It seems like yesterday when I appeared for DSSC and prepared extensively for one year. I always felt the aim of the exam was to enhance the knowledge threshold and to be able to clearly articulate our thoughts. Military history is one of the subjects which troubled me for a long time.
To start with the preparations, Military History is very time taking and requires an extensive research. The prescribed books and the USI notes or the DGMT precis were a good help but could not give me the correct overview of the campaign or the biography. The initial overview itself is missing from all the books or notes and without the overview, reading the book becomes a nightmare because first reading of the book makes turn the pages back and forth. I felt there was a need to create a ready reckoner for the military history examination preparations.
When I finally prepared my notes, I realised that it still lacked the broad understanding and reasons for the concepts applied. I made the overview, in the end, a month prior to the examination and then complete notes became easy to read, comprehend and assimilate.
Now after hanging my uniform I felt I could use the same skills for the benefit of young DSSC aspirants by giving them the overview of personality, geography, campaigns in more military like presentation. It is a humble effort to make the biography interesting and easy to remember. The major campaigns and different perspective of both adversaries makes it so confusing for the first-time reader that one is likely to give up half way. This book will help you to get big picture, op art and the military appreciated reasons for various actions during the course of campaign and the growth of military leader. The most interesting part of the Biography is to understand the new concepts applied by a leader, the thought process and the military circumstances behind the timing of application of concepts.
This book is an amalgamation of prescribed and recommended books, open source research and conversations with some senior veterans. At places the names of campaigns in both are different and the force levels described are also different. The official history or Vietnam and their perspective is completely at variance. It posed an ethical dilemma for me as the books by victors always tells a different tale while the truth may be different so I avoided any contradictory analysis and stuck to military analysis only.
Remember, it is the continuity and planning that will help you achieve the desired results. Its best to start early and slow, than to clock large number of hours in last few months. Make your time plan. Get your notes ready. Look for the previous years’ examiner’s comments and understand the common mistakes. Arm yourself by practicing answer writing and getting it marked by some experienced seniors. I sincerely hope that the ready reckoner lives up to the name and proves useful for the preparations.
All the best for your preparations.
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