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  • There is nothing more detestable to an American than losing.”

  • So said General Patton in World War II.

  • Almost immediately after winning World War II, the United States would go on to lose

  • most conflicts it entered in against irregular forces.

  • So how exactly does one win at war?

  • Total Annihilation

  • The best way to defeat an enemy is to, well, kill all of them.

  • The battle of annihilation was perhaps the first way that man learned how to wage war,

  • and gave us some of the greatest battles in history such as the battle of marathon, the

  • battle of the bulge, and the battle of the Somme.

  • The strategy is simple, in that there is no strategy.

  • Armies rush forward and victory is decided by the side with superior firepower, or in

  • ancient times, the best trained or most men.

  • During the American Civil War, the battle of Gettysburg was a battle of annihilation,

  • and resulted in the greatest single-day loss of life in American history.

  • There were no feints, no cunning ploys or stratagem- the goal was simple: total destruction

  • of the opposing force.

  • In World War II, the Imperial Japanese Navy was outnumbered by the American Navy.

  • To further add to the IJN's troubles, its supply lines stretched across the sea and

  • were vulnerable to interruption by the Americans, while the Americans were impossible to blockade

  • due to the massive size of the American pacific coast and the US drawing few critical supplies

  • from overseas pacific trade that it couldn't simply re-source from elsewhere.

  • The only advantage that the IJN had was that its home ports in Japan were close to the

  • theater of war, while the US's pacific coast was thousands of miles away.

  • In order to win against the US, Japan knew it could not afford to fight a widely dispersed

  • war throughout the Pacific theater.

  • Instead, it would need to deliver crippling blows to the Americans in order to shut them

  • out of the Pacific altogether.

  • To this end, Japan sought a decisive battle of annihilation against the US, and almost

  • achieved this at both Pearl Harbor and Midway.

  • However, the US wasn't biting, and after the devastating ambush at Pearl Harbor, the US

  • navy couldn't afford to go toe-to-toe with the bulk of the IJN fleet.

  • Therefore the US engaged in numerous skirmishes with the IJN, and only fought decisive engagements

  • when the tactical situation favored the US overwhelmingly.

  • It was a brilliant strategy straight out of Sun Tzu's own playbook, and worked to keep

  • the IJN off-balance long enough for US forces to reconstitute- at which point even if it

  • had been able to engage the US navy in a battle of annihilation, the IJN would've lost anyways.

  • Fabian Strategy

  • While the battle of annihilation doctrine seeks to win a single decisive engagement,

  • the Fabian strategy is the complete opposite, and instead seeks to avoid any decisive engagements.

  • Rather, the Fabian strategy seeks to engage in numerous skirmishes with light, highly

  • mobile forces that sap the enemy's morale, supplies, and troop strength.

  • The strategy is named after Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus, who ruled the Roman Republic

  • during the time that Hannibal of Carthage was busy trampling most of it with his elephants.

  • Hannibal had pulled off an incredible feat of military brilliance at the start of his

  • invasion by crossing the Alps with his army, a feat thought to be impossible.

  • This allowed him to stab straight into the soft underbelly of southern Roman Italy, which

  • was largely undefended.

  • The move caught the Romans completely by surprise, and Hannibal quickly took much Roman territory

  • for himself.

  • Hannibal defeated the Romans in two separate major engagements, as he himself pursued a

  • battle of annihilation strategy.

  • Deep in the heart of his enemy's territory, Hannibal's only hope for ultimate victory

  • would be to win a decisive victory against Rome, and the strategy was working.

  • That's when Fabius Maximum was appointed leader of Rome, and immediately implemented a new

  • method of fighting.

  • Fabius understood two things about his enemy: Hannibal may be in the heart of Roman territory,

  • but this placed him in a strategically perilous position, and Hannibal could never achieve

  • victory against Rome on his own, but instead needed Rome's allies in italy to lose faith

  • and turn on her.

