A Guide to Winning a War - Based on Military Strategy and Leadership

August 19, 2023
David Sunnyside

A guide to winning a war, based on military strategy and leadership.

Author Mike Martin explains the hard, elegant logic of fighting a conclusive interstate war that solves geopolitical problems and reduces future conflict. In cool and precise prose, he covers all aspects of warfare from infantry to information, including the key strategic principles that must be in place to orchestrate military forces effectively.

The first and most critical factor is clearly defined war goals. The most successful strategists understand that military success on the battlefield is not an end in itself, but a means to achieve specific political objectives. This was a central point of the war philosophy expressed by the Chinese strategist Sun Tzu and ancient Indian philosopher Chanakya.

Another key point is understanding how to use the enemy as a weapon against him, by drawing him into an area where he can be defeated. The classic example of this is feigning retreat and ambushing the enemy as he pursues. Used to devastating effect by Genghis Khan’s Mongols and American general Stonewall Jackson, this is an essential principle embodied in the martial art of guerrilla warfare.

A third crucial rule is to avoid the enemy’s strengths by focusing on his weaknesses. This is a difficult one to execute, but is a fundamental principle of modern warfare and was emphasized by the German general Carl von Clausewitz in his concept of "strategic battle." It involves enveloping the enemy from all sides, preventing him from retreating, and destroying him in situ. Examples include Alexander the Great at the Granicus, Issus and Arbela 334 B.C., Napoleon at Austerlitz 1805 and the American campaign in Georgia and the Carolinas in 1864-65.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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