Novel approach to indirect actions of military theory

Textbook 2009 96 Pages

Sociology - War and Peace, Military


Table of Contents









The major object of the study of the military theory is a military action. There are many variants of its definition, ranging from simple rather complex interpretation.

According to general consensus military action is a result of human civilization, of armed confrontation between the formal and informal groups of society, their mutual apparition and offering of resistance to one another.

The given definition directly paints to the fact that the nature, essence, scale and results of the armed action are in functional relationship with the economical, technological, ideological, sociopolitical, and diplomatic standards of the development of society. It is also in direct relationship with real conditions of state, national, armament, armed action waging and many other components and the processes of their variation dynamics.

The FOCAL PLANE of all directions of military science is the major motive armed action was, is and will be one of the main tasks of military history and modern studies.

Armed action, in accordance with many variants of its parametric manifestations, is a systematized and non-systematized manifestation of the dynamic processes of mutual armed action of opposed parties.

Armed action may be manifested in the form of wars, military conflicts, armed rising and guerilla movement. Their realization may be based on military operations, fighting actions, campaign, operation, strike or battle.

Besides, armed action is divided into separate groups by its scale and mastery of space.

Armed action in general, as a function, is conditioned by the forces, movements, appropriate space and relevant time. Thus the question may be asked whether one could discuss on the bases of existing theoretical concepts of ARMED ACTION, at least the priorities creating a military security system and to use all the existing theoretical principles and definitions that are generally recognized.

This position is not simple and requires elucidation.

On the one hand, military science, as the process and result of study, is developing and modifications naturally occur in it negation, recognition of novelty, additions and amendments. In addition, there are controversial approaches to many topical issues of the military theory and, in such a case, researchers should, if necessary, recognize or give priority to one of them in each concrete work. Moreover, according to the reality, they should prove and adopt the new position with a special approach.

On the other hand, the CANONICAL PROPOSITIONS of modern military theory, which have effect in Georgia and in states having a similar type military security environment, in many concrete cases, are not compatible with and effectual in modern realities of armed actions, that are predominantly manifested in asymmetric wars, indirect approach or indirect action military strategy and generally in various modern military conflicts.

Accordingly, it is not only natural, but necessary for Georgia and states with similar type military security space to contribute to the development of military science in general so as to perfect and develop military theory proceeding from reality and practically realizable scenarios of military art.

The present work contains researches on such issues of military art, as FIGHTING CAPACITY, indirect action strategy, conditions of asymmetric warfare, military operations planning and the cornerstone of military art configuration of the interrelationship of tactics, operational art and strategy.

The researches are provided with formalized parameters, models and logic of armed action.


The starting parameter of conducting the armed action is the FIGHTING CAPACITY of individual subunits, parts, units, small and large units of troops and formations.

FIGHTING CAPACITY should be considered in functional dependence with its major argument fighting resources. Accordingly, FIGHTING CAPACITY is a condition estab-lished in complex by systematizable and non-systematizable cir-cumstances and conditions of forces and means which, in a particular armed action determines the parameters of realization of FIGHTING CAPACITY in a definite time period and space.

Along these lines, the concept of fighting stability already exists in military theory, but its traditional definition is imprecise156 1, it is not concretized, lacks assessment of its essence and importantly, it does not contain arguments for use in researches in the military theory field.

Thus, it is necessary to work out a proposition that would define the parameter of FIGHTING CAPACITY, the parameter FIGHTING STABILITY should also be specified and its place assigned. To this end, FIGHTING CAPACITY, as major parameter of armed action, should be discussed more extensively.

In this respect, the following questions should be asked:

1. What may possess FIGHTING CAPACITY;
2. What is that possesses FIGHTING CAPACITY;
3. How and with what can the parameters of FIGHTING CAPACITY be replaced.

It should be defined in practical form and content that FIGHTING CAPACITY is possessed by any armed formation founded based on integration of force and means.

Traditionally, in military organization, for the purpose of realization of FIGHTING CAPACITY, subunits and diverse large and small units are considered to be in the FIGHTING CAPACITY condition. This approach is of course right in individual cases, but is not acceptable for the purpose of systematizing the issue in generalized form.

