BRIEFLY NOTED: For 2022-04-25 Mo: A very nice piece by Mark Hertling on why we should have hopes for the Ukraine Army during its current turn in the Inferno: Mark Hertling: ’A few folks suggested I’ve been “bold” in some of my predictions..." I had a brief piece on the complexity of war-as-a-profession two months ago: Ibn Khaldun called it assibayah: understanding that it is your group, that you have a job to do in order for it to properly perform, and that your job requires the right kind of coordination. For most of history, a commander with assibayah handled logistics, inspiration, and delivered soldiers to the right battlefield; and soldiers with assibayah knew how to handle their weapons while protecting those standing next to them. And with assibayah, soldiers supplied who trusted their leader and found themselves on the right battlefield were nearly invincible. F——— phalanx. F——— legion. F——— knights. F——— longbowmen. F——— pikemen. And, above all (usually), f——— horse-archers. But then, with the coming of personal firearms, it all became more complicated. It turned into rock → paper → scissors. Cavalry rode down musketeers. Musketeers rolled over pikemen. Pikemen drove off cavalry. And artillery was a joker that could break up the pike phalanx and disorder the other arms to render them combat ineffective—unless and until it was itself overrun. Tactical victory required combined arms, and the right kind of combined arms, so that their cavalry faced your pikemen, their pikemen faced your musketeers, and their musketeers were ridden down by your cavalry. As time passed, things became more complex.And in all of this, (fewer) professionals could easily defeat (more) amateurs. And professionals could be defeated by better professionals who understood the principles of combined-arms warfare better. How is it that Arthur Wellesley could win at, consecutively, Roliça, Vimeiro, Oporto, Talavera, Buçaco, Fuentes de Onoro, Salamanca, Vitoria, the Pyrenees, Bidassoa, Nivelle, Toulouse, and Waterloo? (Note, however, that his siege efforts were often unsuccessful.) As von Clausewitz wrote: “war is very simple, but the simplest thing is very difficult”. How much does the Ukrainian Army really know what it is doing? And how much of that knowledge can be transmitted quickly to replacements? We can hope. Note: The best single thing I have read on all of this is: Daniel P. Bolger: Dragons at War: 2-34 Infantry in the Mojave <https://archive.org/details/dragonsatwar234i0000bolg/>
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