My First Post on the Military and Mindset

Thursday, December 19, 2002

The more flexible doctrine of the Legions “broke the Phalanx” of Macedonia. At the Battle of Crecy and at Agincourt, a handful of Cheap Archers destroyed the “Armored Divisions” of the French nobility. In 1941, the Japanese sunk the Prince of Wales with cheap aircraft. In Afghanistan, a handful of rebels with cheap shoulder held missiles defeated the Russian Army. It seems that there is a pattern throughout history of a new cheap technology overcoming the apparent overwhelming strength of the Conventional Leader of the time.

The risk appears to be culture or mindset. The barrier to seeing the threat is greatest when you have enjoyed prior victory or success. For the US the CW is based on the success of the armored division on land, the carrier task force at sea and overwhelming deployment of airpower as a substitute for risking lives on the ground in combat.

The US Army itself is in full debate about this issue. Has it become too big to be deployed? Has it become too set in its mind that real generals drive armored divisions? Is it too vulnerable to “cheap” weapons and to committed enemies?

At the intellectual centre of the debate is a new book Breaking the Phalanx by Col MacGregor – acting maybe as a contemporary Heinz Guderian (the Author of Blitzkrieg) or Capt Basil Liddell Hart (who also foresaw the use of the tank as the centre piece of European Warfare)

This will be the first of  a number of Posts that will outline the debate as we look ahead at the possibility of war


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