According to the logic of battles, operations and armed actions, the combatants participating in an armed action and possessing FIGHTING CAPACITY, are complex systems that can conventionally be called FIGHTING SYSTEM.

FIGHTING SYSTEM should be regarded as a set of FIGHTING ELEMENTS deployed in space and connected to one another by means of FUNCTIONING LINKS in a certain lay-out, i.e. by FIGHTING LINKS (fig. 1).

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Fig. 1. Fighting System

FIGHTING SYSTEM and FIGHTING ELEMENTS have different meanings in different cases. For example, if FIGHTING SYSTEM is an association, then its FIGHTING ELEMENT is a unit, while if a unit is regarded as a FIGHTING SYSTEM, its FIGHTING ELEMENTS are military units, and so forth.

Such possible graded meanings of FIGHTING SYSTEM point out that the upper grade FIGHTING ELEMENT is itself a FIGHTING SYSTEM consisting of lower grade FIGHTING SYSTEMS (fig. 2).

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Fig. 2. The step-like scheme of the Fighting System on formation level

A FIGHTING SYSTEM possesses its own FIGHTING CAPABILITY defined by two conditions FIGHTING CAPABILITY of an individual FIGHTING ELEMENT, form, geometry, content, efficiency and reliability of the FIGHTING LINKS of the functioning of the FIGHTING SYSTEM.

Thus it can naturally be concluded that FIGHTING CAPABILITY of a FIGHTING SYSTEM may be less than, equal to or more than an algebraic sum of FIGHTING CAPABILITIES of creating a FIGHTING ELEMENTS, depending on the geometry of FIGHTING SYSTEM establishment and effectiveness of the FUNCTIONING LINKS.

Accordingly, an answer to the question of what possesses FIGHTING CAPACITY is FIGHTING SYSTEM. As to the question how can FIGHTING CAPACITY parame-ters be changed, the answer to this is subject to the following logic. Since FIGHTING CAPACITY is possessed by a FIGHTING SYSTEM represented as set of elements associated to one another and constituting a whole three variants of change are possible:

I. Change of a system by changing features and quantity of its component FIGHTING ELEMENTS;
II. Change of a system by changing the feature, nature, lay-out geometry and quantity of functioning between its component FIGHTING ELEMENTS, i.e. of FIGHTING LINKS; III. Change of a system in combination by jointly changing the FIGHTING ELEMENTS and FIGHTING LINKS. Insofar as armed action is a dynamic process and it is realized by means of a FIGHTING SYSTEM, it is natural that change of the FIGHTING SYSTEM proceeds continuously or intermittently in time and space at every stage of preparing, conducting and complet-ing the armed action, which conditions change of the FIGHTING CAPACITY or its retention.

Accordingly, the first of the above described three variants implies change of the FIGHTING SYSTEM, weakening or enhancing the property of its FIGHTING ELEMENTS FIGHTING CAPABILITY, by destroying, enhancing or adding a new feature.

In this regard, if we link analogies of military mechanical systems to the logic of armed action modeling, it can be concluded that one of the determining factors of the FIGHTING CAPACITY is the firmness of the FIGHTING SYSTEM. It is a potential of FIGHTING CAPABILITY which, under fighting stress conditions, is in inverse proportional dependence on the breakdown of FIGHTING CAPABILITY of the FIGHTING ELEMENTS.

The second determining factor of FIGHTING CAPACITY of the FIGHTING SYSTEM is the fighting stability of the FIGHTING SYSTEM. This is case II noted above, when the FIGHTING ELEMENTS of the FIGHTING SYSTEM retain sufficient FIGHTING CAPABILITY, but the FIGHTING SYSTEM structure is subject to breakdown or deformations owing to changing properties, nature, lay-out and geometry of functioning between the FIGHTING ELEMENTS i.e. FIGHTING LINKS. Such situations lead to loss of local fighting stability or entire fighting stability of the FIGHTING SYSTEM by changing the FIGHTING CAPACITY.

Local fighting stability and entire fighting stability are components of their generic concept fighting stability. Loss of LOCAL FIGHTING STABILITY is a process under which the FIGHTING CAPACITY of the FIGHTING SYSTEM de-creases or sometimes even completely lost by losing the overall sta-bility of the FIGHTING SYSTEM and its individual FIGHTING ELEMENTS.

