Military tactics

Military tactics

Many remember the commotion that General Winfield Scott caused when he told Secretary of War Stanton. “Although we have many commanders capable of advancing a division of soldiers through a park, not one of them knows enough about military tactics to be able to get them out of there!

The comment was accepted as a voracious critique of what everyone called our soldiers' ability to holiday parades.

I know that General Scott was an excellent chess player and I remember having devised a curious chess puzzle that I wanted to teach him if he had the opportunity to illustrate the military tactics of a division of soldiers that had to go through a public park.

It does not require knowledge of chess since it is a simple puzzle but to facilitate the explanation I have taken the liberty of dividing the park into squares so that it resembles a chess board. The problem however is very interesting. It is necessary to show how a division would enter through door number 1, march through all the squares, pass under the arc of triumph and finally exit through door number 2 describing the least number of turns possible.

Make an 8 x 8 diagram with 64 squares on a sheet of paper and then with a pencil try to go through each of the boxes starting and ending at the indicated doors and going under the arch. We can assure you a beautiful tour.


There is only one way to solve the problem with 14 turns as shown in the illustration although there are a thousand and one routes that require one more turn.