Target Centermass

9/1/2006

Disproportionate Response

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:04 pm

Steven den Beste, one of first bloggers that I began regularly reading, has surfaced again with a look at the evolution of warfare and how this applies to the recent engagement between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

Pre-industrial warfare, as typified by Napoleon, pretty much came to an end during the 19th century, to be replaced by what I refer to as industrial warfare. The American Civil War was the first major industrial war, and what set it apart from previous wars was the overwhelming dominance of logistics in deciding the conflict. The South has the majority of the best generals, but the North still won because of its overwhelming logistical superiority. (Of course, it required Lincoln to understand that he had to fight a long war, and it took a general ruthless enough to sacrifice enough of his own men in order to win.)

By the early 20th century industrial warfare dominated war all over the world. It was only in the last part of the 20th century that a new form appeared: information-age war. But right now the US is the only real practictioner of this way of war, and in the rest of the world industrial war remains the norm.

Industrial war can be summed up this way: God fights on the side which has the biggest pile of ammunition and the fastest rate of replacement of expended ammunition. Like any general principle it’s not absolutely unconditionally true, but that’s the norm.

In response, two new strategic doctrines of war were developed to make it possible for small logistically-poor forces to contend against large logistically-rich forces without getting instantly crushed: guerrilla warfare and terrorist warfare. Both of them seek to nullify the logistical advantage of their richer opponents by maintaining initiative, so as to control the tempo of the war at a level low enough to not exhaust the logistics of the poorer side. For the rest of this discussion I’ll be concentrating on guerrillas.

Go read it all. Hat tip to Chap.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WordPress