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Library: fighting, tactics and strategy

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Author: Pirotessa
Date:Jan 14 1997

The point of "strategy" is always (to some extent):
1) minimize harm to you or your people ("minimize your casualties")
2) maximize harm to "the enemy" or "them" ("maximize enemy casualties")
3) maintain secrecy

These three are almost always the main purposes in most "fights", and what a
good "fighter" should aim to accomplish.  The first two are natural effects of
combat, and the third is a by-product which is sometimes compromised by
fighting. Depending on the context, maintaining secrecy may not be important
at all, or even desirable.  But in most "continued struggles", secrecy is
important.

Three integral questions to ask, hopefully before beginning a "fight" are:
1) How important is what I'm risking to me?
2) How important is what "the enemy" is risking to it?
3) What do I hope to gain by this fight?
 
Your goal, or (3) should be kept in mind.  Fighting is only an "end in itself"
if what you risk (1) is meaningless, and what "the enemy" risks (2) is vital,
or some degree thereof.

So the point of a "fight" can be both to hurt your enemy (2), and some outside
goal (3).  When it stops serving either of these intrests, you should not be
fighting.  Try to remove yourself from the fight as soon as you can.

The first part of "good strategy" has to do with risking something non-vital
to you to damage something that is vital to your enemy.  For instance, and
animal trainer might have access to a large amount of expendable trained
animals.  Good strategy would be to launch all those in a combined attack
against a vital enemy leader.  This way, the animal trainer risks nothing more
than having to retrain some animals, but also has a chance of killing the
enemy leader.

Another part of "good strategy" is being able to choose your goals well, and
forcing your enemy to make bad decisions about their goals.  This is largely
psychological.

* defending or attacking? *
Many combats can be broken up into two groups, those which you are attacking,
and those which you are defending an attack.  It is good to know the
advantages of each type. For instance, an attacker generally decides the pace
(or time/speed) of a battle, while a defender generally decides the locale (or
place) a battle is fought.  Other notions are more specific to the combat
itself.

* protection, withdrawl *
This is only relevant to some battles, in others it doesn't matter at all. 
But on a personal level, for instance, a person can take so much damage and
then gets hurt and then has to withdraw, or they will die.  So tactically a
route of escape or withdrawl must be kept at all times.  Cutting off this
route of escape can often help in smaller personal battles.

* decisive-ness *
Decisiveness is always important, either commit or don't.  But there's a
difference between being decisive and throwing everything you have at a
meaningless or impossible goal.  This is why information gathering is so
important (known as "recon").

* command structure *
The best kind of command structure has a single person at the top, and
surrounded by a group of advisors.  The single person has complete power, but
the advisors give recommendations and such.  If the leader is killed or
disabled, then one of the advisors takes over.  And this order of ascension is
pre-defined, so there's no arguing about which one. The idea is to keep the
command structure as "short" as possible, with a minimal amount of heirarchy.

* teams *
In larger group fights, its often necessary to break up people rather than
have a single "mob".  The ideal team size is four to six.  However, some
people, like spies, or recon, should operate alone or in pairs.  

* roles, equipment *
A team of six should choose one leader to coordinate communications with the
command, and another seperate person as a "medic" to help people when they get
hurt.  Both of these people should try to avoid direct combat, since they're
probably not as well armed as those equipped purely for combat.  A team ought
to select the bravest member to be the medic.

* mobility, resilience, firepower *
Tactically and comparitively, there are three different types of units.  These
can be referred to as "mobile", "armor", or "assualt" units.  In a decent
force all three are very usefull.  Most likely, your force doesn't have all
these three, or one of these is undersupported.  In that case, you should know
how to cover for your weakness.  What's really bad is when you're outdone in
all three catergories.  

* inferiority *
If you are lacking in these three catergories, then you need to find something
that you are better at and fight that way.  For instance, there was the
students vs. teacher wars at that japanesse high school.  Both had decent
command networks and setups, but when it came to it, the teachers had mobility
(cars, cycles, tanks), they had more resilience -- at one instance students
were blocked by "armored teachers", at another they couldn't even hope of
fighting a teacher even in a 3-student vs. 1-teacher engagement, and the
teachers also had more firepower (tanks and planes).  If this is the case, try
to escape from the fight or get around fighting any way possible.  If you are
absolutely desperate, then the best strategy is, we'll, who knows.  But don't
try to pick up tanks and swing them around by the turrets or anything.  IRL
that doesn't work too well, modern tanks (even Russian ones) are 20-40 tonnes
at least.

* mobile power *
If mobile power is your main advantage over your enemy, then attack should
take precedence to defense.  Use a few fast but powerful units for defense,
and use your most armored units for attacking the enemy.  Mainly, keep moving,
and look for weak spots in your enemies defense.  Emphasize insurgency, or
geurilla tactics.  Try to divert enemy forces away from good positions, and
use diversions and such.  If the combat is military, famous manuevers such as
Hitler's "blitzkreig" tactic or a flanking maneuver may be usefull.

* armor *
If your superiority lies in taking damage, either use your forces like Hitler
used his panzer tanks -- penetrating enemy lines, then sweeping outward and
back, flanking the enemy, or concentrate on a defensive strategy.  There are
two sub-strategies, one is that you should push for more combat and pursue the
enemy, push for a sustained war.  The other is that you should emphasize
intermitent combat, which your forces will survive to be repaired (since they
can take damage), but enemy forces, with inferior armor, will be destroyed.

* firepower *
If your weapons are significantly better than an enemy, then you need solely


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