Losses of the OVERALL FIGHTING STABILITY are a process of loss or sometimes decrease of the FIGHTING SYSTEMS FIGHTING CAPACITY through losing the stability of the overall FIGHTING SYSTEM.

Thus, it can be said that FIGHTING CAPACITY depends on two conditions -firmness of the FIGHTING CAPACITY and the stability of FIGHTING CAPACITY (fig. 3).

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Fig. 3. Structure of the fighting systems fighting capacity

The present systematization of the FIGHTING CAPACITY is based, as noted above, on the logic of the dynamics of material systems, which is a definite idealization of the process of armed action conducted by the forces and means in space and time, involving both conditional assumptions and approximations.

Besides, it should be noted that principles of mechanics in the systematization of issues are used maximally simply laconically with restrictions and purposefully and so as not to allow overloading of the essence of standards and basics of military art, on the one hand, and unnatural modeling thereof, on the other.

According to the definitions in military literature, FIGHTING CAPACITY is one of the components of combat readiness. It is intrinsic to troops and forces to successfully conduct an armed action and properly use the FIGHTING CAPABILITY. According to the assessments of the history of wars, elimination of the personnel and military equipment up to 50-60 percent is considered partial loss of FIGHTING CAPACITY, while disabling over 50-60 percent of forces and resources is total loss of FIGHTING CAPACITY.

As to the concept of fighting stability, in accordance with the assessments found in military literature, its essence is practically reduced to the property of troops and forces to retain their FIGHTING CAPACITY and fulfill the fighting tasks under set to them conditions of the active actions of the enemy. This depends on their combat readiness, fighting ability and management system as well as on the viability of the forces and resources.

The aforementioned meaning of concepts existing in military art does not contain any systemic basics from the standpoint of FIGHTING CAPACITY and fighting stability. It can be said that actually they are not ready to be used as a concrete parameter in military theory studies and, especially, in military planning. Moreover, these two concepts differ little from each other according to the existing definitions, which even lead to confusion of their meanings.

It is natural that partial or full loss of FIGHTING CAPACITY is conditioned by the scale of its damage, of the fighting damage in the given case. Accordingly, also important are the existing definitions of the adopted concept of damage. It can be said that the defini- tion, even from this point of view, is not based on systemic consideration of the armed action processes and generally point out that the damage caused to the enemy in the armed fighting process by impact of forces and resources, determines partial or full loss of its FIGHTING CAPACITY. However, there exists still one more noteworthy element in some of the existing definitions, where reference is made to temporary loss of FIGHTING CAPACITY, along with its partial loss. This element already contains certain meaning finding reflection in a systemic approach.

Thus the existing definitions of the FIGHTING CAPACITY, fighting stability and fighting damage are directed to the static picture of eventual result only because they characterize the situation by the same phrases in all these three cases and, importantly, without any classification, which is why they are not based on systemic analysis. Besides, as an argument of military function, military stability and fighting damage cannot be used for predicting and planning the dynamic processes of armed action in accordance with the existing definitions.

Accordingly, it becomes necessary to classify, on the basis of the worked out model, not only FIGHTING CAPACITY, FIGHTING CAPACITY STABILITY and FIGHTING CAPACITY STRENGTH, as a phenomenon, but their variation due to the impact of FORCE OF ARMS on the FIGHTING SYSTEM in the process of armed action. This in turn will be elucidated and defined by systematized processes.

Resolution of the set, task was practically achievable when the parameters of FIGHTING CAPACITY and respective FIGHTING CAPACITY STRENTH and FIGHTING CAPACITY STABILITY of the FIGHTING SYSTEM as an overall mechanism of FIGHTING ELEMENTS united by FIGHTING LINKS had been concretely analyzed. Despite this, it is still necessary to a certain extent to complete the discussion, so as to define the types of and interrelations between the loss of FIGHTING CAPACITY and, respectively, damage of FIGHTING SYSTEM on the analogy of the proposed systemic model.

By the systematization, developed the essence of FIGHTING CAPACITY is concretely defined by FIGHTING CAPACITY STRENGTH and FIGHTING CAPACITY STABILITY. Thus it is again emphasized that the loss of FIGHTING CAPACITY can be defined by the processes when the loss or decrease of the FIGHTING CAPACITY STRENGTH and FIGHTING CAPACITY STABILITY occurs by damaging the FIGHTING SYSTEM.

