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Discussion in 'Military History & Tactics' started by waraich66, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. waraich66

    waraich66 SENIOR MEMBER

    Oct 19, 2008
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    Military strategy is a policy implemented by military organizations to pursue desired strategic goals . [1]

    Derived from the Greek strategos , strategy when it appeared in use during the 18th century [2] , was seen in its narrow sense as the "art of the general " [3] , 'the art of arrangement' of troops. [4] Military strategy deals with the planning and conduct of campaigns, the movement and disposition of forces, and the deception of the enemy .

    The father of modern strategic study, Carl von Clausewitz , defined military strategy as "the employment of battles to gain the end of war." Liddell Hart 's definition put less emphasis on battles, defining strategy as "the art of distributing and applying military means to fulfil the ends of policy".

    Hence, both gave the pre-eminence to political aims over military goals, ensuring civilian control of the military .

    1. Fundamentals
    2. Principles
    3. Development
    4. Military strategists
    5. See also
    6. Citations and notes
    7. References
    8. Further reading


    Military history

    Portal • [[|d]] •

    1. Fundamentals
    Military strategy is the plan and execution of the contest between very large groups of armed adversaries. It involves each opponent's diplomatic, informational, military, and economic resources wielded against the other's resources to gain supremacy or reduce the opponent's will to fight.

    It is a principal tool to secure national interests . A contemporary military strategy is developed via military science . [5] It is a subdiscipline of warfare and of foreign policy .

    In comparison, grand strategy is that strategy of the largest of organizations which are currently the nation state , confederation , or international alliances . It is larger in perspective than military tactics which is the disposition and maneuver of units on a particular sea or battlefield. [6]

    1. 1. Background
    Military strategy in the 19th century was still viewed as one of a trivium of "arts" or "sciences" that govern the conduct of warfare; the others being tactics , the execution of plans and manœuvering of forces in battle, and logistics , the maintenance of an army. The view had prevailed since the Roman times, and the borderline between strategy and tactics at this time was blurred, and sometimes categorization of a decision is a matter of almost personal opinion. Carnot , during the French Revolutionary Wars thought it simply involved concentration of troops. [7]

    Strategy and tactics are closely related and exist on the same continuum. Both deal with distance, time and force but strategy is large scale, can endure through years, and is societal while tactics are small scale and involve the disposition of fewer elements enduring hours to weeks.

    Originally strategy was understood to govern the prelude to a battle while tactics controlled its execution. However, in the world wars of the 20th century, the distinction between maneuver and battle, strategy and tactics, expanded with the capacity of technology and transit. Tactics that were once the province of a company of cavalry would be applied to a panzer army .

    It is often said that the art of strategies defines the goals to achieve in a military campaign, while tactics defines the methods to achieve these goals. Strategic goals could be "We want to conquer area X", or "We want to stop country Y's expansion in world trade in commodity Z"; while tactical decisions range from a general statement, e.g. "We're going to do this by a naval invasion of the North of country X", "We're going to blockade the ports of country Y", to a more specific "C Platoon will attack while D platoon provides fire cover".

    In its purest form, strategy dealt solely with military issues. In earlier societies, a king or political leader was often the same person as the military leader.

    If he was not, the distance of communication between the political and the military leader was small. But as the need of a professional army grew, the bounds between the politicians and the military came to be recognized. In many cases, it was decided that there was a need for a separation.

    As French statesman Georges Clemenceau said, "war is too important a business to be left to soldiers." This gave rise to the concept of the grand strategy which encompasses the management of the resources of an entire nation in the conduct of warfare.

    In the environment of the grand strategy, the military component is largely reduced to operational strategy -- the planning and control of large military units such as corps and divisions . As the size and number of the armies grew and the technology to communicate and control improved, the difference between "military strategy" and "grand strategy" shrank.

    Fundamental to grand strategy is the diplomacy through which a nation might forge alliances or pressure another nation into compliance, thereby achieving victory without resorting to combat. Another element of grand strategy is the management of the post-war peace.

