The Art of War

The Art of War

Maneuver Warfare

Goal: Incapacitate decision-making by shock and disruption

Characteristics: Isolation and exploitation of enemy weaknesses through movement.

Quote: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” Sun Tzu The Art of War

Attrition Warfare

Goal: Achieve victory through killing of capturing enemy

Characteristics: All out matching of enemy, where enemy is strongest you send most strength.

Quote: “A Soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.” Napoleon Bonaparte

The Art of Movement in War

The Battle of Marathon; 490 B.C.


  • Commanders: Militiades/Callimachus/Arimnestus

  • Men: 8-10,000

  • 9000 Hoplites/1000 Plataeans


  • Commanders: Datis/Artaphernes

  • Men: 20-60,000

Description of soldiers:

Hoplites: Heavily armored, carried large circular shields, spears, known for moving in phalanxes.

Plataeans: Members of a small city south of Thebes who came in Athens hour of need before the Battle of Marathon. Occupied the left column.

“Double Envelopment”

(1) Militiades reinforced wings, weakening center.

(2) As they ran across the plain, the Persians– surprised at the audacious, outnumbered Greeks– charged.

(1) Greek center enacted a well-ordered retreat.

(2) Overextended Persians are beset from both sides with majority of Greek force.

(1) Persians retreat, with Greeks slaying many and capturing 7 ships.


203 Greek


Battle of Zama 204 BC[4]


  • Commanders: Scipio Africanus

  • Men: 34,000 infantry

  • 3,000 cavalry

  • 6,000 Numidian cavalry

Description of troops:

Numidian cavalry–compact horses with little armor. used in loose formations for lobbing javelins, harassing the enemy then escaping counterattacks.


  • Commander: Hannibal

  • Men: 50,000 infantry

  • 4,000 cavalry

  • 80 elephants


Hannibal charges elephants. Scipio is ready with thin sections of lightly armored troops that can move, opening channels for the elephants to go through.

Roman and Numidian cavalry flank, driving the mercenaries from the field.

Hannibal and Scipio advance centers. Scipio easily fights through recruits, but is stalled by veterans.

Scipio’s cavalry return from behind Hannibal, breaking lines from both sides and driving the enemy from the field.

The Battle of Blore Heath; War of the Roses; 1459[5]


  • Commanders: Baron Audley, Baron Dudley

  • Men: 8,000-14,000


  • Commander: Earl ofSalisbury

  • 3,000-5,000 men


Lancastrians deployed behind great hedge for ambush. Flags spotted over hedge. Yorkist deploy.

They Set up on opposite sides of a stream in a deep embankment. Arrow fire in ineffectual.

Yorkists set up defensively with one flank against the woods, another against encircled wagon train.

Yorkists feign defeat at their center. Baiting a charge by Lancastrian cavalry (probably not ordered). They resume places and slaughter them from the superior position uphill.

Lancastrians reform and push with more men. More successfully cross the stream, where Baron Audley is killed.

In anger the Lancastrians reform 4000 more troops and cross again. 500 Lancastrians desert to the Yorkists, seeing it as a lost cause.


Lancastrians: 2,000

Yorkists: 1,000

Operation Jaywick: 1943[7]

Australian Z Special unit

Commander: Major Ivan Lyon

Men: 13 Commandos

Equipped with canoes, and with skin dyed to look like local Singaporan fisherman.

September 19th: MV Krait, the deployment and escape boat drops off 3 teams of two on Padjang Island, south of Singapore. Krait heads on a 10 day loop to Borneo.

September 25th: The Canoe teams head to Subar island, 7 miles from their target.

September 26th: 3 teams of two paddle in collapsible canoes from Padjang Island into Singapore’s harbor. Place mines on 7 Japanese ships. Dump equipment. Return to basecamp.

October 2nd, 3rd: First team picked up after midnight, two others missed. Returned next night to pick up last two teams. Returned to Australia.


Australians: 0

Japanese: 39,000 tons of cargo destroyed.

Operation Phantom Fury[9][10]

Manuever Warfare allowed U.S./Iraqi forces to take an occupied Fallujah with 1/27 casualty to enemy death ration

Coalition Commanders:

U.S. Richard Natonski, James Mattis

U.K. James Cowan

Men: 10,500 U.S., 2,000 Iraq, 850 U.K.


Commanders: Adbullah al-Janabi, Omar Hussein Hadid

Men: 4,000

Enable large civilian evacuation (70-90% left). This allows less inhibited movement, attacking.

Bomb the city for several weeks.

Advance with snipers behind, tanks and bulldozers in advance, and men clearing buildings. Insurgents meanwhile had tunnels leading back out of the city for supplies.

While U.S. forces didn’t know what was ahead, and had to advance slowly, the insurgents were able to move fluidly, reinforcing weak positions.

Two main tactics:

  1. Bisect city by controlling east to west highway. Take civic objectives (mayor’s office, mosques, commercial centers). Isolate threats on a

  2. Block by block basis, surround and clear as seen necessary.


U.S.: 38

Iraqi: 6

Insurgents: 1200; 1,500 captured.


  1. Maneuver Warfare Outline

  2. United States Military Academy, Battle of Marathon

  3. The Battle of Marathon

  4. The Battle of Zama

  5. Numidian Cavalry

  6. battle of Blore Heath

  7. Operation Jaywick

  8. Battle of Najaf

  9. Second Battle for Fallujah

  10. Operation Phantom Fury

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