Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tactical Objectives -- Across the Board

He who fights and runs away
Lives to fight another day.  (Old maxim of unconventional warfare)

Recently I decided to re-read Anthony Herbert's book Soldier. He has a lot to say about tactics, and that has prodded me to think about a principle, a tactical approach, that I believe applies across the board to an individual or to groups.

In any violent (or potentially violent) encounter, the strategic objective is always to neutralize the threat. Many think of neutralization in terms of defeating an attacker. I hope you see that avoidance, evasion and escape will also neutralize a threat and deprive an enemy of realizing his own objectives.

Once you make violent contact with an enemy, however, the opportunity for avoidance and evasion has, by definition, passed. Further, if you focus on escape alone, you may incur more injury than if you simply stand and fight.

For an individual (or a small group) facing superior strength, numbers or firepower, I think the record shows the following course of action to provide the best means of survival:
  1. Foul up your enemy's attack -- It's easier to mess up any operation than it is to execute one, so make Murphy's Law work for you.
  2. Seize the initiative and take advantage of any and every opening
    a) to hurt or stun opponent just long enough . . .
    b) to take advantage of any avenue of escape that opens.
Of course such tactics work best if the enemy does not take you by surprise. For small groups, the OP/LP and the reconnaissance patrol provide the necessary intel. The tactical triad on patrol or the individual on the street must rely on alertness to short circuit the enemy's intended surprise attack.

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