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Featured Featured Jhungary on Warfare - Part 1 Principles of War

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  1. jhungary

    jhungary MILITARY PROFESSIONAL

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    Jhungary on Warfare - Part 1 Principles of War

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    Introduction


    When people start talking about war, the things that come to mind are usually weapons, like which tanks were used, what sort of army they had, and how good or bad they fared.

    Or you might cogitate about their strategy or tactics. Some might even talk about military history too. Those are amongst the most popular topics discussed when people start talking about war.

    However, wars are a lot more than that, in fact, Strategies, History and Weaponry only make up a small portion on warfare.

    A capable commander must have a broad spectrum of military knowledge, to command troop on the ground. And the discipline of Military Science is a compulsory course for Junior and Senior Officers, and is offered by Military Academy world wide.

    Upon completion of this series, reader should have a basic knowledge of warfare science . This series will be broken into 7 parts and each part will cover a single topic within the field of Military Science.

    However, readers should be informed, that this series of articles are a bit in depth discussion, more to an academic side of war, and readers without basic battlefield knowledge may at time get confused or may not be cognisant with the point I illustrate, and for that I would like to apologise in advance ,and I promise I will try to use a more basic approach to the complicated subjects next time.

    Upon completion of this article, reader should have an intermediate understanding of the follow topics.
    1. History of Warfare
    2. Physical Mechanic of Warfare
    3. Historical Principle
    4. The 9 Points of Modern Principle of Warfare
    5. Importance of PoW

    History of Warfare

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    The first human war can be traced back to 12000 BC, with the discovery of site 117, which is believed to be the first war cemetery, 59 bodies buried there have some degree of traumatic injuries which scientists believe were resulted from violence. Hence this is considered the earliest evidence on war.

    That also gives rise to the term "warfare", which literally means a massive organised violent event by 2 groups on each other, repercussions of which are lives lost in both sides. The reasons to a war can be many.

    As time passed by, the definition of warfare changed considerably. Today, we use the term "war" to just about everything on conflict resolution. It may or may not be a result of violence, like cyber war, but violence is often intended and implicated on the definition of war.

    The keyword for this article, however, lies in the word "Organised", the purpose of war almost uniformly is an organised act, you won't see a war fought in purely random fashion. Every move by either side must be calculated, and every result is engineered. Although random conditions and considerations do alter the outcome of a war (Conditions such as weather, luck and so on). war is never fought based on randomness.

    Hence, we can safely assume from the dawn of warfare, people involved in a war wanted to control and manage their war with a common system so that they could preserve the direction and were able to study and improve the system of war. In a world we have seen more war in history than peace, there's no lack of chance to improve the system, hence military strategists have to predict and dictate the principles of war to try to control and manage warfare.

    The earliest of these bunch would have been Sun Tzu with the most famous ,the art of war. This is arguably the must have in any military commander booklist. However, the art of war covers more of tactics and strategies, and not really much on the basic concept of warfare. Then came Carl von Clausewitz, a Prussian Military Theorist with 2 of his publications "Principle of War" and "On war" which laid the foundation for future Military Theorists like John Boyd (Invention of OODA Loop), Bernard Brodie (advance theorist on nuclear strategy) or Martin van Creveld, a Jewish-Dutch theorist trail blazer on 4th generation warfare.

    Physical Mechanics of Warfare

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    What if I told you that you can win a war without even fighting? The great von Clausewitz once said "Wars are always fought on one of more misconception". What von Clausewitz meant is quite simple, War can never happen unless one of the sides of the participants miscalculates the situation. Think about it this way, war can never have both side emerge as winner, you can either have one winner, one loser, or both side loose the war. That means the losing side had misread the situation that they could successfully attack (Offensive Side) or could successfully repel an invasion (Defensive Side).

    So, the basic principle of war is quite simple, if you can avoid these misconceptions, then the basic principle dictates that you will win that war (i.e. only one side can win a war).

    It's easier said than done, so how exactly can you avoid misreading a situation so that you come out a winner?

    There are two main principles.

    One, is the understanding of your own situation, that way you know what you are up against, that way, you won't miscalculate the situation.

    Two, mislead your enemy. You make them believe they are moving into the right direction but instead, you allow them to miscalculate their own situation and walk into your trap. Thus you win that war.

