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MILITARY/INFO PRINCIPLES OF WAR
"Objective" The first principle of war. What
is one trying to accomplish by making war. If you don't have an
objective you cannot win a war. [Comment: Often gets
confused with propaganda. Usually works best if it kept simple.
Complex victory conditions confuse both sides. What really makes
it fun is that both sides may have completely different victory
conditions which are not achievable. That makes for long wars.]
"Offensive" The second principle of war. That is bringing the war to the enemy. If the enemy is not effected by the war, it is not possible for your side to win the war. [Comment: People often get confused and think that this is only attacking the enemy. That is a gross over simplification of the subject. Many battles have been won by using the "Offensive-Defensive". That is done by capturing something the enemy wants badly, entrenching, and having the enemy beat themselves to death trying to capture it. Another technique is by attacking where the enemy isn't and forcing them to react to you.]
"Unity of Command" The third principle of war. That is your side should work together toward the common goal of defeating the enemy. [Comment: This principle seems simple, but it is not. Some people think it gives an ok to micromanage very thing. It does not. Controlling everything on your side in war is impossible, even today with all the communications equipment. Generally it can bog things down, with call the communicating. A lot of talking and little understanding. In fact too much communication implies that you cannot trust your own side to do anything right by itself. It takes a self discipline to trust your own people to be doing the right thing without calling them all the time.]
"Mass" The fourth principle of war, is having greater power than the enemy on the battlefield. Traditionally this has been 3 to 1 more combat power against the enemy. But mass can be hard the calculate in a given situation, so usually what is considered overwhelming power is applied to make sure. The mass only has to applied at the decisive point not every where. But to applying mass at the decisive point requires knowing where the decisive point is. Also applying it only at the decisive point requires the mobility to get it there before the enemy can counter it.
"Economy of Force" The fifth principle of war. Is just using enough force to win the battle. The counterpoise to mass. This frees up the balance of one's forces to be used for other things, like reserves in case something goes wrong, and to prevent traffic jams on the battlefield causing your own side to trip over itself. A very hard one to calculate because war is realm of uncertainly and doubt. Fear makes one careful and surprise can cause panic causing one to overreact messing up carefully laid economy of force plans.
"Maneuver" The sixth principle of war. Moving one's force to have most the useful effect. This can be easily understood as roaring around the battlefield in a vehicle. If a force does have a useful place to go it might as well just set there and save the gas. Also maneuver can just consist of just moving to a useful point and just sitting there. Sometimes maneuver can consist on moving in the mind of the enemy. That is making the enemy think you have moved somewhere you have not.
"Surprise" The seventh principle of war. Is doing something your enemy does not expect of you. [Comment: With two or more player in the game, surprise is easy to come by but difficult to know if it would effect the enemy in the way that was hoped for. Sometimes it can the opposite effect than what it was intended. But usually a surprise works when it is carefully planned and executed.]
"Security" The eighth principle of war. Keeping the enemy from catching you unprepared and keeping the enemy from knowing what you are doing. [Comment: This is basically paying attention to what you are doing, expecting anything and basically being careful. Winners in war are often he who makes the least number of mistakes.]
"Simplicity" The ninth principle of war. Keeping your side from getting confused about what it is doing and tripping over it's own feet. [Comment: This is the old "KISS" formula, or in other words. "Keep it simple stupid". The more complex the plan the more things that can go wrong with it. History is full of clever, complicated plans which destroy the people who make them.]
Notes: What are the Principles of War? They are part of a modern quest to reduce the art of war to few simple concepts. The first nine principles above are the Principles of War as they were adopted by the U.S.Army before the Second, with my own interpretation and comments thrown in.
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