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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Minimal Available Force, Maximum Aggression

This is Steven Petrick posting.

The Army has a saying about tactics, the clean version is simply that "everyone has one."

SVC was reading a book recently, and commented that he had found a general who thought like I do. That is to say that he has noted that I have a tendency to have a reserve, and the more stretched a line I am required to hold, the more likely that the reserve will be a larger percentage of my available force.

While I much prefer to hold a stable line, with solid interlocking fields of fire, my line may (because of a lack of resources or too much ground to cover) become little more than a security line. To detect the enemy attack, and allow me to maneuver the reserve (the bulk of my available firepower) to counter-attack, or take up a stronger blocking position to turn an enemy thrust back.

The security line, if terrain allows, might consist of strong points/resistance nests that will expect to be bypassed by the attacker, but prevent the attacker from bringing up supplies while the reserve attacks to destroy the penetration and restore the line.

I am not given to (within the limits of my ability to maneuver) static defense. I want to maneuver, to bring the maximum firepower to bear against an attack, not disperse all of my forces over a line and allow it to be thus destroyed in detail. I want to tear at the attacker's flanks with the maximum force I can bring to bear, not let him gobble up my forces in penny packets over an extended front.

Sometimes that means the reserve will have to make multiple attacks versus different penetrations, and that means knowing the terrain well to identify the critical attack that must be turned back first. And it means preparing the battle, selecting the positions from which the enemy's attacking force will be attacked by fire but will protect my own forces from his return fire.

I prefer to be the aggressor, and even in defense the enemy may choose the time and place of his initial attack, but I will prepare the battlefield such that I can choose the place, if not the time, where my counter attack will be delivered by analyzing where the enemy may attack, and where I can best counter that thrust.