    Historical Principle

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    In a historical sense, the principle has not changed much during the last 200 or so years of history. The basic principle of war has remained same as how wars were fought in early 1800s when Musket and Rifle started to dominate the battlefield.

    During those times, there were numerous military theorists, who raised several different versions on principles of war. However, almost all modern military theorist agrees that most military theory today are a descendent of von Clausewitz's 5 points of war.

    -Superiority of Force and Material at a precise point.

    Try to gain local numeric superiority of both force and material, the logistic ability to supply and support the local force in order to defeat the enemy. This would ensure a smart use of force to defeat your enemy, even if your force is smaller than your enemy.

    -Moral Factor

    Morale dictated the willingness to fight with an individual, soldier with high morale would execute order from superior without hesitation, which increases combat effectiveness.

    Moral factors can be divided into Command Leadership, Esprit-de-Corps, Sense of Duty, Selflessness and most importantly, confidence. An individual soldier with high morale exhibits good commanding quality, knows his/her own place in battle and gets along with fellow soldiers, would contribute more and inspire others more than a soldier who is lacking command skill, confused all the time and only thinks about him/herself.

    -Combat Effectiveness

    Combat Effectiveness means how to use your material and resources wisely. How to do more with less!!
    This would have to do with force multiplier, the use of terrain and resources.

    It is also related to the commander's ability to use different tactics and strategy to efficiently command his own troop, the ability to combine tactics,strategy and terrain to maximize the effectiveness on any given troop.

    - Firm Resolution

    A firm conviction to carry out an order, also a conviction to make decision. Any decision made has to be snap, and theoretically, decision maker have to stand by his/her own decisions.

    Beside firm decision, the decision maker should always remain calm and cool, it is important that the decision made does not let emotion or other opinion to alter his/her own decision making process.

    - Always Ready

    A good commander should always have more than one solution to any problem he/she encounters. A military commander always has to anticipate any different escarps or obstructions, thus a commander should always have plans that's go from the most secure to the most daring at hand. The process should be able to account for any, to all types of situations, as a battlefield is dynamic.

    The 9 Points of Modern Principle of Warfare

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    Modern warfare have largely remained unchanged from the time von Clausewitz wrote the 5 principle in 1800s, however, elements of the 5 basic principle have been elaborated to suit modern warfare needs.

    In the United States , the 9 principles were outlined by Field Menu 3-0 Operations :

    • Objective – Direct every military operation toward a clearly defined, decisive and attainable objective. The ultimate military purpose of war is the destruction of the enemy's ability to fight and will to fight.
    • Offensive – Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative. Offensive action is the most effective and decisive way to attain a clearly defined common objective. Offensive operations are the means by which a military force seizes and holds the initiative while maintaining freedom of action and achieving decisive results. This is fundamentally true across all levels of war.
    • Mass – Mass the effects of overwhelming combat power at the decisive place and time. Synchronizing all the elements of combat power where they will have decisive effect on an enemy force in a short period of time is to achieve mass. Massing effects, rather than concentrating forces, can enable numerically inferior forces to achieve decisive results, while limiting exposure to enemy fire.
    • Economy of Force – Employ all combat power available in the most effective way possible; allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts. Economy of force is the judicious employment and distribution of forces. No part of the force should ever be left without purpose. The allocation of available combat power to such tasks as limited attacks, defense, delays, deception, or even retrograde operations is measured in order to achieve mass elsewhere at the decisive point and time on the battlefield. ...
    • Maneuver – Place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through the flexible application of combat power. Maneuver is the movement of forces in relation to the enemy to gain positional advantage. Effective maneuver keeps the enemy off balance and protects the force. It is used to exploit successes, to preserve freedom of action, and to reduce vulnerability. It continually poses new problems for the enemy by rendering his actions ineffective, eventually leading to defeat. ...
    • Unity of Command – For every objective, seek unity of command and unity of effort. At all levels of war, employment of military forces in a manner that masses combat power toward a common objective requires unity of command and unity of effort. Unity of command means that all the forces are under one responsible commander. It requires a single commander with the requisite authority to direct all forces in pursuit of a unified purpose.
    • Security – Never permit the enemy to acquire unexpected advantage. Security enhances freedom of action by reducing vulnerability to hostile acts, influence, or surprise. Security results from the measures taken by a commander to protect his forces. Knowledge and understanding of enemy strategy, tactics, doctrine, and staff planning improve the detailed planning of adequate security measures.
    • Surprise – Strike the enemy at a time or place or in a manner at which he is unprepared. Surprise can decisively shift the balance of combat power. By seeking surprise, forces can achieve success well out of proportion to the effort expended. Surprise can be in tempo, size of force, direction or location of main effort, and timing. Deception can aid the probability of achieving surprise.
    • Simplicity – Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and concise orders to ensure thorough understanding. Everything in war is very simple, but the simple thing is difficult. To the uninitiated, military operations are not difficult. Simplicity contributes to successful operations. Simple plans and clear, concise orders minimize misunderstanding and confusion. Other factors being equal, parsimony is to be preferred.

