Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

This is coolbert: The three to one ratio. This is taught in "War College" and military staff courses of armies all over the world as being the ratio of attacking troops to defending troops as to be the minimum requisite for success. When on the offensive, your side must outnumber the defender by the ratio of 3:1.This is a time honored concept that has been taught perhaps for decades and over a hundred years or more now to the command officers of militaries all over the world. I believe at one time this was probably true. But can it still be considered to be valid? At a time [say 100 years ago] when an army consisted of foot soldiers armed with the same basic weaponry, cavalry also armed in the same basic fashion, and artillery that operated along similar lines [direct fire mode mostly] with similar weaponry, the 3:1 ratio probably held true in a very general sense. However, we are no longer in the days of Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders. In the modern era, technology and the disparity between technologies of different militaries would seem to have made this ratio questionable in also the general sense. It is much more complicated and must be studied on a case by case basis. Modern combat arms consists of infantry, artillery, armor, air defense, and close air support [rotary wing aircraft]. In a variety of combinations depending upon the nations in question. Many things must be taken into consideration when evaluating the combat potentialities of rival forces. Just having numerical evaluation is not enough. Numbers alone do not tell the whole story. Artillery may be as numerous, but not as effective, in range, accuracy, lethality, etc. Armor may be as numerous, but not as effective in gun range, accuracy, protection, mobility, etc. Infantry may be as numerous, but one side may have a mechanized force with greater organic firepower, better protection, and superior mobility, whereas the other is light infantry with limited organic firepower, lesser protection, and mobility limited to foot power. Command in one force may have the correct combination of C cubed I [C^3I] to direct their force. This force is just employed more efficiently. More can be accomplished with less. And this just includes combat arms evaluations. Does not include what are known as force multipliers. Superior logistics, intelligence, etc. Factors that enhance the combat arms and even create a more efficient force.



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