    As Clausewitz stated, a successful military strategy may be a means to an end, but it is not an end in itself. There are numerous examples in history where victory on the battlefield has not translated into long term peace, security or tranquility.

    2. Principles

    Military stratagem in the Maneuver against the Romans by Cimbri and Teutons circa 100 B.C.
    Many military strategists have attempted to encapsulate a successful strategy in a set of principles. Sun Tzu defined 13 principles in his The Art of War while Napoleon listed 115 maxims.

    American Civil War General Nathan Bedford Forrest had only one: "to git thar furst with the most men" or "to get there first with the most men". [8] The concepts given as essential in the United States Army's United States Army Field Manual (FM-3-0) of Military Operations (sections 4-32 to 4-39) are [9] :

    Objective (Direct every military operation towards a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable objective)
    Offensive (Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative)
    Mass (Concentrate combat power at the decisive place and time)
    Economy of Force (Allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts)
    Maneuver (Place the enemy in a disadvantageous position through the flexible application of combat power)
    Unity of Command (For every objective, ensure unity of effort under one responsible commander)
    Security (Never permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage)
    Surprise (Strike the enemy at a time, at a place, or in a manner for which he is unprepared)
    Simplicity (Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and clear, concise orders to ensure thorough understanding)
    Some strategists assert that adhering to the fundamental principles guarantees victory while others claim war is unpredictable and the general must be flexible in formulating a strategy. Field Marshal Count Helmuth von Moltke expressed strategy as a system of "ad hoc expedients" by which a general must take action while under pressure. These underlying principles of strategy have survived relatively unscathed as the technology of warfare has developed.

    Strategy (and tactics) must constantly evolve in response to technological advances. A successful strategy from one era tends to remain in favor long after new developments in military weaponry and matériel have rendered it obsolete.

    World War I, and to a great extent the American Civil War , saw Napoleonic tactics of "offense at all costs" pitted against the defensive power of the trench , machine gun and barbed wire . As a reaction to her World War I experience, France entered World War II with a purely defensive doctrine, epitomized by the "impregnable" Maginot Line , but only to be completely circumvented by the German blitzkrieg .

    3. Development

    Fortifications form a crucial component of military strategy. Shown here is the Chittorgarh Fort in Rajasthan , India.
    3. 1. Early military strategy
    The principles of military strategy can be found as far back as 500 BC in the works of Sun Tzu and Chanakya . The campaigns of Alexander the Great , Chandragupta Maurya , Hannibal , Qin Shi Huang , Julius Cæsar , Zhuge Liang , Khalid ibn al-Walid and specially Cyrus II demonstrate strategic planning and movement.

    Mahan describes in the preface to The Influence of Sea Power upon History how the Romans used their sea power to effectively block the sea lines of communication of Hannibal with Carthage ; and so via a maritime strategy achieved Hannibal's removal from Italy, despite never beating him there with their legions.

    Early strategies included the strategy of annihilation, exhaustion, attrition warfare , scorched earth action, blockade , guerilla campaign, deception and feint . Ingenuity and adeptness was limited only by imagination, accord, and technology. Strategists continually exploited ever-advancing technology.

    In 1520 Niccolò Machiavelli 's Dell'arte della guerra (Art of War) dealt with the relationship between civil and military matters and the formation of the grand strategy. In the Thirty Years' War , Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden demonstrated advanced operational strategy that led to victories in Holy Roman Empire area.

    It was not until the 18th century that military strategy was subjected to serious study in Europe. In the Seven Years' War (1756-1763), Frederick the Great improvised a "strategy of exhaustion" (see Attrition warfare ) to hold off his opponents and conserve his Prussian forces.

    Assailed from all sides by France, Austria, Russia and Sweden, Frederick exploited his central position which enabled him to move his army along interior lines and concentrate against one opponent at a time. Unable to achieve victory, he was able to stave off defeat until a diplomatic solution was reached. Frederick's "victory" led to great significance being placed on " geometric strategy " which emphasized lines of manoeuvre, awareness of terrain and possession of critical strongpoints.