Also, if we recall the definition worked out, the FIGHTING CAPACITY STRENGTH of FIGHTING SYSTEM depends on its ability and potentialities of retaining the quantity of its component FIGHTING ELEMENTS, their fighting potentialities and functioning ability of appropriate FIGHTING LINKS up to at least limit values under the impact of FOREC OF ARMS in the armed action process.

In this respect, as concerns FIGHTING CAPACITY STABILITY of the FIGHTING SYSTEM, it depends on the FIGHTING SYSTEM capacity to retain the existing FIGHTING LINKS between FIGHTING ELEMENTS, their properties, nature, lay-out, geometry and also, planned or desirable position of FIGHTING ELEMENTS in space under the impact of FORCE OF ARMS during the armed action.

With such approach, FIGHTING SYSTEM is subjected to overall deformation in any kind of its damage by the FORCE OF ARMS during armed action, which is a result of variation of the values of the “FIGHTING CAPACITY STRENGTH, on the one hand, and of the FIGHTING CAPACITY STABILITY, on the other hand. The word SUBJECTED in this context suggest that the FIGHTING SYSTEM may also undergo FIGHTING CAPACITY variation with appropriate deformations under the impact of FORCE OF ARMS in accordance with the decision and plan of its own side, which is not a matter of discussion here.

Forced deformation (damage) of the FIGHTING SYSTEM by FORCE OF ARMS can be only of three kinds elastic deformation (damage), elastic-plastic deformation (damage); plastic deformation (damage). Systemic analysis of each kind of deformation allows classifying the FIGHTING CAPACITY variation.

The forced elastic damage of the FIGHTING SYSTEM by FORCE OF ARMS is deformation of the FIGHTING SYSTEM by LOADING WITH ARMED ACTION, which is created not by breakdown or destruction of the FIGHTING ELEMENTS of the FIGHTING SYSTEM but by alteration of the geometrical and physical parameters of the FIGHTING LINKS, with preservation of the capabilities of self-restoration in the future.

In this regard, the elastic damage of the FIGHTING SYSTEM belongs to its FIGHTING CAPACITY STABILITY” sphere, when the deformations caused by the FORCE OF ARMS are completely recoverable (fig. 4).

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Fig. 4. Stages of possible sche mes of elastic damage of the fighting system by force of arms

The forced elastic-plastic damage of the FIGHTING SYSTEM by FORCE OF ARMS is an intermediate form of damage, belonging to the spheres of both FIGHTING CAPACITY STABILITY and “FIGHTING CAPACITY STRENGTH, when the deformations caused by the FORCE OF ARMS are partially recoverable. The above case suggests that impact on the FIGHTING SYSTEM by the FORCE OF ARMS results in partial breakdown of a number of FIGHTING LINKS and a certain number of FIGHTING ELEMENTS to the extent that their recovery in the original form becomes impossible.

Besides, the FIGHTING SYSTEM still retains the functioning FIGHTING LINKS and FIGHTING ELEMENTS conditioning the recovery of certain part of the entire FIGHTING SYSTEM deformations, i.e. the FIGHTING SYSTEM partially retains the FIGHTING CAPACITY (fig. 5).

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Fig. 5 Stages of possible schemes of elasto-plastic damage of the fighting system by force of arms.

Forced plastic damage of the FIGHTING SYSTEM by FORCE OF ARMS is deformation caused by the loading the FIGHTING SYSTEM by armed action, that is created by the breakdown and destruction of the FIGHTING LINKS and FIGHTING ELEMENTS to the extent that the deformations of the FIGHTING SYSTEM are no longer subject to self-restoration (fig. 6).

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Fig. 6 Stages of possible schemes of plastic damage of the fighting system by force of arms

Accordingly, when the scale and form of the damage of the opposing FIGHTING SYSTEM is planned at the military planning stage, the parameters categorized as: elastic load by armed action, elasticplastic load by armed action and plastic load by armed action should be determined by appropriate calculations.