  • The more victories that Hannibal won, the weaker Rome's position became- so Fabius denied

  • Hannibal his victories.

  • Instead of sortieing out for climactic battles worthy of a Hollywood film, Rome would fight

  • a war of attrition.

  • War parties set out to find and destroy Carthaginian foraging parties, and they would burn crops

  • and kill livestock that they came across.

  • Fabius further moved his troops so as to force Hannibal to make the difficult choice of leaving

  • his Mediterranean sea ports, and source of resupply, if he wished to engage the Romans.

  • Fabius' strategy worked like a charm, preventing Hannibal from taking any decisive military

  • action and steadily chipping away at the morale of his army while exploding his operational

  • costs to keep that army in the field.

  • Romans however were used to winning decisive battles, and public opinion turned against

  • Fabius, believing that he was a coward for avoiding a direct confrontation.

  • He was removed from power and his successor soon led Roman legions into glorious battle

  • against Hannibal- only to be immediately crushed.

  • The Romans quickly learned that Fabius had been right all along, and re-adopted his strategy

  • to ultimately force Hannibal out of Italy.

  • The Fabian Strategy focuses on long-term attrition against the enemy.

  • The purpose is to deny enemy forces any clear political or military victories, while overextending

  • his forces and destroying his means of resupply.

  • The Taliban have successfully employed a Fabian strategy to drive the United States out of

  • Afghanistan, denying the US a decisive victory for nearly 20 years of war.

  • Despite its hopes of victory in a battle of annihilation against the US Navy, the Imperial

  • Japanese Navy was ultimately defeated by the use of the Fabian strategy.

  • While IJN battle groups doggedly pursued a decisive confrontation against the Americans,

  • US submarines slipped past them to wreak havoc on Japanese supply lines which were left largely

  • undefended due to a lack of available assets.

  • The Japanese refused to disperse their forces for the majority of the war, and despite making

  • up the smallest component of the US Navy, American submarines sunk an incredible 54%

  • of all Japanese shipping, totaling 4.9 million tons of badly needed war supplies.

  • The Siege

  • The problem with waging war is that sometimes an enemy position is too strong to take in

  • one sweeping offensive.

  • Modern battle doctrine states that for an offensive operation to be successful, friendly

  • forces should outnumber enemy forces at least three to one.

  • This disparity in numbers is to make up for the many force multipliers that a defender

  • enjoys- things such as well-protected fortified positions, clear fields of fire, and support

  • artillery.

  • Sometimes though waging a battle, no matter the numerical advantage, is suicidal, or would

  • produce casualties so great as to result in a pyrrhic victory.

  • In these cases, the siege has often been the strategy of choice.

  • The aim of a siege is simple: starve out an enemy and force them to surrender or to leave

  • their fortifications and meet you for battle without the force multipliers of their defensive

  • positions.

  • In order to successfully lay siege to an enemy however, two elements are critical.

  • First, the enemy must have no means of viable resupply.

  • If you're laying siege to an enemy force that is still receiving routine resupply, you aren't

  • laying siege at all- instead, you're allowing your force to be pinned down while the enemy

  • can maneuver other forces around you.

  • Secondly, you must be able to resist the enemy's attempts to break out of the siege, holding

  • your own strong enough defensive positions that an enemy's attempts to rally and break

  • the siege will fail.

  • In modern, post World War I combat sieges are extremely rare.

  • This is largely due to the incredible power of modern weapons, which when brought to bear

  • in large enough numbers all but nullify the defensive advantage of strong defensive positions.

  • The Battle of Stalingrad in World War II is often wrongly thought of as a siege, but it

  • was in fact a fluid battle, with both sides struggling to capture and hold strategic points

  • throughout the city.

  • Before the modern era sieges were very commonplace, and entire cities could be held under siege,

  • slowly starved into submission.

  • Some truly horrible human tragedies have taken place during sieges, as the powers that be

  • refused to surrender even as people were dying inside their walls from starvation.