    3. 2. Genghis Khan and the Mongols

    Mongol Empire in 1227 at Genghis Khan's death
    As a counterpoint to European developments in the strategic art, the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan provides a useful example. Genghis' successes, and those of his successors, were based upon manoeuvre and terror.

    The point of Genghis' strategic assault was nothing less than the psychology of the opposing population. By a steady and meticulous implementation of this strategy, Genghis and his descendants were able to conquer most of Eurasia .

    The building blocks of Genghis' army and his strategy were his tribal levies of mounted archers, scorched earth -style methods, and (just as important) the vast horse-herds of Mongolia. Each archer had at least one extra horse; (it was an average five horses per man) thus the entire army could move with incredible rapidity.

    Moreover since horse milk and horse blood were the staples of the Mongolian diet, Genghis' horse-herds functioned not just as his means of movement but also as his logistical sustainment. All other necessities would be foraged and plundered. Khan's marauders also brought with them mobile shelters, concubines, butchers, and cooks.

    Through maneuver and continuous assault, Chinese , Persian , Arab and Eastern European armies could be stressed until they broke, and then were annihilated in pursuit.

    Compared to the armies of Genghis, all other armies were heavy and comparatively immobile. It was not until well into the 20th century that any army was able to match the rapidity of deployment of Genghis' armies.

    When confronted with a fortified city, the Mongol imperatives of maneuver and speed required that it be quickly subdued. Here the fear engendered by the awful reputation of the Mongolians helped intimidate and subdue.

    So too did primitive biological warfare . A trebuchet or other type of ballista weapon would be used to launch dead animals and corpses into a barricaded city, spreading disease and death among the inhabitants, such as the Black Plague.

    If a particular town or city displeased the Mongolian Khan, everyone in the city would be killed to set an example for all other cities. This was early psychological warfare .

    Note that of the above list of strategic terms, even this elementary summary indicates that the Mongols strategy was directed towards an objective (that schwerpunkt (main focus) being nothing less than the psychology of the opposing population) achieved through the offensive; the offensive was characterized by concentration of forces, manoeuvre, surprise and simplicity.

    3. 3. Napoleonic strategy
    The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars that followed revolutionized military strategy. The impact of this period was still to be felt in the American Civil War and the early phases of World War I .

    With the advent of cheap small arms and the rise of the drafted citizen soldier, armies grew rapidly in size to become massed formations. This necessitated dividing the army first into divisions and later into corps .

    Along with divisions came divisional artillery ; light-weight, mobile cannon with great range and firepower. The rigid formations of pikemen and musketeers firing massed volleys gave way to light infantry fighting in skirmish lines.

    18th century musketeers ( Historical reenactment )
    Napoleon I of France took advantage of these developments to pursue a brutally effective "strategy of annihilation" (see scorched earth ) that terrorized the populace and cared little for the mathematical perfection of the geometric strategy. Napoleon invariably sought to achieve decision in battle, with the sole aim of utterly destroying his opponent, usually achieving success through superior manoeuvre.

    As ruler and general he dealt with the grand strategy as well as the operational strategy, making use of political and economic measures.

    Napoleon in Berlin (Meynier). After defeating Prussian forces at Jena , the French Army entered Berlin on 27 October 1806
    While not the originator of the methods he used, Napoleon very effectively combined the relatively superior maneuver and battle stages into one event. Before this, General Officers had considered this approach to battle as separate events.

    However, Napoleon used the maneuver to battle to dictate how and where the battle would progress. The Battle of Austerlitz was a perfect example of this maneuver. Napoleon withdrew from a strong position to draw his opponent forward and tempt him into a flank attack, weakening his center. This allowed the French army to split the allied army and gain victory.

    Napoleon used two primary strategies for the approach to battle. His "Manoeuvre De Derrière" (move onto the rear) was intended to place the French Army across the enemy's lines of communications. This forced the opponent to either march to battle with Napoleon or attempt to find an escape route around the army.

    By placing his army into the rear, his opponent's supplies and communications would be cut. This had a negative effect on enemy morale. Once joined, the battle would be one in which his opponent could not afford defeat.

