“It [theory] is meant to educate the mind of the future commander, or, more accurately, to guide him in his self-education, not to accompany him to the battlefield; just as a wise teacher guides and stimulates a young man’s intellectual development, but is careful not to lead him by the hand for the rest of his life.”
Military history is the most accessible source for learning about tactics, and in some ways it is the most popular. The reading lists of various military leaders are filled with military history tomes. However, military history has shortcomings. Clausewitz himself noted the challenges of trying to learn from the experiences of others and carrying that knowledge forward to battle. His main purpose for writing theory was to mitigate this shortcoming by providing a framework and to “educate the mind” of the practitioner to learn from engaged reading.