For today’s class, we will be discussing the theory of war.
The term ‘art of war’ originally did not mean what it means now. It only meant the preparation: producing weapons, building fortifications, that sort of thing. Who knows what fortifications are, class? Yes, Badger?
Walls, trenches, things like that?
Yes. Good, Badger. Fortifications are how we make our position stronger, things just like that. Siege warfare was the first true — Yes, Otter?
– What’s ‘siege’ mean?
Siege warfare is when one side is defending a set position, like a castle, or a town, and the other side closes them in to try to make them give up. Yes?
– Yes, Sir. Thank you, Sir.
So siege warfare was the first true war, the first kind of war where you can see operations, planning, thought. Then some people started converting tactics into systems. This was a step toward an art of war, but there was no creativity to it. It made everyone like robots, following very precise formations and orders. No one thought the conduct of war was something you could make a theory about; it was thought to be something that just had to happen as it happened.
As time went on and people thought about the conduct of war more, we came to need a set of rules under which to think about it. It was so complicated, there were so many parts to it, that early on everyone focused on physical things: numbers of troops, supplies, the size of your base, the angles of attack. They took things they could make into math and based all of the theories on those things. Can anyone tell me what’s wrong with this approach? Yes, Quail?
– War is not all math.
Agreed, but please elaborate.
– Things are mixed up. The largest army doesn’t always win. The people matter, too, and how they feel, and how smart the commander is, and how brave the troops are. Stuff like that.
Very well said, Quail. War is psychological – of the mind – as well as physical. Both sides have a say in the war; it is not just one army doing to another.
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