The Art of Military Tactics and Strategy
“All warfare is based on deception,” says the brilliant Chinese philosopher and military leader Sun Tzu in his book The Art of War. For centuries now, the tactics and strategies found in this great collection have guided generations of generals and world leaders. May it be in ground operations or state affairs, the wisdom of Sun Tzu endures.
Winning has always been the aim of war, which, by definition, also means the defeat of one’s enemy. Every strategist, therefore, keeps an open eye in every stage of the playing field in order to make sure that his battalion has the upper hand. More often than not, this involves a lot of deception—keeping the opponent on his toes, eluding them every step of the way, trapping them in corners they least expect.
A tactic is carefully chosen to suit a particular scenario or is based on several factors such as terrain, number of troops, and weaponry. Here’s a brief list of tactics and strategies encountered or experienced by the American militia during the Vietnam War, Korean War, and Persian Gulf War:
The tunnels of Củ Chi is an extensive network of underground tunnels found in the northwest of Saigon used by the communist guerilla group Viet Cong (VC) in combating American and South Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War. The tunnels were used by VC forces to communicate, house troops, transport supplies, lay traps, launch surprise attacks, and disappear underground for safety.
Because of the apparent inferiority of the group’s weaponry and training, the VC was inspired from Chinese guerillas that came before them who made the creation of safe bases a priority. The idea sprung up in 1965 when the North Vietnamese leadership ordered that the VC avoid pitched battles with the Americans unless odds favored them. To combat this tactic, the United States and South Vietnamese camp trained individuals they called tunnel rats to navigate through the tunnels to intercept traps and infiltrate enemy troops.
In terms of force alone, North Korea had the advantage over South Korea when it invaded the latter in 1950. It had artillery and tanks while South Korea had close to none. In a matter of three days, Seoul has already been invaded. Everything was going well for North Korea (with the help of the Soviet Union); however, it failed to take into account the United States’ intention to intervene together with its UN allies in behalf of South Korea as part of its global strategy to stifle communist regimes.
One of the key moments of the war happened in September 1950 when General MacArthur devised a plan for an amphibious attack on North Korean forces stationed in Inchon Landing, which is South Korea’s main port in the west coast. The attack proved effective when two weeks after, North Koreans were already out of Seoul. But perhaps the move that ultimately ended the war was President Eisenhower’s threat to use a nuclear bomb. Ceasefire was agreed upon by 1953.
In August 1990, Iraq, headed by Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait. This is known as the start of the Persian Gulf War. The international community banded together and formed a coalition (which includes the United States) of defenses around Saudi Arabia to defend the nation and liberate Kuwait. By January 1991, intense aerial strikes began to target Iraqi forces, and by February, a short ground campaign ensued. One effective military strategy used by the coalition was a network of fake camps near the Kuwaiti border, creating the impression that they were going to attack the area, as opposed to the actual strategy used. This move helped liberate Kuwait and forced Iraq to a ceasefire by the end of February.
Public Broadcasting Service. “Guerilla Tactics: An Overview.” Accessed June 9, 2017. http://www.pbs.org/battlefieldvietnam/guerrilla/.
History. 2011. “Củ Chi Tunnels.” Accessed June 9, 2017. http://www.history.com/topics/vietnam-war/cu-chi-tunnels.
McCracken, P. J. “Korean War: Military Strategies.” High Beam Research. Accessed June 9, 2017. https://www.highbeam.com/topics/korean-war-military-strategies-t10197.
Hickman, Kennedy. Last modified August 29, 2016. ThoughtCo. Accessed June 9, 2017. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-first-gulf-war-2360859.
Stilwell, Blake. “21 Facts about the First Gulf War.” Military.com. Accessed June 9, 2017. https://undertheradar.military.com/2015/09/21-facts-about-the-first-gulf-war/.