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strategy and tactics maxims

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I read the Art of War, and the Lost Art of War, and the Books of Leadership and Strategy, etc. etc. translated by Thomas Cleary.

But -- I haven't been in the military, so there is a huge gap in my knowledge.

I was wondering if there are any maxims or rules that you learnt during military training about how to plan, when to attack, when to stand firm, when to run, when to lay in wait for an ambush, that sort of thing.

I thought it could become an interesting thread.

BTW I am also re-reading my Conans lately for diversion, so this is on-topic for me.


So, any pearls of wisdom out there that people might want to share? ("Don't attack with odds of less than 3:1", for example).

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I've never been in the military, but as far as CM goes:

Moving your tanks forward is almost always a mistake. If you find yourself wanting to do it, you should stop, think about it, and then not do it.

Also you can never have enough infantry


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1) Always keep a reserve force. ((that is, 25-33% of your troops, preferably very mobile, in your rearguard));

2) If you don´t feel the need for your reserve, try to engross it;

3) When you really feel that need, think twice before commiting it. You can later REALLY NEED it.

Go here Combat HQ Articles

Especially the last article by Carlos "Los" Lourenco "Principals of war".

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There is a list by the name of "Murphy's rules of Combat" that is meant to be funny but actually has some good ideas in it.

My years in the Marine Corps have not, thank God, included combat. My father, who was a combat rifleman during WWII with the 28th division, told me to remember:

"The situation is usually fluid. If an order to attack seems suicidal, there is no shame in waiting for a tank to show up."

"If someone is shooting at you, drop to the ground like your feet have been kicked out from under you. This hollywood drop to the knees, brace with your rifle and land softly crap will get you killed."

"Be careful throwing grenades uphill."

"If you take mortar fire on a road, don't jump in the ditches. That is where the next ones will land."

"Never let a manacurist remove your calluses when you are on pass in Paris. You will regret it later."

Not exactly grand strategy, but it is some of what he told me.

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Colonel_Deadmarsh:

"There is a quality about quantity."

Not sure if I got that right and I'm not even sure I know who said it but it was someone important.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Stalin. I believe it is:

"Quantity has a quality all of its own"

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I have been collecting a few quotes for the past month or so. They are not all military but i'm just going to cut & paste.

"You don't want to die for your country, you wanna make the other bastard die for his" - Patton

"War is a continuation of state policy by other means" - Clausewitz

"Git thar fustest with the mostest" - Nathan Forrest

"Full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes!" Admiral Porter

"Aviation is good for sport, but for the army it is useless" - General Foch

"We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight on the streets and in the fields, we shall fight on the hills, we shall never surrender" - Winston Churchill

"In times of peace, prepare for war." - George Washington

"The next world war will be fought with stones" - Albert Einstein 1949

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure" - Thomas Jeferson 1787

"Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration" - Thomas Edison 1878

"Arms alone are not enough to keep the peace - it must be kept by men.- J. F. Kennedy 1962

"I don't know what effect these men will have on the enemy, but by god, they frighten me" - The Duke of Wellington France 1813

"If a man hasn't discovered something he would die for, he isn't fit to live" Martin Luther King

"In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes" - Benjamin Franklin

"When you succeed, give all the credit to others; when you fail, take all the blame" - General Dwight D. Eisenhower

"Before yielding victory to the enemy, wait until he wrests it from you" - Napolean

"To subdue your enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence." - Sun Tzu

"There is nothing like god on earth but a general on a battlefield" - U.S Civil war Colonel.

"Lack of weapons is no excuse for defeat" - Lt. General Renya Mutaguchi, Commanding General, Japanese Fifteenth Army, 1944-1945

"For great aims we must dare great things" - Von Clausewitz

"As I walk through the Valley of Death, I will fear nothing, for I am the meanest mother f%$#er in the valley" - George S. Patton

"In military operations timing is everything" - Wellington 1800.

"An ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood" - George S. Patton

"A risk is a chance you take; if it fails you can recover. A gamble is a chance taken; if it fails, recovery is impossible" - Rommell

I hope you liked them. 1 or 2 of these may of been taken from people's signatures on this forum if so i apolagise, yadda yadda.

[ 06-03-2001: Message edited by: Stixx ]

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Stixx writed:

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>"Full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes!" Admiral Porter<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Disagree. Rear Admiral David G. Farragut.

""In reply to the warning, "Torpedoes ahead!" given by the ships ahead, Farragut called out, "Damn the torpedoes!" and taking the lead with his flagship the Hartford, sailed over the double row of mines and into Mobile Bay in Alabama. The bottom of the ship even scraped the mines. But none exploded. The rest of the fleet followed Farragut's flagship into the bay, and to victory against the Confederate fleet.""

((In other versions I have read: "Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead"))


The Union Navy Captured Fort Morgan, Alabama

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Paco QNS:

Disagree. Rear Admiral David G. Farragut.

((In other versions I have read: "Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead"))


Well i took that one directly out of my many books here. Either way does it really matter mate?. It was said a long time ago by a famous captain showing fierce strength, courage and determination in the heat of battle.


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Put that book in quarantine, Stixx, if it´s commiting the grave sin of mixing Admiral´s names.

IIRC Voltaire said "It´s good from time to time to shoot an admiral, to encourage the others". If you pick the wrong one. Well, that´s quite infair, isn´t? ((He was speaking of another admiral. Non related))

See these webpages:



Civil War Naval History December 1862

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