A master's thesis is obviously not the place to try and come to a comprehensive vision of the character of the wars waged by the Chartered Companies or the VOC. This thesis will therefore limit itself to one aspect of the Company which, in my eyes, did give the VOC an edge over both its European and Asian adversaries: its logistical and informational network and command structure. A lot of attention has gone out to this network in terms of trade and marketing strategies in the past few decades: this thesis will look at the same network in terms of politics and military strategies.
In order to make an analysis of this network more meaningful, the thesis will start off by giving a general picture of the political functioning of the Company, the way in which its functioning had developed in the first few decades of its existence, as well as the various military means it had at its disposal and their significance. It will mostly do this on the basis of the discourse so far, and on some topics will also try and give some insight into the debate on these matters.
This general introduction will be followed by a chapter watching the logistical and informational network in action for the years 1655-1663, which saw some of the most intense campaigns the VOC ever fought. After an introduction of the general logistical and political network of the VOC, we will follow both material, soldiers, strategies and decisions travelling all the way up and down this network, from the meeting of the directors in the Republic to the battlefields in Asia and vice versa.
A thesis on warfare, however, wouldn't be complete without also getting to the actual battlefield, and the final chapter will therefore fill in the blanks left by the preceding part by not merely looking at the networks which facilitated the VOC's warfare, but descending to the actual battlefields. In six case studies, the warfare to which this entire network eventually led will be looked upon from up close.