  • In the modern era technology has made weapons too destructive to employ effective long-term

  • fortified defense strategies, and the adoption of combined arms and maneuver warfare threatens

  • to destroy any army adopting a long-term fortified strategy.

  • While protracted battles in a singular location may be termed 'sieges', the truth is far from

  • it as in these fights both sides are constantly maneuvering against each other, such as both

  • battles of Fallujah in Iraq.

  • Combined Arms

  • Combined arms warfare has its roots in the earliest days of human history and the domestication

  • of the horse.

  • This led to the creation of cavalry, mounted warriors with excellent mobility and a high

  • degree of shock value against non-mounted opponents.

  • However, few historical generals made effective use of cavalry in combination with more traditional

  • forces, often simply treating the two as wholly separate tools doing different jobs on the

  • battlefield.

  • Alexander the Great is believed to be amongst the first European generals to make use of

  • cavalry in what today would be called a combined arms doctrine.

  • Most ancient militaries used cavalry for the purpose of harassing an enemy force while

  • the infantry did the real fighting, thus their cavalry was equipped with light lances and

  • javelins which would continually harass the enemy's flanks without being pulled into a

  • decisive engagement.

  • Alexander's legendary Companions however made up the first part of his 'hammer and anvil'

  • strategy.

  • Much like ancient Iranian cavalry, the Companions were armed with spears and pikes, and would

  • be dispatched to attack the enemy's rear or flank.

  • The infantry meanwhile would be fully engaged at the enemy's front, thus making the Companions

  • the hammer, and the infantry the anvil upon which the enemy was smashed upon.

  • This brilliant use of cavalry led Alexander to become one of the greatest conquerors of

  • all time, and help cement the doctrine of combined arms warfare in military thinkers.

  • Today no military can achieve victory without mastering combined arms warfare.

  • This modern doctrine makes use of tanks supported by mobile infantry to decisively engage the

  • enemy, while attack helicopters and ground attack airplanes provide direct fire support.

  • Artillery can pin down enemy units attempting to move to reinforce, or devastate an enemy's

  • rear area forces, while electronic attack assets disrupt enemy communications or gather

  • vital intelligence.

  • High above the battlefield, fighter jets provide air cover, defending friendly forces from

  • enemy air attack and destroying enemy fighters that threaten friendly air support assets.

  • To attempt to use any one of these forces without the other in modern warfare would

  • be an absolute disaster, and even a weaker force that has a greater mastery of combined

  • arms can achieve victory against a much larger force.

  • US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan were routinely outnumbered in combat, sometimes with disparities

  • as great as 12 to 1!

  • Yet American mastery of combined arms warfare and the lack of suitable capabilities from

  • the enemy led to US victory in these engagements.

  • Most famously, in 2018 Syrian pro-government forces led by Russian special forces and aided

  • by Russian mercenaries attacked a position held by 40 American special forces troops

  • and a small number of Syrian Democratic Front militia.

  • The attacking force was estimated to number at around 500 by US sources, and was supported

  • by artillery and a number of T-72 and T-55 tanks.

  • US forces on the ground were vastly outnumbered, and the engagement should have ended in complete

  • annihilation for the small American contingent.

  • Instead, US artillery immediately engaged the enemy from nearby positions, while American

  • B-52s, F-22s, F-15s, AC-130 gunships and Apache attack helicopters provided direct ground

  • attack support.

  • America's superior use of combined arms led to a stunning US victory, with zero casualties

  • amongst US troops and only 1 SDF fighter wounded.

  • The enemy meanwhile suffered up to 100 killed with many more wounded, the loss of most of

  • its heavy vehicles, and the deaths of many of their Russian private contractor advisors.

  • Now go check out deadliest weapons of world war 3, or click this other video instead!

There is nothing more detestable to an American than losing.”

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How To ACTUALLY Win At War

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    Summer posted on 2021/10/11
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