Application of the ideology and principles of mechanics in military theory as logical basics of systematization is not a novelty at all in military science and, especially, for practical assessments of military art, and it has prospects in the future. Examples of these are the notions established and approved in military theory battle field geometry, stress theory, center of gravity, friction theory, asymmetry, indirect action, density, and many other evaluations, even the statement of Napoleon Bonaparte, according to whom the analogy of product of the multiplication of mass by its velocity of movement was pronounced the principal parameter of FIGHTING CAPACITY.

In this regard, evaluations made by one of the founders of military theory are even more convincing. Karl Von Clausewitz noted that conducting a war looks like an operation of a complicated mechanism having enormous friction, therefore combinations that are easily planned on paper can be accomplished only by making considerable efforts. Besides, he added that war proceeds in many directions at the same time and has no clearly defined limits, whereas any system or module is of finite nature. It is for this reason that there is a permanent irreconcilable conflict between theory and practice.

The above two evaluations made by Clausewitz may be said to be fundamental for drawing a boundary line between the practical positions of military art theory as a science and of military art. In this regard, military history knows similar pronouncements and proposition of well-known military leaders. They are not based on empirical logic and, accordingly, retain merely the opinion status. Clausewitz’s FRICTION THEORY and then CENTER OF GRAVITY recognized with high reliability the application of principles of mechanics in armed action modeling by systematization of a number of issues. Besides, Clausewitz himself defined the errors existing between the natures of model and reality.

Such double approach made a significant contribution to the development of military art theory.

By way of example, it can be said on the one hand that by the existence of the notion of CENTER OF GRAVITY in the military art, the essence of many essential trends and opposite positions that emerged in the conceptual work of Liddel Hart STRATEGY OF INDIRECT ACTION157, can be explained.

On the other hand, the position IRRECONCIBLE CONFLICT ALMOST ALWAYS EXISTS BETWEEN THE THEORY AND PRACTICE, which has been defined by thy empirical logic of Clausewitz, called in question the validity of the systemic model which considers military theory and practice in combination or, on the contrary, as completely different matters. In terms of scientific approach, it is impossible to adopt a theory if it almost invariably contradicts practice.

The study of the above two cases has been conducted in a certain direction and for particular purposes within the framework of the present monograph. This was necessary due to the requirement to contribute to the solution of the above problems of military science on the one hand, and by the fact that for Georgia and states having similar military security environment, which are in potential asymmetric warfare conditions, it is very important to gain exact understanding of and apply the indirect action strategy on the other hand.

Also of prime importance for the state of Georgia is to define the theoretical basics of preparations for war and waging an armed action, which would be oriented to predictable results of possible practical scenarios of military art. This is to a certain extent necessary for Georgia due to the ratios of its own military potential and potential of the states situated on the theatre of military actions, which practically rules out the resource of reserve.


Determining the FIGHTING SYSTEM parameters is a necessary condition of systematization in researches and for mathematical modeling of many problems in military theory. Besides, many parameters may correspond to a system modeled by the logic of mechanical processes. These parameters reflect and characterize diverse manifestations and situations of armed action in a certain range and by a certain approximation. However, such generalized approach, which would surely require development of principles of universalization, would quite often create insuperable difficulties. It would be too artificial, also overloaded with mathematical apparatus and less adapted to the real nature of armed action in which the share and significance of non-systematized parameters are considerable.

Within the framework of the preset study, the task is more specific, laconic and purposeful. The studies mainly involve such parameters of the FIGHTING SYSTEM that are close to the commonly known mechanical systems and parameters of their dynamical processes by their content, form of manifestation and nature. Besides, which is most important, the problems are related to the identification of parameters the systematized consideration of which will allow to determine and study the gravity center and indirect actions in the ARMED ACTION model by use of mathematical logic in a formalized way.

Introduction of widespread proposition into the military theory from mechanics, at least center of gravity and indirect actions, contradict, on the one hand, their base model mechanical system, and on the other hand, being already transformed in military theory without argumentation, they have acquired completely different interpretations in a number of cases.

The necessity of conducting the above mentioned study is to use and realize the methods and principles of the strategy of indirect actions purposefully, with fever errors.



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Georgian technical University – Institute of Constructions, Special Systems and Engineering Maintenance of Georgian technical University



Title: Novel approach to indirect actions of military theory