    The modern principle is focused on command and control structure and also the momentum control. The reason behind this is the operational control of the US Military was set mainly with manoeuvre warfare, thus it's principle would be focusing in the area around speed and command (The 2 main qualities to conduct manoeuvre warfare).

    However, since the US has moved on from Manoeuvre warfare into joint warfare, the need is to modify the principle to better suit the situation.

    The US then published an amendment to its original principle and added 3 other requirements into the original 9. Those are;

    • Restraint – to limit collateral damage and prevent the unnecessary use of force. Restraint requires the careful and disciplined balancing of the need for security, the conduct of military operations, and the national strategic end state.
    • Perseverance – to ensure the commitment necessary to attain the national strategic end state. The underlying causes of the crisis may be elusive, making it difficult to achieve decisive resolution. The patient, resolute, and persistent pursuit of national goals and objectives often are essential to success.
    • Legitimacy – to maintain legal and moral authority in the conduct of operations. Legitimacy, which can be a decisive factor in operations, is based on the actual and perceived legality, morality, and rightness of the actions from the various perspectives of interested audiences

    The added-on principles focus on the human factor of war. Where as the previously neglected "Moral" factor was put into action. These principles had made a few changes to battlefield nominally in Afghanistan, when the need to VID the target and make it legitimate was added to the SOP to troop operating in the region.

    Also, the focus on preventing collateral damage would undoubtedly raise morale within the troops and enhance the cooperation level between local populace and boots on the ground, which in turn raise efficiency.

    The Importance of the Principles of War

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    In short, it's about everything, the principles dictate how combat should be conducted under certain circumstances, also increase inter-discipline cooperation, and I am not just talking about different branch, but also different unit within the same branch.

    According to von Clausewitz : On War, the objective of war is about to disarm your enemy, it's quite impossible in any given situation that one side can kill all of its enemy and end the war. Thus the need to end a war quite depends on how a war and its battle progresses.

    On the other hand, under the cause and effect rule, each action initiated by a commander would ultimately lead to a chain of effects, hence all wars are dynamic in nature. And that gives rise to one point, which is who can predict, or manage this dynamic change of battlefield. Chances are that this is the same person who will win the war ultimately.

    Principles of war gives rise to the needs of maintaining the attention of a commander to judge any given situation, the principles also allow commander a quick reference to the situation and thus he or she can better plan for any battle

    To conclude, I would like to quote Col Martin Romilly OBE, his article "The principles of war in today's world" ,which sums up the importance on the principles of war nicely. It reads:

    "The principles of war are a good foundation for military strategy and tactics, and form the premise for operational planning. The principles should act as a guide, which is what Montgomery had in mind with his aspiration that they might provide assistance “to one or two commanders in the stress and strain of modern battle”. It is worth recalling that the principles of war provide guidance for deploying military force to best effect through maximising strengths and minimising weaknesses. They are enshrined in British Defence Doctrine as an appropriate assertion for all military activity. The principles of war should provide today’s leaders with a military foundation and some normality in this uncertain world. It is therefore appropriate to enquire whether these venerable principles of war require supplementing to ensure that they are suitable for today’s world.

    Though the nature of war is constantly changing, Clausewitz recognised that the truth is that call it what you will – ‘new war’, ‘limited’, ‘asymmetric war’ – in the end, there is only one meaningful category of war, and that is war itself."

    At that, we conclude our article for today, next would be the Part 2 - Philosophy Of War.

