Strategy is the science and art of military command exercised to meet the enemy in combat under advantageous conditions (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). It has also been defined as the use of engagements for the attainment of the objective in war (Clausewitz, Carl. On War. 1908. pg 165). Strategy has also been described as disorienting an adversary's view of the situation that he faces, disruption of his operations, and subvert that which he derives strength from and that which he depends on. The intent being to produce paralysis and collapse his will to resist (Osinga, Frans. Science, Strategy and War: The Strategic Theory of John Boyd. New York: Routledge, 2007. pg 180).
The Basics of Strategy
Strategy involves a series of interactions with the environment, the enemy and with your self. These interactions involve observing the situation, analysis of what is observed, deciding on what action to take, and then carrying out the decided action. In general what becomes key is if this cycle (known as the OODA Loop, Boyd Cycle or the Decision Cycle) is conducted in a fast and accurate fashion.
In order to have an accurate OODA loop one must have an idea as to where the enemy is, as such scouts are required and are key. Without an accurate picture of the situation you may not know where the enemy focuses his attack, or where is strong points and weak points are in the defense.
Another aspect of strategy is your opponent's view of the situation. If you can shape his view as regards your actions and activities via the use of deception then this provides an advantage. It muddles his decision cycle thus providing you the ability to have success. Your opponent's view of the situation may be based on his previous experiences and cultural heritage. The other side of the coin of course is to avoid having your own view of the situation clouded by potential deception by your opponent or by that which you expect.
One of the more important aspects of strategy is flexibility. This again is related to one's mental picture of the situation. If your view of the situation becomes inflexible the result can be that you can be easy to deceive. If your tactics become inflexible you may be unable to respond effectively to new and changing situations even if you understand what is going on.
The purpose of the offensive is to gain the initiative and exploit it in order to destroy the enemy's will to fight or their physical ability to fight. As such the offensive tends to be the most important activity, for it can decide a battle.
Advances can be made in a number of different ways. One of these is the bounding over watch. The idea behind this is to have one element advance while another element covers it's advance normally from a battle position located to the advancing unit's rear.
Artillery can be used to assist in the offensive, though it should not be used mainly as a anti-material asset but rather as an asset that can be used to suppress the enemy (thus allowing you to advance on him) or to mask your own movements by drowning out your asset's engine noises or even blocking LOS via obstructing smoke and dust from high explosive barrages.
Infiltrations can also be used. For instance if there is a poorly covered area one could infiltrate some armored fighting vehicles through that area. This can cause chaos and friction for the opposing force. Though it is ideal to be able to infiltrate a large force through those areas if possible thus creating a breakthrough in the enemy's lines and thus rendering it so the enemy's defenses are untenable.
The objective of the defense is to allow you a prime opportunity to attack. As such even if you are in a weakened position one can still gain the initiative against an opponent. The defense has a number of advantages. One can create ambush positions so that you can attack from an unexpected position. If the defense is done properly the enemy will have little idea as to where your positions are. As such the defender has the element of surprise as long as the defender is able to destroy his opponent's reconnaissance assets. Because the defensive involves fighting on territory that you already control it tends to be the most powerful of the two.
There are different modes when it comes to the defense. One mode is to make it obvious that you are defending the area and as such the enemy may avoid it due to your positions. The advantage of this defense is that if it goes well you can hold an area with little effort expended. The other mode is to suck in the enemy into your positions and then destroy him. The advantage to this is that you can destroy large parts of the enemy formation in a short amount of time and you may even be able to ruin his will for a continuation of the fight. Another mode of the defense are hit and run attacks. The objective of this is to slow the enemy advance while using very little units in pursuing the mission. This can be used to cover a retreat or allow you time to gain reinforcements. Of course one can use a combination of these in an engagement.
Which of these you chose depends on your force strength, your commander's intent and the proclivities of your enemy.
--Tank Hunter 06:08, July 16, 2008 (UTC)