games?
There is a lot! Check out the Resources page.
What provoked you to actually start this website?
The decision and initiative to actually create this site in the first place had built up for awhile. I had always been captivated by the military, whether it was playing with my plastic toy soldiers as a child, reading the great commanders’ advice or poring over campaign maps in the late hours after my homework was done. Simon Goodenough’s Tactical Genius in Battle peaked my interest in the personal duel between commanders while Robert Greene’s 33 Strategies of War showed me how military strategy and tactics can be applied to real life, giving the subject real value.
I believe that if one is truly passionate about something, one should always be passionate to share it with others so that they might appreciate it even if it is just a little bit. So one day, someone asked me to give her a lesson on the Napoleonic Wars so that she could do well in her history course. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to educate her on the strategies and tactics used by each nation at the grand strategic and tactical levels. At the end, she felt that she really understood the Napoleonic Wars militarily and historically as a whole, especially the Battles of Austerlitz and Waterloo which I had drawn up. I reasoned that if I could teach her military strategy and tactics, and enjoy it, I could and should teach others.
However, even with an extensive knowledge of military studies, I myself found it difficult to understand what happened in a battle or campaign because of the way it was presented. At most, three still maps and massive paragraph chunks would be used to explain a fluid situation which was constantly changing and progressing. How was I to teach strategies and tactics to someone who knew nothing of such things to begin with? The only solution was to develop the method of presentation you can view now. Thank you to my late grandfather, Donald Palmer, for sparking my interest in history all those years ago.
– Jonathan Webb