    Please stay tuned. :)

    @WAJsal @Slav Defence @AUSTERLITZ @Neutron @PARIKRAMA @Levina @Oscar @Davos @Hamartia Antidote @Blue Marlin @Desertfalcon @DesertFox97 @Tipu7 @TankMan @Gufi
     
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  2. Slav Defence

    Slav Defence THINK TANK VICE CHAIRMAN: ANALYST

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    @jhungary
    It is really interesting post you posted.I have featured it and can't wait for part 2.
    Once again, pardon me for responding late.You know, jobs and other stuff consumes most part of our day.:)

    Regards
     
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  3. jhungary

    jhungary MILITARY PROFESSIONAL

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    thanks, don't worry about it :)

    I am working on part 2 now, but the NBA Final kept drawing me away lol
     
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  4. Levina

    Levina BANNED

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    I think it was Napolean who said the troop's morale to its physical strength is 3:1.
    I agree to it.
    By nature, our actions are nothing but our reflexes, so when a soldier takes part in a war, the explosions and bullets are bound to scare him. His first reflex would be to run away from the battlefield. The psychological fog a soldier experiences is overcome by boosting his morale.
    Let me give you an example of the attack on Iraq, as long as the soldiers believed their President, that Saddam had nuclear weapons which could be used to destroy peace in the region, the soldiers performed well. But when a shadow of doubt was cast on the reason behind attacking the country, the morale fell low, touching rock bottom.
    I guess it was in the year 2012, when there were more deaths by suicide than during combat, which was shocking to say the least.
    The public opinion about America's war on terrorism back home, had effected the troop's morale.

    Thanks for the tag. :)
     
  5. Neutron

    Neutron PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Nice article sir @jhungary and thanks for the tag.

    These principles of war, are based on historical lessons of many wars and battles of industrial age.
    As we moved forward from industrial age to information age, evolution of warfare is the logical consequence.
    These old principles of warfare of industrial age can't produce same result in new wars of information age.
    We need to discard older lessons, from past experiencs and discover something new with more relevance with information age.
     
  6. jhungary

    jhungary MILITARY PROFESSIONAL

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    Thanks both.....

    Unfortunately, I got struck down by a nasty bout of flu, am out of commission for a few day and will be back on writing in a week or so, now all I can do is minimal internet surfing .....

    Will reply in detail when I am getting better :)
     
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  7. Levina

    Levina BANNED

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    Get well soon Gary. :tup:
     
  8. jhungary

    jhungary MILITARY PROFESSIONAL

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    Well, it's my own fault.........

    Went to play basketball with some friend and my thesis advisor last week and didn't bring a coat with me. Ended up wearing short sleeves at night down to 4 degrees.........

    Was overestimating my own health, thinking I was still 25, and now I am paying the price for it...
     
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  9. Levina

    Levina BANNED

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    4 degrees?
    I'm glad I live in Middle East. Cold blooded being's like me would have frozen to death wherever it is that you're living. :wacko:
     
  10. jhungary

    jhungary MILITARY PROFESSIONAL

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    Well, 4C, not 4F............It's in the beginning of winter here in Australia, it drawn near the end to the autumn, so weather is kind of nasty from time to time, there are some time the mercury will hit above 20, some night drop down to low single digits.

    And lol, yeah, I've been in the middle east...Iraq is a nice place weatherwise, but maybe a bit too hot in the morning, where it usually went up to 115F mid-day. But then you have Afghanistan, where it went down cold at night and during the winter.......It snow and rain a lot in the mountain area too. Even more so then some places in the United States.

    But hey, I don't really like the heat.......I sweat like a pig when the temperature hit 30C
     
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  11. Vassnti

    Vassnti SENIOR MEMBER

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    Perhaps a thought for an entire thread but i woul be interested on your thoughts.

    "Former Defense Secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta have joined in accusing President Obama and the White House National Security Council staff (NSC) of micromanaging the military to the point of attempting to set up direct lines of communication to combatant commanders."
    http://www.military.com/daily-news/...a-blast-obama-for-micromanaging-military.html

    Compared to Sun Tzu chapter 10:23 23. If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight, even though the ruler forbid it; if fighting will not result in victory, then you must not fight even at the ruler’s bidding.
    Chang Yu also quote the saying: “Decrees from the Son of Heaven do not penetrate the walls of a camp.”

    Lol welcome to the old guys who wont admit it club ;)
     
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  12. James David

    James David PROFESSIONAL

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    Very well written Sir!!! Hooah!!!