The Stratagem Philosophical Society
The home site of Common Sense
The Stratagem Philosophical Society provides a platform for the examination of the concept and philosophy of Common Sense
The Society.’s postal address is The Stratagem Philosophical Society BM Unifaculty London WC1N 3XX
The Internet address is -
http://www.stratagem.org.uk General enquiry email address is enquiries@stratagem.org.uk
the Stratagem Philosophical Society is part of the
Unifaculty Foundation

Military philosophies seem to change over time as new technologies develop. It is a truth that having an advanced technology available will almost invariably give you a decisive edge. Of course that is not always so ... the United States and Vietnam being an example.

Of course the basic underlying philosophy of strategies will likely remain the same and only seem different because of the hardware used. For example, Napoleon Bonaparte’s dictum states that one should never interrupt one’s enemy when they are making a mistake. That is both timeless and independent of whatever level of technology is used.

Perhaps the greatest and most influential work in the philosophy of war is On War by Carl von Clausewitz. It combines observations on strategy with questions about human nature and the purpose of war. Clausewitz especially examines the teleology of war:

whether war is a means to an end outside itself or whether it can be an end in itself. He concludes that the latter cannot be so, and that war is "politics by different means"; id est that war must not exist only for its own sake. It must serve some purpose for the state.

Heinz Guderian

On the philosophy of Blitzkrieg, Heinz Guderian summarised combined-arms tactics as the way to get the mobile and motorised armoured divisions to work together and support each other to achieve decisive success. In his book, Panzer Leader, he wrote:

In this year, 1929, I became convinced that tanks working on their own or in conjunction with infantry could never achieve decisive importance. My historical studies, the exercises carried out in England and our own experience with mock-ups had persuaded me that the tanks would never be able to produce their full effect until the other weapons on whose support they must inevitably rely were brought up to their standard of speed and of cross-country performance. In such formation of all arms, the tanks must play a primary role, the other weapons beings subordinated to the requirements of the armour. It would be wrong to include tanks in infantry divisions; what was needed were armoured divisions which would include all the supporting arms needed to allow the tanks to fight with full effect.

Guderian believed that developments in technology were required to support the theory; especially, equipping armoured divisions with tanks foremost and with wireless communications. Guderian insisted in 1933 to the high command that every tank in the German armoured force must be equipped with a radio. At the start of the war, only the German army was thus prepared with all tanks "radio equipped". This proved critical in early tank battles where German tank commanders exploited the organizational advantage over the Allies which radio communication gave them. Later all Allied armies would copy this innovation.

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