Saturday, June 7, 2014

Fire and Maneuver, back then, right now and forever more.

Fire and Maneuver, back then, right now and forever more.

Extracted from Manuals available at ARMA

 Intercept. A smaller shield ranging from a foot to two feet across is also found in armies for as long as shields were carried.  This normally uses a “center grip” which is flexible but not strong, as such it is used to actively “intercept” the opponents’ warhead (blade, blunt, sharp)
I call this “contra attack” because I haven’t figured out a better name.  A counter attack is one in which the opponents fist is bypassed for a more lethal target.  The contra attack attacks the attack by intercepting the fist itself or any supporting parts (arms) which includes the Parry against the arm. 

The Tactical Imperative is taken into account in the design of units, equipment and tactics.  In this series the Tactical Imperative dominates when the Fist is in range in Time and/or Distance.  Therefore in the Fifties the skies over American cities were defended by the Nike-Ajax anti-aircraft missile system.  Thus, a tactical response able to reach and hit incoming Soviet aircraft should they appear.  When the ICBM became the strategic weapon of choice, the Nike-Ajax was deactivated but the bunkers are still there. It could not reach an incoming ICBM.

The Shield Wall or any other main force now or then is the hard place where the enemy forces will be pinned so that the rock won’t miss.  The Rock is the mobile force then or now that is the “stimulus” that goes with a necessary “response” to pin the enemy in place.   In order to make this happen it is necessary to apply other Tactical Imperatives.

This is classic “hide and seek” to conceal and hide defensively, and to blind and confuse as a “contra-attack” attacking the enemy force.  This has two major variants.  One in which the offensive force “pins” the enemy against an obstacle making it hard to move out of the way. Or, induces the enemy to attack a force in a good position which reduces the options that the enemy attacking force has.   US Army tactics in the Vietnam War worked better with attracting a VC/NVA attack against our overpowering fire power. I called it the ant hill approach.  We placed our fire bases astride enemy supply lines which they were committed to defend, by attacking us.

The Crusader defense of the Levant (Holy Land) used exactly the same tactical imperatives astride the lines of communication from hostile territory to important places the Latin Kingdoms had to protect.  Jerusalem instead of Saigon,   the Belen gap instead of the Fish Hook through which huge logistical columns had to pass.

The Temple’s original mission of protecting the pilgrims between Jaffa and the Holy sites in the Jordan Valley, especially Jerusalem itself to that of a Guard mission of protecting the Latin Kingdom’s critical terrain and the lines of communication for movement the length of the Levant against a land threat from all except the Mediterranean where the West had naval superiority.   As long as that superiority lasted the West could shift its power on a north-south axis by taking to the sea.  


As the Levant itself was extremely narrow, it was relatively easier for the enemies of the Kingdoms to drive to the sea for a temporary advantage.  Even though the Kingdom of Jerusalem was effectively removed as an entity, as long as Christianity retained naval superiority, it took another century for the Levant to be returned to Muslim control.

 The last important bastions of the Crusades in the Levant were Acre and Tortosa. So infuriating was the ability of the West to shift by sea from one and to the other, Saladin started a policy of destroying the ports on the Mediterranean. This policy was continued by the Mameluks and Ottomans until the Levant had a much reduced access for trade.   It was of considerable economic importance for the Ottomans that east-west trade went through either Cairo or Istanbul.

 The re-opening of the Levant started after WW 1, and is causing severe growth pains.

The islands of Crete, Cypress, Malta, Sicily, Sardinia and the Balearic Islands controlled movement across the Mediterranean, north, south and east and west. At the beginning of the Crusader Era, these Islands were under Muslim control, by the end, they were in Christian hands.  The Ottoman Empire eventually retook Crete and Cypress along with Constantinople. The Turk retains control over Istanbul, the rest lost to the West in following centuries.  Whoever controlled those islands controlled the sea lanes hence trade and war. 

(IMHO), the differences between the tactical, the operational and the strategic is not one of absolute scale, but of the relation between that which is in range of firepower.  That which is in range of supplies and reinforcement is the operational.  And that which affects the choice of courses of action is strategic.  The tactical imperatives are scalable from rifleman to POTUS.
The constants in war are the terrain and the troops.   Technology including Tactics, techniques, and procedures (TT&P) make the difference.

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