Military - Military in Combat

Military in Combat

The primary reason for the existence of the military is to engage in combat, should it be required to do so by the national defence policy, and to win. This represents an organizational goal of any military, and the primary focus for military thought through military history.

The "show" of military force has been a term that referred as much to military force projection, as to the units such as regiments or gunboats deployed in a particular theatre, or as an aggregate of such forces. In the Gulf War the United States Central Command controlled military forces (units) of each of the four military services of the United States. How victory is achieved, and what shape it assumes is studied by most, if not all, military groups on three levels.

Strategic victory

Military strategy is the management of forces in wars and military campaigns by a commander-in-chief employing large military forces either national and allied as a whole, or the component elements of armies, navies and air forces such as army groups, fleets and large numbers of aircraft. Military strategy is a long-term projection of belligerents' policy with a broad view of outcome implications, including outside the concerns of military command. Military strategy is more concerned with the supply of war and planning, then management of field forces and combat between them. The scope of Strategic military planning can span weeks, but is more often months or even years.

Operational victory

Operational mobility is, within warfare and military doctrine, the level of command which coordinates the minute details of tactics with the overarching goals of strategy. A common synonym is operational art.

The operational level is at a scale bigger than one where line of sight and the time of day are important, and smaller than the strategic level, where production and politics are considerations. Formations are of the operational level if they are able to conduct operations on their own, and are of sufficient sise to be directly handled or have a significant impact at the strategic level. This concept was pioneered by the German army prior to and during the Second World War. At this level planning and duration of activities takes from one week to a month, and are executed by Field Armies and Army Corps and their naval and air equivalents.

Tactical victory

Military tactics concerns itself with the methods for engaging and defeating an enemy in direct combat. Military tactics are usually used by units over hours or days, and are focused on the specific, close proximity tasks and objectives of squads, companies, battalions, regiments, brigades and divisions and their naval and air equivalents.

One of the oldest military publications is The Art of War by the Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu. Written in the 6th century BCE, the 13-chapter book is intended as military instruction and not as military theory, but has had a huge influence on Asian military doctrine, and from the late 19th century, on European and United States military planning. It has even been used to formulate business tactics, and can even be applied in social and political areas.

The Classical Greeks and the Romans wrote prolifically on military campaigning. Among the best-known Roman works are Julius Caesar's commentaries on the Gallic Wars and the Roman Civil war - written about 50 BC.

Two major works on tactics come from the late Roman period: Taktike Theoria by Aelianus Tacticus and De Re Militari ("On military matters") by Vegetius. Taktike Theoria examined Greek military tactics, and was most influential in the Byzantine world and during the Golden Age of Islam.

De Re Militari formed the basis of European military tactics until the late 17th century. Perhaps its most enduring maxim is Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum (let he who desires peace prepare for war).

Due to the changing nature of combat with the introduction of artillery in the European Middle Ages, and infantry firearms in the Renaissance, attempts were made to define and identify those strategies, grand tactics and tactics that would produce a victory more often than that achieved by the Romans in praying to the gods before the battle.

Later this became known as Military Science, and later still would adopt the scientific method approach to the conduct of military operations under the influence of the Industrial Revolution thinking. In his seminal book On War the Prussian Major-General and leading expert on modern military strategy Carl von Clausewitz defined military strategy as "the employment of battles to gain the end of war." According to Clausewitz

strategy forms the plan of the War, and to this end it links together the series of acts which are to lead to the final decision, that is to say, it makes the plans for the separate campaigns and regulates the combats to be fought in each.

Hence, Clausewitz placed political aims above military goals, ensuring civilian control of the military. Military strategy was one of a triumvirate of "arts" or "sciences" that governed the conduct of warfare, the others being: military tactics, the execution of plans and manœuvering of forces in battle, and maintenance of an army.

The meaning of military tactics has changed over time from the deployment and manoeuvreing of entire land armies on the fields of ancient battles, and galley fleets, to modern use of small unit ambushes, encirclements, bomb and bombardment attacks, frontal assaults, air assaults, hit-and-run tactics used mainly by guerrilla forces and, in some cases, suicide attacks on land and at sea. Evolution of aerial warfare introduced its own air combat tactics. Often, military deception, in the form of military camouflage or misdirection using decoys, is used to confuse the enemy as a tactic.

A major development in infantry tactics came with the increased use of trench warfare in the 19th and 20th century. This was mainly employed in World War I in the Gallipoli campaign and the Western Front. Trench warfare often turned to a stalemate, only broken by a large loss of life, because in order to attack an enemy entrenchment soldiers had to run through an exposed "no man's land" under heavy fire from an entrenched enemy.

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Famous quotes containing the words military and/or combat:

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