thread: 2006-03-05 : No, THIS is the perfect medium

On 2006-03-06, Sydney Freedberg wrote:

Wait, wait, I need to complete that combined arms bit:

We're talking tradeoffs, right? Attack/defense/movement, artillery/infantry/cavalry, that stuff. Victory is about giving the other guy bad trade-offs in the triple dilemma. Conversely, the high-efficiency approach—find the best weapon, buy lots of that, use it and nothing else—is begging for trouble, because you've just taken away the dilemma and given your enemy a single-variable optimization problem.

Are you only using airpower (or artillery) and not ground forces (or infantry and/or armor)? Then I can just spread my forces out, hunker down, and wait: I know you'll never come over here, so I can spend all my energy on improving self-protection. This is what happened in the Kosovo air war, when President Clinton told everyone—including the Serbs—he wasn't going to use ground troops. This is also what happened during the long artillery barrages in World War I, when troops huddled in their deepest bunkers in the knowledg that the enemy couldn't attack through all this shelling, either (and when the shelling stopped, everyone raced up to the trenches to machinegun the attackers they knew were coming). The inverse case is the Germans in France in 1944, trying to reinforce their defenses in Normandy but getting hit so badly from the air that they had to get off the roads, scatter, and hide to survive (mobility being sacrificed to self-protection).

Conversely, if the enemy has no long-range killing capability that can really hurt you, and no mobile forces that can move and survive, so that his main ability is to dig in and stay put, all of a sudden you can take amazing risks to keep moving as fast as possible—like the US Army racing to Baghdad in 2003 and barely bothering to protect its own supply lines or flanks.


This makes MB go "Thanks"
Sydney, this lot of posts is very informative and totally clear.

This makes NinJ go "This is not what I meant when I said "efficiency"..."
What I mean by "efficiency" is "whatever gets the job that we need done, done with the least hurt on Us."

That is, what you're talking about here is exactly what I'm talking about vis-??-vis efficiency vs. "cheapness"

This makes SF go "Efficiency's still a trap"
Because you can only solve that cost effectiveness equation for a very specific enemy, in very specific terrain -- and as soon as you start to act on your solution, a smart enemy will notice at least part of what you're doing and change what he's doing to render your original solution as invalid as he can manage.

This makes ecb go "responsiveness is deadly"
One of the strengths of the German army in WW2 was that the field officers were highly empowered to change their strategies based on specifics of situations. They could capitalize on weaknesses without having to waste time going up the chain of command, making them more responsive & more effective.

This makes NinJ go "Ah, dig."

This makes KSB go "Efficieny is what . . ."
makes it so bad to be a private in any large military organisation. Because to the guys at the top you are simply a statistic. Tell that to the guy hunkering in a foxhole.

This makes...
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