    This also allowed Napoleon to select multiple march routes into a battle site. Initially, the lack of force concentration helped with foraging for food and sought to confuse the enemy as to his real location and intentions. This strategy, along with the use of forced marches created a morale bonus that played heavily in his favor.

    The "indirect" approach into battle also allowed Napoleon to disrupt the linear formations used by the allied armies. As the battle progressed, the enemy committed their reserves to stabilize the situation, Napoleon would suddenly release the flanking formation to attack the enemy.

    His opponents, being suddenly confronted with a new threat and with little reserves, had no choice but to weaken the area closest to the flanking formation and draw up a battle line at a right angle in an attempt to stop this new threat.

    Once this had occurred, Napoleon would mass his reserves at the hinge of that right angle and launch a heavy attack to break the lines. The rupture in the enemy lines allowed Napoleon's cavalry to flank both lines and roll them up leaving his opponent no choice but to surrender or flee.

    The second strategy used by Napoleon I of France when confronted with two or more enemy armies was the use of the central position. This allowed Napoleon to drive a wedge to separate the enemy armies.

    He would then use part of his force to mask one army while the larger portion overwhelmed and defeated the second army quickly. He would then march on the second army leaving a portion to pursue the first army and repeat the operations.

    This was designed to achieve the highest concentration of men into the primary battle while limiting the enemy's ability to reinforce the critical battle. The central position had a weakness in that the full power of the pursuit of the enemy could not be achieved because the second army needed attention.

    So overall the preferred method of attack was the flank march to cross the enemy's logistics. Napoleon used the central position strategy during the Battle of Waterloo
    See also: Waterloo Campaign

    Map of the Waterloo campaign

    18th century musketeers from Wellington at Waterloo by Robert Alexander Hillingford, 18 June 1815
    Napoleon masked Wellington and massed against the Prussian army, and then after the Battle of Ligny was won, Napoleon attempted to do the same to the Allied/English army located just to the south of Waterloo. His subordinate was unable to mask the defeated Prussian army, who reinforced the Waterloo battle in time to defeat Napoleon and end his domination of Europe.

    It can be said that the Prussian Army under Blücher used the "maneuver de derrière" against Napoleon who was suddenly placed in a position of reacting to a new enemy threat.

    Napoleon's practical strategic triumphs, repeatedly leading smaller forces to defeat larger ones, inspired a whole new field of study into military strategy. In particular, his opponents were keen to develop a body of knowledge in this area to allow them to counteract a masterful individual with a highly competent group of officers, a General Staff.

    The two most significant students of his work were Carl von Clausewitz , a Prussian with a background in philosophy , and Antoine-Henri Jomini , who had been one of Napoleon's staff officers.

    One notable exception to Napoleon's strategy of annihilation and a precursor to trench warfare were the Lines of Torres Vedras during the Peninsular campaign . French Armies lived off the land and when they were confronted by a line of fortifications which they could not out flank, they were unable to continue the advance and were forced to retreat once they had consumed all the provisions of the region in front of the lines.

    The Peninsular campaign was notable for the development of another method of warfare which went largely unnoticed at the time, but would become far more common in the 20th century. That was the aid and encouragement the British gave to the Spanish to harass the French behind their lines which led them to squander most of the assets of their Iberian army in protecting the army's line of communications.

    This was a very cost effective move for the British, because it cost far less to aid Spanish insurgents than it did to equip and pay regular British army units to engage the same number of French troops. As the British army could be correspondingly smaller it was able to supply its troops by sea and land without having to live off the land as was the norm at the time.

    Further, because they did not have to forage they did not antagonise the locals and so did not have to garrison their lines of communications to the same extent as the French did. So the strategy of aiding their Spanish civilian allies in their guerrilla or 'small war' benefited the British in many ways, not all of which were immediately obvious.
  2. great one

    great one FULL MEMBER

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    Apr 30, 2008
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    What about the strategies outlined in the book "The Art of War" written by Sun Tzu and was used by Mao Tse Tong in his Guerrilla warfare campaign against the Chinese Nationalists and the Japanese during the Chinese Civil War and World War 2.